November 22, 2018

Some Days I’m a 10 But On Days Like Today, Not So Much

It's now 5:49 pm and I've failed to do much of anything that was on my to-do list.  And as much as the fearful, scarcity part of me kept trying to force something out of me -- I knew not to.

But it was more than a knowing … I trusted myself enough to wait.  
You see, I knew that I would show up and do the work before my head hit the pillow tonight.
I trusted myself enough to know that I would get done what needed to get done.
I trusted myself enough to create the space and to follow my intuition.
I trusted myself enough not to give in to the worry thoughts my brain kept throwing out throughout the day of having to do X, trying to convince me why I should do Y.

It's funny how some days it's like fireworks are going off as soon as I open my eyes and I get everything done by 8am and other days not so much. 

The other day was a fireworks kinda day.  I had gone to bed at 2am and still got up at 4am.  Some people - perhaps a lot of people - would roll their eyes and argue that one shouldn’t push themselves this way.  And although I agree that making this the “norm” isn’t healthy (I’m 1000% on taking care of ourselves), what I will say is that when you’re on a mission, when you are aligned and purpose-driven, getting up only after 2 hours of sleep won’t feel like pushing at all.  

I did my morning ritual, created a ridiculous amount of content, connected with people, had an impromptu phone interview for a dream job, worked out and ate healthily ... No naps needed (although I do love me a good nap).

Do I wish all my days were like that?  (minus the 2 hours sleep part)  Heck yeah!
But the reality is that some days I'm vibe-ing at a level 10 and other days I'm squeaking by at a level 2.8. 

But regardless of how I'm feeling, I know that I'm going to do the things that move my business forward because: 
1. The things I do fuel me.
2.  I've strengthened my discipline and continue to do so. 

In the past, I thought that pushing and forcing myself to do things was just part of the hustle.  I would set goals and then try to push my way to them and when you’re pushing from a place that isn't aligned, it feels like you're constantly forcing yourself to do things just to get to the end result. And at the end of the day, instead of feeling fulfilled, you feel a little more depleted.  This fed my belief that this is what you have to do if you want to make the money, have the body, build the business.  And it felt like each day it would get a little harder and harder to get back in the ring. 

What I've discovered is that hustling when you ARE aligned has a VERY different energy to it.   Don't get me wrong, there's still "pushing" that occurs but the pushing is more about pushing through patterns, behaviours and beliefs.  Pushing boundaries and limits.  And instead of feeling depleted, you're left feeling a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment.  

So, do you see why it’s so important to be clear on who you are and what fuels your soul? Because when it comes to building your discipline and self-belief/trust muscle, it makes it a helluva lot easier to break a pattern/behaviour/addiction when you’re aligned with the person you're becoming and you believe in what you’re doing.  It feeds you.  It energizes you and you begin to look forward to whoopin' your own butt because of how it’ll make you feel afterwards.

That's the difference being aligned makes.  
That's the difference being on purpose makes.
That's the difference self-belief makes.

When you doing something because you think it’s what will give you your end result …. boy-oh-boy, you’re going to have your work cut out for you. 

So much love,

November 1, 2018

My People Pleasing Really Messed Me Up This Time

I can't tell you how many times I've uttered the phrase " My people pleasing really messed me up this time."

I found a journal entry from earlier this year and I changed it to fit the structure of an email so that I'm not just vomiting on the page but this was the gist of it ...

I sat there, silently fuming.  I had agreed - yet again - to do something I didn’t want to do. When I was asked, it’s as if on autopilot, I agreed and I knew that I would spend a lot of time and energy leading up to the event:

-> Beating myself up and promising that this would be the LAST time I put myself in this  position.

-> Trying to justify why it was good for me to do it because it would help build character, be good for networking purposes and/or it would be the right/nice thing to do.

The outcome would always be the same:

1.  I'd go and constantly remind myself how dumb/weak/spineless I am. 

2.  I'd pull the pin at the last minute and feel like an asshole.

Either way, I would feel like crap before, during and after. 

My 'need' to be liked knows no bounds. 
Take for example the friend who unfollowed me.  We hadn't seen each other in about 6 years but we'd sporadically message and I'd like and/or leave comments on her posts.  I was a little baffled when I noticed that she had unfollowed me.  So what do I do? I send her a message #facepalm AND it wasn’t even a direct “hey, is something wrong” (which I think is a waste of time as well) but instead, I wrote a very “nice” #barf message with the intention of making her question her decision.  
So.  Fucking.  Embarrassing. 

Oh, and the madness doesn’t stop there.  Oh, no.  There are COUNTLESS instances where my people pleasing made me question my sanity, drained my energy and made me feel like a giant wimp.  

There were also all the times I kept quiet as I listened to the other person/people talk about things that go against what I believe but said nothing because I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable.  So instead, I opted to be the one who was uncomfortable.  
And all the times I offered to help even though I wasn’t in a position to help and as a result, it set me back financially, emotionally and/or physically.

It’s funny how during “those" times and by "those" times, I mean pre-self-worth work (BSWW … before self-worth work), those were the times that lay the foundation of what would be the catalyst to get me to change.

The frustration and resentment began to mount.
Constantly attracting the same type of man and getting the same type of result.
The financial struggle ensued.
My body began its revolt. 

My external world was a reflection of my internal world.
It’s like the Universe was saying “How much more can you take?” and I was over here saying “But I really want people to like me”.
So, She kept turning up the dial until it got too uncomfortable for me to keep doing what I was doing. 

Thankfully, those instances are few and far between now. 

Your time and your energy are precious commodities and when you give them away or sell them to the first bidder, let’s just say that much like your body will try to evacuate your bowels when you’ve consumed something unhealthy, your spirit will try to dispel you of the things/beliefs/ideas/people that are out of alignment and the stronger you try to hold on because you’ve somehow tied your self-worth to external validation ... it’s going to be one helluva bumpy ride and it will continue to be until you’re ready to let it go.

So, if you find yourself:
Attracting the same sort of people and circumstances into your life.  
Feeling depleted.  
Struggling financially. 
Eating foods that don't nourish your body. 
Constantly scrolling through social media
Binging on videos/shows/movies 

It may be time to address the elephant in the room and get out of the pressure cooker that the Universe has put you in.

Here's to new beginnings! 
Happy November 1st,

October 18, 2018

Brene Brown

I came across an article written by Brene Brown and it REALLY resonated with me and I wanted to share it with you ...

When the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:  I’m not screwing around. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go. Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy and lovable, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever. Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through your veins. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.

If you look at each midlife “event” as a random, stand-alone struggle, you might be lured into believing you’re only up against a small constellation of “crises.” The truth is that the midlife unraveling is a series of painful nudges strung together by low-grade anxiety and depression, quiet desperation, and an insidious loss of control. By low-grade, quiet, and insidious, I mean it’s enough to make you crazy, but seldom enough for people on the outside to validate the struggle or offer you help and respite. It’s the dangerous kind of suffering – the kind that allows you to pretend that everything is OK.

We go to work and unload the dishwasher and love our families and get our hair cut. Everything looks pretty normal on the outside. But on the inside we’re barely holding it together. We want to reach out, but judgment (the currency of the midlife realm) holds us back. It’s a terrible case of cognitive dissonance – the psychologically painful process of trying to hold two competing truths in a mind that was engineered to constantly reduce conflict and minimize dissension (e.g., I’m falling apart and need to slow down and ask for help. Only needy, flaky, unstable people fall apart and ask for help).

It’s human nature and brain biology to do whatever it takes to resolve cognitive dissonance – lie, cheat, rationalize, justify, ignore.  For most of us, this is where our expertise in managing perception bites us on the ass. We are torn between desperately wanting everyone to see our struggle so that we can stop pretending, and desperately doing whatever it takes to make sure no one ever sees anything except what we’ve edited and approved for posting.

What bubbles up from this internal turmoil is fantasy. We might glance over at a cheap motel while we’re driving down the highway and think, I’ll just check in and stay there until they come looking for me. Then they’ll know I’m losing my mind. Or maybe we’re standing in the kitchen unloading the dishwasher when we suddenly find ourselves holding up a glass and wondering, “Would my family take this struggle more seriously if I just started hurling all this shit through the window?”

Most of us opt out of these choices. We’d have to arrange to let the dog out and have the kids picked up before we checked into the lonely roadside motel. We’d spend hours cleaning up glass and apologizing for our “bad choices” to our temper tantrum-prone toddlers. It just wouldn’t be worth it, so most of us just push through until “losing it” is no longer a voluntary fantasy.

Midlife or Midlove

Many scholars have proposed that the struggle at midlife is about the fear that comes with our first true glimpse of mortality. Again, wishful thinking. Midlife is not about the fear of death. Midlife is death. Tearing down the walls that we spent our entire life building is death. Like it or not, at some point during midlife, you’re going down, and after that there are only two choices: staying down or enduring rebirth.

It’s a painful irony that the very things that may have kept us safe growing up ultimately get in the way of our becoming the parents, partners, and/or people that we want to be.

Maybe, like me, you are the perfect pleaser and performer, and now all of that perfection and rule following is suffocating. Or maybe you work hard to keep people at a safe distance and now the distance has turned into intolerable loneliness. There are also the folks who grew up taking care of everyone else because they had no choice. Their death is having to let go of the caretaking, and their rebirth is learning how to take care of themselves (and work through the pushback that always comes with setting new boundaries).

Whatever the issue, it seems as if we spend the first half of our lives shutting down feelings to stop the hurt, and the second half trying to open everything back up to heal the hurt.

Sometimes when the “tear the walls down and submit to death” thing overwhelms me, I find it easier to think about midlife as midlove. After two decades of research on shame, authenticity, and belonging, I’m convinced that loving ourselves is the most difficult and courageous thing we’ll ever do. Maybe we’ve been given a finite amount of time to find that self-love, and midlife is the halfway mark. It’s time to let go of the shame and fear and embrace love. Time to fish or cut bait.

…it seems as if we spend the first half of our lives shutting down feelings to stop the hurt, and the second half trying to open everything back up to heal the hurt.

I don’t think midlife/midlove is on a schedule. I was forty-one when it hit, but I have friends and I’ve interviewed people who found themselves smack dab in the middle of the unraveling as early as their mid-thirties and as late as their fifties. The only firm timing for midlife/midlove is that it ends only when we physically die. This is not something you can treat then dismiss. The search for self-love and acceptance is like most of the new ailments that hit at midlife – it’s a chronic condition. It may start in midlife, but we have to deal with it for the rest of our lives.

And, just in case you think you can blow off the universe the way you did when you were in your twenties and she whispered, “Pay attention,” or when you were in your early thirties and she whispered, “Slow down,” I assure you that she’s much more dogged in midlife. When I tried to ignore her, she made herself very clear: “There are consequences for squandering your gifts. There are penalties for leaving big pieces of your life unlived. You’re halfway to dead. Get a move on.”

Once the shock of the universe’s visits wears off – and you get over thinking, Oh my God! I’d prefer a crisis! – there are several ways to respond:

I hear tell that there are actually people who pull the universe closer, embrace her wisdom, thank her for the opportunity to grow, and calmly walk into the unraveling. I try to spend limited time with these people, so I can’t tell you much about how this works.

Another option is to deny that any of this ever happened. Of course, denial is not so easy at this level – it is the universe that we’re talking about here. Pretending that midlife is not happening requires active denial, like putting your fingers in your ears and singing la-la-la-la-la. As sweet and childlike as that may sound, these folks are normally not so sweet and childlike.

After the ear-plugging and humming, the only way to maintain your denial of the midlife unraveling is to become even more perfect, more certain, and more judgmental. For these folks, allowing just one ounce of uncertainty or doubt or questioning to bubble up could cause rapid, involuntary unraveling. They can’t be wrong – their lives could spin out of control.  They march through life, teeth and butt cheeks clenched, without flinching and, often, without feeling.

There’s also the numbing option. If there’s one thing that we’ve mastered by midlife, it’s how to take the edge off of feeling pain and discomfort. We are so good at numbing – eating, drinking, spending, planning, playing online, perfecting, staying really, really busy. If every midlifer who “only drinks a good glass of wine with dinner” stopped drinking, there wouldn’t be a vineyard left in business. Unfortunately, what makes midlife different from the other stages that we’ve managed to survive, is that the symptoms don’t improve over time. Choosing to numb the midlife unraveling is choosing to numb for the rest of your life.

Last, there’s the “no holds barred” resistance response. I liken it to existential cage fighting. You and the universe go into the ring and only one person comes out. This, of course, was my option.

When the universe came to me, I listened. And when she was done whispering, I pulled back, looked into her eyes, and spit in her face.

How dare she ask anything of me! I had worked and sacrificed and paid enough. I had spent my life saying “yes” when I wanted to scream, “Hell no! Do it yourself!” I had met every deadline, expectation, and request possible. I had earned every bit of my armor and I was enraged by the idea of giving it up.

I expected her to walk away like the dejected mother of an angry teenager, but she simply stood in front of me, wiping the spit off of her cheek.

We stared at each other for a minute, then I said, “I’m not afraid of you. I know what you’re asking and the answer is no. I’ve spent my entire life building these walls and digging these moats – do you really think a little whisper is going to intimidate me? Do I strike you as the unraveling type?”

I’m not ornery or rebellious by nature; it’s just that I spent thirty years trying to outrun and outsmart vulnerability and uncertainty.  The fact that the almighty universe had descended and asked me to turn myself over to her custody didn’t mean a damn thing to me. I’m not the surrendering type.

She was quiet.

I didn’t back down. I was my own little emotional militia. I put on my most serious game face and said, “I know what you’re trying to do and it’s not going to work. I’m prepared. I’ve spent a decade researching and writing on shame and vulnerability and all of the hard shit that you throw around to scare people. I’m ready.”

She looked back at me with loving eyes, then said, “I’m sorry it has to be this way, but clearly this is how you want to do it. You leave me no choice.”

Her calmness was unsettling. I was afraid. She wasn’t backing down. So in this moment of sheer terror, I did the only thing I knew how to do when confronted with fear – I bullied her. I gave her a small shove and said, “Then bring it!”

Her loving eyes didn’t change one bit. She just looked at me and said, “I will.”

When the Universe Brings It

I put up the fight of my life, but I was totally outmatched. The universe knew exactly how to use vulnerability and uncertainty to bring down this perfectionistic shame researcher:  a huge, unexpected wallop of professional failure, one devastating and public humiliation after the next, a showdown with God, strained connections with my family, anxiety so severe that I started having dizzy spells, depression, fear, and the thing that pissed me off the most – grace. No matter how hard or far I fell, grace was there to pick me up, dust me off, and shove me back in for some more.

It was an ugly street fight and, even though I got my ass kicked, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. There was a significant amount of pain and loss, but something amazing happened along the way – I discovered me. The real me. The messy, imperfect, brave, scared, creative, loving, compassionate, wholehearted me.

Maya Angelou writes, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” I’ve always honored the power of story. In fact, I believe so strongly in their power that I’ve dedicated my career to excavating untold stories and bringing them up to the light. In some miraculous way, I feel as if this midlife unraveling has taught me – in my head and my heart – how to be brave. I’m still not good at surrendering or “living in the question,” but I am getting better. I guess you could say I’ve graduated to “writhing in the question.” Not exactly Zen, but it is progress.

As far as my relationship with the universe . . . well, we’ve actually become very good friends. I even came to love and trust her when, in a quiet moment, I looked deeply into her eyes and realized that she, the universe, was me.

To read the article in its entirety, head over to Brene Brown's blog and it's called The Midlife Unraveling

August 30, 2018

13 Reasons Why You Should Take Cold Showers

Cold Showers

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am almost always cold.  So the thought of taking a cold shower didn't appeal to me at all ... Until I discovered the benefits and it inspired me to take the plunge 😉

Here are 13 other reasons why you should take cold showers ... 

A Cold Shower:

1. Builds self-discipline because when you do something you’re resistant to, especially first thing in the morning, you build mental strength, and pretty soon, this discipline becomes a habit that impacts every area of your life.  

2. Reduces stress from a physiological stand point, it trains your nervous system to be more resilient to stress.  Cold showers act as a form of minor oxidative stress on your nervous system This will allow you to be calmer in stressful situations.  

3. Lowers uric acid and boosts glutathione in your blood which reduces stress as well.  So it’s a double whammy…it makes you more resilient to stress and also lowers stress on your body.  

4. Improves your hair and skin.  If you’re not motivated by feeling better, then be motivated by looking better.

One of the best ways to improve your skin (and hair) is by taking cold showers. 

Cold water can help our skin by preventing it from losing too many natural oils. And your hair gets the same benefit.
It will give you shiny, strong & healthy hair by keeping the follicles flat and increasing their grip to the scalp which is also good in keeping your hair. 

5. Stimulates weight loss.  Another way cold showers will make you look better, is by promoting fat loss.

There are two types of fat in your body. Brown fat & white fat. White fat is bad. It’s the body fat that we all hate so much. Brown fat is good. It’s function is to generate heat and keep your body warm.

When you take a cold shower, brown fat is activated, resulting in an increase in energy and calories burned to keep your body warm. So much so that according to one study, cold temperatures can increase brown fat by 15X the normal amount, which can result in 9 pounds of weight loss per year.

6. Raises testosterone, boost sperm count and increase fertility. 

7.  Improves circulation by means of sending blood down to your organs to keep them warm.  

8. Improves immunity by increasing the amount of disease fighting white blood cells.

9. Drains your lymphatic system.  What the lymphatic system does is help carry out waste from your cells. This is key in defending your body from unwanted infections. And when the lymphatic system is blocked, it will show up in symptoms such as frequent colds, infections and joint pain.

Cold showers, when alternated between hot and cold water will help your lymphatic system, by contracting the lymph vessels when exposed to the cold and relaxing them when exposed to the heat. This essentially pumps the fluid that may have stagnated in your lymph vessels out, resulting in a stronger immune system and healthier you.

10. Improves the time it takes for muscle recovery because as mentioned before, it improves circulation and also removes some of the lactic acid from your muscles.  

11. Relieves depression because the cold water stimulates what is known as “the blue spot”, which is the brain’s primary source of noradrenaline – a chemical which plays a role in alleviating depression.

Plus the mild electroshock delivered to the brain by the cold shower (you’ll know exactly what I mean) sends an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which could result in an anti-depressive effect.  There is a high density of cold receptors in the skin, much more than there are for registering warmth.

12. Not only does it help to wake you up but it’s also great for improving sleep by promoting melatonin. 

13. Improves energy because one of the first things you do when you get hit by cold water is take a deep breath and you get a massive boost of energy from that increased breathing that cold shower forces you to do.

You can start your shower off hot, and enjoy it. But for the last minute (and work your way up to 3 minutes) it must be cold! As cold as it goes!

You just have to take the plunge. And every time you do it, it will get easier. 

Turn it into an experiment.

All you have to do, is take a cold shower tomorrow morning, and see how you feel. You can start hot, but end cold, for at least 1 minute.  I count 30 seconds on my front and 30 seconds on my back. 

Then see how you feel. If you liked it, then do it again the next day and see how two days in a row made you feel.

It’s just an experiment, not a permanent life change.

My advice

– Write down on a whiteboard or pad: Cold Showers
– Now make 30 boxes, one for each day
– Commit now to checking those 30 boxes off
– After the 30 days, you can decide to keep going or not. (I bet you’ll keep going)

August 18, 2018

Best Ways To Get Rid Of Stress

Best Way to Eliminate Stress. Best Way to Deal With Stress

Working with The Elements can provide stress relief.
Here are some examples of working with The Elements to incorporate into your life: 

Earth - Find a spot outside where you can feel the earth under your bare feet or in your hands.  
Mantra ~ I feel grounded.

Lay on the earth. Earthing has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and bring our nervous systems back into balance. The first thing animals do when sick or wounded is lay on the earth. 

Water- Feel water running over your hands, your arms or your entire body.  
Mantra ~ I release stress. 

Air - Breathe in for the count of four, hold for the count of four and breathe out for the count of eight.  
If it’s a windy day, open your windows and feel and hear the wind.
Mantra ~ I allow change and transition.

Yawn. Yawning releases tension. If you’re yawning excessively, it means your body is trying to release stress.  This happened to me and I had no idea that it was my body telling me that my adrenals were fried. (link to article)

Fire - Burn a candle or write what you want to release and burn the paper after (safely of course)
Mantra ~ I release stress. 

You can also try…

Organizing.  Organize something. Focusing on a task, while experiencing the feel-good side effects of an instant accomplishment is amazing, I’m a firm believer that clutter, whether its physical or mental, adds to stress levels in a big way. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed-out, take a good look at your home. Are piles everywhere? Do you have unfinished projects staring you in the face? Take a deep breath in and exhale. Now start small.

Spin. The Sufis understood the power of spinning. Spin like a child: arms out wide, legs hip width apart and go for it. 

Deep belly breathe. Shallow breathing activates the meridians near the collarbones that pump up your fight or flight response (stress). 

Tone. Literally make noise. Moan, sigh, or even talk gibberish. Making sound moves energy. 

Get outside and look at the sky. The vastness of what’s above reminds us of a greater mystery and vast possibility, ultimately putting everything into perspective.

Say No.  Write yourself a prescription to say, “No.”
Use it the next time someone asks you to do something you’d really rather not do.
– and then use the time to do something that makes you happy.  

Baths.  I take lots of salt baths (sea salt, pink salt and my classic Epsom salt in a hot tub filled with water and a teaspoon of vitamin c crystals to dissipate the chlorine in the water), and also break out my journal when I realize its time to dispel the toxic ideas and body by-products of stress. 

August 18, 2018

10 Best Tips To Overcome Insomnia and Get Better Sleep

If you’ve ever had difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, you know all too well how frustrating it is and if it’s an ongoing thing, it’s impacting you in ways you might not even be aware of and in EVERY area of your life.  Like.  Every.  Area.

Maybe you’ve thought of using (or use) sleeping aids but you know that they aren’t great for you but you. Need.  Sleep.  Like, pronto.

Let me assure you that you are NOT alone – millions of Americans don’t sleep well and many are dependent on sleeping aids.

Insomnia is not the problem.

Insomnia (as in both trouble falling and staying asleep) is just a symptom of something else going on in your body. Uncover what it is and many of your health issues may improve, not just sleep.

Sleep never used to be an issue for me.  I would fall asleep almost as soon as my head hit my pillow and I’d stay asleep until I had to get up the next morning.  

I was also always a peppy (like, fart-rainbows kinda peppy) morning person.  

Then I remember I began waking up between 1-3 am like clockwork.  And when I say wake-up, I mean alert AF, awake.  

There was very little indication that I’d be able to roll over and go back to sleep.  At first I thought it was just a weird little thing, but it persisted.  My frustration mounted.  My routine was blown to smithereens and my body was showing outward signs of stress because of it.  

My memory was impacted.  Constantly forgetting things.

My diet and willpower went on a vacay.  Unknowingly, I was reaching for the things that would give my body quick fuel.  Even though it was unhealthy and I felt I had exactly zero willpower because I couldn’t control my cravings.  
I’d start my morning strong declaring a detox/cleanse day and by 6pm I was shoving chips and cookies in my mouth by the handful.   All the while, promising myself that tomorrow I would start again…and believing myself.  

Ready to drastically improve the quality of your sleep?  Good!  Read on.

Before I share the strategies, let me quickly cover why sleep is so important. Sleep is the foundation of good health and wellbeing.

Here are some of the reasons:

* Your body repairs and renews cells during sleep.

* Your liver does most of the detoxification during sleep; between 1 am and 3 am.   Hormone and neurotransmitter regulation happens during sleep.

* Poor sleep can cause 15% less leptin and 20% more ghrelin (which makes you hungrier) – If you’ve put on a few extra pounds and can’t get rid of it, your sleep patterns might very well be the culprit.  

* Sleep helps balance blood sugars which lessens the carb and sugar cravings.

* Adrenals repair during sleep – overactive adrenals overproduce cortisol which can cause an array of health issues – see the article on my adrenal fatigue journey here.

Let's start today with natural remedies for insomnia...

Sleep Hack #1:  Increase Magnesium Levels

A lot of people suffer from low magnesium levels and don’t even realize it. Common symptoms of low magnesium include poor sleep, leg cramps, shoulder tension, constipation, anxiety and edginess, depression and headaches.

Click here to get an overview of what types of magnesium supplements there are and which form is best for your particular situation. 

I take both the glycinate form and the citrate form (when I need the laxative effect). I like it for its high bioavailability, high absorption rate, and non-laxative effect. Start with 250 to 300 mg per day and dose up until you get loose stool. Then, back off and continue at this dose.

Try topical magnesium: If you suffer from many digestive problems and your absorption is compromised, you can replenish your magnesium reserves with topical magnesium that gets absorbed through the skin. 

*Reduce stress: Stress and cortisol rob you of magnesium – replenish magnesium levels but also work on reducing stress. 

Sleep Hack #2:  Exercise

Before you go full on gang busters, I would recommend that you either start slow or pull back on your current fitness routine if you’re already working out.  
Your body is stressed and we want to lower the stress levels.

I personally love Yoga—it’s good for everything from your muscles to your energy, to your mind—but there are so many different types it can be hard to keep them straight. Have a ​
look at this article to make sure you know your Vinyasa from your Ashtanga.

Sleep Hack #3:  Meditate

Just like Yoga, there are a ton of different types of meditation out there. Some people like to incorporate different styles to keep things interesting, others like to find one style that works best for them. I personally mix it up.  Some days my mind is so busy that I need a guided meditation to make it easier for my mind to stay focused.  Other days, I enjoy just sitting and focusing on my breathing with the soothing sounds of rain and bamboo flutes.  The key is to find something that you enjoy and start with just 1-3 minutes and then you can build up from there.  

I use Insight Timer.  

Sleep Hack #4:  Essential Oils

I was quite skeptical of essential oils but after using them, I am now a believer.  So much so, that I’ve become an advocate.  I realized as with a lot of things in life, no two things are created equally and it is incredibly important that if you incorporate oils into your life, that you use high quality ones.  

I have experimented with a few different types and I can honestly say that efficacy of doTerra oils was far superior.  Like, it wasn’t even a little close. Not only did I have to overcome my skepticism of essential oils but also the bad taste in my mouth of network marketing companies.  I strictly joined because a) they worked better than any of the other oils I tried b) I didn’t want to pay full price.  If you can overlook the network marketing component, I HIGHLY recommend them.  

*If you join through my link, I'll send you a free oil as my way of saying thank you.  Just send me a note either via Instagram @demikarpouzos or send an email to

Sleep Hack #5:  Increase Low Progesterone

If you are suffering from symptoms such as irregular periods, PMS, mid-cycle spotting, infertility, anxiety, depression, and problems falling and staying asleep, low progesterone levels could be the culprit.

Don’t rely on blood tests to rule out low progesterone because serum-based labs are useless in showing you the true levels of steroid hormones (progesterone is a steroid hormone as well).

Replenish progesterone levels.  Nutrients such as zinc, vitamin E, vitamin B6 can help a ton in boosting natural progesterone production.

I also incorporated
Evening Primrose Oil and took 2,000 mg each day. 

In times of high stress (deadlines, divorce etc.) try a topical progesterone cream because it will help you relax and sleep deeper. The one I recommend is
Progest-Avail from Designs for Health.
Use discount code DFH01052 to get 10% off on their Amazon store.

*Stress and cortisol rob you of progesterone.  Depends on how far down the rabbit hole you go, you’ll see that stress and cortisol are the main culprits for A LOT of issues.  The insomnia, adrenal fatigue etc., are just symptoms.  

Sleep Hack #6: Add Sleep-Promoting Foods, Herbs and Supplements.

There are foods and herbs that can help with falling and staying asleep. In my experience, they are most often a good aid, not a solution. I see more often people resolving sleep issues by fixing their low magnesium, progesterone levels or stopping caffeine.

I’ve personally taken
Ashwagandha and Holy Basil and can speak specifically to those but there are a lot of great resources online if you look up sleep-promoting foods.

Cocoa - I put 100% cocoa powder in my protein shake every morning, I eat 100% cocoa nibs with nuts as a snack throughout the day, I have a small piece of very dark chocolate (85% cocoa or more) after lunch and dinner. Sometimes I make a dairy-free chocolate mousse with 100% cocoa powder, avocado and coconut cream (yum!) for dessert. High cocoa consumption has become a daily necessity for me. 

Green smoothies (I drink blended kale, collard or spinach with fruit for extra nutrient energy).

Sleep Hack #7:  Environment

In the bedroom, block out artificial light before bed.  That means lamps, smartphones, computer screen, TVs, radio clocks and outside street lamps.  The blue, yellow and green light emitted from them can interfere with melatonin production.  

Research from Harvard University shows that exposure to blue light suppresses melatonin for twice as long as other colours and can shift your body clock by as much as three hours.

Start with shutting things down an hour before you sleep and if that doesn’t work, try 2 hours and if need be, work your way up to 4 and see what your sweet spot is.  

Have a set sleep schedule.  Rise and retire the same time every day to make it easier for your body to adapt.

Get light blocking glasses: If you have no choice and have to be exposed to light in the evening hours, get the True Dark glasses for the night and the Day Walker for the day. People sensitive to lights experience the profound difference with these glasses. You won’t know until you try them, or make it a point to avoid all artificial light one evening and see how it helps your sleep.

Computer app: Install an app called
f.lux. This reduces the blue wavelength coming from your screen, in favour of warmer more sleep-friendly tones. It, however, does not block out the yellow and green lights which some people are sensitive to.

Enjoy a soft glow: At night, use candles or lamps instead of bright overhead electric lights. Need a toilet visit? Use a low-wattage flashlight or dim hall and bathroom globes with an amber glow.

Open curtains on waking: This helps suppress melatonin levels, which should lower in the morning and rise at night.

Sleep Hack #8:  Stop Caffeine At Noon

Love a good cup of coffee? Don’t overdo it. Caffeine triggers the release of adrenalin and cortisol, which can keep your body on high alert for hours. Research at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine shows that caffeine can significantly disrupt your sleep six hours after your last hit. This is even more true for people who are slow caffeine metabolizers – even a decaf coffee will keep them awake! The point is: Try removing caffeine for 3 to 5 days and observe how has it changed your sleep.

Set a caffeine curfew: That means no caffeinated tea or coffee after 12 midday.

Sleep Hack #9:  Skip The Sugary Late-Night Snacks.  

I know, I know.  I didn’t say all of these would be fun.  

The worse choice of snacks before bed are:
Ice cream
Dessert yogurt

Have an herbal tea such as chamomile.  Again, not a lot of fun I know but neither is being sleep deprived.  Try it and see if it helps.  Plus, when you’re well rested, you won’t have such a strong craving for these.

Sleep Hack #10:  Be Mindful

What is the last thing you watch, do or think before bed?
What you read or watch before bed is what your brain continues processing during sleep.

Carefully choose what you read or watch: Pass up on political debates, thrillers, and horror movies and opt for something soothing.

Listen to sleep self-hypnosis tracks.  

Sleep and Stress go hand in hand you can read this article to get some tips on how you can reduce stress in order increase your sleep. 

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