For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had some trouble with my sleeping. It started when I was in elementary school; I would excuse myself from morning class and go straight to the administration office and ask if I could take a nap in the nurse’s room. They always obliged, but when it became more frequent, they called up my mother and started asking questions about my schedule at home. Even though I followed the same routine nightly, I never could get the full amount of sleep that my body was craving (At the age of 32 I can still attest to this statement!)

I remember trying to doze off to the radio that I was permitted to listen to for a little while before my mother came in to shut it off. Once those tunes stopped, my brain would start to race. Even at a young age, I was still spinning with ideas and thoughts – not knowing how to turn it all off. Sometimes I would try to ignore it, pinch my eyes tightly and wait for them to subside. Other nights it wasn’t so simple, and I would lie awake in my bed trying to “count sheep” as my mother asked me to do so often.

Once my mother passed away, I was stricken with insomnia. I was barely a teenager at this point, and the anxiety was starting to grow more within. My usual method to try and combat this was to stay up and read, however, most of the books I got my hands on were too good to put down, and I wouldn’t end up sleeping. I never confided in my adoptive father about these issues; it was hard enough to talk to him about everything that was happening inside of me since he saw me as a weak person. He would sometimes see me up at the wee hours of the morning and demand that I go to bed, never asking what I was still doing up or if I needed anything. I would turn off my light and pretend that I would, but I would always lie awake staring at my ceiling fan while my thoughts took over.

When I started college, I mentioned how bad my insomnia was to my then doctor, after I was up for 72 hours straight. He decided to prescribe me sleeping pills instead of asking me any other questions, and I thought that would be my solution to it all. After several months, I noticed that I would take my pills every night even when it wasn’t warranted. I was scared that I was getting addicted to them, so instead of discussing it with my doctor, I went off of them entirely. It was tough to adjust back to a full night’s sleep at first, but after several weeks I was starting to sleep better. Months went by, and my insomnia seemed to be at bay – but, I would still only pull 4-5 hours a night at best, no matter how early I went to bed.

During this time my anxiety was developing tenfold. I was still unaware of what was happening to me since I was consumed by my toxic atmosphere. I would lie awake, pleading with my body to go to bed, but instead, my mind was on full blast:

I forgot to put that one dish in the sink tonight; they’re going to be so mad at me for that. Do I need to remember tomorrow to write them a note so they don’t think that I’m mad at them for no reason, which reminds me, maybe I can offer to take them out for dinner? I know I barely make any money as it is, but they’re just always so mad at me, maybe I can show them that I can be responsible and they’ll change their mind? Who am I kidding myself, no one likes me and no one ever will. They’re entirely right when they say that I’m a loner and have no friends. I’m just going to die alone; I might be dying right now and not even know. Would they even be sad? Yeah, right, Andrea.

Even though I got out of that toxic environment late, I still battle with some form of these thoughts some nights. Recently, I couldn’t even tell you what’s been going on in my mind; I feel as if I’m being pushed in so many directions that it doesn’t even make sense to me at this point. Last night, I was in bed worrying about paint colours. PAINT. COLOURS.

The thing is, I know that these thoughts are contributing to me not sleeping and no matter how many hot baths, essential oils, teas, etc. I try – nothing can calm my anxious mind. But as you can see, since I was a little girl I’ve just been adapting to my sleeplessness. I have better nights than I used to, and I can honestly say I haven’t been hit with insomnia in several years (yay!), but my sleeplessness will always be around the corner since I’m stuck with my ever gracious anxiety. Luckily I have fur babies to cuddle to make me feel better about it

If you suffer from the same symptom, know that you’re not alone – and there are SO many options that you can try to help combat it. Just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you!

Last weekend was a long weekend in Canada, and instead of stressing over what to write about for my next topic, I decided to ditch the computer and laid in my hammock instead.
Even though the weekend was filled with our usual day-to-day activities, I knew that I was burning out. There are so many things that I’ve been thankful for over the years, but I think the biggest thing to have turned my life around was knowing and accepting when I was overstretching myself. One of the first things in CBT Therapy is to recognize when you have an automatic thought with triggers. It’s still a work in progress but starting to realize when I need to cool off has been so incredibly beneficial for my well being.

I know that identifying this in oneself can be hard, so here are some tell-all signs that you need a break

  1. Motivation
    Uh-oh, where did this go? You’re finding it difficult to do even a simple task, making it impossible to get any work done. When your passion starts to feel like a chore, it’s time to rest up. Don’t push yourself because that definitely will not help get any motivation back. Focus your energy on other things; you’ll be surprised when inspiration hits!
  2. Irritation
    I don’t know about you, but when I overstretch myself, I get easily irritated by those surrounding me. My husband can attest to this! I know that I need my alone time – separating yourself from others is a great way to recharge those batteries
  3. Insomnia
    Thinking if penguins have knees at 3 am? (They do!) If any thoughts are keeping you awake at night, more so than usual, get up and do some stretches. Focusing on something relaxing might make those pesky thoughts go away, and you might get some sleep! Lack of sleep will always make you feel worse so try to get away from the environment that’s making you restless.
  4. Anxiety Attacks
    This is the number one sign that you’re overwhelmed and need a break. Mix in irritability with a dash of Insomnia and BOOM; you’re experiencing an attack. Don’t be ashamed; you’re stressed out! This is the perfect time to do something for yourself: write, draw, dance, you name it!
  5. Off-Perception
    I don’t know about you, but when I get overwhelmed my sensitivity spikes up tenfold. If my Boss comes up to tell me some constructive criticism during these moments, I would ultimately take them the wrong way. If you find yourself tearing up over these types of interactions, it’s time for a break. Please do not have the “no days off” mentality, because that’s toxic. Take the days off that you need to be in the best mental shape.
  6. Crying for no reason
    If you’re struggling and living on the verge of tears each day with your day-to-day activities, you’re in a hypersensitive This is OK; it just means all of your emotions are at the tip of the bottle, and the only way to get them out is to cry. Remove yourself from the stressful situation and just let it all out. Trust me; you’ll feel better once it’s done. You’ll be able to control your emotions afterward J
  7. Head is spinning
    A big red flag of mental exhaustion is dizziness and nauseousness. Just because your mind is tired doesn’t mean your body won’t follow suit! These symptoms should not be ignored – get the relaxation that you need.
  8. Detachment
    I hate this one the most. You’re numb; you’re senseless, you’re apathetic. You don’t care! You should care. You should care IMMENSELY about yourself. You can overcome anything that’s thrown at you. Time for rejuvenation, STAT.

Have you noticed yourself experiencing any of these signs? SHARE this article with someone who seems stressed so they can get the help they need.

Last week I went to my dentist, I’ve been having some issues with my jaw locking up on me while I sleep and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I am guilty of grinding and clenching my teeth – I don’t normally know I am doing it since it usually happens at night. My dentist fixed me with a mouth guard years ago and even though it was a temporary fix, the issue has come back. Due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to delve further into my issue and have to go back next week. You can all guess what I’ll be doing till then! OVERTHINKING!

Have my jaw discs started to deteriorate? Will I need to get surgery? How long will the recovery be? How nutritious is a liquid diet anyways?

Anxiety comes with a lot of symptoms, and some of them arise as physical pains. The ones that I am experiencing right now are due to muscle tension. Aside from being mindful of my anxiety, there isn’t much else that I can do. Recognizing my anxiety can be helpful in trying to not clench throughout the day, and that will help until my next visit.

What-are-Anxiety-Symptoms

How can you recognize anxiety? Anxiety can be very situational for most people, but I was compiling a general list over the weekend that could be helpful for either yourself or recognizing it in others.

  1. Physical Pains: This can include stomach issues, back problems, headaches and jaw discomfort in my case.
  2. Physical indicators: some of the most common symptoms are sweating, trouble breathing, rapid heartbeat, and
  3. Change in demeanor: becoming more reclusive, needing more assurance than usual, and lack of patience.
  4. Foggy Brain: this includes trouble concentrating and memory issues. This can be very frustrating and can cause even more anxiety once we realize what’s happening.
  5. Extreme worrying: It’s obsessing, it’s overthinking, it’s overanalyzing. Honestly, I deserve an award for this.

As mentioned, this is just a generalized list, and you can have more symptoms than the ones listed. It’s imperative to stay mindful so that you don’t overwork yourself into a panic attack or start clenching your jaw. Trying not to overthink is a huge task for me, but I know that my husband and others will ground me. Here’s hoping I get some good news next week!

Anxiety is automatically waking up at 5 am because you assumed your 6 am alarm clock didn’t go off.
It’s checking your watch to determine how much time you could get if only you could just fall back asleep.

“Is it 5:15, only?”

It’s wanting to get that extra hour back knowing that you’ll be exhausted if you don’t.

“If I don’t get another hour, I might be irritable at work today, and I can’t be irritable because we have that team meeting.”

It’s not being able to fall back asleep because your mind is racing a mile a minute

“Speaking of the team meeting, remember the last one where you weren’t paying attention, and your boss was asking you a question?”

It’s planning out how your day is going to look even though you haven’t brushed your teeth yet.

“But If I wake up now that means I can get to work a little early, which might look good in my boss’s eyes.”

It’s staring at the ceiling in the warmth of your bed dreading the day already knowing people will notice that you’re tired

“Making a mental note to put on makeup when I get to work… did I put that in my bag already? UGH, I forgot to look for that eyeliner for my co-worker!”

It’s already feeling guilty over something that tiny.
It’s going back and forth from checking the time to planning your day.

“What time should I go to bed tonight to hopefully avoid this tomorrow?”

It’s realizing it’s unavoidable.
It’s getting up because it’s 6 am now, time to start the day.

night owl