Sugar, anxiety and insomnia…and other tips to get you to sleep better tonight!

I have always been able to switch off my bedside light and fall asleep within minutes. Even on my travels, often sleeping in youth hostels sharing rooms, it wasnt an issue for me. Ever.

When my son turned one a year ago, it changed. For his 1st year I slept well in between multiple night waking and breastfeeding sessions. Now he was starting to sleep better and all of a sudden this mommy couldnt fall asleep anymore…shock horror!

Is this a joke – no – it’s very real.  Some even call it “momsomnia” or postnatal insomnia.

When you suffer from insomnia, you either struggle to fall asleep or you wake up and then struggle to fall back to sleep again.

It’s one of those things that can quickly consume you as you start struggling night after night and experiencing the repercussions of not so much optimal functioning during the day.  You start almost dreading going to bed even though you are tired.  The “Tired but Wired” saying became quite real to me…

It’s a vicious cycle… Insomnia creates anxiety and this creates more insomnia. I experienced over the past year that if I have a better night, the anxiety almost immediately starts to decrease dramatically helping me to go into the better direction of sleep again.

So what can you do – the standard advice that you’ll get…

  1. Sleep hygiene
  2. Herbal aids
  3. Melatonin
  4. Sleeping tablets
  5. Antidepressants (more to treat the anxiety)

These are the things that has worked for me to a certain extent recently and over the past year:

  1.  You absolutely have to do the sleep hygiene thing i.e. NO screen time for at least an hour before bed time and keep lights fairly dimmed in the house if you can.  I also started to have a bed time routine – for me this was drinking either camomile tea / hot water with apple cider vinegar and a bit of honey / milk with quarter teaspoons of nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger.  And also reading a book until I feel I can’t keep my eyes open any longer.
  2. Consider cutting your caffeine.  I decreased it to one – two cups of coffee max all before 11am.
  3. Be careful of sugar as this can worsen anxiety symptoms and for me any form of sugar and even cocoa (dark chocolate) I found could increase my alertness and keep me awake.
  4. Alcohol – yes it helps to relax you – but I am not sure what it is – but I found this also didn’t help my sleep, so bye-bye drinks for now! (Insomnia is so tormenting that you will do ANYTHING to alleviate it).
  5. Melatonin didn’t work for me unfortunately, the herbal stuff also not, I wish it did as it’s not habit-forming.
  6. An anti-anxiety tablet and/or a sleeping tablet helped me at certain times to calm down at night and just re-set and get a night of good sleep – but it’s not for long-term use…
  7. Watch your mind… I found that the more I panicked when I couldn’t fall asleep the worse it all became.  I started meditating on Bible Scriptures about sleep, anxiety and fear which helped me a lot.  I also pray as part of my bed time routine.  And I watch out like a hawk for those evil thoughts that try to make me go into panic and fear mode.  I replace it with TRUE thoughts – Renewing my mind with God’s TRUTH.
  8. I have had to almost become quite relaxed about the whole thing – knowing through the grace of God that I WILL be ok the next day even if I didn’t sleep.  I had to make a point of tapping into the peace, joy and gratitude inside of me despite my lack of sleep and not feeling great the next day. Worshipping Him throughout became my Spiritual Weapon of choice.

This thing has become a lifestyle, spiritual and emotional journey for me.  Not something with a quick fix (believe me I tried all of that, spent a couple of R1000’s on doctors who couldnt really help although I am sure they wish they could.)

I really hope this helps someone out there…

Love Helene x x x

 

Advertisements

Thinking of you dad, on your 81st birthday.

Dear Dad,

Today is your 81st birthday. You left this earth – our dad, husband, brother, son, brilliant doctor, world traveller… on 8 July 2014 – 4 years ago.

Today on your birthday, I think about you. I think about life. And some of it scares me, but mostly I am grateful and I realise that I have to surrender. Surrender to the Bigger Power Who is ultimately in control of our lives, of the universe. Otherwise I will have too many unanswered questions. Sometimes everything about life is too overwhelming for me to grasp or make sense of. And therein lies the power and beauty of SURRENDERING.

Dad, I knew you as my father for 36 years. I realise now though… that I barely knew you… Really knew you. Yes, you were my dad. But I knew nothing of your HEART, your inner struggles, the delights of your heart, your dreams, your disappointments, your fears… And this brings a tear to my eye as I write this letter to you.

How well do we really know our loved ones?

20180521_1441065187925244426657396.jpgI look at pictures of you when you were a young boy, about 12 years old. You look serious in the picture, with big brown eyes (I got those eyes from you). You’ve kept that serious, intense look throughout your life. It seems there’s so much behind those eyes, hidden to the world. I would have loved to know more about what was behind those eyes of yours.  I realise that you never found it easy to speak about your emotions, and that that’s also ok…

I loved the way you could laugh at a stupid joke, and how you appreciated it if someone greeted you by the hand (old-fashioned style) and really listened to you with genuine interest.

You truly lived your life well. And I will always remember you knowing this for sure. You decided early in your life what you wanted to achieve academically… And you achieved ALL of it. With hard work and an intense passion and dedication to medicine you became one of the top specialists in your field. You loved to travel – and did you travel! Later in your life you became a self-tought successful investor – no one could tell you anything 😉 You provided well for your family, you took the role of faithful husband, provider and reliable dad very seriously. Thank you for that daddy. Now that I am a married woman and a mom, I really do appreciate all of these things so much more…

dr (21 of 87)6124450542914494293..jpg

So… on your 81st birthday, I want to thank you for your dedication…your love…your sincere heart. I see you in heaven, happy and healthy – and that gives me hope and joy.

Love, your youngest – Helene (Lienksie) xxx

New salon review – Minnelli Body & Skin care in Graanendal

Liza Schoeman is the beautiful, talented therapist who opened her own salon recently in the Graanendal Shopping Centre – Minnelli Body and Skin care.

Facebook: @Minnelli.beautysalon

I know Liza from when she was a student of mine when I lectured at Isa Carstens Academy in Stellenbosch around 2005. We also saw each other quite regularly over the years to follow while I did product house training for the Skin Renewal therapists in Johannesburg and Cape Town. She has always struck me as a sincere, caring and thorough therapist and person.

When I saw that she opened her own salon 10 minutes drive away from my house, I was very excited to go to her as I knew I was going to be in good hands!

And I wasnt disappointed. Liza has years of experience in the world of aesthetic skin care working as a therapist for the well know Skin Renewal. She was also featured as one of the skin care therapists on the KykNet programme Mooi Maak. She is a professional, polished, friendly and very thorough therapist.

Her salon is part of a hair salon in the Graanendal shopping centre, but once you are in her room it is quiet and peaceful. Her room is beautifully decorated and she made sure I was 100% comfortable throughout the treatment.

I will definitely be going to Liza regularly and I can highly recommend her!

Love

Helene x x x

38672530_232115117639511_5859201081057214464_n

38600239_232115070972849_4599272948761624576_n

Mommies…let’s be real?

The other day as I was driving, an interview came up on the radio. The woman being interviewed has an incredible CV. She has a top post at a university, an online business and she is a mom of a 1 and 3-year-old…

At the start of the interview when she casually mentioned that yes she wears many hats and obviously wears them well…I switched off the radio.

I didn’t want to expose myself to another mommy claiming to the world that she indeed is a super woman…juggling many balls with grace…wearing all those hats with style.

I knew it would make me evaluate my own life as mommy again and end up making me feel somewhat like a underachiever of a mommy/juggler of life.

I am NOT criticizing her. All I am saying is this. Moms, let’s be honest, let’s be real? If you are one in a million and truly by some magic is able to be 100% mom, 100% entrepreneur, 100% full-time job mom…then wow you are truly gifted.

But if like me, you have realised that all your important decisions like for example whether to work or be a stay at home mom, comes at a cost.

The stay at home mom might feel the cost for her is giving up her career and her sanity on some days 😉

The working mom might feel the cost for her is not being able to spend as much time with her little one as she would like to.

Point is…lets be real about our choices we have to make, the consequences we have to individually deal with, the challenges and the joys we each face in our unique situations. That there is not a right or a wrong. Lets not judge one another for tough choices we have to make.

And lets not pretend. Why pretend? Do you feel to show vulnerability will make you come across as weak? Being vulnerable takes COURAGE and STRENGTH. And showing realness, honesty and being vulnerable is the only way that you can help another mom feel better.

Love Helene x x x

The toddler review: Playzone!

Playzone:  This is a big YES from Lucas (22 months) and mommy!

Yay for good coffee and a BIG yay for the nannies and amazing, clean, safe play area!

You pay R50 for the 1st hour and then R30 for every hour after that. Nice menu, I ordered a big coffee and plate of chips for Lucas.

I was almost a bit at a loss with all the sitting and watching I could do…will definitely use this place in the near future to get in 2 hours of studying (I started a course this month…).

 

I think for me I will need to come at quiet times to get the full benefit of a nanny dedicated to Lucas. We visited on a Monday late morning and the nanny mentioned that it is relatively quiet on most week days, not so much over the weekends 😉

A big thumbs up from us!

Love Helene x x x

Area for all kiddies but especially the not yet walking little ones 🙂

 

My sugar detox journal – confession time! What’s your WHY?

I never remember very clearly how it starts – it always seems a bit blurry.  

But then I find myself finishing an entire piece of the most delicious, moist carrot cake on a Sunday morning.  How did this happen…?  How is it possible to go from super motivated and focused, to stuffing my face with my all too familiar drug of choice – SUGAR?

I can tell you how it happens…

I will have an emotionally down day or moment –  and then I go to that familiar mind-set:

“Sugar will definitely help me to feel better, it will give me energy and that feel good factor that I desperately need (and feel I deserve) RIGHT NOW.”

Then I give in to a biscuit with my coffee, have one of my toddler’s sweet treats… and its like a slippery slope down hill (ok it’s not THAT bad, but you get what I am saying…).

Next thing I think to myself, well you have given in so you might as well have a couple of biscuits, or a piece or 2 milk tart (this was yesterday) and carrot cake…(today)…?

And the next thought…. Tomorrow is Monday and it’s basically the beginning of a new month… perhaps this time I will kick the habit and a few kg’s before summer…?

BUT I HAVE BEEN HERE BEFORE… And there’s no time for denial anymore – I am just too SICK of it.  Time to get REAL people!!!! O.k… I am trying really hard to motivate myself…

Human willpower (for most of us) just freaking fails us time and time again.  It’s the reason why new years resolutions are mostly a waste of time… and the: I will start on Monday… or next month or whatever…

So WHAT NOW???  I so desperately want to live healthier – and for me right now – this means cutting out the white stuff.  And the white floury stuff.

I heard a talk the other day… she said you need to 1st OF ALL – FIGURE OUT YOUR WHY.

Your WHY needs to be important enough to carry you through those familiar moments where you typically give in.

MY WHY?   I want to do what I can to not get sick.  I want to feel less achy, less moody, less tired and totally be there for my hubby and busy toddler.  And perhaps most of all right now – I am searching for a holistic, sustainable lifestyle cure for insomnia & anxiety.

What is you why?

Love Helene x x x

My top 9 toddler friendly places in and around Durbanville

Being a stay at home mommy to my 21 month old Lucas, part of the past 10 months or so since he could walk, was to find awesome places for us to go during his awake time.  Not too far away from home and a pleasure for me as well as for Lucas to go to…

Here are my top 9 toddler friendly places to go to – all of them are in and around Durbanville.

  1. Bon Amis:  This is one of my favourite spots on sunny mornings.  They have great coffee (very important) as well as an awesome and affordable kiddies menu (I normally get either their kiddies french toast or flapjacks for Lucas).  They have an on site nanny who can help to keep an eye over your little one – but not so much if there’s a couple of kids running around.  She mostly helps when you would like to go and look at the bunnies.  The play area has nice shade, lots of sand and jungle gyms, swings etc.

    20180518_110654
    Bon Amis
  2. Meerendal wine estate:  We go here quite regularly – but I usually go there when hubby is with me.  The jungle gym is suitable more for the older toddler, so someone has to be with Lucas all the time.  The jumping caste over weekends he also loves, but once again its more suitable for the slightly older child.  You can’t really be on your own and try to have a leisurely cup of coffee as well – so hubby and I will take turns watching him when we go there.  I will order a plate of chips or a pastry when we are there for Lucas.
  3. Bash:  I love bash especially when Lucas was a little bit younger.  It is ideal for your little one who just starts to walk or even just pull himself up.  They have a cool play area/coffee shop so you can easily have your coffee and watch your little one.  They also have a full-time nanny there to keep an eye… Their menu isn’t that great and a little pricey – but there are some options for your toddler which is o.k.  Lucas always enjoys the play kitchen area and the small jungle gym.

    20180406_094937(0)
    Bash
  4. Chocolate coffee shop:  This is normally a quick stop for us.  I get to drink a great cup of coffee and Lucas loves their chips.  I have to keep an eye on him but he normally just likes to stroll around the outdoor kiddy area, pick up some stones, look at the flowers and the fountain or try to get into their kiddy castle.
  5. Spur Durbanville:  Great practical place to go on rainy days.  The play area is nice and clean and have lots to keep the little ones busy.  Awesome padded indoor jungle gym and a nanny most days who can also help to keep an eye.  The coffee isn’t my favourite but I like the cheap snack options for Lucas like the sweet potato chips!

    20180424_113304
    Spur Durbanville
  6. Willowbridge shopping mall:  What a cool mall for toddlers!  Only on good weather days though… The jungle gyms need our supervision because Lucas likes to be daring :). So once again two adults are needed if you want to sit down and drink your coffee…  So hubby and I will take turns to watch Lucas (hubby normally knows I need my coffee, so he will watch Lucas more than I do ;).  There’s also a giant sand pit – just be aware of the harsh sun on sunny days.
  7. Stodals:  The only think that I don’t like about Stodals is the noise of the N1 right next to it.  The coffee is also ok but not amazing 🙂  The play area is very cool… Quite a few jungle gyms, lots of sand and a bonus is the walk through where they can look at some cool animals!!
  8. Evertsdal Opstal:  Yummy coffee and yummy food. They don’t have a kiddies menu so Lucas will have some chips and some of my food.  The outside play area is small but it’s nice with a jungle gym, some sand, two swings and lots of area to explore.  Choose a sunny day though…
  9. Playzone:  I havent been recently, but the small play area for crawling Lucas was nice… I need to go again to see how Lucas enjoys the many huge plastic indoor jungle gyms and many other thins.  I am sure he will love it, so this is on my to-do list…  The food and coffee are average so don’t go for that 😉

Places I have tried and not keen on going back to:

  1. Funky Frogs Tygervalley – very small play area and the coffee is really bad 😉 – So take your own coffee if you would like to go and sit.  But good for kids over 2 if you would like to go and shop and your toddler will let you leave him/her there.
  2. Bossa Nova Durbanville – horrible cold play area for toddlers.  Fine for older kids because there are many computers for games.
  3. Wimpy Durbanville – the play area is VERY small and only suitable (there’s a sign) for kids from 4 years old.

Love Helene x x x