My cover story for My Weekly is available in most newsagents now.
What are your essential sleep routines?
Feel free to share below.
I loved seeing Lisa Sanfilippo’s segment on Save Money, Good Health recently. She shared some of her yoga for sleep tools (I did some sleep yoga cpd with her years ago and love this gentle way of working with the mind-body connection to aid sleep without any side effects).
What astonished me was the presenter’s conclusion that asking people with insomnia to do 5 or 10 minutes’ yoga before bed was ‘a big ask’. When my insomnia was terrible (from primary school until my mid twenties), I’d have LOVED to know about yoga but it wasn’t part of my world. Instead, I felt doomed and permanently exhausted and on edge.
At the turn of the millennium, when I was in pain every day, not just a few days a month, I think I’d have wanted to punch (and me practically a pacifist!) anyone who suggested that one day I’d be grateful for the pain.
But the other day, I realised that the pain was a catalyst to my completely overhauling my life. Without it, I wouldn’t have celebrated my 13th Business Birthday this month.
Thanks to the pain, I have created a business that is sustainable throughout my energy cycles. After minor surgery, I was told I’d have to keep having surgery every couple of years until menopause (I was in my 20s) and there was no cure. Volunteering on the (then called) National Endometriosis Society helpline meant I routinely heard far worse stories than my own and I became determined to find ways to deal with it myself.
Feeling let down by the medical profession led me to yoga and quitting caffeine (apart from in chocolate) and alcohol. Cat Cow pose was better than hospital prescribed painkillers. I think modern medicine is wonderful and always recommend people see their GPs but am maybe more aware than many, because I was in so much daily pain and desperate, that there’s an awful lot we can do ourselves.
Thankfully, due to all the major and minor lifestyle changes I’ve made, I generally only have a couple of painful days each month and even they are much better than they were. I’m taking fewer painkillers than ever before and some months, don’t need any at all.
How motivated are you?
Everyone who knew me back then didn’t believe I could quit alcohol (I had drunk too much from my early teens) but, with immediate pain from my abdomen encouraging (yelling at me), I managed to find other ways to deal with my emotions. It was hard – I remember imagining myself taking myself for a walk into the depths of the woods in the snow with a giant bottle of whisky in an effort to stop feeling things. Quitting alcohol was probably the most dramatic change I made. And I needed that pain or I wouldn’t have done it.
Are your symptoms easy enough to continue living with or are you ready to try something different?
Back then, my work’s EAP meant I got some counselling to support me pre-surgery (and pre-diagnosis). I still remember the counsellor asking me what my ovaries (where I felt so much of the pain) might be trying to TELL me. I thought she had lost the plot completely but quickly realised that it was worse when I was bottling up my emotions and not saying what needed to be said. My body, in being so painful, coached me to learn to be a little (progress not perfection) more assertive and expressive.
If there’s a part of your body currently screaming for your attention in the only way it has available for communication (ie PAIN), what might it feel like to tune in? Just for a moment? What have you got to lose? No side effects (other than potential embarrassment but this is just in your imagination – no one else need ever know).
What might your symptoms be trying to tell you?
Louise Hay, who died recently, has left an amazing legacy helping the mind-body connection become more mainstream.
Her books can be a lovely starting point, a bit like a dream dictionary might give you ideas about yours but ultimately, you know yourself and your body best. Even when you’ve been ignoring it.
What clues is it giving you now?
Feel free to comment below.
*please note that while this was the case for me, am not by ANY stretch suggesting that everyone reframe their pain
Click here to read the online version (I haven’t yet seen the print version but think, from what I was sent yesterday, that more of my tips are in that one).
When encouraging people to choose crystals (for better sleep or anything else), I always emphasise the importance of trusting your own intuition. Sure, certain stones have traditional associations (some of which are shared in the print version) but it’s most effective to have a clear intention and choose one specifically to help you, in that moment.
If curious, sit (or stand or lie down!) comfortably and ponder your intention, asking to be guided to the best stone to support sleep (or whatever).
The clearer you can be with this, the more strongly you’ll feel guided – play with it.
What helps YOU sleep?
Feel free to comment below.
Metta, Eve x
Oh, the irony, posting this when Rainbow MagnifiCat woke me up at 3.45am wanting to be fed today (she has dry food out the whole time). I normally feed her at 5am and go back to bed but this morning, between 3.45 and 5, she turned the light on a dozen times and I got the opportunity to play with several self-help tools for getting back to sleep (of course, I COULD have locked her out…) myself.
On the plus side, my nights of not great sleep are now (after early childhood to late 20s chronic insomnia – I nearly missed my Drama GCSE exam due to being up all night with anxiety and finally falling into a deep sleep) almost entirely behind me.
There are lots of things we can do to support ourselves. And getting to know our own insomnia triggers and quick fixes is essential as we’re all different.
Anyway, hope you find these tips helpful and if you’d like me to send you the Sleep Log I mention, just email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with My Weekly / Sleep Log in the subject header.
What helps you get a good night’s sleep?
Feel free to share your top tip as a comment below.
To celebrate sunshine, spring and all things waking up to life (and because some people are missing this class) I’m adding an extra Saturday yoga class (click here to find out more)
So for better sleep, book for Tuesdays at 7.30pm. If you’d like to feel more awake during the day (and more alive and awake in different aspects of your life), Saturdays at 10.30am will help.
And Wednesdays (5.30pm), Thursdays (6pm) and Saturdays (12.30pm) continue with themes for boosting all around mental health and wellbeing including balance, calm in a 24/7 world, working with your edge, concentration boosts, motivation boosts and much more.
Get in touch today if you’d like to book.