Tag Archives: sleep

Stay Organized to Reduce Christmas Stress

It’s holiday crunch time! The final push to get everything done by December

Don't let holiday stress prevent you from staying organized!

Don’t let holiday stress prevent you from staying organized!

25. It’s quite common to focus on finishing shopping and Christmas cards, wrapping presents, and baking at the expense of maintaining order in your home. You may think the mail can wait, cleaning up after wrapping presents can be done after the holiday, and putting clothes away is definitely NOT a priority.

You just have to be ready for Christmas. At what cost?

Regular maintenance tasks like cleaning up, putting clothes away, and processing mail are activities that will ground you, help you feel in control at a time when many things can feel out of control. You don’t know how people will get along during your holiday social events. You don’t know if people will be happy and appreciative of the gifts you worked hard to find and wrap. You don’t know if dishes you make for your family will turn out or be liked. You don’t know if someone will drink too much and pick a fight.

Christmas is a time of heightened emotions and high expectations. It can be very stressful. The best thing you can do when facing unpredictable, stressful situations is to ground yourself by keeping up with tasks that help you stay organized and feeling in control.

Even if your bills are not in your awareness as you plough through your “to do” list, the fact that you don’t know where they are or how much you have spent can stress you on an unconscious level. Clothes chaos in your bedroom affects the quality of your sleep and starts you off on the wrong foot in the morning. A messy kitchen or gift wrapping area holds negative energies that are irritating and sap your energy.

Besides, do you really want to wake up December 26 to a nightmare you created by choosing not to make time to keep up with essential maintenance tasks?

Essential Maintenance Tasks to Lay the Groundwork for a Great Holiday

  1. Process mail daily — recycle junk mail and move important papers to an area to be further dealt with after Christmas.
  2. Clean up every day — wash dishes, unpack shopping and work bags, restore order when finished with projects and/or wrapping gifts.
  3. Put coats and clothes away every day.
  4. Take out trash and recycling often.

Clear Shoe Clutter from the Bedroom

Your goal in setting up your bedroom is to create a space that is completely

How peaceful is this?

How peaceful is this?

conducive to sleep. The energy of smelly feet can only be distracting. Why is it that I so often find pairs of shoes strewn over bedroom floors?

I’m fairly certain that part of the problem is not having adequate storage for the number of shoes that people own these days.

Also, sometimes shoes just don’t make it to the closet. You may be thinking, “Why put them away? I’m just going to put them on again tomorrow. . .”  or “I’ll put them away later.” Sweaty, smelly feet and

Are you sleeping with smelly feet?

Are you sleeping with smelly feet?

rest just don’t go well together. Ideally it’s best to reduce the number of shoes you own to those that can fit in your closet. Then make a commitment to yourself to get them back there every night.

For one thing, you’ll find your bedroom is more peaceful because there will be fewer items out and visible in the room. You’ll also find that your focus can shift away from the energy chatter of pairs of shoes to more important things like gentle reading, reflecting about your day, conversation with a partner or spouse and/or sex.

Energy chatter. What chatter? Everything is alive with energy. Positive or negative. Everything!  This may sound silly or “woo woo” to you, but stick with me.

What do shoes say? Here are some of the conversations I’ve heard:

  • Those shoes really are too tight, but they are the only ones that really look professional.
  • I really should polish that pair. Look how scuffed they are!
  • The bottoms are really worn on that pair. Is it time to bite the bullet and get another pair?
  • I look like such a dork in those shoes! But, they are so comfortable!
  • Those shoes really stink. I wonder what’s going on with my feet that they stink so badly.

With all those conversations going on, is it any wonder that you don’t get great sleep anymore? Yes, when your eyes are closed you can’t see all those shoes, but you are affected by their negative energy when you are sleeping. That negative presence interferes with peaceful sleep.

 Set your shoes free. Clear out shoes that you no longer love or use at least once a year. Banish the remaining shoes from the bedroom to the closet, and find a storage solution that will work in your closet. Then enjoy sweet dreams and the peace that results from your efforts.  

Books Are Fire in the Bedroom

Do you want to sleep peacefully?  Do you want to have sweet dreams? 

Are you sleeping with a bonfire?

Are you sleeping with a bonfire?

If so, it’s a good idea to become very conscious of what can influence you while you sleep.  Let’s look at the impact of books in the bedroom. Most people have books and other reading material on their bedside tables. Some have a book or two and others have the equivalent of a whole library.

Let me describe for you what a book is in terms of the FIVE ELEMENTS of feng shui.  The five elements are: wood, fire, metal, water and earth. 

The hottest, most energetic of those elements is fire.  Books are fire elements.  The words on the pages are fire.  The pages themselves are wood because they are made from wood. Wood feeds fire. In other words, if you have many books in your bedroom, you are sleeping with a bonfire. Sound restful?

What I’m saying is that books are high energy things. Their energy will affect you while you are sleeping. That’s why it’s good to limit the books in your bedroom to one or two per person. Store your books elsewhere and bring them in as you read them.

I was working with a client who loves to read in bed. She had her current reads on the bedside table. On the floor on the other side of the bed she had a four foot row of books lined up that she was interested in reading. I urged her to move the books to a bookshelf in her office that she could designate as the holding place for books she really wants to read.  She was willing and we got to work. 

As I was moving the books I noticed the titles.  She had a whole series of books by one author who writes about vampires and death. It seemed like every book I looked at had death and dying in the title. That alarmed me because not only is it a good idea to limit the number of books in a bedroom, it is also a good idea to make sure the content is peaceful and pleasant.  When you sleep, your subconscious has access to the content of books. I could only imagine what my client’s subconscious was doing with all those death books.

In another situation I was working with a woman who was a physician and was married to a physician. Guess what I found in their bedside tables?  Medical journals! How romantic! Work and romance really do not go together! And, she and her husband were both working right up until they closed their eyes at night! Sleeping with those journals in the room kept both of them focused on medicine as they slept. I suggested that if she wanted more intimacy with her husband as well as more restful sleep, the journals should be banned from the bedroom. She was thrilled to have permission to remove them and later reported that her husband was also very happy with the arrangement.

My advice: reduce the number of books and reading material you keep in your bedroom to a small number and make sure they are about topics that are positive, pleasant and NOT work-related.

Bedroom Clutter Clearing: Live Within Your Closet

I was raised with parents who were not accumulators of material things.  I Home office closet_Anever saw clothes hanging from brackets attached to the outside of closets or scads of toiletries strewn across a bathroom counter.  So, in my early days of working as a professional organizer I was really unprepared for the quantities of clothes and other belongings that spilled from closets, drawers and cabinets.

Feng shui teaches that everything has energy and the energy talks to you. 

Well, when things that really belong in the privacy of a closet are hanging outside the closet, they talk to you!  In fact, if there are very many of them on the loose, they scream at you.  A peaceful bedroom can be quickly transformed to a noisy crowd when clothes no longer fit in closets and drawers.  That noise will interfere with getting good sleep which will affect your productivity, and over time, your health.

What do I mean by talk to you?  Things get their energy from their color, the memories associated with them, their materials, textures and design.  When something is out in the open all those components of it are visible and chatting away. 

What to do?  Make a commitment to live within your closets, drawers and cabinets.

Don’t accumulate more than you can comfortably house in the storage containers available to you. You can do that by regularly clearing out items you no longer love or use.

“But my closets are so small,” you say.  Get a wardrobe!  Move to a house with bigger closets!  What is more important — all those clothes, toiletries, gadgets, etc. or a peaceful home where it is really possible to get quality sleep?

Clear Bedroom Book Clutter & Sleep Better

Books are FIRE in the bedroom.DSCN0764

Do you want to sleep peacefully?  Do you want to have sweet dreams? 

If so, it’s a good idea to become very conscious of what can influence you while you sleep.  Most people have books and other reading material on their bedside tables.  Some have a book or two and others have the equivalent of a whole library.

Let me describe for you what a book is in terms of the FIVE ELEMENTS.  In feng shui there are five elements: wood, fire, metal, water and earth. 

The hottest, most energetic of those elements is fire.  Books are fire elements.  The words on the pages are the equivalent of fire.  The pages themselves are wood elements.  Wood feeds fire.  In other words, if you have many books in your bedroom, you are sleeping with a bonfire. Sound restful?

What I’m saying is that books are high energy things.  Their energy will affect you while you are sleeping.  That’s why it’s good to limit the books in your bedroom to one or two per person.  Store your books elsewhere and bring them into your bedroom when you are ready to read them.

I was working with a client who loves to read in bed.  She had her current reads on the bedside table.  On the floor on the other side of the bed she had a 4’ row of books lined up that she was interested in reading.  I urged her to move the books to a bookshelf in her office that she could designate as the holding place for books she really wants to read.  She was willing and we got to work. 

As I was moving the books I noticed the titles.  She had a whole series of books by one author who writes about vampires and death.  It seemed like every book I looked at had death and dying in the title.  That alarmed me because not only is it a good idea to limit the number of books in a bedroom, it is also a good idea to make sure the content is peaceful and pleasant.  When you sleep your subconscious has access to the content of books.  I could only imagine what my client’s subconscious was doing with all those death books.

In another situation I was working with a woman who was a physician and was married to a physician.  Guess what I found in their bedside tables?  Medical journals!  How romantic!  Work and romance really do not go together!  And, she and her husband were both working right up until they closed their eyes at night! Sleeping with those journals in the room kept both of them focused on medicine through the night as well. I suggested that if she wanted more intimacy with her husband as well as more restful sleep, the journals should be banned from the bedroom. She was thrilled to have permission to remove them and later reported that her husband was also very happy with the arrangement.

Clear book clutter in the bedroom and sleep well!

Remove Shoe Clutter, Sleep Better!

Shoes in the bedroom have a smelly energy. Your goal in setting up your bedroom is to

For best sleep, store your shoes in your closet.

For best sleep, store your shoes in your closet.

create a space that is completely conducive to sleep. The energy of smelly feet can only be distracting. Why is it that I so often find pairs of shoes strewn over bedroom floors?

I’m fairly certain that part of the problem is not having adequate storage for the number of shoes that people own these days.

Also, sometimes shoes just don’t make it to the closet. You may be thinking, “Why put them away? I’m just going to put them on again tomorrow. . .”

Sweaty, smelly feet and rest just don’t go well together. Ideally it’s best to reduce the number of shoes you own to those that can fit in your closet. Then make it a point to make sure they get back there every night. For one thing, you’ll find your bedroom is more peaceful because there will be fewer items out and visible in the room. You’ll also find that your focus can shift away from the energy chatter of pairs of shoes to more important things like some gentle reading, reflecting about your day, or conversation with a partner or spouse.

Energy chatter. What chatter? Everything is alive with energy. Everything! 

The energy can be negative (smelly or tight fitting or scuffed) or positive (so comfortable, so beautiful). And, the energy talks to you. What do shoes say? Here are some of the conversations I’ve heard:

  • “Those shoes really are too tight, but they are the only ones that really look professional.”
  • “I really should polish that pair. Look how scuffed they are!”
  • “The bottoms are really worn on that pair. Is it time to bite the bullet and get another pair?”
  • “I look like such a dork in those shoes! But, they are so comfortable!”
  • “Those shoes really stink. I wonder what’s going on with my feet that they stink so badly.”

With all those conversations going on, is it any wonder that you don’t get great sleep anymore? Yes, when your eyes are closed you can’t see all those shoes, but you feel their energy when you are sleeping. Their presence interferes with peaceful sleep.

Banish shoes from the bedroom to the closet and enjoy the peace that results from your efforts.  Remember, if you’re coming up with ANY reason at all to “let go” of a pair of shoes – just do it. Set them free.  Take the remaining shoes and find a storage solution that will work in your closet. Try a stacking shelf or, if wall space is limited, consider storing solutions that you can hang in the closet.

Then, enjoy sweet dreams!

9 Elements of Success: Self-Care — Laying the Foundation

Self-care. I’ve been writing and speaking about self-care for over two decades. I’ve been striving 

A good night's sleep is an essential building block of good self-care.

A good night’s sleep is an essential building block of good self-care.

to achieve it for just as long. I hold it as an ideal, but staying true to it has been difficult. It was a long, slow process for me to establish some good habits –eating well, getting a good night’s sleep, getting regular exercise, drinking plenty of water, and controlling my exposure to toxic people and negativity. 

If my clients are any indication, many people struggle to make self-care a priority. Almost without exception my organizing and coaching clients either are unaware of the value and true necessity of self-care, or have not made it a priority in their lives. Why is this? For one thing, productivity is revered far more than self-care in our culture. Often self-care takes a back seat to striving for success and managing life’s many activities and demands until there is a crisis. Heart attacks, diabetes, cancer, divorce . . . the possible outcomes of a lack of self-care, shine a light on the need for it.

Also, people who struggle with clutter and issues with productivity are usually working so hard to keep their heads above water that self-care never makes it on their radar. An overwhelming, harried, overly busy life is the breeding ground not only for clutter, but also for behaviors that actually cause health issues that could be prevented by self-care: over-eating, working late, and having no time or energy for exercise.

If you want positive change and a life of choice instead of crisis, reactivity and chaos, self-care must be part of your action plan. It really is not optional. It’s a necessity. Self-care is the foundation from which all change is possible. It is essential to generate the best brain power, best attitude, best energy and best results.

What is self-care? When Certified Organizer Coaches® were asked about their self-care in 2013,  most viewed self-care as regular exercise, eating well, and getting good sleep. Their priorities were right on the money! Those three practices are key essentials of good self-care and are what most people think of as self-care. They lay the groundwork to create the physical balance that makes possible good thinking and good emotion regulation. When they are in place, they create the physical, mental and emotional conditions needed to be able to thrive in all areas of your life. 

Starting with the big three, regular exercise, eating well, and getting good sleep, is a great place to start if daily self-care is not yet on your radar. Clients who practice those forms of self-care get immediate results not only in feeling better physically, but in effectively handling challenges, improved mental clarity, and accomplishing their goals. Conversely, when their self-care slips, and it will from time to time even for the most committed, everything is more difficult. Getting stuck is also much easier.

 

If you make the big three a priority in your life, you will find that you are better able to handle the rough waves of your life as they roll in. You will be less easily knocked down and carried away by the waves. When you do get knocked down and find yourself off track, you can more easily get back on your feet, supported by your self-care practices. With good self-care in place your confidence will grow making it more probable that you will be able to take on the risks of change necessary to achieve your goals and live a life in which you thrive instead of merely survive.

Make self-care a priority. The quality of every aspect of your life depends on it.

ADHD, Facebook, The Internet, and Sleep Problems

sleeping womanSleep is an essential component of self-care for people with ADHD. However, many people with ADHD have sleep challenges. They have great difficulty shutting off their busy minds so they can rest.

Almost every ADHD client I’ve coached has described having difficulty getting enough sleep. They stay up late despite having to get up early the next day to go to work or some other activity. They run on a sleep deficit which makes managing the symptoms of their ADHD much more difficult.

Many ADHD challenges (problems with executive functions that result in planning difficulties, difficulties getting and staying organized, difficulties managing impulsivity, a short attention span, and difficulties making decisions, etc.) can be attributed to having frontal lobes that are less active than people who don’t have ADHD. People with ADHD, therefore, have great difficulty getting their brains to cooperate when they need to concentrate and engage in and accomplish tasks. To jumpstart their frontal lobes they unconsciously seek stimulation in many ways. Checking Facebook, posting to Facebook, and surfing the web are stimulating activities. 

When I’ve explored what clients are doing prior to attempting to sleep, every one of them cited being on the computer or their phone engaged with the internet and/or Facebook. In effect they were stimulating their brains up until they shut their eyes, sometimes even after they had gotten into bed. Is it any wonder they were having difficulty getting to sleep? Their normally active ADHD brain’s sleep challenge was compounded by the mental stimulation of being on the internet or Facebook.

Facebook and other social media activities are seductive to the stimulation-seeking ADHD brain. Could refraining from that stimulation for an hour before bedtime make getting to sleep easier? Give it a try!

Be sure to notice how your brain reacts when you remove it’s pleasurable evening stimulation. The brain typically objects to change, and the ADHD brain, which tends to seek pleasure, may really object to the removal of pleasurable stimulation.  If that happens, notice it, acknowledge it as a normal response, but also notice what happens regarding your ability to get to sleep and the quality of your sleep. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to add getting adequate quality sleep to your ADHD self-care plan!

Reduce Access to Technology for Better Sleep

sleeping womanPeople with ADHD have great difficulty shutting down their brains at night. Going to sleep can be a real challenge for their busy brains. Given that reality, I was taken aback when a coaching client who has ADHD told me she’d gone to bed at 9:30 a.m. the night before. And, consequently she woke the next day much more rested and ready to face the new day. Her habit had been to stay on the computer until late in the night so she could enjoy time to herself, thereby reducing her sleep time. As we do in coaching I asked what made that possible.

She told me she was listening to what her body needed. She also told me that she’d chosen not to go on the computer as was her habit, and that she’d turned the TV off because she didn’t want to stimulate her brain. It was as if she was speaking a foreign language. Just two weeks before she wasn’t talking with such self-awareness when we discussed her sleep habits. What had made the difference?

With more exploration I learned that she’d read this post online: “The Case Against Busy and the Art of Sitting Still” (http://www.fastcompany.com/3029388/work-smart/the-case-against-busy-and-the-art-of-sitting-still?partner=rss) by Jane Porter. The message in this article resonated with her so much that she consciously changed her nighttime routine.

The message of this article is so compelling that I wanted to share it with you. The author makes a case for the benefits of stillness and unplugging from technology. She advocates stepping out of  the “busy” norm to be able to access parts of yourself that go neglected when locked into the tyranny of busyness, much of which is generated by too much incoming through technology.

With awareness of what connectivity is costing you and understanding that participating in it is a choice, perhaps you too can unplug, reduce mental stimulation and get more and better sleep!

Clear Clutter to Increase Productivity and Sleep Better

How does a professional organizer define a banner day? It’s a day when two clients report that they experience immediate results from clutter clearing.

I ran into one client who frequents the same coffee shop I do, and her first words when she saw me were, “I got so much done!” This client has her home office set up in her dining room. Over time she had accumulated a ring of clutter around her. Normally I can’t get at much of that clutter because she is sitting in the middle of it, and moving any of it is quite anxiety provoking. On my last visit she was running late, so I was able to start work without her. I took the opportunity to clear out the area around her chair. When she arrived I had a pile of bags and papers to go through with her, and the area where she works felt so much lighter, so much better. In that session we were able to go through all those things that had been sitting stagnant for quite some time, moving things along for filing, action, trash and to give away. My client was thrilled about the progress!

When my client reported, “I got so much done!” I was pleased, but I wasn’t surprised. The clutter around her chair was a block to her productivity. Those things that had been stagnant so long held dead, negative energies. They made it impossible for her to clear that clutter on her own. Once that block of negative energy was removed and order restored, the area had a positive energy, one that made mental clarity possible, and she was able to do many difficult tasks that previously were difficult to accomplish when surrounded by negative energy.

That same day another client reported “I slept much better last night.” The previous day I’d helped her reclaim basic order in her bedroom that had become completely cluttered since her return from college. It’s no wonder that she’d some difficulty sleeping in that room! Everything is alive with energy and the energy talks to you all the time. When she tried to sleep in the midst of chaos, the energy of everything strewn about her was chattering at her all night long. There were just too many things talking to be able to have a restful night’s sleep. Our clutter clearing together had quieted all those conversations, and good sleep was possible.

Want to be more productive? Want better sleep? Clear some clutter! Every little bit helps! Quiet those negative energies and you too can experience immediate positive results.