sleep

Calm On The Go! CalmiGo

I am excited to share with you a new resource that I have been using over the past few months for anxiety. It’s called a CalmiGo and it claims to offer a “Calm in your pocket” experience – I couldn’t agree more! This drug-free and all-natural anxiety remedy has quickly become one of my favorite tools because it’s easy to carry, easy to use, and quickly helps me regain control of my breathing when I am struggling through an anxious moment. It’s been scientifically tested and is even being recommended to patients by doctors and therapists in several countries already.

The CalmiGo device was developed by Adi Wallach. Adi herself understands how awful and uncomfortable anxiety can be and through her own personal journey to find healing she lovingly created the CalmiGo. Her attention to creating this multi-sensory, compact, and easy-to-use device was a passion project for her and I think she nailed it!

I love that the CalmiGo is even safe for children to use. I have been hearing from so many of you who have children struggling with anxiety and I believe the CalmiGo can be helpful. I think that giving your anxious child a tool like Calmigo is a great way to empower them to take control of their feelings and as a mother myself I can’t think of a better way to show my kids how much I love them and care about their mental health.

I have been using my CalmiGo at night when my sleep is disrupted and I wake up anxious. I love that I can turn off some of the features so I don’t wake my husband and each time I’ve used it in this instance I have fallen back to sleep quickly. The light lavender scent that the device emits is great too!

Using my CalmiGo proactively three times per day for three minutes has improved my sleep, my anxiety and anticipation in certain triggering situations, and it feels so good to take a few moments to breathe deeply. It helps me feel grounded and well – calm.

Visit the CalmiGo website for more information about how it might help you gain control over your own anxiety.

Here is a link to a video that shows a CalmiGo demonstration.

I am very excited to be partnering with Calmigo because I know how much it has helped me regain control of my anxiety and I know it will help you too!

For 20% off your purchase with Calmigo use my code BLOOMING.

Surviving the Holidays with PTSD

My husband and I filled out our family calendar for December and we have so many commitments as many of you do too I am sure. We took some time evaluating what we would attend taking into consideration what we can do as a family and what might be too much for us.  I think this sets us up for success during the holiday season.

I promised you some techniques I use to survive the holidays and I hope that by implementing some of these techniques into your own life you will be able to maintain peace and mental stability during this wonderful time of year!

#1. Say No.

You know your limits and what you can mentally and physically take. This season has a way of testing those limits! I want to empower you to say no this time of year. It’s okay to say no to hosting people and attending every party. And I know we have so many traditions this time of year but sometimes that added pressure makes things worse. Don’t let that pressure derail you. Stick to your guns with family and friends and honor yourself by saying no to what doesn’t serve you. Remember, these are your holidays too!

#2. Don’t over-do it with sweets, caffeine, and alcohol.

Over-indulging is what the holidays are all about! I know for me though that when I do this it affects my sleep, my stomach, and takes a mental toll on me. It confirms to me that there really is a gut health and mental health connection. Also caffeine is a stimulant that leaves me jittery and anxious and alcohol is a downer. Adding these to my system affects me quickly especially if I haven’t been drinking enough water. So this time of year I try and maintain my plant based diet, drink all my water, and limit the rest.

#3. Take a time out

I get very overstimulated. Loud parties and a lot of people can leaving me reeling. When I start to feel like this, no matter where I am, I give myself permission to leave the space that is bothering me. I either excuse myself to the restroom and run cold water through my hands (it’s a great coping skill) or I step outside and take a short walk. I can also use my Anxiety Release app or essential oils during these moments. Whatever tools you choose to use I think it is important to give yourself the space you need to breathe, refocus on your safety, and set an intention to get you through the rest of the party. Also, sharing your feelings with a friend or loved one before you take your time out is important as well. Find someone who will have your back and who can help support you through these moments.

#4. Continue taking medications and supplements

This is so important and so easy to stop doing! With all your extra commitments it’s easy to forget your medication or supplements. I’ve done it before too and I always kick myself when I’m feeling sick days or weeks later. I dedicate 20 minutes every Sunday night to divide my supplements into easy-to-go containers that I can grab for each day and throw in my purse. This step makes it easy for me to take everything I need so I can feel my best. My favorite supplement to take these days are my CBD pills. They help me sleep and keep me calm – two things I need in my life during the holidays!

#5. Speak up for yourself.

Honoring yourself through your voice is so important and when there are so many people and opinions to consider this time of year. It can be hard to do.  Sharing your feelings, frustrations, and stress with a trusted friend or loved one can help. I know for me I sometimes need someone to just listen to my feelings and somehow I start to feel better.

One more thing I want to add because it is so important to consider when discussing PTSD and trauma is that many of us are traveling this time of year and some of us may be visiting places where our traumas occurred. If this is the situation you find yourself in I hope you prepare in advance with your therapist and discuss coping skills that you can lean on if you start to struggle. I also recommend you line up all the tools that have worked for you in the past and pack them with you because traveling and trying new things don’t always mix…stick with what you know works and take it along for the ride. And – be gentle with yourself as you navigate the stress of traveling this time of year on top of the mental baggage you are carrying. You can do it!

I hope these tips will help you get through the holiday season and enjoy it your own way!

I’d love to hear what tips and tricks help you too – leave me comments below!

CBD Success

I spent great time with my friend Lynn this summer and she taught me so much about a supplement I have had in my anxiety arsenal for some time but have been too nervous to use. It’s called cannabidoil and you might know it as CBD.  My hesitation was coming from my experience will medical marijuana which is different because it contains tetrahydrocannabidoil (THC), the mind altering component of marijuana. Though I was using it conservatively its effects had a role in my hospitalization in 2016 as my PTSD spun out of control. So you can understand my hesitation in using CBD even though I knew it was different. Anyway, Lynn’s knowledge about CBD and her testimony inspired me to give CBD a chance and I am so glad I did. It has helped me with pain, sleep, anxiety, and most importantly has given me peace when I’ve needed it.  The health benefits of CBD are endless and I want to share some information that Lynn has passed along to me in hopes that you might find some relief from CBD too.

There are different ways you can use CBD. I use a tincture and tablets and we even credit some of Jeff’s Boston Marathon training success to CBD lotion. I’m so happy Lynn agreed to share some of her knowledge about using CBD tinctures with you.  In reading this I discovered I was using my tincture wrong and once I implemented her tools I found success.

6 Tips to Taking CBD Tinctures

By Lynn Julian

CBD tinctures are one of the simplest forms of cannabidiol products, which also make them one of the most popular. The definition of a tincture is “an herbal liquid extract that is meant to be consumed orally.” CBD is a natural cannabinoid found in all cannabis plants, including hemp and marijuana.

What is the Best Way to Take a CBD Tincture?

When taking a CBD tincture orally, in the mouth, place the liquid CBD oil under the tongue. CBD liquid is best absorbed by the tongue, not the stomach. One can also enable a little lung absorption of CBD by taking deep breaths in through the mouth, holding, and blowing out through the nose. This is similar to vaping CBD oil.

Here are easy tips for medicating with CBD tinctures:

1.    Do put the dose of tincture UNDER your tongue.

2.    Don’t touch the vial dropper to your tongue unless you wash it.

3.    If it’s a thick, CBD oil in a syringe, place the dose of CBD oil on your finger, rub it under your tongue and suck the remainder off your finger.

4.    If it’s a large dose of CBD oil, with a lot of fluid, use the tongue to rub the tincture around the inner cheeks. Or, separate the dose into 2 doses.

5.    Inhale very slowly and deeply, 10 times (in through the mouth / out through the nose. Then swallow the unabsorbed remainder of the tincture.

6.    Don’t drink or eat anything for ½ hour after you place the tincture.
This will give it time to fully absorb and not get washed into the stomach.

CBD oil is a hot topic in the media right now and I am a firm believer in its benefits. My dear friend and fellow Boston Marathon survivor, Lynn Julian, shared with me some of her tips for using CBD and I wanted to share them with you! I've learned so much from Lynn and hearing her encouraging words about CBD this summer inspired me to give it a chance and I am so happy I did! https://www.stillbloomingme.com/new-blog/cbdsuccess
#ptsd #CBD #cbdoil #mentalhealthawareness #naturalmedicine

Sleep'n

My husband has been traveling for work this week so I have been very busy trying to get everyone to school on time, making every meal, transporting my treasures to all their after school activities, and trying to be productive myself at work. My house is a mess but everyone is seemingly happy and alive so that is good.  My only struggle this week has been my sleep.  The first night Jeff was gone one of our dogs kept me up all night as she was on and off the bed several times (yes…our dogs sleep with us…it’s not my choice) looking for him.  The second night both kids snuggled in to bed with me at different times trying to escape nightmares and so I shared my bed with two dogs and two kids and didn’t sleep well again. Last night, I collapsed into bed early and found myself awake a few times on my own. I don’t recall having nightmares but each time I was awoken suddenly with unsettled feelings that kept me from dozing back to sleep easily.

Sleep is important. It is a natural phenomenon that takes over our bodies and minds at night. It’s a mysterious part of our life, especially for how much we do it. I like to think of it almost as a journey we embark on every night and magically we have no memory of where we go, what we think, or what we’ve seen once we wake up. It’s also something most of us never see ourselves doing either. After all, you can’t exactly take a selfie while you sleep.

When I used to hear about people being tortured by using sleep deprivation methods I never considered the affect that could have on someone until I myself was tortured by my inability to sleep. At one point my nightmares were so awful and consistent that I even found myself afraid of sleeping…fast forward not very far and I was hospitalized. Sleep is so important and for someone like me, living with PTSD, it can be very illusive.

So let’s talk about sleep hygiene today and in particular my sleep hygiene routine.  Over the last two years I have tried so many different sleep supplements and tools and I think I have a great method down. So for all of you insomniacs out there – this one is for you!

First off, knowing I haven’t slept well the last few nights would usually create a lot of anxiety for me today but I am at a point in my healing journey that I am able to recognize that just because I haven’t slept well lately doesn’t mean my day will be bad today or that I won’t sleep tonight either. It is past. I can now reassure myself that I am okay and tonight I will sleep great. This is a mental hoop to jump through but I found that once I got through it my anxiety over sleep loss went away.

I am linking all the products I use here for you and I am not sponsored (yet) by any of these companies so I am not being paid to preach the effectiveness of their goods, in fact I pay good money for all of these tools because I believe in them!

I usually start winding down at 7:00 with a cup of caffeine-free hot tea. I have two favorite herbal teas that I reach for; Yogi Kava Stress Relief Tea and Yogi Bedtime Tea

As I sip my spicy and soothing tea I reach for my Jigsaw Magnesium tablets. I am a huge supporter of taking magnesium but be careful with other supplements on the market. This particular supplement was created with a slow release technology that your body can absorb without creating stomach upset. Don’t run to the grocery store right now and buy a cheaper magnesium supplement because you will pay for it dearly tomorrow!

If I have had a stressful day I hop in an Epsom salt bath and I apply some essential oils down my spine, on the bottoms of my feet, and my ears. I usually have a conversation with myself about how I am feeling and then I am able to decide on which oils to grab. I use Doterra oils. For sleep I love the Serenity Blend and Vetiver mixed together. I diffuse them in my room too. I often use frankincense for sleep as well. There are many different oils you can use for sleep and these aren’t the ones I started with but over time I’ve tried so many and have found these work best for me.

Sometimes I use CBD oil before bed as well and it was especially helpful when I was suffering withdrawals from Klonopin. I obtain my CBD oil from my naturopath and recommend you see a naturopath before buying something like this online. CBD oil is derived from the cannabis plant which has amazing healing properties. Unlike THC (the mind-altering ingredient in cannabis), CBD doesn’t affect your state of mind and offers many health benefits. Medical News Today - Everything You Need to Know About CBD Oil

This is getting long I know but I promise it doesn’t take too much time to do.

Once I am in bed and if it’s been a long day I love to snuggle in to my Recovr Blanket. My husband harassed me for weeks leading up to Christmas about what I wanted and I had been eyeballing similar blankets online but none of them looked as soft and pretty as these!  There is scientific evidence that weighted blankets help those with sensory issues, insomnia, anxiety and depression. Let me tell you how wonderful this 20 pound blanket feels when you curl up underneath it – it is like a warm hug and it sends me right off to restful sleep. I can’t sing enough praises about this blanket I am just sad it’s too heavy to drag around all day like I did with my baby blanket!

About this time I dive into my sleep drawer right next to my bed and grab my Insomnitol and chew down two tablets. This supplement contains 5-HTP (which I used to take on its own), melatonin, L-theanine, and other calming herbs. Obviously I am not a doctor so I would recommend you speaking to your trusted physician before taking this but considering the side effects I had with sleeping pills and other medications that I was taking for sleep and that I have had none with Insomnitol I think proves that this will be my go to sleep supplement for life.

In my sleep drawer I also have head phones.  I do try and limit my phone time at night because of the blue light and how it can affect my circadian rhythm (Scary Ways Technology Affects Your Sleep) but sometimes I need to meditate so I grab my phone. There are many meditation apps out there and I have tried several but none is better than the Insight Timer app and it’s free. I also use these in the middle of the night when I’m struggling to get back to sleep and my kids love them too! Here are a few meditations that send me right off to dream land.

Yoga Nidra for Sleep

Peaceful Sleep Meditation

Deep Sleep Guided Mediation

 Now that I have talked your ear off about sleep I bet you are ready to nod off yourself! Anyway, if you are struggling with sleep try some of these tips and let me know what you think and if you want to share a new tool with me I would love to hear from you!

This next link is a guide for those of you with PTSD who are suffering from sleep issues. You are not alone. 

A Guide to PTSD and Sleep

On that note – I am off to catch some z’s myself! Good Night!!