By Beverly Benson
BAMC RN/Health Promotion Educator
Army Public Health Nursing
Increased stress and worry often bring on insomnia, which gives ammunition to that guy on your shoulder who says: “It’s okay. Just roll over and go back to sleep. You don’t need to get up early. You’re tired. You can do it AFTER work.”
So, giving in to that lie, you hit snooze or turn off the alarm and go back to sleep.
Dragging into work, late because you hit snooze yet again, your stress level is already up from all of the stressors you worried about during the drive in. And now the stress you normally have at work has been increased due to budget cuts.
Needless to say, at the end of the day you are exhausted (cue the shoulder guy) so you say, “I’ll go home and take a short nap on the couch then I’ll go for a walk.” You wake up at 9 p.m. …”Oh, I’m tired and just going to bed. I’ll get up in the morning” The next morning is “wash, rinse, repeat” and so goes the week.
If this sounds familiar to you, here are five tips to help you get back on that train and into your healthier routine.
1. Plan ahead. If your bag is packed the night before that’s one less thing you’ll need to do in the morning. Sleep in your workout clothes if you have to, but do not listen to that shoulder guy telling you to hit snooze or not work out.
2. Stay hydrated so your body doesn’t have to fight that too. Just because you drink soda or tea, and the first listed ingredient is water, doesn’t mean you’re hydrated. Drink water!
3. Go to bed earlier and use good sleep practices. (see “Sleepless in SAMMC” for some great insomnia-busting tips.)
4. If you work out after work do not go home first, unless you have to for logistical purposes. Have your bag ready to go or, if you walk at home for exercise, change into your walking clothes before you leave work, park the car, grab the dog (if you have one, or walk the neighbor’s dog if you don’t….with permission of course). But whatever you do, don’t sit on the couch! The couch monster who lives beneath the cushions will grab you and there you will sit, no exercise, no de-stressing, just more fatigue for tomorrow.
5. Finally, never give up! If shoulder guy tries to tell you anything negative about yourself or that you failed, knock him off your shoulder like a bug. He’s wrong! You can do this!