Self Care: Daylight Savings and Sleep

The time change in spring and fall is rough on most people who have to go thorough it. I’m not sure if anyone outside the U.S. does Daylight Savings, but I know that there are only a few lucky states that don’t. (I’m so jealous!) To try to help at least a few more people to get the rest they need, I researched some DST sleep tips.

Daylight Savings Tips

I think the best tip I found was to gradually transition over a few days. Starting a few days ahead of time, go to bed 15 mins earlier each night until you have adjusted an hour. If you aren’t able to spread it over enough days beforehand, continue to go to bed early a few days after the change.

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If you find yourself sleepy the day of the time change, try to slip a 20 min nap in during the day to recharge. Keep it to no longer than 20 though, or you will mess with your next night’s sleep.

Give yourself plenty of wind down time since you are going to bed earlier. Turn off the TV, laptop, etc. at least an hour or two before bed. Put your phone aside too. Try listening to some relaxing music and/or reading instead.

Even if you don’t usually avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime, go ahead and do it for the next few days. You might as well not make the transition any harder than needed.

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Another thing to try over the next few days is to make sure you get some sun exposure immediately after getting up in the morning. This helps with the setting of your internal clock.

All of the sleep tips in this post should help also.

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Check those clocks!

Finally, something to watch out for with your clocks. Many devices automatically change the time for DST now. That’s really helpful, but it can be problematic also. You don’t want to forget to change a clock you rely on. So, walk through your house and lay eyes on each clock you have. Make sure each one has been adjusted for the time change. Don’t forget your car clock also!

Hopefully these tips will help you ease the transition this weekend. Do you have any other go-to tips you use each year? Share below! Also, feel free to come back and let me know how it went!

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10 Self Date Ideas

You don’t need to wait for a partner to go on a date. Treat yourself, and try some of these ideas for a self date.

1) Go to a bookstore and roam around. Buy yourself a book or a nice journal to write in.

2) Visit an animal shelter and spend time with the critters. Adopt one if you connect, and have the means to provide a good home.

3) Take a favorite book to a coffee shop and hang out. Time with a choice drink, great book and maybe a treat feels very special to me.

4) Take a class. Search your local area for one day classes. You may find classes for art, cooking, spirituality, career help and more. Google is a great place to start. An adult education program, community college, museum, or county park may have something to offer, or be able to tell you where to look.

5) Join a wine and painting night. Similar to the last one, these give you a chance to drink wine while they lead you in painting a pretty picture. These are pretty popular around the country. This is a great self date for someone who doesn’t necessarily want to be alone, or maybe wants to find a new friend.

6) Have dinner and a movie at home. Treat yourself however you want. That might include ordering take out, cooking an old favorite, or learning a new recipe. Top it off with a yummy dessert and a great movie, and you have a fabulous night.

7) See a live performance. Nobody with the same taste as you? No problem! You will see lots of people there who share it! This is a great chance to go to that concert you heard about, or see a play you’ve been dying to catch.

8) Check something off your bucket list. Do something you have always wanted to do. Get your adrenaline fix and go sky diving, bungee jumping, drive a go cart, do a zip line, learn to rock climb, etc.

9) Have a spa day. Book yourself a full day of indulgence, or just get your nails done or a massage. Either way, pamper yourself like you deserve.

If you don’t feel like going out, or want to save some money, have a spa day at home! A nice soak in the tub or taking extra care with your nails can have an uplifting effect on your mood.

10) Get dressed up and take yourself out to a nice restaurant. There is no reason you can’t enjoy the fun of getting all beautiful and eating delicious food on your own. I know it is common to worry about what people might think, but most people won’t give you a second thought. Believe me, people are more worried about themselves than you.

I hope these suggestions inspire you to spend some time with yourself either this Valentine’s Day or sometime soon. There are various other ways to date yourself. I hope this post was able to give you some great starting points, and show you self dates can be fun! Please share this with your friends and spread the self love.

Do you have any other suggestions to add? Please leave them in the comments below! I’d love to see them!

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10 Cheap Date Ideas

Since it’s getting close to Valentine’s Day, I’ve gathered some cheap date ideas to share with you. You don’t have to spend a lot to have fun and get romantic!

1) Movie Night at Home

Popcorn, Netflix, maybe some snacks, and your sweetheart is all that is needed for this date. What’s more romantic than getting to snuggle up with your Valentine?

2) Game Night

Pull out the board games, and have fun together! You can even invite some other couples over and have some friendly competition.

3) Bake Together

This has the potential to be very romantic and sexy. It can be very intimate to bake together in the kitchen, and who doesn’t like ending up with something tasty to eat?

4) Candlelight Dinner at Home

Cook together, or for each other, and have a fancy dinner at home for less than going out. Bonus, a romantic setting in your own home is an easy transition to getting more comfy and close.

5) Spa Day at Home

Trade massages, take a bubble bath together, shower together and trade scalp massages. There are many options with this one. All that pampering will relax you both and has the potential to be very romantic.

6) Stargaze

If the weather allows it where you live, take some blankets and pillows out and stargaze. Cuddling up with your sweetie and checking out the stars is so cozy.

7) Go for a Walk Together and See the Sunset

Going for a walk is a wonderful way to spend time together and have some great conversation. This has the potential to be a wonderfully intimate date where you can grow much closer to each other.

8) Build a Fire and Make S’mores

If you have the means to do this one, why wouldn’t you? Snuggling up together by a fire, watching the stars, eating yummy s’mores. What a perfect date.

9) Picnic

Again, if the weather where you live can accommodate it, this is a great date. You can tailor the menu to what your budget allows. The place is really flexible too. Really anyone can do this one if you want to picnic at home. Making a pillow fort or having a picnic in front of the fire place is terribly romantic.

10) Bowling

If you are a more active couple, this can be a fun, cheap date. Food, drinks, and entertainment are all included and you can even invite some friends along if you want.

I hope I’ve been successful in showing you that dates don’t have to be expensive to be fun and romantic.  There are many other options. Do you have a favorite cheap date I didn’t cover? Please share in the comments! Also, please share this post with your friends who could use some date ideas.

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How I De-stress

Everyone has their own ways to de-stress. There are numerous ways to go about it, and none of them work for everyone. These are the ways I relax:

1) Games on my phoneStress relief ideas

This works fantastically for me. I can distract myself from any intrusive thoughts with games. I have both mindless and more brainy types so I’m set no matter what I need. Some people might actually find this stressful, but it is a great diversion for me. Puzzle games and word games are my favorite.

2) Colouring

Unless you live under a rock, you have heard about adult coloring books. Some are elaborate, beautiful scenes, some are based on favorite shows and movies, others have swear words. I promise there is an adult coloring book out there for everyone. There is an actual study out there that shows how effective this method of stress relief is.

3) Music

Listening to my favorite music does an amazing job to help reduce stress. The more I know the lyrics the better. It distracts me and helps me to think about something else. There is some scientific backing on this one too. I tend to listen to my favorites instead of soothing music though. I suppose I’m looking for more of an uplifting experience, or an energy outlet.

4) T.V.

Well, Netflix and YouTube actually. It’s just another way to use distraction. Sometimes it’s nice to lose yourself in another world, and make their troubles yours, or to find something funny and laugh until your stomach hurts.  Too much T.V. may backfire, but an hour or two is nice.

5) Reading

It’s a classic. If I can actually get some uninturrupted time to myself, this works great. If not, I’ll just get more stressed with each interruption. It’s so nice to curl up with a good book and get lost in it’s pages.

6) Lists

Okay maybe I’m a weirdo, but making lists is rather soothing to me. I’m not sure if it is organizing my thoughts, or just the act of writing. Whatever it is, it works.

7) Getting out of the house

Some days, after one too many days of staying home with the kids, I just have to leave. I grab my purse and keys, and start driving into town. It doesn’t matter if I go to Walmart, the library, or grab a snack, just a change of scenery and a chance to have my brain to myself makes a big difference.
Do any of these methods work for you? Do you have different ways to reduce stress? Please share in a comment below, or send me an email at leighbryant@flawedmessylife.com . I’d love to hear from you!

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This Lazy Woman’s Guide to Housework

I have never liked housework. Now that I deal with fibromyalgia, dysautonomia, and arthritis, I’m less able to do it. It still needs to get done though, so here are some of my thoughts and tips to get the most done with the least effort.

Work out what your bare minimum is.

What do you have to have done for you to feel you are not living in filth? For us, that includes vacuuming, sweeping the kitchen floor, doing at least one load in the dishwasher, and a load of laundry. Remember, I have four kids, three dogs, and a cat. (We have 3 cats, but two stay downstairs with my mom.) Your list might look very different.

Add in extras when you have extra energy for it.

This might include dusting, washing windows, vacuuming the edges, mopping, cleaning the bathroom, etc. Everything will eventually get done, and you don’t have to wear yourself out in the process.

Now for some specifics.

  • Don’t worry about using dusting spray. Grab some Swiffer cloths or microfiber rags and go to it.
  • I only clean the outside windows maybe twice a year. Usually I stick to just the insides.
  • Using a cotton dish towel and non-streaking window cleaner will give you quick results on your windows and mirrors.
  • We don’t actually mop. I sit on the floor with either Clorox wipes or some spray cleaner and a rag and clean up any obvious spots.
  • We keep rags under my sink in the bathroom. I also keep doubles of many of my cleaners. That way, if I find myself suddenly thinking an area needs cleaning, I can spot clean easily without tracking down the supplies.
  • All cotton socks with holes in them become rags. We wash them, but if they are needed for a really gross job, it is no biggie to toss them.

Finally, if you have kids, put them to work. It is an important life lesson for them to know how to care for a household. Believe me, it is no good for them to move out and have no idea what actually goes into taking care of a house.  Here is a good example of what kids are capable of doing. I found this chart on Pinterest. There are many other versions available too.

Cleaning tips to make cleaning simple
Kids’ Chores by Age

Do you have any tips or tricks for making housework easier? Please share below or email me at leighbryant@flawedmessylife.com if you would rather. My links for Twitter and Instagram are also below.

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Try new things

Trying to learn new things can be scary. I’ve never been very good at it. I hate the idea of not being able to do something perfect right away. Unfortunately, that way of thinking leads to never doing anything, and that’s not any fun. 

I’m still not very good at trying new things in front of people, but I have started to try out some new hobbies and games by myself. Most recently, I have been working on learning to crochet.

I’ve always wanted to learn to crochet, and be good at it, because my grandma used to crochet. I have a few afghans she made. I’ve tried to learn off and on over the years. It seems like my fingers always get tangled, and then I give up in exasperation. This time around I seem to have it. Well, enough that I’m not giving up anyway. 

I made this rat bed for my neice, N.J., for Christmas. 

Self confidence, brave, new things

And I made this blanket for C’s kitten, Leo.

Blanket

This is my attempt at a pot holder. It works at least. 😉

Finally, I decided to try to make a mug cozi.

OMG. Yeah. Those are supposed to be straight edges. I really need to work on that. 😄 It still needs a button so it can be fastened onto the mug.

The important thing is that I really enjoyed doing it and I’m having fun trying new patterns. I’ll keep writing about my successes and failures here, so you all can share the experience with me. 

Do you have anything you have been wanting to do, but have been scared to try? Let me know in the comments below or on TwitterInstagram, or my Facebook page.
Ed

4 Cooking Shortcuts (Plus 5 Really Easy Recipes)

Even perfectly healthy people can find themselves short on energy at the end of the day. Anyone with chronic and/or mental illnesses knows that fatigue is a real problem. You still need to eat though. I usually find myself short on energy for cooking, so I’ve collected some helpful shortcuts over time. I’d like to share a few with you.

1) Buy frozen, precut veggies, like onions and bell peppers. This really reduces prep work. Bonus, they are easy to keep on hand and won’t go bad if you don’t use them right away.

2) Utilize canned foods. Veggies are obvious, but don’t forget about canned beans and meats. Canned beans are quick. They don’t have to cook, they just need heated up. You can buy canned chicken just like you can get tuna. It works beautifully in casseroles, and is much quicker than cooking up some chicken breasts and cutting them up.

3) A slow cooker is extremely helpful. It allows you to throw some ingredients in in the morning and not worry about it until suppertime. I especially like to use it on days that I know I’m going to have no desire to cook once evening comes around. A little energy earlier in the day is easier to find rather than later.

Bonus tip: Use slow cooker liners (found near the foil and cling wrap). These make clean up so much easier, so they are well worth buying.

4) Another appliance I’ve found to be a great investment is my rice cooker. If you use it to cook your rice before adding it to the recipe, it will dramatically cut down the cook time. I just start it up, go do something else while the rice cooks, and then throw everything together in the oven for a quick meal.

You can use a rice cooker for more than just rice. There are lots of recipes for soups, stews, oatmeal, pancakes, and more. I have quite a few pinned on my Pinterest board here.

Cooking shortcuts are just the start of course, simple recipes help also. The following are five of my family’s favorites.

Easy Baked Ravioli – Frozen ravioli and jarred sauce make these recipe super simple.

Swiss Cheese Chicken – You can make this as suggested, or use canned chicken instead and cut the cooking time way back.

Creamy, Cheesy, Chicken Spaghetti

Taco Bake

Crock-Pot Pulled  Pork – Surprisingly simple and super yummy.

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