Health Check In

(photo by David Clode on Unsplash)

How is your health? Are you paying attention to your mind and body to assess what needs attention? What action steps do you need to take for your own self-care?

I have been tired for several weeks, and especially today. I got a walk in this morning. And did some stock trading. But beyond that, it’s been a day of rest. I took a short afternoon nap, and now I’m typing here.

Why am I so tired? I am a light sleeper, and rarely sleep through the night. However, my sleep patterns vary a lot. This week, I have been waking up around 2am each night, and am unable to go back to sleep until 4 or 5am. Last week, I slept well until around 4am unable to go back to sleep.

Last week I was good with my (almost) daily exercise routines. This week, because I’ve been sleeping later than usual, to make up for my middle of the night wake ups, I have not kept up with my exercise, using the excuse that it’s too late to go out due to the heat and humidity. The humidity might be factor too. In recent weeks, I have done a good job of hydrating most days, usually first thing in the morning. But perhaps I need even more water during the hot summer months.

Similarities to both this week and last are that I have been eating very healthy meals, mostly (but not all) vegetarian. And I have stayed away from sugar and most processed foods. Perhaps I’m going through some sugar withdrawals, lol.

Also, I have not been keeping up with my nighttime rituals before bedtime. These steps may include shutting down all electrical screens (computer, phone, tv), playing relaxing music, meditating, deep breathing, journaling, or drawing, as well as eating dinner earlier in the evening. In the past, I have found these steps to be helpful in switching my brain off from over thinking mode to a quieter mind. This leads to a relaxed state that is conducive to better quality sleep.

Another reason why my sleep may be out of sorts is because I’ve gone through a lot of life changes over the past year. After a long stint as my parents’ primary caregiver,

(details here in a prior blog post:)

I now have time to myself. Yet, I’m still working through the process of creating a new way of living, and implementing new habits that align with the new life directions that I crave.

I also recognize that my mind and body still need more time to rest after the parental caregiver challenges that I experienced, and subsequent estate work as executor that also took a lot of time and mental energy. Using my last corporate accounting job as an example, it has been my experience that I will (usually) meet difficult deadlines, no matter the cost to my health. Somehow my body pulls me through until the project is completed. Then, a short time after the deadline, I get sick.

I did not take great care of myself while caring for my parents. I knew that “caring for the caregiver” was necessary, but I just couldn’t figure out how. So as I begin my new journey as a health coach, stock trader, and other descriptors yet to be put in place, I sense that I need more time to rest up my mind and body, before forging ahead at a faster and all encompassing clip.

In my health example above, I have looked at both my physical symptoms and underlying emotional challenges in order to uncover what I may need from a health standpoint. Now it is up to me to implement the action steps that will get my mind and body back in balance, and ready to face the world head on.

Work through your own health concerns, and begin taking action steps that get you back to balance. Wishing you good health.


Last night, I stayed up way too late. Finally getting to bed at 1am, I was not a happy camper waking up this morning, tired and cranky.

I completed yesterday’s blog and related tasks after 10pm. So I was staring at a computer screen for several hours up until my bedtime. Upon completion, I had a burst of energy, excited to have completed another day of blogging. Ideally, I would have wound down quietly and gone to bed. But instead, I decided that I needed to wind up by way of watching some YouTube videos. After a few quick tries of lying down to sleep, I got antsy, got up, had a midnight snack, and turned on my cell phone.

Of course, a racing mind, computer screens, and sleep do not mix. Yet, there can be many reasons, some obvious, some not, why one has sleep challenges. I have had sleep struggles for years. I was a deep sleeper in junior high school. But in high school I became a light sleeper. Every little noise wakes me up, or keeps me up.

Even though it is unclear many times why I am unable to sleep, or stay asleep, there are healthy habits that I can implement that provide a greater likelihood of getting a restful sleep.

Here are some that work for me. What are some of yours?

Regular sleep and wake up times. This helps the body to get into a natural rhythm.

Allow three hours or more of no eating prior to bedtime.  The digestion process takes energy.

A whole food plant-based diet and limiting/avoiding processed foods.

Supplements. Everyone has specific and unique nutrition needs that may not be achieved solely through the food that we eat.

Stop (left-brain) thinking at least an hour before bedtime. Do (right-brain) creativity tasks to wind down and to get out of the thinking mind. Some examples may include listening to instrumental music, deep breathing exercises, meditation, drawing, journaling, light stretching. I also enjoy doing these things first thing in the morning, as a way to connect with my unconscious mind, which was active while sleeping.

Take breaks during the day, and get outside.

Exercise. Optimally, this would include a mix of cardio, strength training, and stretching. Focusing attention on the breath while exercising helps too. Sometimes I forget to breathe when holding a yoga pose, for example.

If I’m having trouble staying asleep at night, I see if there is a pattern regarding the time that I wake up. For a long time, I would always wake up around 1am. Traditional Chinese Medicine utilizes a Chinese Body Clock. One concept of this clock is that each organ of the body has an optimal two hour window each day to perform their specific tasks. For me, I wake up at 1am. 1am-3am on the Chinese Body Clock represents the Liver. The emotion that the Liver represents is Anger. Thus, by resolving my anger issues, sleeping through the night may be achieved.

How are your sleep habits?

What is one small step you can take towards a better night’s sleep?