A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Showing posts with label Stress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stress. Show all posts

Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Trouble With Sleep...

Sleep deprivation, lack of sleepThe end of summer is a busy time of year in the Anderton house. For starters more than half the family have birthdays between 29th August and 13th September, this includes my husband and twin daughters. The girls also head back to university mid-September and before that, they're going on holiday for a week. Sophia also has an interview in Birmingham and is cramming in as many rowing events as possible before she leaves again.

Consequently my mind's on overdrive as I negotiate present buying, arranging parties, fathoming out whether (or not) we're all available for various social events and thinking about the girls' going back to uni.

And the trouble with sleep at the moment is... I don't ever seem to get enough...

On Tuesday night my mind was so overloaded as I attempted to sleep that instead of sleeping, I kept on thinking. The more I tried to silence the random thought bubbles forming inside my head, the worse it got.

When my daughters spotted the trailer for I Don't Know How She Does It a few years ago, their comments were, "Mum, does this remind you of anyone?" Yep, if ever there was a film that hit a nerve... this was it! At the time I was working for the NHS and although I loved my career, there were days when I had no idea how we made it through till bedtime unscathed.

You can check out the trailer here and if you haven't seen the film already, it comes highly recommended....

It was a shocking realisation once my daughters were all grown up that some of the issues are still right at the forefront of my troubled mind and responsible for many a sleepless night. Obviously, some have disappeared altogether, but only to be replaced with thoughts like...
  • OMG, where the hell are my daughters?
  • Are they going to get out of bed in the morning, we need to do x, y and maybe even z!
  • Have they remembered to... insert whatever (there's always so much to choose from!)
So, inspired by the film, here is a little quiz I've compiled all about the things that keep me awake. Warning, there are a few tricky ones in there with more than one correct answer. To help you out, there are also one or two clues. Good Luck... 

1. What are my daughters doing as I head off to bed on Tuesday night at 11pm?
      a. Watching a film.
      b. Reading and/ or studying quietly.
      c. Sleeping like babies.
      d. Listening to music and giggling a lot.

 2. It's 1am on Wednesday morning, what has woken me up so far?
      a. Nothing.
      b. Sophia taking a shower at midnight.
      c. Mr A fidgeting.
      d. Olivia popping in for a chat about books.

 3. Now it's 2am on Wednesday morning, what am I doing?
     a. Sleeping peacefully.
     b. Reading a good book.
     c. Meditating.
     d. Making a list in my head of all the things I need to remember tomorrow.

 4. After failing to get back to sleep for another hour, what am I doing at 3am?
     a. Yoga.
     b. Enjoying a pot of tea.
     c. Checking Twitter notifications.
     d. Writing a list.

 5. What are the rest of the family up to at 3am?
     a. Sympathising with my inability to sleep.
     b. Sophia: sleeping.
     c. Olivia: also sleeping.
     d. Mr A: sleeping and snoring.

 6. How many random tasks compiled in my head in the early hours of Wednesday morning did I actually
     manage to complete?
     a. None. 
     b. One or two.
     c. About half.
     d. Are you kidding? All of them! Tomorrow's another day and tonight there will be a whole new list under

  7. It's after midnight on Thursday morning, what's keeping me awake now?
      a. Absolutely nothing, I'm completely shattered after yesterday.
      b. A combination of heavy rain and Mr A breathing.
      c. The family pet who's just wandered upstairs because someone forgot to feed her.
      d. I need a glass of water.

  8. The girls are going to a party on Friday night, how will I sleep? 
     a. Like a log.
     b. I'll doze on the sofa while awaiting their safe return.
     c. On and off, while repeatedly getting up to see if they're home.
     d. I won't sleep a wink until they're back, despite the fact that when they're at uni I know nothing and this
         doesn't bother me.

So, there you have it. If you correctly guessed answer 'd' to questions 1, 3, 6 and 8 - well done. The slightly trickier questions were 2, 4, 5 and 7, the correct answers were actually b, c and d!

So what was on the list in my head in the early hours of Wednesday morning exactly?
  • What do I buy my mum for her birthday next week?
  • Check train times and location of hotel for Sophia's interview.
  • Remember to call Dad and invite him over for dinner on Thursday evening. 
  • Remind Sophia to double-check she has all of the documentation required for her interview. 
  • Make appointment at the vets for Kitty. 
  • Remember change for the car park at the station: no one else will! 
  • Don't forget to deliver Nephew's birthday gift before leaving for Birmingham. 
  • Make a start on the housework before going out (as always when the girls are home, the house is a tip!)
  • Attempt a couple more loads of washing as there's still a formidable-looking laundry pile left over from daughters' camping trip last weekend.
  •  And finally, how do you dry 2 sopping wet pairs of trainers that are currently abandoned on garage floor after the aforementioned rain-soaked camping trip?
I've tried making lists in the evening before heading to bed and discovered only this...

There will always be one thing I've forgotten and this will bug me for the rest of the night! I need to be able to write lists in bed, it's the only way to go.

I'm happy to report that Sophia's interview was successful and if all goes to plan she will be working in the US next summer. I'm guessing that's something else that's going to give her mum a few more sleepless nights, but I couldn't be happier for my daughter.

Until next time...

Copyright©2014 Izzie Anderton
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Friday, 16 August 2013

How to Stay Sane in a Busy World

Is it just me, or is life getting more stressful?

And why does nothing seem to go right first time?

We get subjected to inane pre-recorded messages before getting put through to a human and are forced to remember passwords and PIN numbers for everything. From printing off documentation, to reading our own meters - the list is endless.

I'm sure life used to be simpler...

I can't remember my parents burning the midnight oil in an attempt to keep up with everything that was expected of them. But to be fair that was back in the 70s and early 80s before computers and mobile phones were widely available and parenting was so laid back it was almost horizontal.

Meanwhile, I have a 'To do' list that looks like a copy of War and Peace and there are days when I can't bear to look at it. I'm certain for every two things that are crossed off at least three more appear.

My twin daughters received their A-level results yesterday. It was all good news and they'll be leaving for universities a mere eight hours apart in approximately six weeks time. We couldn't be happier. Life is about to take a new and exciting direction and that's good. Consequently, I have a new and very large shopping list.

Mr A and myself find ourselves part of the sandwich generation - having both children and parents that require increasing amounts of support. It all adds to the heady mix of chaos.

As a child I remember craving to be part of the adult world, but now there are days when I no longer want to be a grown-up. I'm tired of domesticity and lists, and wonder what life would be like without them? The only time I ever get a glimpse of the real me is on holiday.

I refuse to be available twenty-four-seven, does that make me a bad person I wonder? I used to have an incredibly stressful job that required me to available around the clock and now I just can't do it. I feel frazzled and worn out and crave time off for good behaviour.

Over the years we've developed coping strategies for when life just gets too much...
  • A mantra - the theory is that if you say it often enough you'll start to believe it. Mine is -  'It's OK I'm a grown-up I can deal with this.' Feel free to borrow it if you wish.
  • Just take one day at a time and don't think about tomorrow.
  • Drink wine, it helps. Although only a glass, or two.
  • Watch a film - funny ones are best. We love Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Furry Vengeance
  • An iPod session - plug in the iPod, blot out the world and dance all over the house.
  • Lose yourself in a good book.
  • Talk to the family pet. Ours is a very good listener and doesn't judge. She also dishes out the most lovely hugs.
  • Keep a secret stash of good quality chocolate for emergencies.
  • Turn off computers and mobiles and let the answerphone take the strain. Although this is getting trickier with elderly parents. We've told them to leave messages on the house phone and Mr A's mobile if there's a crisis and we'll always respond ASAP.
  • Bach Rescue Remedy - surprisingly effective when you're in meltdown.
  • Spend some time outside every day and take a multivitamin with minerals to keep you healthy.
  • Try and think of five things that have made you happy (even if it's been a really rubbish day). These can be simple things like hearing a favourite song on the radio, chatting to a friend, or hugging your child.
I can't help but wonder if the pace of life will ever slow down, but it's healthy to have some coping strategies in the meantime. Be nice to yourself, sometimes you're all you have to rely on.

What does everyone else do to stay sane I wonder?

Copyright © 2013 Izzie Anderton

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