Grief is a thing that come and goes, but I have noticed a few things I can do to help before the dreaded bed time. I am always nervous of what sort of dreams I am going to have. Happy dreams, sad dreams, realistic dreams or scary dreams, either way they always involve my mom (read previous posts). Not only Grief, but anxiety and depression don’t have a time clock either. They always seem to poke there head into your mind in the late night hours and don’t go away. Sometimes you can already be asleep and bam thoughts creep into your mind. It resets your whole body and getting back to sleep is a nightmare.
Coping With Grief, Anxiety and Depression Before Bedtime: Tips and Tricks
1. Light a candle, it is spiritual in a way and the flickering of the light, at least for me, is calming. When you light a candle it symbolizes light in the darkness of life. The flame can be a sight of hope for a better future in a dark universe. Candles can come in a variety of smells, duh, and who doesn’t love smelling good things! Favorite scents for me include: lavender, eucalyptus, vanilla and any flower scent. Certain candle scents, like lavender and eucalyptus, can help relieve stress and calm you. My personal favorite candles are from Bath and Body Works or Yankee candle!
2. Take Melatonin or some other sort of sleep aid: It helps me a bit. I suggest melatonin because your body already makes it naturally and it isn’t habit forming. I still don’t really sleep, but without it I would turn into an insomniac.
Nyquil, Advil PM and other such sleep medication isn’t recommended as a sleep aid. Those are bad for your liver and can cause permeant damage.
3. Don’t watch shows with any death in it. Even if shows are not focused around death just having that be apart of a show can stir up uncomfortable feelings. Some of my favorite shows have death in them like Gotham, Criminal Minds, Supernatural, Arrow, Law and Order etc and it stirs up my grief. I’ve learned my mind can be distracted if I watch stuff like The Office, Portlandia, Parks and Rec, Seinfeld etc. Any comedy really. Having comedy be the last thing my mind sees at night seems to help my dreams not be so real to my life. Not a fan of reality TV show? Maybe you should give it a try. They take your mind off of normal everyday things and you can’t help but get lost in a world completely different then your own. Honestly the drama will suck you in if you give just one episode a try. The shows are like lays potato chips, you cant just have one!
I personally can’t watch realiy TV rite now because I religiously watched it with my mom. Anything on Bravo (Housewives and Vanderpump especially), MTV, Bachelor/ Bachelorette, food network etc were our main topics of discussion day to day. When I would be traveling on the road we would text each other in shock about the episodes or what we heard about them in tabloids, like we knew these people personally. No joke, if bad things happened to our favorite characters we would get upset like they were our close personnel friends. We enjoyed the shows in the first place because it was always a distraction from life and her illness. One day I’ll watch them and still talk out loud to her about the shows.
4. I leave the TV on all night. Research says that’s bad for your sleep pattern but waking up to pitch black is bad for my mind pattern. Chris (the significant other) might hate it but he doesn’t complain. If it bothered him he could always use ear plugs and a sleeping mask. The constant light once again sooths my mind and if I wake up with bad anxiety I instantly have a comedy to listen to, and it helps distract me again. I grew up sleeping with the TV on too, so that might have something to do with it.
5. I sleep with a heated blanket. Heated blankets are a very comforting thing (probably reminds me of being in the womb or some shit) and it distracts the sense of touch in my brain which I think helps subconsciously distract my mind from thinking of thoughts.
If it’s summer, I suggest sleeping with a fan. If you are lucky and have a new bed you can always adjust your temperature down super low in summer to have the same affect as a heated blanket in winter. Fans in winter are nice too for white noise, but it always dry’s my throat out.
6. Don’t think of the past or the future. Just think about things you can feel, see, touch or hear in the exact moment at that exact time. Same concept as mediating. I repeat those things to myself over and over. Twirling Chris’s hair (you can twirl your own hair if its long, mine is shorter and not as convenient to reach) also helps.
Counting works, and repeating positive things over and over can help calm your mind too. It helps me if I repeat things like: It’s going to be alright, I’m going to be alright, It’s okay. Just think about it tomorrow. Okay -Okay-Okay.
Studies suggest people that repeat themselves in times of distress can be related to OCD, but I will challenge that theory to anyone if they come over and take a look in my closet or my car. No OCD here, trust me. It’s not that I’m messy, it’s a organized chaos.
7. Wash your sheets in lavender. Lavender is a calming scent and fresh sheets give you a fresh sense of mind. A Clean Bed helps make for a clean mind, as well as a clean room. Clutter around the room will leave clutter around your mind. Research shows the scent of lavender is proven to lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
8. Let your partner, friends, or whoever you talk to nightly know if you DO or DO NOT want to talk about what’s bothering you. That way you can either talk about it or move on and talk about other things. Communication to those around you is always helpful and will benefit both you and your relationship overall. People can’t read minds, and they might need to be steered in the correct direction on how you cope with things. In return this will better allow them to help be there for you.
9.Write in a journal. I personally don’t do this on a regular basis because it makes my mind run more wild. Journals seem to help people have a designated place to vent and let things out. Journal writing can be composed of both good things that happened in your day, bad things in your day, as well as things that bothered you. Writing in a journal can help take things from your brain and leave it on paper for the night. Another helpful thing is to write down goals or dreams for yourself to focus on for the next day. It’s important to try to keep your life moving forward onto what you want to do and accomplish. Giving yourself meaning or things to look forward too in the future can help your mind move forward.
10. It’s okay to realize you have to take it day by day. Some days will be easier for you to get through than others. It’s okay to have a bad day, it doesn’t mean that tomorrow is going to be bad too. If you need a day to cry all day in bed, you go ahead and cry all day in bed.
11. Listen to spa music, or on Spotify there’s a station called chill or brain food , and the music helps you zone out.
Hopefully one of these tips can help any of you going through grief, anxiety or depression yourself. Maybe you just can’t sleep at night and some of these can help you cath those ZZZZZ’s.
Mental emotions like grief, anxiety and depression are hard, unexplainable feelings that seem to literally weigh every inch of a person down. Just remember, mental health affects everyone, at least one way or another. Mental health is a topic that is slowly becoming more socially acceptable to talk about, but it’s still something people struggle with individually everyday. Some people, like myself, might not struggle with it all the time, but every now and then it comes and blind sides you. No matter how frequent it may happen, try to breath and take it one step at a time.
While I believe you should deal with mental health issues any way want, mental health doesn’t have to be a big show you post about all over socials. You can struggle with mental health individually, privately and not have to tell the world about it. I think I get this attitude in life from my mom. She NEVER talked about herself and I can’t think of a single time she complained or was upset about anything. She dealt with stuff internally, or asked my dad for support, read books, and moved on with her life. She always said things could be worse and didn’t look to others to make her own personal life better.
Choosing to deal with mental health, or problems in general, on your own doesn’t make it any less important than those who choose to publicly deal with it. Personally, I don’t like to talk to people about it because I’m more of a private person in that sense. I don’t want to bother others with sad, depressing or personal struggles and bring down their day. Making people happy and lifting them up is what my goal in life is.
The whole reason why I wrote this blog post in the first place, was to help those who choose to seek mental help both publicly and privately. Googling things in an attempt to find at home mental exercises is impossible. Hopefully this article pops up in a search engine for you to read. This article is meant to benefit you, and others you may talk to who are going through hard times, find the answers they need to get better. Or at the very least make it through the night.
No matter how you choose to cope with mental health, the important thing is you take that first step to find answers. Don’t be afraid to Google or Pinterest ideas to help you find your smile. What truly matters is that you find a way to deal with grief, anxiety or depression in a positive way that works for YOU and makes you feel better. Finding your happy is what’s most important at the end of the day! There is no wrong or right road to get there. Everyone has their own road to take and the journey is up to you as to which path you choose to go.