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From burnout to balance: Things I’m grateful for

Daylight saving – though it only threw my routine out by an hour – gave me a slightly groggy, jet-lagged feeling, so this month I’ve been reflecting on the gift of a good night’s sleep, and the habits that can help set me up for it. (An aside to parents of young kids: I know that for some of you, that groggy feeling is pretty much your reality for months or years, and I salute you.) On that note, I’ve picked a few things from Healthy Food Guide’s list of sleep hygiene tips, and made a little tick chart for myself. (Did I mention that I’m a teacher?)

These are the habits I’m focusing on:

  • Wake up between 5 and 6am every morning. (I’m a morning person.)
  • Be in bed with the lights out by 9.45pm every night. (Definitely a morning person.)
  • Avoid doing any work or looking at any screens (laptop, phone or television) one hour before bed.
  • Have a piece of paper and a pencil by the bed to write down any worries or great ideas that wake me up in the middle of the night.
  • Express gratitude for a couple of things that happened during the day.

That last item was inspired by Janice Kaplan’s book The Gratitude Diaries, which I read a couple of years ago. It was also recommended by the counsellor who did my burnout assessment. It’s a way to end the day in a positive way. Here’s a random selection from the notebooks I’ve kept by my bed for about a year and a half:

  • Thankful for the surprise of a stunning sunrise this morning.
  • Grateful for a free snack from the vending machine repair man.
  • Grateful for my GP.
  • Thankful for late summer stone fruit, eggplant, tomatoes and peppers.
  • Grateful for the texts from my mate Matt today.
  • Grateful that I’ve never gone through a natural disaster.
  • Grateful for the free time I had this evening, just to sit on the couch and read to the end of my novel.

I’m also grateful to report that, aside from couple of late Friday nights, a couple of weekend sleep-ins, and a few times when work worries kept me awake, I’ve started developing healthier sleep habits. Last December, a headline in the New York Times declared Let 2017 Be the Year of Working Hard and Resting Hard. It may have taken me a few months, but I’m getting there.

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*Lynne Glen is a guest blogger and reader of Healthy Food Guide. She has taken up the challenge to use the mental well-being and resilience advice from healthyfood.com and write about her progress. This blog is the opinion and experiences of its author and should not be taken as medical or dietetic advice. Healthy Food Guide has not verified the content and cannot endorse any advice given. Healthy Food Guide recommends seeking professional health advice for specific complaints or symptoms.