By: Janine Serio
It’s 1:00 am…not 6:00 am (or even 5:00 am) but 12:58 am to be exact. An all too familiar feeling and “routine” over this last year. I am wide awake; mind is racing; anxiousness and stress quickly start to rear their ugly head. After reading two chapters from my bedside personal development book, and catching up on the latest “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” episode, (I know, two totally different extremes), I am FINALLY able to drift back to sleep. Although by no means a sound sleep, I was “excited” to read 5:05 am at the next clock check. Okay, I can get out of bed. Time to get up; time to get the day started.
Over the past 5 years, I have become more of an “early to bed, early to rise” kind of gal. Yes, my schedule has dictated this routine but I have also found that I am more productive early in the morning. It’s quiet, calm, and the world is still asleep. This gives me mental clarity; a healthy perspective on life and business. Stress, on the other hand, has always been an issue for me. While it has not manifested in as ugly of a way as I have experienced this past year, there has always been something that has “kept me up at night.” Side Note: I knew this was a topic I wanted to discuss – post 2:00 am “RHOBH” binge watch – when the women had a heart to heart discussion of “What keeps them up at night?” “What experiences or life events have occurred that are a constant reminder to them every day?” Bingo! Perfect “God Wink” for the blog.
So, what exactly keeps me up at night? This is a non-exhaustive list, but you will get the point…and probably wish you did not ask! 🙁
- I can’t believe this is where I am at 30 years old. Wtf happened?
- What could I have done differently? Would life have been the same if I had taken a more proactive approach when I started to see “things” go awry?
- Have my decisions, both personally and professionally, affected my relationship(s) and overall health?
- Okay, I have already had many personal trainings sessions cancel for this week. How will I pay my upcoming bills?
- 30+ inches of snow; hunkered down for a few days. How much money will I loose?
- I need more stability, more consistency. I am sick of worrying about where the next buck will come from!
- When will I start FEELING better, overall?
- Will I EVER sleep soundly again?
- Will I wake up without a headache, stomach ache, and just overall fatigue?
- Will my digestion issues ever get resolved?
- I need to set-up my annual doctor’s appointments. What is stopping me from doing so?
- Is what I am eating REALLY helping towards my physique and performance goals?
- I do TRUST myself in my food choices but I question if I am still trying to manipulate my dietary needs based on what other people are doing.
- Why do I let what other people say or think of my nutrition plan or food choices/pairings affect me? Who the $%#& cares? If it works for me, and I am happy and content, then that is all that matters, right? Why am I trying to convince myself?
- Why do I allow myself to fall into a “comparison trap” when it comes to what I eat vs. what someone else eats (i.e. mother, sister, friends, etc.)? Hello Janine, what works for your mother, will not work for you, and what works for you, will not work for your sister. You preach this to your community. Why are you second guessing yourself?
- The Great Alcohol Debate
- I so enjoy tasting, pairing, and trying new wines and champagne. Is it “wrong” for this to have evolved into a ritual…a healthy ritual of course?
- I see so many people who are doing “dry January” and “no alcohol on weeknights.” Should I be employing these strategies? Is it going to make me resentful and deprived? Would I be showing my clients that “I can do that too?”
- Here I go again with the “comparison trap;” why do I allow myself to worry about what others consume, or how many days, weeks, or months they go without a glass of wine? It is just as much their perogative as it is mine!
- By adding this in to my evening routine, has it affected my eating patterns and/or physique goals? Umm, could this be why I am not sleeping well?
- The “2 Health Nuts” have such a great product; when are we going to see the fruits of our labor?
- I need to get a blog and newsletter out to our subscribers this week; what will I EVER write about? Do people really want to hear about the “2 Health Nuts” lives? Our experiences? Our expertise?
- Facebook/Instagram…what should be posted? Will our clients and followers like what we share? Will they think it is silly? Will they take us seriously?
- I am tired, exhausted, and this whole “sleep” thing is not helping. Should I be pushing forward with my workout regime? Am I being a hypocrite since I would be advising clients in a different direction?
- Is working out “too much” affecting my health, sleep, eating, etc.?
- Omgosh, I am running a marathon at the beginning of May. I have done this before but will I be able to do it again? Could I beat my best time? Dare I put out there that I would love to qualify for Boston? There is a reason why I have not run a marathon in over 3 years…am I physically (and mentally) in a good place?
You may read these and think, “Janine, so many of these are out of your control or, at least, cannot be resolved at 1:00 am. That’s life!” You may even be saying, “Wow, her business is about educating (and coaching) others on making a healthy, realistic lifestyle change, yet, she obviously cannot get out of her own way!”
All fair and all true statements. Yes, I am human. Yes, this is my life right now. Yes, this is my struggle. This is a mindset shift that I am working on every damn day. Just when I think I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I get a “umm, don’t think so; go back to start.” Just like Daria and I preach with our clients, these are the times when you learn and grow; these are the times to “lean in,” drop the victim mindset, own it, strategize, and move on.
Although it may not be easy to believe, I have come a long way. Now, do I have a long way to go? Absolutely, but this is a journey, one that is neither linear, or even predictable. Remember, just when you think you have an area of your life mastered, you will have a reality check. That is okay; there is a reason! There is (obviously) a BIGGER lesson to be learned!
The real reason for all the “behind the scenes” insight – I wanted you to see how the “stress-sleep cocktail” has affected me, personally, beyond all that we are presented with in the news, health magazines, journals, etc. Let’s face it, we hear the same things…”research shows that individuals who are sleep deprived show increased cortisol levels, weight gain/loss, decreased mental clarity, blurred vision, confusion, depression, and are susceptible to a host of health-related issues.” While all true, it sometimes takes a personal experience or story to truly understand, although even then it can be hard to grasp.
So, while I will continue to try all the various remedies out there – lavender, Melaleuca, meditation & relaxation techniques, darker shades in the bedroom, a non-cell phone/infrared light environment, etc. – the real resolution will be when I have found inner peace. I can try every remedy known to man to assist with sleep & stress but it will only be superficial. It will not be authentic; I will simply be convincing myself that it is “working.” It goes back to mindset; it is about taking a hard look at your struggles and tackling them head on. Look at what happens when you oppose reality? Your problems do not go away if you simply pretend they do not exist; they manifest and get more instense ovr time.
Do yourself the biggest favor in the world – be true to YOU! I am in the midst of my journey and, while it can be challenging every single day, I know I will come out stronger and a better version of myself on the other side. Plus, I hope the bags under my eyes will be gone as well! 🙂
P.S. Who thought this post was REALLY going to be about the worst cocktail to avoid? Everything in moderation, Health Nuts!
P.S.S. I will confess…another reason I was kept up? I received an alert that the cute suede Michael Kors boots I had ordered were no longer available. It sad to even admit I lost sleep over this but, hey, it was a bright spot amongst the 30+ inches of snow we just received in Baltimore!
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