Beacon of Change Counseling

Katy Rader, LMHC

Individual and Family Therapy Services

Filtering by Tag: Depression

Sleep Hygiene

The effects of poor, interrupted or irregular sleep range from the obvious of feeling tired and less productive, to the more surprising and concerning of heart disease and cognitive impairment. Sleep deprivation also reduces libido, leads to weight gain and increases anxiety and depression. What can we do to get more sleep to manage all of these negative side effects?

• Maintain a regular sleep routine - Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time, even on weekends. Ideally, your schedule will remain the same (+/- 20 minutes) every night of the week.

• Avoid naps, if possible - When we take naps, it decreases the amount of sleep that we need the next night which may cause sleep fragmentation and difficulty initiating sleep, and may lead to insomnia and sleep deprivation. However, naps of 20-30 minutes can be restorative.

• Don’t stay in bed awake for more than 15-20 minutes - If you find your mind racing, or worrying about not being able to sleep during the middle of the night, get out of bed, and sit in a chair in the dark. Do your mind racing in the chair until you are sleepy, then return to bed. No TV or internet during these periods! That will just stimulate your mind more. 

• This is a good time to do some relaxation. Progressive Muscle Relaxation is particularly helpful to release tension and relax the body.

• Avoid all screens (e.g. TV, phone, e Reader, computer) for at least 1 hour before bedtime. The blue light emitted by the screen reduces melatonin, our natural sleep inducing hormone, and can shift our circadian rhythms.

• Drink caffeinated drinks with caution - The effects of caffeine may last for several hours after ingestion. Caffeine can fragment sleep, and cause difficulty initiating sleep. If you drink caffeine, use it only before noon. Cigarettes, alcohol, and over-the-counter medications may also cause fragmented sleep.

• Exercise regularly- If possible, exercise before 2 pm every day. Exercise promotes continuous sleep. Avoid rigorous exercise before bedtime. Rigorous exercise circulates endorphins into the body which may cause difficulty initiating sleep.

• Have a comfortable pre-bedtime routine - A warm bath/shower, meditation, or quiet time, read a book, listen to calming music, write. 

If all of these tips sound overwhelming, don’t worry. Your sleep can be improved by implementing just a few. Which of the above do you think might be affecting your sleep the most? Start with that one for a week and see how it helps. Or you can start with a couple that seem easiest and go from there. Improving your sleep will positively affect many areas of your life and it’s worth changing a few habits to reap the benefits!

Transitioning From School to Career

Getting an education is a time that we can explore who we are, discover what our values are, and cultivate relationships. We get immediate feedback about our progress from professors and through grades, and have social opportunities everywhere we turn. After graduation, social interactions are less frequent, require being proactive and following up with friends who are also working long hours and also have limited time. It can be tough to transition from school to workplace.

This article outlines how to transition from college into your career. I like that it includes some basics, like reducing partying, to more mental health oriented suggestions like meditating and nurturing your relationships.

13 Ways To Master The Transition From College To The Real World - Huffington Post

This article is mostly based on getting a job, but what I like is the last page where it compares being in college to the world of work in regards to feedback, schedule, etc. Take a look. Is it any wonder that many struggle with this transition?

Transitioning from College to the Workplace - Oregon State University

This is a great article about the common occurrence of post-graduation depression. It highlights the importance of social connections and integrating interests and passions into your life after school.

'Post-graduation depression' is common. Here's how to cope - Chicago Tribune

Despite all of these challenges, it’s important to identify what you miss about being in school and how to approximate it in the “real world”. Increasing social connections is what most people identify as something that they miss most. Reach out to friends and schedule a regular night to get together. Consider finding a new friend group. Look for others at your workplace, neighborhood and friends of friends. Most people are looking for face to face connections. The transition is tricky, but with some focus on your values and meaningful connections, you can feel more fulfilled in your new life.