UNEMPLOYED? FREELANCE? SHIFTWORK?
All of these situations can affect sleep. Money, business and employment are such essential parts of our lives, it's understandable that when things are tight or tough and you're up against it, you're going to be feeling very worried, stressed and up tight. Anyone would.
In truth, we've been there - lots of times - (as we've spent much of our life working freelance in the film/advertising/tv commercial industry) - so we know how stressful it can be. Of course you've got a load of worries - and perhaps money troubles. You've got a huge amount to do and you have no idea when your problem will be resolved - this week? - next week? - in ten months?
Of course it's anxiety provoking - nerve wracking - a prime stressor, for sure. And meanwhile, the bills keep rolling right on in. All this adds up to a real stressor and insomnia provoker. With both these situations, you need to attack the basic issue - the seeking-work-challenge - calmly, with a good plan that includes a support system, courage, energy and a steady assault.
FIRST - TO START...
To help you relax and be receptive to what that we offer, we suggest you start with a bit of relaxation breathing now. Takes just a minute - truly - and really helps. Here we go...
Take a deep, deep breath through your nose. Deeeeep - and slowwww - all the way in - and release it slowly through your pursed lips- like blowing a kiss - all the way out...
Once more - another deep, deep breath - in through your nose - count up to 8... - sit up straight so you can fill your lungs all the way to the bottom of your diaphragm - and very slowly, very gently - out through your pursed lips as you count down from 8...
Close your eyes, relax your muscles and allow the tension to leave your body.
And one more deeeeep breath - in through your nose - and - blow kiss - out slowly and gently through your pursed lips. And relax your muscles - all over - let every one of them relaaaax - like butter - like crusty, old snow melting on a sunny, spring morning - from the tip of your head to the tip of your toes.
Good. Feel a bit better? We hope so. Now we're ready to begin.
Any time you wish to do Relaxation Breathing, simply go to that segment... We recommend it to help you clear the mind, relax and prepare to help yourself. It's also a great "instant" de-stressor.
YOUR PLAN OF ACTION
The most helpful thing you can do for yourself is to work out a Plan of Action to deal with your situation in a constructive way, starting right now. Again, take out those mighty tools - a piece of paper and a pencil or pen - sit down and analyze your situation. Then make a list of every single thing you could possibly do to help yourself find the work you're looking for.
Organize these ideas into actions you can take - steps - even small steps. Small steps can add up to big results. Include every single resource you can think of that could help you - such as employment advisors or counselors, trusted friends or relatives, co-workers, books or educational courses.
Remember that networking is a powerful tool especially when it comes to jobs and business. There is always someone else to contact. And, most of all, remember this: There are always more stones to turn over. You just have to keeping turning 'em over 'til you find what you're looking for.
In doing anything difficult in life, we have seen the power of support systems. Everyone can use a support system to help her/him accomplish her/his goals. Don't overlook this crucial component of success. Keep an eye out for social or group situations that can help you - such as a synagogue or church group, an athletic association, or other special-interest group. There are all kinds of support groups - and surely there are organizations of people who do the same thing you do.
That's one of the wonderful things about living in this country at this time - there's so much support available. No one needs to struggle on alone without some kind of help or support. Don't make the mistake of telling yourself you're not a "social-type." That's silly. All human beings are social, to some extent. We all need help and support and company and love and affection and someone to laugh with and comfort us when we're down. Even if that's an area that's not easy for you, don't eliminate the possibilities. See what's out there that you can use to help yourself.
AFTER A WHILE, TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT
Sometimes you've got to try doing something different for a while - so that a new idea can pop up inside your head - and then - bink! - the solution - or a new source of help - or a new idea - comes to mind. You'll feel much better once you've actually written out a methodical plan of action you can follow.
Let's take another common problem - you've got too much to do in too little time with too few resources. When you're dealing with big business or financial problems, that's a very likely situation. Naturally it produces stress. But taking a few moments to write down all the elements that are causing you this stress - and all the possible resolutions that could help you - and coping strategies for each - will help you to view your overloaded situation with a bit of equanimity. And as a result, perhaps you will come to see - through this process - some resolutions you didn't see or think of previously.
For instance, maybe you should delegate some of the tasks you've taken on yourself. Or maybe you should hire more help. Or maybe you've got to explain to your boss that there's only so much you can reasonably be responsible for. Or maybe you should give yourself more time off to do other activities that are pleasurable. That might give your system some temporary relief from constant stress and also allow you to return to your tasks with fresh energy and a new view. There are usually more resources for help with our problems than we've been thinking of. Make a list of every possible source of help for your financial or business problem.
PLAN OF ACTION
Write out a Plan of Action to deal with the issues that are causing you stress. Make a list of steps you can take - even small ones. Small steps can add up to big results. You'll feel much better once you've actually written out a methodical plan of action you can follow.
Often stress is intensified by a sense of helplessness. The more you are able to take control of the situation, the better you will feel. Articulating a problem by writing it down - and listing possible resolutions by writing them down - helps to give you not only a sense of power and control - but gives you actual real power and control to help you resolve your issues.
If you are unable to get control - as is the case with many problems - for instance, with serious illness - still there are things you can do that will give you some comfort and will increase your sense of control over the moment, yourself and your own personal destiny.
One is to reach out to others for comfort - or simply for a respite from the problem - a breather. Another is to take some time off from your stressful situation to do something enjoyable - such as socialize or take a walk, go to a park and look at the trees and smell the roses - or take in a movie.
You cannot deal with a stressful situation every minute of every day and not be seriously worn down by that experience. It's important to breathe some fresh air - in every sense of the term.
Sometimes it's a good idea to simply stop everything you're doing and take one long, deep breathe - counting to 8 as you breathe in through your nose - and then slowly, gently breathe out your mouth - as you count back down from 8 - just to give yourself a tiny moment of relaxation. Do it again - three times is most helpful.
NOTE THE THINGS THAT ARE 'OK' IN YOUR LIFE.
After you do this you might review in your mind everything that is ‘ok' with you right now. For instance, you can say to yourself, "I'm alive - I'm still breathing - I'm still here - I'm not starving to death - I'm not destitute - I've got a roof over my head and three squares a day - I'm a free person - I'm not in prison - I'm not being tortured - No one's trying to break down my door, etc. - (assuming that these statements are true, of course.) Sometimes it helps to remind yourself that even though things are tough, you're truly not in the worst condition or situation in the world. There are always more wretched situations than yours. And that's the truth! Sometimes we've said to ourself, 'Well, at least we're not a Kurd or a Kosovar stuck on a mountainside in the freezing rain / snow / sleet! - with little food and medical supplies - because those situations are truly worse than anything we've ever known. Once you get a handle on your situation - or take a breather from it - you might be able to calm down and handle other aspects of the problem better.
If you're dealing with a stressful situation, you need your wits about you - and that means you need to be operating efficiently and effectively. You cannot do that if you're worn down and worn out from constant stress. You've got to stand back every once in a while, take a break and assess the situation in order to make better decisions - or simply just get away - take a mini-vacation from the pain.
WHEN YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING...
If you're having trouble sleeping because you didn't do some task that you should have done - for instance you haven't even begun a report that's due in two days - you can help yourself by simply starting to do that task - now. If you're not able to complete the task right now - before going to bed - or back to bed - just starting it - or getting yourself organized to start it - can help. You'll feel much better once you get over the hurdle of actually starting the task.
STARTING AN UNPLEASANT TASK
Let's say the task was to write a letter that is unpleasant for you. Well, if you just start writing that letter - just a rough draft - nothing final - write it completely wrong - that's ok - it's just for now - it's just a beginning - - this starting action may well give you some relief - because you'll have overcome the first hurdle - and also you'll have created some material to start working with the next time you sit down to deal with the task. And you'll also have created something to think about - that will help get the wheels turning and the task completed.
WHEN YOU HAVE DONE SOMETHING YOU'RE NOT PLEASED ABOUT
If you have done something that, by your own assessment, was not so great, you will feel better by acknowledging your true feelings about that behavior: It takes a strong person - and a very good person - perhaps even a great person - to admit that "What I did was hurtful, even though I didn't mean it to be, or didn't want it to be," or, maybe, that "What I did, in truth, was mean, rotten and/or truly wrong."
Next step is to think of ways you can make the situation better. Is an apology called for? Should you offer further explanations? - or comfort? Or perhaps send a gift? - or flowers? Maybe a phone call or a note expressing your feelings would be the best way to handle the problem.
Once again, write down all of your options and all the repercussions of each one and that will help you assess the best action to take. You'll feel much better once you've acknowledged your true assessment of your behavior and have decided on a positive course of action. You can always change your decision in the morning, but for the time being, having a plan will help calm you down and give you some peace of mind. And you'll know that you're a better person for having done this. And that is a good thing. The world is a better place when people behave decently and with integrity - and when people attempt to right the wrongs they have perpetrated on others.
SERIOUS LIFE PROBLEMS
Now let's say that you are facing some problems for which there is seemingly no solution or no easy solution or perhaps truly no solution. And sadly this is the case sometimes. Perhaps you are facing a serious illness in yourself or someone else - or you're in serious financial trouble - or you've lost a law suit and the sheriff is about to evict you - or take away your possessions - or you're facing a prison sentence - something dreadful that can't be avoided. Of course it's not surprising that you would have trouble sleeping over such a problem. Who wouldn't?! But there are things you can do to help yourself cope.
LIST COPING ACTIONS
Once again, take out your paper and pen and make a list of every single coping action you can think of that will help lessen the pain of this inevitable event. Start with listing every single person or action that can be of support or comfort to you. Then add every single resource or institution that could be of support or comfort to you. You may find more sources of help in the phone book, the Yellow Pages or your local newspaper or the Internet. No matter how hopeless or desperate your situation, there are people in the world who can help you - there are institutions that can help you - there are ministers and clergy and psychologists and caring, helpful people who can come to your aid. But you've got to approach them - and you can't do that unless you've got a list of people or institutions and phone numbers at hand. You also may want to consider SEEKING PROFESSIONAL HELP. Professional therapists are in business to help you - that's what they like to do - that's what they get paid to do. And they can be extremely helpful and effective. Don't overlook this source of help and comfort for yourself. It can make the difference between merely coping with problem after problem - or - eventually, thriving in the important areas of your life.
For now, you could go to our SIX-STEP SLEEPYHEAD RELAXATION PROGRAM, which offers more help.
Also, check out our 99 REMEDIES. There may be things in there that will help you get to sleep now. You might also want to consider the use of PRAYER to help give yourself some relief and comfort. If you have been up for a while now and it's late - too late to get a good night's sleep, we offer some TECHNIQUES to help get you through the day when you feel wretched from sleep deprivation.
Shift work is another tough one. You've got a job - so you don't have that worry - you've just got to readjust your entire body/system/life every few days or weeks or months. That's no picnic either. We feel your best option is to explore this site and use every form of help you can get - from regular, vigorous exercise (to tire yourself out) to eating and drinking calming things, using relaxation techniques and resolving your personal problems to the best extent that you can, etc. We wonder if there are support groups for shift workers - and if they help people to adjust? We ourself are not familiar with shift work and so we don't know from personal experience what would be most helpful. But it seems to us that it's always of comfort to be in communication with people who are going through similar experiences/difficulties as you are. First of all they may have any number of suggestions of ways to make it easier on yourself. And secondly, they can lend comfort, which is a help in itself. We wish you luck!
And a good night's sleep....
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