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Making it Through the Rough Patch

Everyone who’s getting ready to tie the knot has heard that marriage can be tough, but they never really believe it. That is, not until after they’ve gotten over the honeymoon phase, and started to have real problems with their spouse. Nobody wants to get divorced, but for some couples, they see it as the only option. Usually, it’s not. I’m not saying that people who are in abusive or irreparably strained relationships need to stay together, but I am saying that there are a lot of studies that back up marriage counseling as a way to repair seemingly “broken” marriages.

Most problems can be worked through when a couple puts in the effort to communicate better than they have been. Despite how much each person may see the problems for the marriage as belonging to their spouse, more than likely, both parties have things they need to work on in order to make the marriage successful again.

There are many reasons why a couple may have problems in their marriage that would warrant counseling. Lack of communication, parenting differences, work and family balance problems, sexual intimacy issues, recovery from affairs, and “drifting apart” are all things that can be worked through during marriage counseling. Naturally, some of these subjects are hugely difficult to get through, especially affair recovery. Many people wonder how anyone could stay with someone who would cheat on them, but many couples do it with the help of a couple’s counselor.

Austin-based marriage counselor Kathleen Snyder describes herself as “gentle, yet direct.” This is often a necessary quality for marriage counselors who have an extremely difficult job of guiding feuding spouses toward a solution that could make or break their marriage. Few people will willingly admit that they’re wrong without a little prodding, so marriage counselors have to be willing to ruffle some feathers. At the same time, coming on too strong and pointing out every flaw right away is likely to make one or both of the clients run for the door. A good couple’s counselor knows how much to push and how much to give, and is able to pass on their own skills of communication to their clients.

Of course, not everyone is going to see success after going to counseling. Some couples really do have irreconcilable differences. However, if you’re starting to consider divorce, there is so much more to gain by going to counseling with your spouse than there is to lose. Many marriages probably could’ve been saved with a little more time and a lot more effort. Hopefully, with counseling services, in general, becoming more and more talked about, more marriages will make it through their rough patches than before.

Top Four Ways to Unwind

Everyone deserves to spoil themselves every once in a while. A much needed day of pampering will refresh even the most burnt-out people. The best part about self-care days is that there is no shortage of ways to treat yourself! There’s something for everyone to do on their day of fun that will leave them feeling relaxed and recharged. Here are a few ways to treat yourself as you unwind during your day of pampering:

Bake.

Feeling stressed? Well, stressed spelled backward is desserts! Baking cookies or a batch of brownies is a great way to unwind. Focusing on measuring out everything and waiting patiently for the goods to bake is a form of meditation in its own right. Plus, you get cookies at the end of it all. Or brownies. Or both. Whichever treat you decide to create, baking lets you unwind while still expressing your creativity. The best part of pampering yourself this way is that you get to see that you can spoil yourself without dropping a ton of cash or going on a lavish vacation.

Read a book.

Curling up with a good book is a chance to escape to another world, if only for a little while. Books are wonderful, inexpensive ways to learn more about the world around you while never having to leave the couch. Almost everyone has at least one book collecting dust on their shelf, and there’s no better time than the present to pick it up. There’s no feeling like picking up a book early on in the day only to put it down and realize that the sun has already set. A book can help clear out intrusive thoughts and distract you from the busy world around you. You might even learn a thing or two!

Clean and/or reorganize your room.

This one sounds pretty weird at first. Not a lot of people turn to clean as their first choice when they’re having a self-care today. But, there’s something relaxing about a completely revamped room. Not only are you cleaning up, but you’re also creating a space that’s warm and inviting. Reorganizing your room also helps the creative juices flow so that when you need to start working again, you’re ready to go.

Get a new hairdo.

A new hairstyle can take anyone from drab to fab. Cynthia Mora at Therapy Hair Studio knows this. A fresh cut or change in hair color is a way to keep up with the trends and feel pampered at the same time. Sit down with a glass of champagne or tea, and let the experts work their magic. Having your scalp massaged while hair stylists work on transforming your look is a feeling like no other. Luxury hair salons are an indulgent way to show your body some well-deserved love. When you walk out of the salon, you’re bound to feel a little bounce in your step as you turn heads. And trust me, you’ll look as good as you feel.

Sleep Apnea Therapy 101

Recently my mother has come to me in need of some advice. Recently her husband, my father, has been snoring louder and louder, and my mother is concerned for his health as well as her own comfort in her bed. She knows a couple of friends that suffer from sleep apnea, and she wants my father to get some treatment, but he is too stubborn to go to a doctor. She asked me to do some research on sleep apnea, its symptoms, and possible treatments. During my research, I found a website for Silent Night Therapy, which provides diagnosis and treatment options for sleeping conditions like sleep apnea.

On their website, I learned that an increase in snoring is not necessarily related to aging as many people think and that this common misconception can mask serious issues related to our health that can have serious consequences on our lives as we age. Increased snoring does not necessarily mean a person has sleep apnea, but it is a key indicator for diagnosing sleep apnea, which can be a serious detriment to your health and becomes more common the older you get because the muscle tone in your nose and throat weakens as you get older.

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that should be treated once diagnosed. This condition reduces the amount of air that gets to your lungs while you are sleeping which lowers the oxygen levels in the blood and can lead to you waking up in or being restless throughout the night. These symptoms are just the beginning. Sleep apnea can sometimes have more serious consequences. It can cause depression, anxiety, teeth grinding, heartburn, tiredness, insomnia, and even increased cognitive difficulties. Sleep apnea has also been linked to several health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes and can contribute to heart attacks and strokes, which can kill you.

Reading all of this information about sleep apnea has convinced me that my father needs to see somebody about his potential sleep apnea. I learned that there are new treatments that resulted from scientific research that make sleep apnea more treatable than ever before. Sometimes all you need to do is improve your general health by improving your diet, exercising, relieving allergies, but there are other methods as well. There are sleep specialists now that can help you find a more involved solution. There are devices that you can use while you sleep to keep your airways open. There is also positional therapy that helps you find a sleeping position that is both conducive to free breathing and comfortable to sleep in. Finally, there is continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP therapy that can treat sleep apnea as well.

After reading about sleep apnea and its consequences, I will definitely work with my mother to convince my father to seek a diagnosis and then treatment if he is diagnosed with sleep apnea. I am concerned for his health and want him to be around for the long haul, so he needs to treat sleep apnea if he has it.

The Right Diet for a Good Night’s Sleep

When you tell someone that you didn’t sleep well the night before, many will respond by asking what you ate. There are old myths about how your diet before bed can lead to certain kinds of dreams or certain kinds of sleep that go back thousands of years. For all the dismissiveness of some ancient wisdom, it does appear that there’s some truth behind this connection between what you eat and how you sleep.

Thanks to the advice at Silent Night Therapy, we’ve assembled some recommendations to make sure you catch up on all those z’s you’ve been missing out on lately.

To begin with, it appears you have to hit that sweet spot in your eating schedule in relation to your sleep. It’s best not to eat the last two to four hours before sleep, but you also have to avoid being hungry. This can lead to some challenges, which are best surmounted by eating healthy snack options. Silent Night recommends:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Peanut butter open-faced sandwich on whole wheat bread
  • Bananas
  • Turkey

All of those are pretty healthy. They aren’t too high on the simple sugars and they can feel substantial in your stomach, allowing you to avoid eating too much and having some trouble falling asleep.

Just as important as what you should eat is what you shouldn’t. Once again, Silent Night is on the case for us. They say to avoid:

  • Pizza
  • Burgers
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate

Really, when you get down to it, you could simply say: don’t eat junk food and don’t drink. Pizza and burgers are heavy and hard to digest; chocolate (particularly dark chocolate) can be great at the right time and in the proportion, but the caffeine in chocolate isn’t going to do you any favors at bedtime.

Alcohol is the most surprising item on that list, particularly since it is often associated with helping individuals fall asleep. However, alcohol apparently actually makes it harder to fall asleep, and it keeps you from sleeping deeply once you do fall asleep. Drinking before bed may therefore make you feel more tired than you otherwise would in the morning.

Looking at the lists above, you can see how a little bit of focus on healthier, filling options and avoiding unhealthy options can make all the difference. This isn’t really surprising. As with the rest of your day, eating right helps you stay healthy and it helps your body work correctly.

So, next time you are feeling a bit hungry before heading off to count sheep, be sure to steer clear of the heavy leftovers with heavy fats, the chocolate bar, and the wine and spirits. Instead, go for the sort of food you already know work better for your body anyway. Enjoy a cup of yogurt, eat a banana, and then head off to get all of your 40 winks.

Armed robbery: why did this happen?

What goes through someone’s mind when they rob another person?

I just can’t get into that mind frame. I consider myself a pretty liberal, sympathetic person, but it just seems completely beyond my worldview.

I bring this up because a friend of mine was held up the other day. They caught the guy who did it, and he wasn’t anything like I expected. Well, I expected it to be a man, I knew that from my friend, but this guy was fairly okay financially. He lived in the same building as my friend. He went to the same college as us. He doesn’t have any financial problems that I’ve heard about. I’ve actually met his sister before. She dropped a class I was in, but we had a chat in the class the one time she attended. It’s weird. What makes someone do that?

Drugs? I haven’t heard anything about them, but that makes sense. Was he in debt? I don’t know. I’m looking for explanations because I don’t want to contemplate the awful possibility that he just did it because it was something to do. I just don’t know how someone could frighten someone, steal from someone, hurt someone like that if they aren’t in an absolutely desperate situation.

There’s the old line about a Republican being a Democrat who got mugged, which has been on my mind lately. I do feel anger towards that man, but I’m not sure I feel any different politically. As upset as I am for my friend, I am also upset for this person, who is apparently looking at up to 25 years in prison because of this choice. Whether he is really desperate or he’s just a fool, that’s a lot of life to throw away for something that didn’t have to happen.

Maybe I’d feel differently if it had happened to me, or if my friend had been hurt physically and not just scared. Maybe I’ll feel different when I see him in court. Will he laugh or cry or just stare off? Will he express regret?

I just have so many questions, but right now, all I know is I wish it hadn’t happened. I wish this guy had found other options and made other choices. I wish my friend weren’t so frightened. She’s staying with me for now, and she’s not sleeping. It’s awful.

And I’m upset for her, I am enraged for her, but in my free moments, I don’t think about her specifically, or the event, I think about him, and I just wonder: why did he do it? Was there no moment beforehand when he had a second thought? Did he hate himself for doing it? Was he laughing? Has he done it before?

I just can’t understand it. That’s what keeps me up at night. It’s not that it makes me feel unsafe, I just don’t get it, and that is the most upsetting thing of all, at least for me.

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