While most of us know that not getting enough sleep can be detrimental to our physical health, leading to increased fatigue and putting us at risk of several medical conditions, lack of rest also affects our mental health significantly. This, of course, doesn’t stop many of us from choosing work, entertainment, or other distractions instead of the amount of sleep that we need – more than 1 in 3 Americans report sleeping less than the recommended minimum of 7 hours per night.
So why should we prioritize finding opportunities to sleep longer?
Rest is Crucial to Mental Functioning
Without adequate time to rest via sleep, your mind will be less able to respond to the challenges of daily life, and you may experience mood disruptions.
Much like rest being one of the most common suggestions to accelerate healing after a physical injury, giving your brain time to recover from each successive day can be crucial in providing you the opportunity to subconsciously process issues, feelings, and emotions. Just like it’s important to set boundaries in relationships, it’s also important to set boundaries for your waking hours to ensure you’re able to function and feel as positive and energized as possible.
Beyond the well-documented physical benefits of getting enough sleep, the other main benefit from a mental health perspective is in helping to establish and build healthy habits for yourself.
By establishing a pattern of going to bed and subsequently waking up simultaneously, you build personal discipline and incorporate more predictability into your daily routine – which can help assimilate other healthy self-care habits as time goes on.
Ways to Strategize Your Way to More Rest
Stick to your schedule! While life can be hectic and responsibilities change quickly, do your best to stay consistent day-to-day.
Minimize distractions. Even on low-light output settings, looking at screens such as phones, tablets, or even TVs can make it harder to get to sleep. Try to eliminate or at least reduce your screen time for about an hour before going to bed.
Incorporate calming habits. Practices like meditation or reading a book before bed can be not only suitable substitutes for screen time but can also help you calm down and function as part of your self-care routine along with sleep.
“So, outside my time in therapy, I have three kids, one is 13, one is seven, and one is two.
So, I really don’t have any free time, don’t believe that I have any free time. I chase kids all the time. When I do manage to steal a moment for myself, I really like to be outdoors, I’m a really big sports fan, I spend time with family, but most of the time yeah, you’ll either catch me at the lake or chasing kids.
Oh, that’s a good one. So, I’ve had the mustache for about a year. When you’re in grad school for therapy they always tell you, as a man, to grow facial hair because I’m kind of young. I’m only 31 so they tell you to grow facial hair that way people think you’re distinguished and know what you’re talking about. So that’s how I did it, with the Stache.
My favorite of my tattoos would be this one. Leon is my son’s name, and one of my clinical focuses is co-parenting. And I think I’m good at that or at least passable at that, because I too am divorced, and a co-parent. So not only is it significant kind of clinically but it’s also of course significant because I love my son.
Thanks for taking the time to learn a little bit about me. I am accepting new clients right now; I have availability in the mornings and in the afternoons. So, if you want to visit our website or give us a call you can ask for Pete. I’ll be excited to learn a little bit more about you when we meet each other.”
“Hi, my name is Pete Campie. I’m a marriage and family therapist at Cedar Rapids Counseling Center, and today I wanted to talk a little bit about how to get the most out of your therapy session if you’re doing it via telehealth. No matter what platform you’re using to do it via telehealth there are challenges that come up that are specific to video conferencing and can really hamper your ability to get the most out of those sessions. As therapists, we are, of course, doing a lot more sessions, via teleconference, and you know with that experience we’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. These can really help you minimize distractions and really find what you’re looking for out of those sessions, even if it is something that you’re doing on your computer or your phone.
Well, my first tip is to really be mindful of the time and try to get the most out of each minute that you can. Most of our sessions will last about an hour, it’s good to have a drink, it’s good to have you know, access to anything you might need over the course of that hour, just so that you don’t break up the continuity or have to get up and leave or something like that. Which, you know, when we’re talking about feelings can definitely be can be a challenge or a roadblock.
The second focus area that I wanted to cover was distractions, mostly because they’re everywhere. Whether you’ve got kids, pets, maybe a loud partner in the other room, all those things can really make it hard to focus on what you’re trying to focus on in your therapy session. Now obviously we can’t do anything about the guy with no muffler blowing down your road, but if you work on managing the distractions that you can predict, hopefully, the distractions that you can’t predict will be less disruptive.
The last piece of getting the most out of your teletherapy session is technical issues. Since these are done on your computer, on your phone it’s very common to have issues with the camera, issues with the microphone, even issues with your Wi-Fi. What I find to be helpful is to test these things out before you get on to your session. You know, maybe five or 10 minutes before the session, see if you can get your computer camera working, make sure that it’s pointing in the right direction. Make sure that you don’t have any cords that you might trip on or anything that could be in the way. As far as your physical setup, but also your computer setup, you know, if you have push notifications that frequently come across the phone, mine always made this really loud ding. So, you might want to silence those as well if you’re planning to do your session on your phone.
Thanks for taking the time to listen to a few of these tips and tricks to get the most out of your telehealth session, hopefully, some of them have been useful. If you’re interested in learning a little bit more about me or the Cedar Rapids Counseling Center, feel free to visit our website, give us a call. I am accepting new clients, and I do sessions, both in-person and via telehealth so if you’d like you can put all these tips to use when you talk to me.”
“Hi my name is Pete Campie. I’m a marriage and family therapist at Cedar Rapids Counseling Center. Originally, I hail from the Quad Cities. I found myself in Cedar Rapids as a result of going to college here. I met my wife up in the Iowa City area and I live down south of Iowa City now. So, I am a corridor local, maybe not a native, but a local.
I found myself in therapy, first as a client, and now obviously as a clinician, but first as a client. I found myself kind of struggling with depression and anxiety. My experience in therapy was so overwhelmingly positive that I wondered if I could bring that positivity to other people the same way that it had benefited me. I attended Mount Mercy University for my graduate degree, and I really enjoyed getting to communicate with people and getting to connect with people and really kind of understand where they’re at, and hopefully being able to walk alongside them as a kind of engage with challenges in their own lives.
What I find rewarding about doing therapy is that ability to connect with people and reach people in a way that in our modern society, we really don’t focus on. I really pride myself on creating authentic connections and meaningful connections. And I think that is the most rewarding part of working as a therapist is getting to hear a lot of people’s stories and share a lot of people’s burdens with them. So, if you’re seeing me for the first time, I would hope that you’d find me relatable and approachable. I can’t speak to how very many other therapists approach the process of therapy, but I really try to take a non-directive approach. So, you can expect to have a conversation, certainly not an interrogation. I won’t pepper you with questions unless you want that. If you’d like to be peppered with questions, I’m happy to do it, but most of the time, we’ll just be talking.
Thanks for taking the time to learn a little bit about me, I am accepting new clients right now. I have availability in the mornings and in the afternoons. So, if you want a visit our website or give us a call you can ask for Pete. I’ll be excited to learn a little bit more about you when we meet each other.”