A few words on dealing with worries, not least when they spring up in the middle of the night and try to stop us sleeping.
Welcome to our spot on the site where we chat about mental health, wellbeing, and things that may be affecting us, or the people around us. Just a place to talk about things, with no miracle cures offered, but the hope that over the course of this weekly column, there’s something of use to you.
We’ve talked about sleep before in these articles, and the importance to our bodies and minds of getting proper rest. We’re delighted to welcome back Simon Stothard again though, who’s got something fresh to add on the topic. We’ll hand things back to him…
Sleep is hugely underrated. Without it, I find my energy levels are low, I become irrational, short tempered and generally a grumpy little man. It’s not a pleasant sight at all!
One small, simple tool I found helpful last year to help me worry less and sleep easier was something called ‘Worry Time’. It’s a concept of when during that moment in the middle of the night when you wake up agitated about something, thoughts are running through your mind and you are replaying events of the last day, to defer that worry to a certain point of your choosing during the next day.
Worry Time enabled me to rationalise a particular worry for just a moment, think about it and then decide whether or not I wanted to do something about it the next day at a time when I knew I would be at my best. For me this would be around 10am after a belly full of tea and maybe some biscuits (Pink Wafers usually).
Instead of just lying there, wide awake and about as relaxed as Peter Parker trying to stop the train in Spider-Man 2 (and probably with the same facial expression), I find it immensely helps by just jotting down on a Post-it note a word or two on what it is I am worried or anxious about, with perhaps an action point to do something about it. That being done I will put it aside knowing I’ll take a look a look in the morning and decide during my allotted ‘worrying time’ if I want to take further the action point.
More often than not, I find the concern and lack of sleep wasn’t worth worrying about at all when I take a look the next morning. But the process of putting it down on paper instead of turning things over and over in mind helps me put aside that worry (for now) and relax.
It’s a tip that I picked up from therapy last year and just helped with that awful ultra-anxiety time during the night. It has helped me enormously with sleeping, it may help others and worth a go.
Huge thanks to Simon, and the very, very best to you all. This column will return next week, as always.