Archive for the 'Mental Health & Well Being' Category

7 Tips Overcome Sleep Deprivation & Wonkiness…

May 10, 2011

We flew back from California on the red eye this Sunday and my sleep has been a bit screwy.

I had a hard time falling asleep.  Baby M stayed insisted I take the mattress off of her crib and put it on the floor so she could sleep on it.  (She pointed to the matress screaming “OFF OFF!”)  Around 10:00 she probably rolled off of it and began crying.  I scooped her up and put her back in our bed (I KNOW, IT’S A MISTAKE)

I have a web series to produce, a cranky actor to deal, a crisis with a key member of my team…and what the heck is for dinner?

Since I’ve been hit with many many sleepless nights, I decided I had to come up with some rules of how to deal with it or I shall lose my mind.  I’ve found that “giving up” and “losing my mind” doesn’t really help anyone.  Neither does bucking up and just steam rolling through.  There has to be a happy medium.

1.  Acknowledge that changes with your kid’s schedule is bound to screw things up.  Plan for it.  I knew Baby M’s schedule would be a wreck when I came back.  Mentally I prepped myself for it.  I didn’t plan any rehearsals or meetings for this week.  The goal was to make sure Baby M has a consistent week of Mom time.  This is better for all of us.

2.  When in a major major pinch, there is Thomas The Train, Elmo etc.  I’ve taken Baby M out of daycare because I want to spend more time with her.  It’s a bit of a transition because I spend more time with her.  On nights I have no sleep, I must get SOME rest.  There is time to plop on the couch and rest while Baby M watches some TV.  This is NOT ideal, but sometimes absolutely necessary.

3.  Exercise.  I always feel a lot better when I either walk, run or do weights.  A new yoga studio has opened up in my hood and I’ve committed myself to do yoga everyday.  

4.  Meditate  A perfect way to combat the mind junk and stress.  Sometimes you can even fall asleep when you meditate.  This means you are probably very tired.

5.  Create an evening ritual.  I don’t really have an evening ritual but I’ve decided to reinstate one.  In a way it’s telling yourself that you are to be taken care of and resting your mind and soul are vital.  Ritual is defined as: an established or prescribed procedure for a religious or other rite.  For all my joking and smart assery, I don’t believe it’s far fetched to treat yourself in a reverent way.
Here is my [re-established] ritual:

Plan next day
Writing Gratitudes

6.  DO NOT LOOK AT THE COMPUTER AT NIGHT.  This was my mistake last night.  I probably could have gone to sleep a lot earlier. 

7.  Be gentle to oneself.  Instead of saying what you SHOULD be doing or how you SHOULD be sleeping, just be curious and kind to yourself as you would a friend.  No need to self castigate.  In fact, a warm bath, aromatherapy and a nice pair of pajamas might make sleep more fun.

Sleep is one of the best anti-aging and anti-depressant remedies.  It’s one of the most important things for our mental and physical health.  Unfortunately as parents, it’s seen more of a luxury.  It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity and it’s important to remember that in order to be a good wife, husband, mother, father, doctor, steamfitter, taxi driver, politician, etc you have to take care of yourself.  And if that means hanging out on the couch for a little bit to catch some Z’s…so be it.


July 26, 2010

Long time no speak.  I’ve had three successful solo shows here in New York City.

I’m headed to Scotland Aug. 3 for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and will be away from my daughter and husband for 10 days.  I feel terrible about it and regret entering into this festival.  That said, I feel more aware of my love and moments that we, as a family, are sharing together.

Sometimes I wake up with a dread and wonder, why am I doing this?  I don’t want to go to Scotland!  I don’t want to direct these people to film my trailer or get a marketing plan together.  All’s I want to do is relax!  But I force myself to switch my mind and focus on the moment.  Not on the future or the past.  When I refocus, I realize it’s the fear that has been beating in the background that is the source of my dread.  The fear of leaving the most precious thing to me in the world:  my family.

The way I’m dealing with this is meditating, taking care of myself and breathing.  If my mind wanders, I take a breath and focus on exactly what I’m doing at that moment.

Interesting Developments

September 19, 2009

A really good friend of mine moved to Los Angeles. He had dinner with a producer friend of ours and told him about my solo show. The producer friend asked to read the script which I sent. He liked it. Then he asked to send a DVD. I got over my anxiety of how terrible I looked on DVD and sent it to him. If he likes it, then I might be able to do my show in LA!

AND in really wonderful news, we’re heading back to Manhattan. I’m so excited!! I know there are issues with living in the city…but it’s going to be a huge improvement to our lives, I know it.

Word for the week: FOCUS

June 18, 2009

I talked to a few of my performing buddies and they talked me away from the edge.  Yesterday I got really close to saying SCREW IT and move to South Carolina where we might be discriminated against, but at least live in a mansion.

Hubby told me he had dinner with co-workers who said we needed to stay in the suburbs.  I felt like telling them to kiss my tan behind. Hubby understandably complained about the high cost of living in a small urban space.  Also, if we have another kid, it will be even more crowded than it already is.  We live in a nice sized three bedroom apartment and the thought of contracting to a New York City space does freak me out a little bit as well.

That said, there are no perfect places to live.  And obviously my darling husband hasn’t read the post on the POWER OF DECISION making, ha ha, because he wavers on our decision of wanting to live closer to NYC.  I’ve decided to be unemotional and coolheaded at least about this.  I know living closer to the city would be better for us as a family.  I know it’s scary to move.  I know many people do not agree with what we want to do.

So here’s to keeping your eye on the prize.

Taking care…

June 18, 2009

Did a reading for a favorite playwright.  Honestly, it was a bit of  a struggle.  It was 3.5 hours long and it was really hot on stage.  I got really tired and delirious toward the end.  It made me realize I need to get my ass in gear and take care of myself.  I’m going to be onstage doing my show in less than a month.  I now know that while I’m breastfeeding, my body is still not quite it’s old self.  I thought about hiring a chef to teach me how to cook healthy vegetarian food and I think I’m going to do it.  I have six performances and I can not afford to go crazy.  I need the sustenance.   

I haven’t been taking care of myself lately.  I’ve not been sleeping well, eating well, exercise…what’s exercise?  Yes I’m back to my normal weight but I definitely need to exercise.

Attitude of Gratitude

June 4, 2009

GratitudeNear my house is a Jewish Center and they always have these cool phrases on their sign.  This is their latest.  At first it annoyed me because I’m a constant striver, improver, I always want to do more.  But then it made me think about my attitude and how it’s not been very positive.  Also, my desire TO DO STUFF is actually a hinderence and only added to my angst.

I took a look last Wednesday’s “TO DO” list and had to laugh:

11:00 visit venue?
Pick up laundry/dry cleaning
Put stuff in mail
Return library books
Get watch battery
Call Real Estate Agent
Create Fanpage
Website (Twitter)
Create poster/fan page

What a nut. And thinking about those things made me almost lose my mind.

I decided after that to pare down drastically.

11:00 Conference Call re: Solo Show
Pick up police report for rear-ender

I’m lowering the bar by having two goals a day.  THREE THINGS MAX.

So far it seems to help.

What Makes Us Happy?

May 30, 2009

I read about this study conducted by George Vaillant and it was fascinating.  Over a course of 72 years, 268 “elite” were meticulously documented.  The purpose was to find out the patterns of happy, successful people thus bettering man kind.  

I heard the author, Joshua Wolf Shenk speak on NPR and one of the most important thing for personal happiness seemed to be (drum roll please):


This makes a ton of sense and all the more reason that I need a change.  Being a mother is quite isolating, being an actress can be isolating.  Slap these two together and you are living in Siberia.  Oh yea, add being in the suburbs into the mix and now you’re on the moon standing beside Neil Armstrong’s footprint.

I’m tired of complaining so I will stop.  I hope by August we are settling in somewhere closer to the city.

Ups and Downs

May 29, 2009

On the way to a doctor’s appointment, a woman hit my car from behind.  I stopped my car and she got out of her car and proceeded to yell at me that my car was fine and my baby was fine so there was no problem.  I called the cops.  I locked the doors and decided right then and there that I’m moving the heck out of the suburbs.

For the past 3 years, I’ve been living in the burbs because my husband’s work is five minutes from our home.

Becoming a new mother is wonderful but being an actress/mom in the suburbs is not.  I feel isolated, I feel depressed and going to the city for auditions is  a huge headache.  Finding childcare is difficult (most nannies don’t drive) and it’s really hard to meet people.

I’m ready for a change.

How to disagree…nicely

March 30, 2009

Many things have been pressing on the family lately:  Trying to care for an infant, trying to care for a house when I’ve never been Betty Homemaker, trying to cook when I’m not Betty Crocker, dealing with a sudden departure of our part-time babysitter.  We’re also considering moving and buying a home.  Once in a while there may be * SHOCK * disagreements.
We thought of ways that may help us improve our disagreements:

Try to cool down before talking.

Try to refrain from saying hurtful things that you may regret later.
It’s important to realize that words are extremely powerful.  Why say damaging things in the heat of the moment?

If you’re really mad, take a walk.  (BUT TELL THE OTHER PERSON WHERE YOU ARE GOING)

After you’ve cooled down, try this exercise:
One person “gets the floor”.  That means, for three minutes, they are sharing what is on their mind.  The other person completely listens WITHOUT forming opinions, arguments, tangents, evidence or conjectures to force their own opinion (this is what lawyers do but for matters of the heart, this does NOT work.).  The key here is listening completely with body and mind.  When the three minutes are up, the other person gets to have their say.

Other solutions include: hiring a maid, getting a personal organizer, getting another babysitter.  Cheaper solutions may include checking out  Also trying to laugh at the situation and realizing how things are temporary (the baby won’t be a baby forever).

Physical Fitness

June 30, 2008

This DVD cover looks pretty funny and I’m not sure about the marketing/design of it.  However the DVD and instructor is wonderful.  Karyne Steben is a Cirque du Soleil acrobat and she announced that 6 weeks after birth, she would be filming an HBO documentary and needed to get back into shape.

I’ve been mostly doing 20 minute walks and haven’t done much strength training.  Doing strength training makes sense for several reasons: 1) being healthy for the myself and the baby, 2) delivery is a strenuous process and will require a LOT of strength and 3) getting back into pre-pregnancy weight will be easier.

I like Karyne because she is gentle, has a matter of fact attitude and is low key.  She lacks the bubble gum cheery facade that some workout DVD’s might have.  The workout is challenging and yesterday I’ll admit I only got through 20 minutes of it before I decided that I could not go on.  Today my body feels slightly sore but also more engaged and it feels good.

You can be sure I’ll be buying this video…check out her abs!!