Self Care Mini-Episode: Belly Breathing

On this short mini-episode, Patti shares this simple reminder on how it is important to breathe from the belly to help reduce stress. Deep breathing helps lower stress in the body. When you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to relax. The brain then sends this message to your body.

Breathing exercises are a good way to relax, reduce tension, and relieve stress. Listen in by clicking HERE.

Self Care Mini-Episode: How To Make Time For Yourself in 5 Simple Steps

It’s easy to become wrapped up in life and it will spin out of control like a tornado or a hurricane if you aren’t careful. Family, community, friends and work often keep us so busy we forget about ourselves. I’ve already created a couple of other mini self care episodes but we need to talk about how to make TIME for ourselves in order to indulge in those self care activities.

Someone recently asked me how I made, “me” time. I was overly excited about that request because it’s something that took me a while to master and I was thrilled someone wanted me to share that golden nugget of information. Managing a schedule and having a routine are SO important. If you don’t manage your life, life will grab you by the head and manage you.

I’ve been talking about schedule and routine for several years at military veteran caregiver type workshops, and now it’s time to share that information with the world because everyone can use the info! Seriously, it’s not rocket science. ANYONE can make, “me” time. I end up getting so frustrated when I hear someone say that it is just impossible for them to find any time at all for me time. There is ALWAYS a way.

It’s mostly about making an appointment for yourself and KEEPING that appointment!

  1. Use a Calendar – I have to use a calendar to manage my busy life. I put everything from doctor appointments to Ken’s appointments, my daughters school schedule and more on it. I even take it a step further and use a family joint calendar so I don’t skip a beat.
  2. Schedule ME Time – That’s right. I schedule me time. I don’t move the ME time appointments around either. If I have a certain day and time marked off to have my nails or hair done, I don’t cancel that appointment for myself. I keep it. I’ve learned that my ME time appointments are just as important as my doctor appointments. You can do the same with your gym time, a massage or whatever other ways you like to pamper and take care of yourself.
  3. Tasks – I put tasks on my calendar. Need to pay a bill by a certain date? Schedule that on your calendar. Grocery shopping? Put it on the calendar. The better routine you have, the less frazzled you are going to feel going into the day.
  4. Just Say NO – It’s OK to say NO. Someone ask you to do something but you feel like your schedule is too full? Don’t do it, or plan that task on another day if it’s something you want to do.
  5. Prioritize – Just because you are busier, doesn’t mean you are more productive. Prioritize what you want to do in life. Make a list of what’s most important and spend less time doing things you don’t want to participate in. Once you have a goal, make steps to conquer your goal in the least amount of steps possible. Running around in circles is a time waster. Make a direct plan of action in your schedule and routine and watch. You’ll end up getting much more accomplished!

Self Care Mini-Episode: Ways To Show Yourself Love

Let’s start with the definition of LOVE from the Dictionary.

Love:

  1. An intense feeling of deep affection
  2. A great interest and pleasure in something
  3. A person or thing that one loves

Often, we look to others to show us love. Maybe you feel like your family, your significant other or friends don’t tell you they love you enough or maybe they don’t show you they love you in the ways you want to be shown. I’ve felt that. I’m human. I think we all have some type of void when it comes to love in our lives. Sometimes, the problem lies within ourselves. Do you find yourself easily criticizing yourself and not showing yourself love? This is something to think about and work on if the answer is yes.

Others around you may be expressing their love to you the best they know how to, but only you know what lies deep within your soul on the ways you need to be loved. Your friends and significant other aren’t mind readers first of all, but secondly, it is not their job to fulfill your every emotional or physical need.

I’ve learned over the years, if you don’t love yourself it’s easy to try to blame others for the lack of that “love feeling” in your life. Maybe you’re still blaming your past or maybe you’ve had something bad happen to you and you aren’t letting anyone into your life because you still feel hurt. Fact is, we look to others too often for self fulfillment when we should be looking within.

I remember a time where I used to wish my husband would surprise me with flowers. One day, I had an ah-ha! moment. Why did I want him to bring me flowers? Why couldn’t I just go pick up the flowers myself? This way, I would have the exact type of flower I wanted and I could display it however I wanted. I think many young ladies are taught their boyfriends should bring them flowers, but they aren’t being taught about how to love themselves and provide for themselves.

I’m not saying that those who love you shouldn’t do anything for you. But, I AM saying, it’s IS important to do for yourself and to love yourself so that you aren’t waiting around for others to bring you gratification when you can make yourself happy. It’s not the job of others to make you happy.

Recently, I asked my friends on Facebook ways people could show themselves love. Here are some of the answers that were submitted in no particular order:

  • Get Enough Sleep
  • Make time to do things you like (hobbies)
  • It’s ok to say NO
  • Massage/Spa Day
  • Manicures/Pedicures
  • Buy yourself flowers or something special you’ve been wanting
  • Listen to music
  • Take yourself on a date
  • Exercise and eat right
  • Take a warm bath

What are some ways that you show yourself love? I want to hear from you. Hop on social media, either on the Wake Up With Patti Katter Instagram feed or the closed Wake Up With Patti Katter Facebook Group and share with one another on how you can show yourself love. I hope this mini-podcast has given you something to think about. It’s important to motivate and encourage each other.

You can listen listen to this mini-episode of Ways To Show Yourself Love along with all of Patti’s podcasts on your favorite major podcast platform by searching WAKE UP WITH PATTI KATTER in your podcast player.

12 Steps To Better Sleep

I don’t know how many times I’ve read on social media, “Can’t sleep, have insomnia, not going to fall asleep tonight…” and guess what? I’m guilty of doing that as well.

After a few years of riding the lack of sleep rollercoaster, I’ve come up with a few of my own tips that help me sleep like a baby, and has helped others who listen to my podcast who shared some of their tips with me to share with you!

Let’s start with the first obvious that you didn’t think I’d bring up. SEX. I’m just going to get this one out of the way right away.

  1. Sex – Seriously. I’m not going to go into great detail here, but let’s face it… when I released a poll on social media asking what people do before they go to sleep to help them release pent up energy, sex was the first answer. After having good sex, aren’t you more relaxed? Don’t you feel a little more drained? 😉 If you don’t have anyone to help you out – help yourself out… and, that’s all I’m saying on that right now because I’m not Dr. Ruth.
  2. Exercise Early – Make sure you exercise early during the day. I like exercising in the morning. If I wait to exercise too close to bedtime, I actually feel too energetic to sleep, because exercise really does give you more energy. Try working out earlier in the day instead. Many people also drink energy drinks before working out. You don’t want to drink those in the afternoon, because it could impact your relaxation and sleep later.
  3. Cut Caffeine, Cigarettes and other Stimulants – I can’t drink coffee, tea or other caffeine drinks after noon unless I plan on staying up until at least midnight like Cinderella. Next, it’s 2020. You shouldn’t be smoking cigarettes or ingest other types of stimulants. We all know cigarettes can kill you sooner than later, or at very least make you unhealthy and stinky. Cigarettes also tamper with your sleep because they can act as a stimulant. Cigarettes are disgusting. If you smoke, you really should just quit.
  4. Buh Bye Blue Light – Did you know blue light from your phone or computer reduces natural hormones like melatonin, which help you relax during sleep? What’s one of the first habits many of us do when we can’t sleep? Jump on the phone to see who’s doing what on Facebook, TicTok or maybe Instagram. Then, we write the most epic post ever…. “Can’t sleep… anyone else up?”
  5. Don’t Nap – Someone might call you, “Bae” or “Baby” (which was my nickname at one point but I lost it someplace along the way), but you aren’t really a baby so you don’t need a nap. Taking a nap during the day can confuse your internal time clock. If you must nap, make sure it’s a short power nap. Longer naps can affect your health and sleep quality.
  6. Create a Sleep & Wake Schedule – Try to wake up at the same time every morning and go to bed at the same time every evening. Your body will become used to your schedule. Science has proven those who stay up late and sleep in on the weekends have poor quality of sleep in general.
  7. Ditch The Alcohol – I’m not a drinker. I just don’t love the taste of it. It doesn’t tickle my taste buds or make them dance. It has extra calories I could spend someplace else. Once in a great while, I’ll have a glass of wine when going out to dinner or while celebrating a special occasion with friends. Alcohol has been proven to increase symptoms of sleep apnea and decrease night time hormones (HCG).
  8. Optimize The BedroomI don’t mean add a swing or quarter machine to your bed. Make sure the temperature of your bedroom is comfortable. Studies show that it’s harder to sleep in warmer temperatures. I like my bedroom on the cooler side and I sleep with the ceiling fan on. I make sure the blinds are pulled, especially nights when there’s a full moon so the light stays out. Keep clean sheets on that cozy bed of yours. A good mattress and nice blankets are important. Keep your room dust and clutter free.
  9. Don’t Eat Too Close To Bedtime – Stuffing yourself late at night might temporarily feel good but eating too close to bedtime can impact your melatonin and HGH sleep hormone levels which in return directly will impact your sleep.
  10. Relax & Clear Your Mind in the Evening – I have been turning off the TV a couple hours before it’s time. Many nights, I light candles because I love the scent of a candle as well as the beautiful glow and warmth a candle releases. Sometimes, I read before bed or I listen to piano music before I turn start getting ready for bed.
  11. Practice Good Hygiene – I’m a huge advocate for cleanliness. My room must be clean before I go to sleep, and so must my body! I love soaking in the hot tub to relax on the evenings that I am able to make time to do so. After jumping out of the hot tub and making a mad dash to the bathroom, I shower. Brush my teeth. Dry my hair and then, if I’m lucky I am able to turn my ceiling fan on, hop in bed and go to sleep.
  12. No Liquids Before Bed – Try not to drink liquids 1-2 hours before bed. This way, you aren’t finding yourself all snuggled up ready for bed only to find yourself needing to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. Obviously, go to the bathroom before you go to bed.

If you are having a hard time sleeping, it’s always a good thing to seek advice from your doctor. There are different sleep disorders that can interrupt your sleep or can even be dangerous such as sleep apnea (for you snorers out there or those who aren’t breathing correctly during sleep).

After thinking about all of these great snuggly, cozy sleep tips… it’s sort of making me tired but I’m going to skip that nap and wait until bed time to go to sleep. Do you have any tips to share on how you fall asleep? I’d love to hear! Interact on social media: Facebook, Instagram.

Listen to this podcast, where Patti goes into more detail on the 12 steps she put together by clicking the player below:

Check out Podblade for affordable podcast editing starting at $20:https://app.podblade.com/r/102EEQ

Keep Moving Forward

I’m not going to let social media define what beauty means to me

I’m not going to let politics divide my friends and family

I’m not going to let outside pressures from people who don’t live my life, define who I am

I’m not going to debate with keyboard warriors who have wayyyy too much time on their hands

NOPE!

I’m not going to spend my time entertaining negative people

I’m not going to let the trials of life defeat me

I’m not going to let others spell out who I am

I’m not going to stress over things that in the long run, really don’t matter

I’m not going to change the way I look or feel to conform to other peoples expectations

It’s just not happening, now or ever

I am MORE than that and so are you!

Don’t let others try to define you, always remember where you came from, where you are going and what’s most important in life. Focus on the positive, follow your dreams. Move boldly ahead to your next mission, your next goal… and don’t ever stop. Work hard, play hard, and love hard.

Be the best friend to others you’ve always wanted. Focus on the positive, focus on victory and focus on the successful life you deserve.

Love Is Louder Than The Pressure To Be Perfect

Suicide rates and depression among military veterans AND their caregivers is a big issue. There are groups online that are supposed to serve as SUPPORT groups but over the past 12 years I have seen many of these groups deteriorating and even becoming a breeding ground for hate and picking on others.

Each of us who wanted to participate in these groups NEEDED support and that is why they joined. Me included. We are each dealing with something different and often times, things very heavy. It is important that we stand together. We may have differences or disagree on something, but I for one do not like to argue. I do not want to be part of a, “mean girls” club. I try extremely hard not to be argumentative or to engage in debates.

The reasoning is this:

I learned, “life happens,” when I was pretty young. I lost a good friend at the age of 15. I had the best grandparents, all of whom are passed. I have had friends die in war, I have had friends come home from war and die from suicide. Ken was deployed to Iraq for 15 months. He was wounded in May of 2007 and given a Purple Heart while still in Iraq. I was afraid he and his guys wouldn’t make it home. Many did not make it home. He made it home, but not unscathed. I held the home front down the best I could.

My husband and many in his unit who were like family were wounded in war. Many were killed in war. I sat in doctors offices and hospitals while Ken was in the Warrior Transition Battalion trying to heal from wounds of war for almost 3 yrs straight. After he was medically retired, that didn’t end. I lost count of how many appointments I’ve been to with him. How much paperwork I’ve filled out for him. Would I do it again? Yes. Was it easy? No.

I raised three amazing children who are now adults. I homeschooled them for several years after Ken was injured in war because of the insane amount of doctor appointments he had to go to, I couldn’t get the kids back and forth to school, so I had to school them myself, while in doctor offices, hospitals – the kids would drag their schoolwork with them where ever we needed to go.

In 2013, I lost my last living grandparent. My grandmother. My very best friend. She was a Rosie the Riveter. She built bombs during WW2 and survived The Great Depression.

I lost both of my parents in 2015, which has been very hard. The pain of losing my parents will never go away totally. I am certain of that. My parents lived next door to us when Ken was stationed at Ft. Bragg. Yes, we were that close.

My mom died of breast cancer after a long and excruciating battle. I stayed many nights with her when she was on her death bed dying. Moaning out in pain. Sometimes screaming as I stood by, holding her hand, having to lie to her – telling her it was going to be ok. My dad tried to kill himself because he was heartbroken his wife of 50 years was dying. I was at the hospital with him and watched him cry of heartbreak. If you had known my dad, he was always a pillar of strength and did not cry. He had known my mom since kindergarten. My dad died almost 6 months after my mom died. Now, my mom was expected to pass as she battled breast cancer for many years. My dad, that is still a shock to me.

I continued to work. I continued my caregiver duties. I have continued helping veterans as much as I have been able to. I have donated thousands and thousands of dollars out of my personal pocket for veteran causes, veterans who needed help when organizations could not help them due to rules and stipulations within their nonprofit guidelines. I have listened to people vent about their problems as I sat silently with tears running down my face on the other side of the phone, putting on a strong front so they person on the other side of the phone would find strength. I have listened to Caregivers as they vented for hours and hours on end as they remembered their problems, but would forget – I too am a caregiver.

I have stayed up late to help veterans. I have woken up in the middle of the night to help those who called and needed a listening ear. I’ve went to the ER with suicidal veterans and I have had hundreds of messages and emails from the military veteran and caregiver community asking for my resources, asking for guidance which I will always continue to give if I am able.

I built a positive and encouraging support group of over 300 members of military caregivers. I have had many contests on my personal page, just for fun – to help make someones, anyones day a little brighter, spending money out of my own pocket to do so.

Why am I telling you this? Because, you see all of the, “amazing things” I have done, but may not have realized, these things are due to great sacrifice.

So many people think I am SO strong, but in fact, I have been weak. I have been broken. I have struggled just to get out of bed somedays. NO ONE is strong 100% of the time.

I am guessing many of you did not know some of my struggles because I do try to put my most positive self forward, to encourage others. My biggest point is, even the people who look the strongest can have big struggles. We ALL have struggles.

I do not put my deepest, hardest struggles online often but as the veteran suicide rate continues to hold steady and as the caregiver community deals with extreme depression and suicide as well. This needs to be addressed.

You do not know what others are struggling with behind closed doors. I challenge you all to be kind. Be caring. Your words can be life or death to someone. Your words could be the last straw that breaks the camels back. Get back to remembering why you needed support. Why you wanted to give support.

I’ve seen some wonderful military veteran and caregiver influencers being torn apart more and more over the years. Please remember, we are human.

Love is louder than the pressure to be perfect.

Stop Being So Stubborn When You Need Help!

Don’t be that stubborn person who won’t admit you need help when people who love you are reaching out to try to help you. For some reason, my dad never liked to accept help from anyone. He always said he didn’t want to be a burden. Truth is, the biggest burden was when he wouldn’t accept help until he would land himself in the hospital.  It’s ten times more draining for your family to sit in a hospital than it is to go to the doctor for help before your life is in jeopardy.

It is was more of a burden watching my dads health fail because he wouldn’t allow people to help him with preventative care. Heck, now that he’s no longer with us, here I am two years after his death still wishing he had taken the help that was offered to him.

If you have health issues, one of the biggest concerns to the person who is sick ends up being that they do not want to burden others or that they do not want others to have to cater to them. Let me just flat out be honest. If you are physically or mentally ill, the worst thing you can do to a loved one is to not let them assist you if they offer to help you. Being stubborn and saying you will take care of things on your own when the fact of the matter is; you can’t, is being more of a burden to your loved one than just opening up and taking the help they are offering.

Example: My dad would try to fill his own pill box, mixing up medications and times he was supposed to take different medications. Because of this, he would take his medicine to help him sleep during the day sometimes, causing him to be loopy. Then, us kids would have to drop everything we were doing to get over to his house to figure out why he was being so loopy! Or, there were times he took too much medication and almost killed himself.

He wouldn’t go to the doctor until he was deathly ill and we had to call an ambulance to come pick him up. I’m talking pneumonia for one example. He was sick for several weeks at one point. He had ended up having pneumonia, that could have been treated out patient with antibiotics. But no. He was stubborn and wanted to do things his way after everyone had tried talking him into going to the doctor. He eventually became so sick, he had to go to the hospital for treatment.

Being stubborn helps no one. It doesn’t help you and it doesn’t help your friends or  family members. Maybe you’re down with the flu or maybe you are dealing with a terminal illness. Maybe you aren’t sick. Maybe you just need help with life in general. Whatever the case be, if you are fortunate enough to have someone who cares about you in your life who wants to help you and you know they are stepping in to help for the right reasons… accept that help! Asking for help and accepting help is not a sign of weakness.

Unplug and Lose Stress

Life can become very stressful if you are not careful. Technology can actually add more stress to the mix if you don’t watch it! Who else finds themselves scrolling through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram before bed? Of what about flipping on the news? Only the worst of the worst seems to make the news and the craziest drama can be on social media depending who you follow.

Do yourself a favor and turn off your electronics and plug yourself in to an outdoor adventure. Head to the park, a beach or a museum. Interact with real, LIVE people and situations instead of connecting to the wifi. Recharge your soul as often as you recharge your phone and I guarantee you will lead a much happier and healthier life.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

 

Easy Homemade Body Scrubs

Over the past several years, I have been using a very simple, homemade body scrub made of coconut oil and sugar. I do not measure the ingredients, as it really depends on how coarse I want the scrub. For example, making a face scrub is different than making a foot scrub. The more sugar you add, the more coarse your scrub will be.

A good basic scrub to start with is 50% coconut oil and 50% sugar. If I plan on using an essential oil to the mix, I use white sugar. If not, I use brown sugar. Sometimes I use brown sugar and add a little vanilla. That is a great scrub to use just before bed. It’s relaxing!

Some of my favorite essential oils to add to the scrub are peppermint (especially when making a foot scrub!), citrus, cinnamon, lemon and lavender. You can take essential oils and make your own special blends. Its fun, relaxing and will make your kitchen smell fantastic as you play with the ingredients. 🙂

*Keep in mind, you could use salt instead of sugar. 😉