Sleep: the cure-all for some very memorable meltdown moments

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Hi! I'm Sandy (although lots of people call me 'Auntie') and my husband works offshore in oil/gas on a 6 in 1 roster. We've been together for 27 years and are the proud parents of two daughters, aged 19 and 21. I wanted to write for Mining Family Matters to show you can survive FIFO.


This month I'm recounting yet another meltdown moment. Come on! I bet I'm not the only one to have them. Something so little will send you into nuclear meltdown. And who understands?

I remember a couple vey plainly. One I will never forget. My father-in-law, who I respect tremendously, was due out to stay with my mother-in-law. They are people with old-fashioned values, and they arrived to me kicking and swearing violently at the lawn mower.

Who in their right mind would make garden machinery needing two different sorts of petrol? Two-stroke. Four-stroke. So confusing. I had gone to fill the oil in the lawnmower but had filled the wrong jolly hole. Well look out. The language was like something from a street gang.

By the time the in-laws were pulling into the drive I was a woman possessed. I was trying to physically pick up the lawn mower to throw at the nearest fence or passing car. By this stage the girls were seeking shelter from inside the garage. My father-in-law calmly gets out of the car, passes a few simple words of wisdom and deals with the lawnmower. And my wonderful mother-in-law does what she does best: comforts and makes a good cuppa.

My most recent meltdown occurred as moving day was getting closer. The trailer got a flat tyre when it was fully loaded. While I was trying to deal with this, the coupling seized. One of the neighbours walked past to ask "Are you alright?" Hell no! I was sitting in the middle of the garage sobbing like the world had ended.

Some days the simple things can get you down and the tears flow at the drop of hat. These are the days I seek my own company, or that of a true friend. I find a good walk on the beach snaps me out of it. Most of these days for me have been brought on by lack of sleep.

Over the years I have tried a number of things to help with the sleep problem.

Here are a few that I have found the most helpful:

  • Stick to a routine time of going to bed and getting out of bed.
  • Stay away from electronic devices including the cellphone, TV and computer for at least an hour before going to bed. Read a book instead.
  • Try herbal sleep teas (check out T2tea online if you can't make it to a store).
  • Make the bedroom a place you want to be (not stacked with the boxes that didn't fit in the spare room). Create a boudoir you want to be in.
  • Lavender spray on the bed linen, or essential oils/candles.
  • There are many natural sleep formulas available from the local pharmacy, but please check with your health care professional before taking them.
  • If you wake in the night with ideas running through your head, jot them down in a notebook to deal with in the morning.
  • Try meditation. I have recently used mindfulness techniques by Dr Russ Harris (recommended by our MiningFM psychologist Angie Willcocks). This is probably the most helpful in a lot of areas of my life.

To help with the general ups and downs, a good B vitamin can help.

And one of the most important things I have learnt over the years is to make time for yourself. Do what you want to do - if you feel good about yourself, life tends to run smoothly.

My time for myself at the moment is riding my bike each day. So if you see a crazy woman whizzing past, say hello.


More from Auntie Sandy:

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