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Self Awareness


Self Awareness is one of those ‘things’ that seems pretty simple, but in practice is actually somewhat difficult. Some people like Gary Vaynerchuk (he’s just more vocal about it) seem to have an innate ability to sense where they are internally and know how to steer themselves without hesitation. Most of us have difficulty staying focused on a task never mind having a refined internal compass that points true north!

I’ve been a respiratory therapist for 7 years. Throughout that time I’ve been confronted with challenges that have pushed me into some very interesting places. I remember the first time I realized the importance of what I was about to do. I called my mom, I was 19 at the time, and remember saying “Mom! I’m only 19 and I’m about to have someone’s life in my hands! They could be my grandmother!!”

It was pretty intense as a young man to have that epiphany. Yet that would not be possible without Self Awareness. Think of it as your internal navigation of thoughts and feelings that highlight certain pathways in your brain.

Example: You are walking along day dreaming, and a friend comes up to you. They’re the infamous ‘close talker’. It’s a hot day and their breath smells as they talk 2 inches from your face. Your internal navigation aka Self Awareness is sending off alarms to back away or end this conversation!! You may or may not be aware this is how you are feeling or acting but you wiggle your way away from close talker friend and continue your day.


That’s easy! Be aware! Of yourself!!

See, that wasn’t so hard was it?

… bad joke… sorry.

Here it is, no steps just a process. Think of it as a daily practice that you can do in a few minutes at your desk, practice with your kids, sit on a bench in a park. Or do it when you wake up. I’ll be honest, it’s somewhat based on a meditative process called mindfulness. This was first brought to light by Buddha, a long long time ago. #Starwarsreference!

This was then taught to the healthcare community by Jon Kabat-Zinn. His background is too long to communicate here (follow the link) but basically self awareness is based on being mindful and non-judgemental about the way you feel in a given moment. You pay specific attention, on purpose, in the present moment to your thoughts and feelings.

Ok I’ve beaten that horse.


Noticing how you feel is one thing. Interpreting those thoughts and feelings is another, and that, in my opinion, is where most of the practice comes in. If you feel sad and you’re doing the self awareness thingy you may not know why you are feeling sad. For me if I have a blue feeling I might need vitamin D, I might need sleep, I might need to exercise or get off the computer, I may just need to talk about something.

You get it? Just because you recognize the thought/feeling doesn’t mean you know how to deal with it.


This is where you’ll start to shine. When you start to practice being mindful aka Self Aware you can then practice understanding the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing. A good way to clarify is by writing them down or maybe trying something that you think will help. Example, me being sad I take a vitamin D supplement. If I feel better I know what to associate that particular sad feeling with.

The best way to continue to grow is by continuing to practice, and dive into the thoughts and feelings. Do some research behind your brain, be curious about what your body is doing. Be aware of the situations that trigger the thoughts and feelings you are inspecting. That’s another level of awareness but very worth the pursuit.


If you aren’t IMMEDIATELY understanding and noticing your thoughts, feelings, and what’s triggering and how to fix them situation don’t be frustrated! Some people are more sensitive to this process than others.

It DOES NOT!! I repeat DOES NOT mean you can’t do it. You just have to work harder and find others to help you understand the process that’s best for you.


As always I’ll be here!

Your Guide – Jay

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Limit Your Sleep

Why Is It


To Limit Your Sleep

When You Work Night Shift?


What do I mean limit your sleep? I thought you had to catch up on sleep when you work night shift?

What I’ve seen in the few years of working nights are two things. Two things about sleep that might help you balance your life outside and inside work.

So what have I found out? When I first started I noticed that my routine was so off I couldn’t sleep like everyone else. I either got tons of sleep or almost no sleep. When my body adapted after a month I ONLY slept during the day. When I changed jobs, added trying to live my live outside of work, I found that I again either slept for long hours (12+) or I barely slept (less than 4). What was my problem? Why couldn’t I have both a day life and a night job?

I realized…

Life outside of work was important to me. I just didn’t know how important it was to be regimented in my schedule. Yet. There came a point where I was working a business, traveling, and working full time at night. I was so stressed out, run down and generally unhappy I nearly had a break down. If anyone has ever screamed, and I mean screamed/yelled/redfaced argument with your boss, the one who hired you, it’s time to let something go or change what you’re doing.

I moved… again…

De-stressed and found a happy place. When I started adding things back into my life I was on top of it. I planned out my schedule and I stuck to it. I modified it when I needed to. The only problem was I thought I could do anything any time because I had a schedule and therefore started doing things, taking naps and not sleeping a full 8 hours. That yielded me times where I couldn’t sleep at all and times where I could barely hold my head up.

Noticing I needed a change, yet again…

I started my uncompromising schedule. I didn’t do anything at times when I was supposed to be going to bed. Even if this was 10 am and I had the chance to meet with a big shot business guy I would have to say no if my schedule was telling me I had other responsibilities to attend to that day. I’m not rude about it but I need to let people know that I’m not super human and need to get some rest!

So here we are today

Not only do I continue to plan out my sleep, but I’ve noticed that if I take care of myself physically, mentally and emotionally I can sleep a little less and be more flexible with my schedule down the road. I’ve learned that when you take care of yourself your body will willingly adapt to a specific regimen. If you go off the reserve your body will let you know by making you feel like absolute shit, make you sick, make you exhausted, or moody.

Why do I say we need to sleep less?

Well when you are on a specific sleep track and are regularly getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep and you try to sleep more than that your body will actually react to it. I can’t prove it scientifically but from my own personal experience I can tell you that some of my hardest days getting out of bed have been when I try to get some extra sleep on a regular day. Even if I’ve had a rough week of no sleep for one reason or another, I would actually recommend staying on schedule instead of trying to get extra rest. Good self care, which includes keeping on a decent diet, exercise of your choice and reducing your static time (meaning sitting for more than an hour at a time) will help you recover.


I had to get a 3 floor 2700 sq/ft house ready for sale by myself. It’s pretty new but I still had to clean the whole thing, move the rest of the residual furniture out of the house, sell it all, and dump the trash. I was on a 4 day work week, I have a business I’m working to grow which means scheduling meetings, doing phone calls, and sharpening skill sets. In addition to that I also had to take care of the apartment, the two dogs and bird all while my lady was away for the week.

Did this suck!? Yes.

One morning while driving home from working on the house, I had to slap myself repeatedly to stay awake. I ended up sacrificing the little time I had during the afternoon to go work on the house. My weekend was also sacrificed to finish up the house. I was there at 2 am dumping trash and sweeping out the garage.

Did this all suck? Fuck yes it did!

Let’s look at the after affect.

I was done with the house but I was not only exhausted but developed a little cold because I got so run down. In the days after I didn’t sleep as much as I could, I actually kept to my sleep schedule as much as I could. I had to continue to go to work, I had to continue managing my life, and I had to pick up on my exercise regimen again. I don’t remember much of my activity but I do know that a week after all of that mess I was back on top.

Still a bit sick but because of my habits I bounced back quicker than I usually would have. I also didn’t sleep any extra. I actually slept and continue to sleep less than 7 hours a night. Is that healthy? I’m not sure to be honest. I don’t really know what my body looks like on the inside. What I do know is that I feel better and better every day and continuing to be conscious of my body and how it feels is key to my continuing success working the night shift.

Night Shift Take-Away:

What can a fellow shifter get from this post?

  1. Find a sleep schedule that works for you. I don’t care what it is because you are the one that has to deal with it. Find something that doesn’t bounce back and forth between a day and night schedule. Sleep half way in between and you should be fine. (not to mention you’ll have enough time during the day to get things done.) For examples see my DOWNLOADS page.
  2. Stick to that schedule. Realize that things are always happening around you no matter if you take part or not. You will miss things, you will take part in things. But if you don’t respect yourself enough to rest when you really need it then you really shouldn’t be working on night shift.
  3. Don’t be an asshole to others about it. Be self aware enough to realize when you need rest and when you just need some  coffee or a pick-me-up. Others will never understand what you go through physically on a day to day basis unless they do it themselves. So respect that fact and don’t hold it against them. Yet don’t let them guilt you into thinking you should be up at 6 am jogging with them on a day when you need to be sleeping at that time. Or constantly going out to get shit faced on a regular basis. Or guilting you because you can only hang out after 11am every day. If they’re your friend or a respected part of your life they will understand your limitations.
  4. Know your limits. Know when it’s time to quit and sleep, and when you need to forge forward. It’s a process.
  5. Be patient, be kind to yourself, and don’t be down because it doesn’t work the first few times you try.

As always I wish you the best of luck. If you feel you need a little help getting through things like this feel free to contact me. Everything is on the website!

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Night Shift Tip

Creating a wake up process for yourself will help your body cope with the stress of working at night, and the lack of sleep you’ll get because of your shift restrictions. (drive time, extra work after your done at work, traffic, generally bad sleep)


  • But I’m super tired when I wake up!
  • I have no time to do a routine
  • I have no energy
  • My night wears me down and my body feels tired


  • You’re super tired because you aren’t taking care of yourself, also you’ll get over it! Everything is temporary, even your life.
  • You clearly have not made your health a priority. Stop crying and just do it already!
  • You have no energy because you aren’t creating energy. Energy feeds off itself. By moving you create energy, so move!
  • Night shift wears you down because you aren’t in good physical condition. Will it hurt? Yes, but it’s temporary and the pain is worth it.

Before I go into what I do every day let’s look at why you want to create this. Firstly if you wake up the same way every day your body recognizes that it’s time to wake up and will create alertness faster. It’ll help you sleep better because your body will be used to sleeping and waking a specific way. If you have a process that you follow it should help you repair some of the damage that occurs from being up all night.

Obviously I don’t have any scientific data to prove that these things are actually true. I use these examples because they have held true for myself. If you want you can share your experience below.

So… what does it look like? I’ll use my daily routine that works for me.

  • Get up, and do what my body needs
  • Drink a little water and head out the door for a run or to the gym (depends if I have the time to go to the gym)
  • Shower, and head to a quiet space to meditate for 20 minutes
  • Read a motivating or inspiring book for 10 minutes
  • Write down goals for the day and 3 things I’m grateful for

I’ve realized that I need a few things every day to have a clear head, good body, and happy feelings buzzing around. Exercise, meditation, and self education. This hits all the parts of my body and makes me feel good and more productive. It works for me. I started with one or two things and have built it up from there. Depending on who you are and how you operate you might be able to take all of these on at once and just run with it. Or you might have to take it one step at a time to eventually do all of these consistently.

Define Consistently: I mean doing this every day or most days. If you fall off the wagon it’s OK. You just need to get back on the next day. Consistency just means you have made this into a habit and it is simply second nature for you. Kind of like walking.

When do you do this? Tomorrow or right now. The Law of Diminishing Intent will tell you that without action right now, the likelihood you will do what you say diminishes over time. So get up, make a plan, and then go see how it goes. Action creates results.

Best of Luck! Call me if you need me…

Your NightShift Guide – Jay

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