Emotional First Aid for Caregivers: SOS Insomnia By Calm Pond

Emotional First aid

Lately I’ve been going through a period of insomnia, but it’s getting better, slowly. Rather than rely on pills, I took an online course on insomnia (cbt-i, see previous post https://northvancaregivers.wordpress.com/2018/07/11/my-summer-with-cbt-i/ ), and learned about something called a ‘sleep window’. A sleep window is the optimal time during which you will fall asleep. For me, this was 2:00 am. But what to do until then?
I began getting creative. A book I read (Jennifer Hallissy ‘The Write Start : A Guide to Nurturing Writing at Every Stage, From Scribbling to Forming Letters and Writing Stories’ 2010) had a recipe for playdough and I thought, why not? Here is the recipe:

No Fail Playdough

1 cup warm water
1 cup salt
2 Tbsp Cream of Tartar (look for it in the baking aisle)
2 Tbsp veg oil
Combine the above ingredients. Wait till mixture cools a bit. Mix in 2-3 cups of white flour (as much as you need to make a firm dough, but don’t add too much at once). You can divide the dough into balls and colour it with food colouring. Stores in a tightly covered container in the fridge for 6 months. Halve the recipe if you do not want such a large quantity of dough. It works just fine.
Bake your creations at 275 degrees F. The time they need to bake varies on size of creation.


I found that as I kneaded the dough, I felt more relaxed. Karyn Davies of NSCR says this is due to the fact that as you knead, the left and right hemispheres of the brain harmonize. This is an intriguing idea. I did find that if I engaged in a creative activity, I felt more relaxed and did, eventually fall asleep.
It’s not the perfect cure but it sure beats staying up all night.
In conclusion, I came up with a little rhyme:
We all need to be needed,
We all need to knead.
May you sleep the sleep of the just tonight,

Calm Pond