DEAR HARRIETTE: A close friend of mine has approached me, asking for my support as she fights for custody of her children. However, as much as I care for her, I have reservations about whether she truly deserves full custody.
While I don’t want to betray her trust, I also want what’s best for the kids. How can I handle this situation delicately and responsibly without jeopardizing our friendship?
DEAR STICKY SITUATION: Sometimes being a good friend means risking your friendship, potentially forever. What do I mean by that? If you are worried about your friend’s children’s well-being, please do not endorse her plan for full custody.
Instead, talk to her privately for as long as she allows about her options and what’s best for her kids. Admit that you are worried about her readiness for full custody. Though she and her ex are no longer a couple, there is a chance that they can co-parent effectively.
Recommend that she consider this path and that she agree to talk to her ex about the option. This way they share responsibilities. They will have to work to learn how to agree to disagree and how they can companionably parent their children.
Unless her ex is a terrible, irresponsible person, she has the chance to figure out a way forward with him sharing the load. That makes winners all around and less stress, too.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I consider myself to be a night owl, and this has been true about me for much of my life. But recently, it is beginning to feel like insomnia, because it is not just that I go to sleep very late, but I also struggle with falling and staying asleep.
I find that it is extremely hard for me to fall asleep before 3 a.m., no matter what time I get in bed. The following day, I feel exhausted and in need of a nap, but since I am working, it is hard to find the time.
I am about to go back to school, and I feel that it would be in my best interest to fix my sleep schedule a little before I have to get back into the groove of classes. Do you have any tips on how to wind down before bed?
DEAR SLEEP: Map out a schedule of your weekly responsibilities. Write it all down on a calendar so that it is evident to you what you must do. This can help you to visualize what you have to do a week ahead. Having a plan before you go to sleep can help you to have a quieter head.
Additionally, turn off your electronics an hour before you want to be asleep. No phone, headphones, TV, etc. You can read a book, but no other stimulation.
Do a mini meditation where you sit quietly and breathe deeply, inviting yourself to pause. Use that time to consciously become still.
You will sleep better over time. When racing thoughts come in, just breathe, and tell yourself that your day is done. You have had all the excitement you need. Now is time to be quiet and rest.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.
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