Ask Ed: an Orcas Island Student Advice Column

Ed / Contributed photo


Hi Ed,
My cat wakes me up every morning around 30 minutes before my alarm goes off. I leave my door open so she can get around the house, but she seems to want to stay in my room just to spite me. I like my room the way it is (not completely destroyed) and sleep wouldn’t hurt either. What do I do?
    – Cat Troubles

Dear Cat Troubles,
Thanks for writing me! Is it possible to just leave your cat outside your room and shut your door? Maybe set them up a bed outside your room so they are free to roam the house outside of your room. I understand you might want to have her in your room though, so I would address the reason why she is waking you up. Is she hungry, or does she just want attention? If it’s the former, there are some great timed cat bowls that could feed her in the morning, keeping her quiet and allowing you to sleep. Because cats are creatures of habit, set the timer slightly before she would usually wake you up, so as soon as she wakes up there is food available. After a few days, set the timer slightly later. Keep doing so until your cat is being fed after you wake up. However, you will need to keep using the feeder even after you get her back to a normal routine because you don’t want to mess up the routine. If she begins to wake you up again, set the clock back to before she wakes up, and repeat. With time, your cat shouldn’t be bothering you anymore. If it is the latter, let us be honest… your cat is running the show. Her need for your attention just proves how much she loves you (at least, as much as a cat can love). I’d suck it up and go to sleep half an hour earlier, sorry.
    – Ed

Hi Ed,
How can you prevent feeling burned out with everything being virtual?
    From, Stressed Student

Dear Stressed Student,
Thanks for asking! I would like to start by saying that I know that these times have been really difficult for everyone, and I think it is important that individually we take a moment to appreciate how hard we are all working. Even if all you did was get out of bed today you are doing a good job. This is a new experience for everyone, so if you are feeling stressed, sad, or tired that is completely fine. You are allowed to feel these negative emotions without trying to fix or change them. It is valuable to acknowledge your emotions as they come, and know that they are valid. However, if you are looking to prevent feeling burned out, some lifestyle changes can make all the difference. Exercising regularly or just getting outside is important can do wonders in lightening your mood. If it is too much for you to go on a run or workout, that is fine. Simply going on a 20 minute walk can make you feel a lot better, and it gives you some time to focus on yourself, which is something we too often do not make time for. It also gives you some time away from your screen, which can prevent headaches and exhaustion. Focusing on eating healthy is another thing that can both improve your physical and mental health. By trying to eat a balanced diet, and making it a goal to eat at least one fruit or vegetable a day, your mood can drastically improve. However, do not feel as though you need to be eating healthy 24/7, or like you are doing something wrong if you are not eating “perfectly.” As long as you are happy you are doing perfectly. Practicing positive affirmations and mindfulness is something else that can both change and improve your perceptions of the world around you and yourself. Take a few moments each day to reset. Remind yourself how far you have come, and understand that even if things aren’t going perfectly in your life right now, they will get better. Treat yourself kindly, remind yourself all the things you are capable of, and remember that negative self talk will only hold you back. Focus on how you are feeling in the moment, and what you can do to improve that feeling. If you want to take this a step further, meditation and journaling can help you take a little more time to focus on yourself. Lastly, make sure you are getting enough sleep! Coming up with a good sleep schedule and sticking to it will both improve your mood, and give you the energy you need to get your schoolwork done. It is important to be getting between 7-10 hours of sleep every night, so let yourself relax! Like I said, do not feel pressured to “fix” your life or feel guilty for the negative emotions you may be experiencing, as I know everyone is dealing with a lot lately. I am proud of you for how far you have come, and as hard as things may be, I have confidence that you are going to get through it.
    Sincerely, Ed : )

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