Sunday, May 16, 2010
Ever have those weeks when it seems like all of your time is spoken for? When I was teaching, I can remember many days when I would work through lunch, attend an after school meeting, rush home, take my child to some activity, fix dinner and then rush off to something else (like grad school or exercise class) followed by hours of grading papers. I used to count the hours until the weekend (unless I was taking one of those weekend grad courses) so I could have some time to breathe. I was on the fast track to burn out!
Now that I'm older and hopefully a little wiser, I look back and say to myself, "What were you thinking?" The problem was, I wasn't thinking about anything but cramming as many things as I could into a set time frame. The busier I got the worse I felt. I stopped exercising because I injured myself. I filled that time with other things and then I no longer had the time to exercise. I gained weight as a result. I had been a normal weight all my life until I started putting myself at the bottom of the list. Then I became over weight, out of shape and burned out. For what? Did working like a slave make me a better teacher? Maybe, but I became an unhappy one within five years of stopping my exercise program. My problem was that I was no longer taking time for myself. I needed to have surgery but kept putting it off until I had trouble walking. Then, when I could no longer function, I took care of it. By that time some of the damage to my knees couldn't be repaired by anything other than knee replacements. It just wasn't worth the price I paid!
Now that I've retired on a disability from teaching, I can see what I couldn't see before. Taking time for yourself daily is important. Building exercise into your daily schedule is important. Paying attention to your body's needs is important. You can't give to others without first making sure that your body is in top working condition. Build some breathing room and exercise into your schedule. Last of all, strive be happy. Take some time to dream, relax and love. You'll be a happier, more productive person if you do.
Sunday, May 09, 2010
To all of my Spark friends, team leaders, team mates who have been so wonderful to me, Happy Mother's Day to all of you!
You've raised me up when I was blue and made me laugh with your jokes too!
You've encouraged me when I would quit and held my hand when I might just sit,
You've listened when I've rambled on and told me to put my Nikes on,
You've walked with me and talked with me and shared the pain and always kept me feeling sane,
You've been my family as mine passed on and cheered for accomplishments that I've won,
And so on this most special day, you probably know just what I'd like to say,
My heart is open with love to share, I give it to my friends out there!
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Well, after all of my introspection yesterday, I made a mistake that cost me some sleep last night. I pushed through my fatigue because we had company. The result was that I was over tired and too keyed up to get to sleep. I know better than to do this, but I was trying not to be rude, so I didn't give any clear boundaries. Viola! Today I'm dragging and irritated with myself. If other people don't care how late they're keeping me up, I need to care about myself and give them the social cues to let them know I'm tired. I'm physically too tired today to do my usual vigorous workout without hurting myself. Kudos to me for using good judgement on that! Instead, I'm going to work on my "to do list" at home. I've got to become clearer with my communications and boundaries to other people. They can only take advantage of me if I let them. I will do a better job of taking care of myself next time. Meanwhile, this afternoon I will treat myself to a nap because I need it and deserve it!
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Now that I'm spending a whole week with the focus on sleep, I'm looking for other causes of my fatigue. Let me say first that I'm hypothyroid. Being hypothyroid makes me very sensitive to feeling fatigue and I have to pay close attention to those feelings. Repeated bouts of fatigue during the daytime, when I'm getting adequate sleep at night, can raise a red flag and send me to the doctor for a thyroid medication check. Before I head to the doctor's office in a state of panic, there are a few other things I've learned to check first.
One of the first things that I usually check is the amount of protein that I've consumed for the day. Yesterday, I was feeling way too tired and dragged out to be normal. Upon checking the food tracker (got to love that thing) I noticed that my protein consumption was way too low. So for dinner I had a healthy serving of meat. Within about 40 minutes I was wide awake and full of energy. It was amazing! Obviously protein consumption is something that I need to watch for my own health. Some people who are hypothyroid need to make sure that their diet is rich in protein. I appear to be one of them.
The second thing that I check is the amount of water that I've consumed. Believe it or not, if I haven't had enough, it manifests itself in feeling tired and drained of energy. Since I live in Florida, keeping myself hydrated is a must. Today, for example, I did a strenuous workout in the water for about 75 minutes. The way the pool is shaped there is no place to set a water bottle. It is therefore very important that I drink quite a bit of water after my workout is over. When I started to feel really tired today, I knew that it was important for me to increase my water intake. Just like yesterday, as soon as I addressed the problem, I drank about 20 ounces, I perked right up.
The third thing I look at is physical stress such as illness, allergies or menstrual cycle. Any one of these or a combination can cause me to feel exhausted for no apparent reason. Several years ago I started getting frequent respiratory infections. In order to find out what was causing them, I started tracking combinations of things such as the weather, emotional stress, where I was in my menstrual cycle and the daily pollen count. Now I take allergy shots, monitor my sleep, eat lots of fruits/veggies and watch my stress levels. With my family doctor's help, I have reduced the respiratory infections to once or twice a year. I was also diagnosed with hypothyroidism which is somewhat controlled with medication. I have found that I need to pay closer attention to my body's signals.
The last thing that I take a look at is the amount of emotional stress that I'm experiencing. Stress can do lots of strange things to your body including making you feel tired and or sick. If I've already checked on my protein, my water and my physical stress, emotional stress is the next thing on my list. There are lots of things you can do to deal with stress. Some of them are deep breathing, venting to a journal, venting to a trusted friend/ family member, distracting yourself by doing something fun, getting some aerobic exercise, meditating, practicing yoga, giving yourself a spiritual shot in the arm and getting professional help to manage your stress, just to name a few. Hubby and I are currently working on a very stressful community project. Being aware that I am stressed out is important. I can't do anything about the stress until I become aware that I am stressed! I've been doing deep breathing, aerobic exercise, venting , praying and some meditation. This has been very helpful in managing my stress level and fighting fatigue.
Sometimes fighting fatigue is as simple as tracking your sleep or your food and water on the tracker. Sometimes it's more complex and requires professional help. Learning to know the difference is important. My motto is, if all else fails contact the doctor and get yourself checked out. Find out what is causing you to feel tired so that you can enjoy your life. Remember, fatigue isn't just caused by not sleeping!
Get An Email Alert Each Time AQUAGIRL08 Posts