Monday, September 28, 2009
Growing up, my dad joked that I was solar powered, but it wasn't until a few years ago that I realized that there was more truth to his statement than I had ever thought. It was a really rough winter for me, in a lot of ways--not only was I socially isolated, but it was a very dark and dreary winter. We had literally over a month and a half without a single day when you could see the sun, and I had no energy to do anything. Then the sun came out, finally, and I found myself able to function again. It was a bit of an eye opener.
Since then, I've done my best to make sure that my work places are full of light. One of the big factors in choosing our current apartment, in fact, was that both the office and living room got tons of natural daylight during the day, and we've got the natural day light florescents now, which help at night (though they are not "true" daylight, like the lamps). What I probably need is a true day light lamp, which I haven't gotten because of the expense. But a friend of mine has one that she said I could borrow this winter, to see if it does help.
Well, it's now late September, and the days are definitely getting shorter, the weather wetter, and the nights longer. I was chatting with a friend on line earlier today and she accused me of "hermitting" again, something she says that I do every year this time of year. She says that the reason I 've not been feeling well is both because of the shorter days themselves and the fact that I had pretty much stopped exercising--apparently if you go from exercising consistently to barely working out, you can feel worse than you had before you started.
I don't know how much of that is true--I had to cut back originally because of my asthma (which was unrelated to the sun) and then because I felt horrible--mild fever, sore throat, stuffed head, headache, twitchy stomach, etc.--but also because I had absolutely no energy for anything. I have no doubt that I was actually sick (just as I know I'm feeling better now), but could it be that the lack of sunlight is part of the reason I'm having so much trouble getting going again? Am I, in fact, hermitting, shutting myself away from everyone? I don't know, but if I am it's not good for me and I need to stop. I need to get out and see people again, and to get more active.
I was going to go for a walk today, but it's raining and I don't really want to go for a walk in the rain. But I do plan to go to yoga tonight. It will be good for me--not only for my hip, but I'm told that it should help the asthma, too, because it emphasizes controlled breathing.
On a different note--I haven't been recording what I eat for awhile, because I haven't been online and wasn't doing much of anything for awhile there. When I did go back and log the few days prior, I was dumbfounded by how badly I had done. You would think that after carefully recording (and, yes, often measuring what I ate so that I could accurately report it) that I would have at least some sense of what I should be eating every day. Apparently not. I just didn't have much of an appetite when I was sick--I drank a lot of water and tea and broth, but I didn't really want to eat anything. Even though the foods that I did eat tended to be high in calories (for example, pudding), I still wasn't getting very many calories in a day. One day I had only about 800 calories! Most days I did at least somewhat better, but still. And then this weekend, when I was truly hungry for the first time in weeks, I had at least 1500 calories on Saturday and over 1900 yesterday!
Neither extreme is healthy (well, the 1500 is within my calorie limit if I work out, but I hadn't been burning as many calories as sparks was allowing for; I haven't walked as much as I'd planned and walking doesn't burn as many calories as the elliptical or other activities I had been doing). Clearly, I still need to record what I eat. I just wish it wasn't so time intensive.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Heheh. Or at least a facsimile of it *grin*.
I'm finally feeling better--not 100% yet, but better than I had been. Today is really the first stay in over a week when I was feeling at all like myself, which is a good sign. Thank you, everyone, for your supportive comments. I have missed my sparks friends! I'm afraid it will take me awhile to catch up on everyone's comments and blogs--I haven't even looked at my email or do much of anything productive, and I'm way behind on everything.
It's not been the greatest of weeks, health-wise. First I got laid up with a sinus infection, and then my husband got sick as well. The foods haven't been the greatest, since neither of us were up to cooking, let alone things like grocery shopping. I had lots of things like pudding, yogurt, and instant soups. Oh well. I did get lots of fluids, lots of sleep, and am feeling better.
I'm finding it harder than it feels like it should be to get my feet back under me. Part of it is that there's so much that needs to be caught up on--email, housework, writing, and so forth. But part of is re-finding my rhythm again. Maybe it would be easier if I had really gotten the balance between healthy living (so buying/preparing healthy foods, finding time to work out, etc.) and the rest of my life. I was able to do the healthy living if I made it my #1 my priority, but doing so meant that I had to let a lot of things slide that I probably shouldn't have, and now having lost, what, two weeks?--and I don't even know where to start.
So some tentative short term goals:
1) Write every day. Even if it's just a little, I really need to get back in the habit. The clock is ticking, and I'm getting so stressed out about deadlines that it's hard to even get started. I don't know how to stop being stressed, but somehow I have to back into the habit again of consistently working. It's the only way it will get done, let alone by my deadlines
2) Stop sleeping in--I'd slept late while sick, and that's probably wise, but now I need to get up earlier and actually eat breakfast so that I can get things done.
3) Work out every day, even if it's just a short walk. Working out seems to be the best thing for my body--my hip hurts less, it helps with the stress, helps me sleep better, etc. Unfortunately, if I don't make it a conscious priority it's easy to let it slide as I have so many things demanding my time. Especially if the activity (like the elliptical) isn't something I enjoy doing. So I need to make time, probably in the morning after breakfast. And make it stick.
4) Take care of stuff on my computer--especially clear off some room on the hard drive and back stuff up. It may sound dumb to make that a priority, but it's time consuming and I really hate going through and organizing/deleting files and the like. But it has to be done.
I hope that this proves doable. There are tons of other things that need to be done as well, but if I write them all down I get overwhelmed and don't do anything. I am trying hard not to be discouraged and frustrated. It feels like I'm starting over. I know I'm not, really, though I'm sure that I'll have to cut back on the exercise (would have had to anyway, because of my allergies.) Even though I haven't kept up with most of my sparks streaks, and I haven' tracked my food in what feels like ages let alone things like exercise, I'm not really starting over. But is sure feels like it.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I just wanted to let people know that I'm still alive and will respond to everyone's comments eventually. I've been feeling under the weather--nothing serious, just my allergies crossing the line into a sinus infection. It happens, no big deal, I'm getting better, but being on the computer hasn't been high on my list of things I want to do. To be honest, Sleeping has been at the top of the list. So I'm taking it easy, drinking lots of fluids, etc.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
This came up in a e-conversation with NITAFROMCT (sorry you're getting it twice, NITAFROMCT) and it occurred to me that maybe I should share it with others. For one thing, I can't be the only one struggling with some variation on this issue. For another, my spark friends have been wonderful about seeing things from the outside, things I don't think about because I'm too caught up in the middle of it.
I worry sometimes that I'm making excuses for myself--but it's not like I'm making up the asthma (or the hip issues, for that matter). I spent years doing my best to "tough it out" and ended up screwing myself up pretty badly, so now I'm hoping that I'm wiser and making realistic assessments, not excuses.
And the sad thing is that I probably feel like I'm making excuses not because I really am but because of a certain degree of social expectation to tough things out (I remember talking to a peer about my hip when it was at it's worst--it really hurt, badly, and it would literally lock up and not move and I'd almost fall down because of both the pain and the fact that my hip wasn't supporting me. And she said "well, at least it's not stopping you, right?" And I felt like saying "stopping me? of course it's stopping me! I'll be walking across campus and suddenly not be able to move my leg! What do you think, I'm running marathons?") I mean, I guess it didn't stop me in the sense that while I rested and did the ice and NSAIDS and everything, I didn't give up and am trying to actively reclaim it, but I couldn't just continue as if nothing was wrong. And at the time, I didn't have a whole lot of perspective on it other than it HURT and I wanted/needed the pain to GO AWAY. I didn't know what was wrong or how, if at all, I was going to be able to make it go away. All I knew was that i hadn't slowed down when it first started troubling me and all that gave me was that it got a lot worse. That was 7 years ago--I've learned a lot since then.
When I'm my most rational, I know it's not excuses--and in fact pushing too hard is part of what got me in this mess in the first place. But I'm not always successful at being rational, and sometimes I'm not so sure I'm making decisions for the right reasons (it's a bad idea to work out) vs an unspoken bad reason (I don't like exercise/I'm busy/etc.). Because the "right reasons" so often let me do what I'm tempted to do anyways. Because it'd be all too easy to just let things slide again--to slow down, take it easy, and spend my time in other ways . I always have something that I want/need to do.
This is especially true since other than tennis and water activities (the later no longer an option as the pool closed after labor day), I haven't at all enjoyed the cardio exercises. I did it because I wanted the benefits, but in the short term I can't say that I felt good. Runner's high? I'd come back from 20 minutes on the elliptical and just crash, feeling exhausted. I certainly didn't feel happier, more energized, or less stressed. (I'm working on finding alternative activities that I enjoy for at least part of the time, or rather I was before I started having asthma attacks each time I tried anything. I did really enjoy the rollerblading until my body gave up on me).
The asthma is real enough--and scary enough--but there's that little voice in my head saying that I'm letting it justify laziness--or at least working on other things--rather than trying hard enough to find a way to make it work.
It's like I have that cartoon angel and devil on my shoulder--but is it the angel or the devil that is urging me to take it easy (oh so tempting!) because of the asthma?
Probably another sign that I'm being too hard on my self. I told you, I'm good at that. I'm also sometimes ridiculously stubborn, and it really goes against my grain to give up on something, even short term. So two big parts of my personality are telling me that I'm giving up too easily, that I should somehow try harder and find a way to make it all work. And those two streaks in my personality are resisting all logic to the contrary--and especially insidious is that I'm taking the easy way out and rationalizing what I want to do anyway, because that's really hard to prove or disprove.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
On a completely frivolous side note, there are times when I can be really slow. I was catching up on some of my comments and realized that other people's blogs are different colors--not just that they have pictures for backgrounds. So I realized I can change the color. So I picked blue *grin* Simply because I can.
I don't know yet how I should handle the exercise situation. I ended up not doing anything yesterday because I was pretty sore after rollerblading--far more sore than I had expected, but I guess it not only used muscles I don't use very often but the ones I've lost the most of since hurting my hip. I just couldn't bring myself to move more than I had to.
I think Monday at least I'll reintroduce strengthening exercises--that doesn't effect my asthma and it's helping my hip. The cardio is more of a problem. My understanding is that cardio, to be effective, needs to 1) raise your heart rate and 2) be sustained for at least 10 minutes. I didn't even make 10 minutes, really, on Thursday before I started having problems. I can walk, sure, no problem, at least until my hip gives out, but that doesn't seem to raise my heart rate much. Anything that seems to get my heart rate up, though, seems to be triggering the asthma lately. It might (hopefully!) get better once the allergy season calms down, but that might not be until the first hard frost--and in even in Michigan that might not be until well into October. So I'm not sure what to do about it. Walk anyway, even though it doesn't seem to be really cardio? Maybe try yoga again (haven't tried since the asthma problems), which isn't really cardio either but it's more intense than walking, plus really good for my hip?
I hope I'm not sounding defeatist, because I don't think I am, really. I'm just not sure if I should give up on trying to get true cardio for the time at least and at least focus on being mildly active, or if there is a way to work the cardio back in in small doses at least. I am reluctant to give up on the cardio, especially since I know that my cardio vascular health has always been my weakness out of cardio, strength, and flexibility. But I don't like to mess with the asthma. I'm very lucky that I have mild asthma that for the most part (at least until the last couple of weeks) has been well under control--asthma is serious and it can be life threatening. If things don't get better soon, I may have to resort to yet another doctor visit, but I hope it doesn't come to that.
Or there may be another solution I haven't considered. I do like the idea of setting some kind of alarm or something to get me up from my desk and either eat (because not eating is very bad) or go for a short walk or something. Because it's really easy for me to lose track of time.
Despite the fact that last night I had another, very bad insomnia night (very bad meaning I didn't fall asleep in the end until well after 5 am and had to be up at 7), I had a really fun weekend with friends. We made last minute plans to go to the Detroit Zoo, which may not be super athletic but it did mean a lot of walking (though negated in part by I'm sure some pretty lousy food choices). It was a lot of fun. I haven't been to the Detroit zoo in a long time and they have made a lot of really nice improvements. I love zoos, I love spending time with the friends, and it was one of those beautiful end of summer days that you want to hold close--an all around lovely day.
And I realized something when I was pointing out a view of a red panda to a lady in a wheelchair, and that was more than 5 years ago I would not have been able to do the zoo without renting a wheelchair. I just couldn't have walked that far, and even if I had I would have been in so much pain I'd have been too miserable to enjoy the zoo. This year, it didn't even occur to me to rent a wheelchair; instead I was actually looking forward to walking around the zoo. And even though my hip has backslid a bit in the last week, I took my medicines before we left and I managed to walk for the better part of the 4 or 5 hours we were there without pain until the last few exhibits. Yes, I was probably not walking the greatest by the time we got to the car, because by then it was hurting pretty badly, and I'm stiff and sore now and am icing the joint and will take more medicine soon, but I did it. I didn't even question that I could do it. And that reminded me that I really have gotten a lot better, even with backsliding a bit.
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