Monday, September 16, 2013

Reasons to Smile

So, after a day that kind of sucked, I need to make a Daily 5 list:

  1. earplugs that work (eliminate mouse skritching sounds, but let me hear netflix)
  2. that it was sunny when I needed to escape the house and go for a walk
  3. laughing at Gilmore Girls
  4. seeing the fruits of therapy as I worked to manage an anxiety attack
  5. fresh cantaloupe
  6. a gift card for the local bookstore chain that let me engage in a bit of bookstore therapy today
  7. spending time starting on crocheting a blanket for a friend who is having a baby soon
  8. curling up in a comfortable chair to rest
  9. friends who pray
  10. my "panic" box

Of mice and broken things

I cried about mouse poison this morning.  Well, more exactly, about the need to purchase mouse poison.

I heard it in the ceiling last night - that horrible skittering sound - and I talked myself out of believing it. I convinced myself it was grandma's dog upstairs.  I popped in earplugs to block out ambient noise, and turned up the Grey's Anatomy re-run I was watching on Netflix, and I convinced myself it was okay to sleep, and there wasn't something skittering around in the ceiling above my head, and that it wouldn't come through the pop-out ceiling tiles that my grandpa shoddily put in place decades ago, and land on me while I was sleeping.

It worked, too, until this morning when I heard it again, just before heading upstairs and discovering that the dog was outside.

And then I called my mom and I cried.  Because I needed to go out and buy mouse poison.

More exactly, I cried because this seemed like the last straw in a week that had been filled with hard stuff.

Two different good friends are facing major illnesses in parents right now.

Others are facing major illnesses of their own.

My nursing semester hasn't started off anything like what I was hoping, and I'm playing a waiting game, getting more and more stressed about getting in the hours that I need before the deadline in early December.

It just seems like the last week has been full of hard things in my life, and in the lives of people I love.

And now there's a mouse in my ceiling, making my already ridiculous living situation just that much crazier.

The mouse was the last straw.  I ended up leaving the house, walking to a local bookstore, and browsing until I'd managed to calm myself out of an anxiety attack.

Then I walked home and put mouse poison in my ceiling, and convinced myself that earplugs are a great invention.

I'm drained - so drained that I couldn't even make a decision about what to make for dinner.  I let a friend on facebook do it for me. (I'm going to make a turkey burger and some steamed veggies).

I'm drained, and I'm sad, but I did manage to fight off an anxiety attack today.  And I'm going to have a healthy meal, and then maybe go for another quick walk in the sun, just to gear up for bed.

So I cried over mouse poison, but really, I cried over broken things - a broken world, broken bodies, broken organizations, and a broken house.  And then I got up and did something about the one of those things I could tangibly manage.  And that made me feel just a little bit better as I walked home from the bookstore, and from buying mouse poison and tried to pray.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

My Body and Physical Health

I woke up from a short nap a little while ago.  I'd been reading, and started to drift, and rather than fighting that feeling, decided to go with it today, within limits.  I slept for about an hour, not super deeply, but it was lovely.

When I woke up, I was feeling a little foggy and lethargic (that's what napping often does to me), so I decided I'd finish off my planned exercise for the day by doing one six minute circuit from Jillian Michael's Banish Fat Boost Metabolism DVD.  That's done and now I'm sitting down to write.

Wait!  Before I lose you (because a blog post where the first two paragraphs read like that would probably lose me), let me explain.  I've spent the last week and a half thinking, reading, researching, pondering and praying about the idea of health. I've read voices that range from an auyervedic yogi to Dr. Oz.  From diet books to women's health.  I even did a two-day cleanse last week with the unfortunate name of "Look Better Naked Two-Day Cleanse".  (Full confession - I totally picked this cleanse because it was the easiest one I came across, where I didn't have to eat anything really gross!  I could care less at this point what I look like naked!)

Health and I, at least physical health and my body, have not exactly got the best relationship track record.  In fact, we kind of ignore if not downright dislike each other.  And yet, as I settled in last week to do some of that reading and research, I was pretty aware of the need for that to start changing.

I weigh more than I ever have (a number that is creeping scarily close to the "obese" range on the BMI charts for my height). I'm also in a position to start changing some things.  I start my final practicum next week, the second last hurdle for me to cross before I'm officially a registered nurse.  I'm within six-eight weeks of being fully weaned off of the medication that I've been on for the last two years to manage moods and anxiety.  It's been a great medication, but I don't feel like I need the support at this point in my life, and it has contributed significantly to the weight gain challenges I've had in those two years. My schedule is about to be more consistent, and I'm removing a major obstacle.  I'm very aware that with coming off medication, I need to have a mentally and physically healthy lifestyle in place to hopefully stay off the pills.  And plus, in terms of a lot of other things in my life, I'm in a healthier place than I've been in a long time, so it's time to make some changes with my body and physical health.

So I did a lot of reading and research, because half the battle for me is convincing myself this is actually worth it.  I historically hate almost all forms of exercise, and when I get hungry I crave sweets.  You can see the problem.  I watched shows on neflix and on veria living to motivate and inform me.  I began to accumulate viewpoints and opinions that would work for me, and discard others.  For example, I watched a whole series with an auyervedic practitioner and discovered that I can definitely get on board with the holistic idea that all parts of my lifestyle (even how much stuff I own) impacts my health.  But I hated his method of talking about food, which treated food as utilitarian, not something to be done really for enjoyment or to be done in a social setting, but just as energy.  I can't get on board with that - it contradicts deeply held beliefs rooted in my faith that say that sharing a meal with people is a sacred and connecting practice - a form of communion that is beyond the body.

And all that reading and research ultimately led me to a few doable ideas to start making changes.  I can't get on board with spending twenty minutes a day focused on exercises for my abs, but I can use Dr. Oz's 7 Day Belly Workout Cheat Sheet, where I need to spend 2-5 minutes doing a different exercise each day.  I can't at this point commit to doing a whole 45 minute Jillian Michael's video, but I can commit to doing one (or sometimes two) six minute circuits 4-5 times a week.  I can't (and won't) go on a major diet, but I can use tools like the My Fitness Pal website to track what I'm eating, and set a doable calorie goal (usually the 0.5lb weight loss a week range). I can drink a glass of water with lime (I hate lemon in water and most other things) every day to help my body detox.  I can stick to a basic regimen of vitamins and probiotics. I can't always make it to the reccomended 10000 steps a day using my Fitbit tracker, but I can shoot realistically for greater that 6000 a day, and go from there. I can eat lots of fruits and veggies and limit gluten and starch in my diet.

And the reason that I think I can make these changes is that most of them are already somewhat in place in my life, while the others fit into a window of time and activity that doesn't feel like it will overwhelm me. For me, that's the key - to figure out what is doable for me, what I won't hate and immediately quit - and then build from there.  I'm working on that figuring out what's doable thing in the whole of my life right now, and it seems to be helping.

Here's hoping that figuring out doable in the realm of my body and physical health is going to improve for it!

(and p.s. also in the realm of doable - I'm going to look at an elliptical machine off of Kijiji with my dad tonight! I'm thinking my neflix sessions are going to require a bit more physical activity in the near future if all goes as planned!)