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October 13, 2005

Pulling myself together

Breaking up is hard to do. , More about me than you ever wanted to know , No, actually, I am not okay. , Sanity is overrated. , Thank goodness for friends.

So, um, sorry about yesterday. I'd been thinking about including more personal stuff on this blog, and I guess in my madness yesterday I decided to go for it. Hope no one minded. And a very big thank you to Folkcat, Lauren, Kat, and Kristen for all the support and virtual hugs in the comments. It really did help.

So I wound up leaving class early because I was feeling worse and worse, physically, and was having trouble concentrating as well. At points, I was struggling not to fall asleep, so I was worried about driving home if I had stayed for the whole class. Of course, due to power problems or something, I ended up waiting about an hour for a train to take me back to my car. Waiting outside. In the cold/wind/occasional rain. Yes, I'm sure this did wonders for my cold. Anyway, I finally made it home, only a bit earlier than it would have been if I'd just stayed in class, but still. I put on my jammies, talked to my roommate for a while, went to bed, and actually slept quite well.

Today I'm feeling emotionally better but physically yucky. (Of course, they are related; I need to teach my body that "hey, bronchitis!" is not a good reaction to a little stress. Not that I have bronchitis now, but that's where things have generally headed in the past.) I have a full-fledged cold now, with coughing and intermittant wheezing and chills. Fun. So, the plan for the evening:

1. Put on favorite pajamas
2. Do enough from my to do list to decrease the stress level a bit
3. Eat soup and drink tea
4. Curl up in bed with a Netflix DVD and knitting
5. Take some Dimetapp around nine to knock me out and read myself to sleep

Sound good? I have a pretty full weekend planned, so I need to get better. I am also afraid that this cold is the start of the long-running illness I seem to get almost every winter. It's a combination of stress and the weather, I think: as soon as the cold and finals and the holiday season hit, I'm vaguely ill for months. It comes and goes, of course; most of the time it's more annoying than actually debilitating. But yeah... annoying. I'd like to break the cycle. I think it's a combination of not taking very good care of myself and not having very healthy ways of dealing with stress. So this year, I'm formulating a plan. What I have so far:

1. Get enough sleep. No, really. Yes, with two jobs and class, there are nights when I just can't get to bed early enough to get eight hours, but these nights are not the majority. The problem is that there are way too many nights when I stay up late for no good reason. I think if I can improve this, it will make a huge difference - at this point, I can barely imagine not being tired all the time.

2. Remember to take my vitamins. I'm getting better, but still not remembering every day.

3. Eat better. I don't eat horribly, by any means, but I'm sure I don't get enough protein. (Suggestions on easy protein??) And some more fruits and veggies wouldn't kill me.

4. Stay hydrated. Another obvious one that gives me way too much trouble.

5. Actually wear some of those scarves and hats I'm always knitting. Well, I don't know. You don't get colds from being cold, right? Is there any relation to having your body temperature drop or whatever because of weather, and getting sick? In any case, the cold aggravates my asthma, so I should make some attempt with the scarf thing at least.

6. Find some other way to deal with stress, darn it. This is the hard one. I get stressed, my body acts up, I ignore it until it gets so bad that I have to stop everything and stay in bed for a few days. Which, subconsciously, may contribute to the cycle: the implied "reward" of getting to stay home sick. Argh. This is the one I really need help with, and I'd love to hear any input.

Any thoughts/suggestions on any of it would be much appreciated, actually...

Posted by Kat at October 13, 2005 02:55 PM

Fun time, Kat, it's all about fun time for you. Take it from one who knows, all stress and no play makes for poor health. Though, I have to admit, an occasional 90 minute crying jag does help somewhat. What works for me-I finally learned that every now and then, I have to stop thinking so damn much, relax, and enjoy myself a bit. Although, when one is out practice, relaxing can be difficult too.

Posted by: Erica at October 13, 2005 05:09 PM

You're off to a good start there, I think.

Getting enough protein is also an issue for me. I'm not in the habit of cooking a hamburger or a slab of chicken or something at home. I do try to eat a bit of cheese here and there, and I actually like tuna enough that it's almost like a treat for me, so that helps.

It doesn't take a lot to be enough protein. An ounce of cheese is a serving. Eat it mindfully (paying attention to it, not just blindly stuffing it into your mouth while watching TV or reading a book), and it will be satisfying.

Eggs can be good, too, just don't do them all the time. I like a couple over easy with toast. Sometimes that's a late dinner for me.

Posted by: Folkcat at October 13, 2005 07:58 PM

Good plan. I find physical exercise helps too. In addition to the health benefits it gets you out of your routine. I take Java for a walk in the park or to the beach, bring some knitting and we take a break on a bench or rock somewhere. She loves sniffing the wind and I can knit in peace without the constant visual reminders of all the housework and organization that I could be doing.

Do you have access to a dog? A good game of fetch does wonders for my mental mood. It's hard to feel down and stressed when a dog is smiling at you.

They say temperature has nothing to do with getting colds, but I wear a hat all the time (sometimes I even sleep with one) and only get about one a year. (Hope I haven't jinxed myself now.)

Posted by: Kat at October 13, 2005 08:07 PM

Hey Doc, I think I'm going to take your prescription on for myself. I need to do all those things, plus get some exercise. And take my thyroid meds more reliably. Very, very good advice.

Thank you for the absolutely wonderful care package. I probably would have been better by the time I received it if I had taken this advice--instead I continued to burn the candle at both ends. Fun, but not enough sleep, not enough hydration, etc. etc. I had a cup of the tea last night and it was just the ticket. I think another good piece of advice for me is to drink herbal tea at night instead of eating chocolate. I know, file under "duh."

Thank you, my dear. And let's keep checking in with each other on how well we're doing with our New Year's (it's the Jewish new year, plus I consider Rhinebeck the start of the knitter's new year) resolutions.

Posted by: mamacate at October 17, 2005 11:30 AM

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