*GASP* A new post! I can’t believe how many months it has been since I posted anything. Sorry I have been MIA lately, I know I need to post an update soon. Life has been throwing too much at me to handle already, and I just haven’t been able to find the time and energy to blog. I’m doing ok, and will post an update as soon as I’m able to. In the meantime, Duncan over at http://duncancross.net/ sent me an email last week asking me to submit a post for this month’s Patients for a Moment blog carnival. This week’s topic is “how do you recharge?” Thanks for jerking me out of my blog somnolence, Duncan!
How do I recharge? That’s a good question, because sometimes it feels like I’m not managing to recharge at all. This question is also awfully broad in scope – are we talking mental or physical recharging? There are some things that I find work for me (sometimes)… not always, not always completely. A lot of my efforts to recharge are grounded in my efforts to let go of my troubles in the first place.
So, here we go, in no particular order:
I try to go to yoga classes at the gym, because I feel like I get more of a relaxation when someone else is leading the class. I don’t have to think about anything that’s going on in my life – just do whatever stretches/breathing I’m told to do. I think I disconnect from the troubles in my life best when I’m in a yoga class or a guided meditation. Of course, this option requires me to be physically able to go to yoga that day. Meditation is easier since I can do it lying down just as well. Online/DVD/CD versions of “instructors” work well for me too. Basically, I just need someone else to take the reins and tell me what to do so I can let go of even that for a little while.
I’ve always been an avid reader, but sometimes I think that my chronic illnesses have made me even more inclined to pick up a book. If I can lose myself in someone else’s life then I can focus on their problems and forget about mine for awhile. Sometimes, I sit for hours – and then get a shock in my joints when I go to get up (whoops). For those few hours, though, I was able to forget about everything and I find that temporary release of those problems help me recharge.
These, of course, are similar to books. For me, this doesn’t work nearly as well. I find my mind wandering off, and I just can’t focus as well. I think that might be more of a preference and habit thing, and I know that TV and movies work well for a lot of my friends. When my brain fog is really bad, I much prefer movies and TV because I don’t have to keep track of such a complicated plot and numerous characters.
- Aerobic exercise.
This one, like the yoga, depends on my physical ability that day. If I’m capable, even a few minutes on the elliptical seems to be worth it for me. The exercise releases endorphins, and that really helps. There’s also something about sweating away the day’s troubles that helps me to let go of things that are eating at me. It’s almost as if I sweat them out of my mind.
- Pretty Plants.
Much to my mother and grandmother’s chagrin, I am absolutely not a gardener. Even when gardening wouldn’t have required all the sun-proofing procedures that being outside does now, I just never enjoyed working out in the garden. However, pretty plants seem to help my state of mind a lot. (Shocker, right?) On a philosophical level, I think that the plants remind me of seasons, and that things get better and worse in cycles. It’s a nice reminder that even if today is an awful day, tomorrow might be better. Or the next day. Or the one after that. …. Eventually, things end up on an upswing again. Plus, they’re just … pretty!
I find that the occasional vacation day helps me out a lot more than long vacations do. I’d rather have a 3-day weekend every couple months so that there’s something to break up the tedium, something to look forward to. That one day goes a long way to reviving flagging spirits and low energy levels. To take a week off, I have to work every day for months on end, by which time I’m completely worn down. Of course, if I had enough vacation days, I’d do more of the weeks off.
- Tea and a cuddly blanket.
Ok, this sounds silly … but somehow if I wrap a cuddly blanket around myself and make a nice cup of herbal tea it tends to make other things sort of soften around the edges. They don’t go away. I’m not distracted enough the way I am with a book, but they don’t eat at me quite as much. Of course, this is best paired with the book, plants, music and/or TV/movie option.
This is such a huge one. I can’t even be more specific, because the type of music and all depends so much on what I need and why I need to recharge. Mental or physical strain? Do I need to be social or lock myself away to achieve it? Either way, music is pervasive and with the advent of wonderful little mp3-playing devices, I love that it’s always possible to get away from the world for a few minutes as needed. It’s my easiest, most flexible option.
- Group/friend therapy.
I’m very lucky to have reliable friends – both in real life and in the internet worlds who are always around to support me. Sometimes there’s nothing that works better than to discuss life’s trials and tribulations with someone who can be supportive and cast perspective. My friends always know what I need to hear – and aren’t afraid to tell me even when what I need to hear isn’t necessarily what I want to hear. Even when nothing is particularly wrong and I’m just feeling low, a lunch/dinner/coffee/skype date with a good friends always lifts my spirits.
I’m not a big eater. The gastroparesis doesn’t help this at all. Plus I’m (still) trying to lose the prednisone and lyrica weight, so I don’t tend to indulge much in treats. It seems silly but treats, either comfort foods or something so decadent I that I rarely indulge in it, are often all I really need to put me back on feet.
I’d love to hear what you all do to recharge. I’m always looking for new, wonderful ideas!
I promise to get an update post up as soon as I can manage it. Sorry for my absence, friends.