Sunday, July 1, 2018

Day 1 Just Happened to Fall On My Day Off, But....

I always take Sundays off. I've done this for a long, long time, ever since my kids were old enough to get themselves breakfast. I don't always do nothing, but I do what I want. Sometimes, I work in the
garden, sometimes I take long walks or go window shopping. Sometimes I read a book from cover to cover, or binge watch TV shows. 

I'll be working long hours during this project, so a day off is very important. You brain and and body cannot just run on full speed 24/7. I did that for many years as a single parent, and I can tell you right now, it's destructive. 

When I was diagnosed with lupus, I asked my doctor, who had known me for many years, what caused it. He very flatly looked me in the eyes and said "A lifetime of unrelenting stress." I've since read studies that find many autoimmune diseases are caused in great deal by undue stress on the body, which causes your body to eventually try to kill itself to end the stress, or to cause you so much pain you have to slow down. I won't go into all that the studies said, it did find that a lot of those who develop autoimmune diseases have histories of substance abuse, obesity, and long term abusive relationships. In short, autoimmune disease is a cry for help from our body, a signal that we have to stop living like we have been, and start treating it kinder. 

In my journey, I know I'm going to be stressing my body, but I'm also going to be treating it kindly, with a healthy diet, exercise, and adequate sleep. I've read that sleep is probably the greatest gift you can give to your body. I've always performed poorly on less than a full eight hours of sleep, although I can get by on six to seven if I can rest during the day. 

Dealing With Stress

So how do you deal with the stress on your brain? For me, it's accompllished by doing something that doesn't require me to think much. Pulling weeds, planting seeds, starting cuttings are all very relaxing for me. I also love to read simple books like cozy mysteries or watch comedy videos on YouTube.

But we all have stress, so how do you work that stress off? When I had a large yard, my favorite way was to take a pair of loppers to the shrubbery. I've been known to pile up huge piles of yard waste in one day when I went on my slashing binges. Now that I don't have that outlet, I do it by compulsively cleaning and organizing my apartment. Since that is on the menu for this life change anyway, it will kill two birds with one stone.

Physical stress, however, can only be helped with rest. Your body must have time to heal itself. Any doctor will tell you when you have strained your body and are in pain that you must rest. Stress fractures in bones, tears, sprains and strains in muscles and ligaments, even severe tension headaches can only begin to heal with the stress is relieved. This is also why trainers tell you to do whole body workouts only three days a week, or to alternate your upper and lower body workouts six days a week, then give your body at least one day's rest. 

I tend to ramble, and this is getting way too long, so I'll stop here. On my last full day off before I start my grueling regimented routine to reach my goal, I'm going to just relax and do whatever strikes my fancy. Tomorrow morning at 6 a.m., my life changes drastically. 


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