I haven’t really been able to keep up with doing a blog per week as previously intended. I was listening to the Wild Expansion Podcast today and she was talking about how she sometimes gets caught up in wanting her podcasts to be perfect or that feeling of not being enough and I think that hits the nail on the head. I’m that hung up about thinking that my blog isn’t as good as other blogs and worrying over the topic that it get’s in the way of actually getting the thing done! What also motivated me to start writing was the fact that I had intended to do four blogs in March and only did two. It’s 1 April today so maybe this can count as three.
It’s a weird world at the moment but I am using this time to try and improve myself and cope better with everything as best I can. It is so scary but it’s also a time that we might never see again in our lifetime. When will we ever have this time again to be completely still and re-evaluate our life? When things like this happen it reminds you just how short life is and regardless of money or status, none of us are protected against something like this. We are here for one time only, there are no do-overs and there are no second chances. The only moment I had similar to this was after a hospital stay, which I haven’t quite got to in the historical part of my story. I can guarantee after all of this is over there will be a lot of career changes and new start ups as people will have more time to think about everything. When you are faced with sickness, it’s a quick way to re-prioritise your life and what actually matters. I might have referenced this before I can’t remember but you know in Chicken Run when the wee chicken goes ‘my whole life flashed before my eyes…it was really boring actually’. That is my worst nightmare. Having regrets or leaving this life having left no mark on the world at all.
If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen that I put up a wee chat about why I wrote my last article post ‘Five Reasons why having a chronic condition has prepared you for this crisis’. That’s another thing I have been doing recently, feeling my feelings and recognising that they are valid. I understand that this pandemic is very scary for everyone but I couldn’t help but feel annoyed that now that other people are being inconvenienced that the world is paying attention. The disabled, the chronically ill and anyone that suffers from any sort of illness is inconvenienced ALL the time. Yet they are expected to be the silent society. Deal with it and don’t complain is the clear message and that was also shown by the way the now Pandemic was talked about at the start. Awk sure don’t you worry general population it’s only the old and the people with underlying health conditions that should be worried. That was a clear message that the government cares only about the fit and healthy of its population, the tax payers, the big money makers. I work and I’m a tax payer, as are many disabled people but where is the care for us? Where is the uproar when we are inconvenienced? I’m not trying to be like oh poor me I’m genuinely just furious for this vulnerable section of society as a whole. We are under-represented and need to start speaking up because we deserve to be treated so much better than we are.
Ok so I was meant to be writing this blog to be a bit more positive….eep.
It’s fecking April already!!! How did we get here?? To be fair, March wasn’t great to us was it….or 2020 in general like. Talking about priorities changing like last month it was write a few blogs this months is :
- Do not catch Covid-19
That’s it. That’s my main goal. They say when writing goals you should just have a few must-do sorta goals first. To be fair like there’s nothing like a deadly virus to just start looking after yourself. What’s that? I should read upside down for 10minutes a day and say the alphabet backwards for immunity?? Sign.me.up.
All jokes aside, you will be glad to know that I have been trying some things that I want to log some sort of progress on. I read a few books which is great because reading is something I wanted to get back into:
- The Secret World of Sleep
This is written by a Neurologist about a range of sleep disorders he has treated. It’s a great mix of stories about the patients themselves, their sleep disorders and the science behind them. He would a great person to get on a podcast and interview I think as the stories are brilliant. If you know feck all about sleep disorders it’s also a good wee read just to have an overview. It’s not particularly detailed on any of them but it gives you a good insight into what people with sleep disorders are living with. It chats about Narcolepsy but only in the context of Cataplexy which I was a bit disappointed with but sure.
- Atomic Habits
I know this has been a popular book but that is for very good reason. His process of gradually building habits and creating a structure for doing so is seriously impressive. He throws in some stories to motivate you too so its not all listing rules. For me, one of the mind-training tricks of setting up your environment or doing what’s closest to you has been really effective. Also rewards, like I am a complete child and need to be bribed sometimes so even just like things like ‘I can only watch Netflix after I have done a workout’ really work for me. Check it out definitely.
- Hyper Focus
Written by a guy called Chris Bailey, this is all about, you guessed it, focus. I would really recommend it if you are the sort of person that is addicted to your phone and feel like your brain has went to mush. Our brains were never meant to be able to keep up with social media 24/7 and constantly being ‘on’. He chats about meditation and the optimum way to work and focus. I really really enjoyed it and definitely have taken a lot from it.
I am always reading several books at a time depending on my mood, sometimes I want to read about sleep, sometimes I want to read about something completely different to distract myself. At the minute though I definitely have an obsession with personal development and spiritual books, what can I say, I’m just a curious cat. Even if I don’t totally believe in it I’m always interested in what other people do believe in and what motivates them.
On my reading list for this month and what I’m reading at the moment are:
- Reasons to stay alive – Matt Haig
Not to worry, I am not experiencing depression or anything but I have been following Matt Haig on social media for ages now and I realised I haven’t actually read his books. So far it is brilliant.
- The Four Pillars – Dr Rangan Chatterjee
This book was actually recommended to me by Made by Jade Nutrition ages ago and I am only getting round to reading it now. He started focusing on nutrition when his son was ill and now has a completely holistic approach to treating his patients – and it works! I have just read the Relax pillar so far and I just love the format and gorgeous design of the book.
- The Chimp Paradox – I haven’t opened this one yet so I shall keep you posted!
To be fair I am doing better than last month but see having a condition that is so chronic and can be flared up as the wind changes?? It makes it SO hard to be consistent but that also reinforces why habits are SO important. Like noone has to force you now to brush your teeth you just do it and these wee inherent habits make all the difference.
Some things that have helped though:
- Phone – putting my phone outside my room approx an hour before sleep (meant to be 2 but whatevs) and then when the alarm goes off I have to get up and it’s grand as long as I don’t get back into bed. It’s certainly got a higher success rate than the previous system so this is one I will stick with.
- Morning Routine – if I am able to get up at the time I set my alarm for and get my morning routine done I feel so great and the day hasn’t even started yet. I don’t always make it up for the time I want though so that’s annoying but I will keep working on it. A morning routine doesn’t have to be super complicated, mines is just – get up, eat, clean kitchen, get upstairs brush teeth and try do some yoga & meditation, get a glass of water and take my meds. If I sleep in its shortened to get up, eat, brush teeth & meds. It just means you don’t get that time for yourself and I always feel like crap when I sleep in.
- Nighttime Routine- I haven’t quite got a grip on this as much as the morning routine but basically it’s just a winding down process. I give myself a wee list of things to do before I go to bed so it makes me feel like I have achieved something too and I feel good going to bed. As I said before, the phone gets put outside the room and then I just read until I fall asleep.
It was Amy Landino on Youtube that got me on to the very idea of a morning and evening routine and it definitely helps – IF you stick to it. I’m not saying I have completely committed to them yet but when I do I feel so much better so it’s definitely something I will keep working on.
I also had a fellow Narcoleptic contact me via my Instagram about Sleep Inertia which I had never heard of before. It is basically your sleep cycles and how if you wake up in the middle of one you will feel so much more sluggish than if you had woken after the end of one complete cycle. Each cycle is approx 90 minutes and if you need about 5 or 6 cycles in a night to have a good nights sleep. I know this is probably common knowledge if you think about the 8 hour sleep requirement. But for me, I wake up several times in the night. Now I count how many sleep cycles I can still get through and it makes me feel better. I adjust my alarm if needed so it matches the end of my sleep cycle.
I actually nearly forgot with this whole craziness – I am now DRIVING again. A seriously proud moment for me after 6 long years of not driving.
- I took part in Pat Divilly’s 14 day challenge for Journalling and Meditation and I found it SO helpful. I really lack accountability sometimes and a group setting was exactly what I needed. I always found meditation hard to get into and the Box-Breathing (google it) is the perfect thing for a beginner! I found the Journalling prompts really different too like not your run of the mill stuff and they really made me think. It was such an amazing set up and for free too like you couldn’t beat it!!! The tasks and prompts are still on his instagram so go follow @patdivilly and get on it! Out of all the life coaching things I have read about and podcasts I have listened to, his programme was the only thing I actually really really engaged with and followed through. Life coaching is very different from therapy or CBT though so just bear that in mind. I remember being referred to Life coaching years ago and I hated it – I didn’t get it at all and that’s because it was about 5 steps ahead from what I needed.
- Exercise – I still have a long way to go on this goal but I’m at least making an attempt. I did Joe Wicks the other day and I was out of breath during the warmup haha. Three times a week is what I am aiming for so I may keep at it if I don’t want to emerge out of this crisis looking like a potato.
- Social – I was just starting to leave the house more and then they locked us down and my wee naturally anti-social self secretly loves it but also knows its bad for her mental health over time.
I don’t really have any new goals from this month really other than to stick to the routines and practices that I built up over the last month. I would like to get back to being better with Nutrition again as I feel like that is an area that could do with more work. The current Pandemic is not helping to break my old habit of stress eating though. What’s that? Germany’s on lockdown?? guzzles whole bag of crisps Oh and now our holidays cancelled but they don’t want to give us a refund?? Opens the cupboard for the 50th time. Oh god NOW WE ARE ON LOCKDOWN drowns in cookies.
I’m gonna do my best but not putting pressure on myself either- neither should you if you are reading my crazy ramble.
Stay safe everyone and look out for each other
Queen of chatting shite