I don’t know if waking up early will make me any wiser, but I’m hoping it will make me more focused and organized.
I haz issues. Lots of them, apparently. After being diagnosed with CFIDS, chronic migraine, sleep apnea, severe dry eye, parotid gland infections, chronic sinus infections, chronic pneumonia & even hypochondria the past ten years, I think I was finally diagnosed properly. I have an autoimmune disease called Sjögren’s Syndrome and now that I know for sure what I’m dealing with, it has become necessary to change my lifestyle.
1. Insomnia. I’m a horrible sleeper. I go to bed late, toss & turn throughout the night & find it hard to wake up in the morning. Fatigue is a real thing, and it has been absolutely crippling the past four weeks because I have the shingles too. One of the things my rheumatologist, other Sjögren’s sufferers and the online research indicate is that I must develop better sleeping habits. Therefore, I think I shall be doing yoga right before bed followed by a shower and I should also set a bedtime of 10:30-11:00pm. (Trust me, this is way better than my usual wee hours!) I also find that I fall asleep easier to a couple of guided meditation CDs I have, so I’ll use those as well.
2. Medication. I hate taking medicine and vitamins. HATE. I am now dependent on medication to get me through day by day. And, I’m lousy at remembering to take it when I’m supposed to. I need to remember that my illness not only affects me, but it also affects my husband, daughter, co-workers and friends too. I’ve made up a little chart to help me remember to take my medicine and I’ve purchased moisturized eye drops to keep at work, just in case I forget to carry it with me. (EDIT: I am allergic to one of the new medications. Lovely. I now have hives on top of the shingles. I am one itchy owie grouchy mess. The medications will be adjusted soon…)
3. Stress. I know, it’s unavoidable, but my approach to life could use some improvement. In addition to yoga & meditation, I have another stress outlet: writing. Julia Cameron suggests writing 3 stream-of-conscious pages every morning, to get all the junk out of the way. All the whiney “I feel like dirt this morning,” “I hate my job,” “I have far too many things to accomplish today,” etc. Once those whiney thoughts are off your chest, it frees you up to look at life a little more realistically, not to mention it opens up your creativity (which is Ms. Cameron’s intent) and for me, it keeps me focused on my goals.
4. Diet. Now, more than ever, it is important to follow a healthy diet. Moderation in everything I eat and drink…no more binges! No more whiskey weekends, chocolate frenzies nor food comas. More veggies and fruits. More water. Less sugar & refined foods. I don’t eat horribly and I love fresh foods, so this shouldn’t be so hard. I’m already 18 pounds down for the year, and being more mindful of what I put into my body can only help get me all the way to my goal weight (I am about halfway there!).
5. Exercise. I’m somewhat limited in this arena because of a herniated disk in my low back, but there are plenty of things that I can and should do regularly. Walk my puppies! Hike (My dog Reno especially loves the woods). Dance. Yoga. Low impact aerobics. Swimming (which I am not a fan of, but maybe I can learn to like it more). Biking. I generally have a great walking routine, so now I just need to be even more diligent and incorporate all the other stuff too. Even though I have two left feet, I LOVE to dance! I’m also thinking of taking a t’ai chi class. I’ve never tried it before, and it looks like fun and something that would tie in well with the yoga.