Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Recovery: more versus less

This year I really feel as though I have grabbed the beast of chronic illness around the neck, wrestled with it, invited it to tea and accepted our acquaintance.

My body and I have been at war for a long time; I have had endometriosis for the last 17 years, adrenal exhaustion and chronic fatigue for the last 7 or 8, and I can honestly say it is only recently that I have been putting the right steps in place to get well.
Why the frick is that, Gifford? Because acceptance is hard. Because not behaving how we want to behave is hard. Not being "normal" is hard, and accepting a new life, although you write about how you do it on your blog, can be difficult to adjust to.
If you read Dex Diva, or browse through the archives, you will have read about my running journey and my determination to run, train and exercise both with and despite limitations. I love running, it makes me feel free, it gives me mental clarity, I love being outside, using my body, I love pushing myself to a challenge, and I adore sticking my trainers on. So, guess what...
I have now stopped running. 
Yip. My body, in it's extremely exhausted state, CAN run, yes, but is suffering more for it. Just at the moment, I am concentrating on good nutrution, restorative activities, rest, care for myself and listening to what I need to do.

Despite my nutritionist (in fact, two of them) telling me that I was exercising too much, I did not listen for a year. In adrenal fatigue the body needs to move, yes of course, but still recover without being depleted further.

I have put in place a few new practises in the last week or so and I am already seeing huge improvements in my ability to cope and my energy levels and pain.

Digital detox. You may notice I am blogging less, tweeting less and generally being online a little less. I love the online world, but I am being super careful to not work or use my laptop or computers after around 9pm to enable my mind to unwind and relax. This gives me a better chance of sleep. I am also not sleeping with my phone next to the bed anymore so I am not constantly plugged in to emails and "stuff". I dip in and out when I need and guess what! The sky hasn't fallen in just yet from me not being online 24/7.

Yoga, yoga and more yoga. I LOVE yoga and am now doing 2-3 classes a week. I do a combination of Hatha classes and Vinyasa flow, and I can feel my body working and being strong without becoming depleted. I tell you what too, a session of Vinyasa works muscles amazing well and I often feel like I have come out of a gym session the next day.

• Higher protein meals and snacks. This is something I have also neglected to do since my adrenal fatigue diagnosis, but the protein content of my snacks and meals is now much higher than it has been, and I am reaping the benefits of more consistent energy, less hunger attacks and cravings, and feeling sated from less food.

• Not feeling guilty about rest. HURRAH! How hard this one is. It's not easy when you run two business and have two young children to rest, but without it I get worse and worse which is not hep to anyone. So, nap time anyone? Yes please.

Since slowing down and doing what I need to do, I am enjoying life. I am crafting, baking, reading loads of books, sleeping better, oh, and losing weight.

Reducing exercise and resting more has been a battle for me mentally. It goes against the natural thinking patterns, but in adrenal fatigue it's the way to heal. I will run again, and I will enjoy it all the more when I am out of the woods but in the meantime it's step by step for me, with a pot of tea, pile of Decopatch and Radio 4.

Stuff that is important in life, like health, family, friends, good food, conversation, films, books, experiences...we can do all these without your iPad or laptop attached to your face like an extra appendage.
Honestly, it is ok to slow down and it IS possible. I am learning the hard way.

I found this book really helpful with dealing with some practical ways to heal my burnout, so if you are constantly tired, struggle to stay awake without stimulants and feel overstressed all the time I suggest you read it.

Also, the Yes No book is a great resource for reminding yourself what is worth taking on...and most importantly what isn't.

Over and out. x







Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Parenting with chronic illness

This is a sensitive subject amongst endo warriors, as I am aware how incredibly lucky I am to have been able to have my beautiful children. But, I feel it is important to talk about how parenting with a chronic illness can affect daily life.

My endometriosis and associated conditions (chronic fatigue, adrenal exhaustion and depression) mean that my children have a mother who tires easily, gets stressed easily and often has to go and rest. They have grown up so far to their tender age of three and a half being used to Mummy curling up with painkillers during the day, or needing to have a sleep on the weekend. They are accepting, incredibly kind and loving, and often send me their beloved favourite cuddlies to look after me when I need some TLC.