Friday, January 15, 2016

January TLC Review

Okay so, I have this other thing going on besides the 52 lists project, last year it took the forms of monthly reviews and Power 30. Where Power 30 was about self care and where monthly reviews were about getting things done but not Getting Things Done (tm). When I was rolling around in my head how I wanted to use this blog going forward, I thought sure, these monthly reviews are helpful for keeping me on track, I'll keep those. But what got me out of my depression was the self care, really specifically telling GTD to talk to the hand while I got the self care—or TLC, if you will— under control. And then getting the GTD back up again, and seeing how that pushed back on the TLC, and actually developing some compassion about why it's so hard to "eat better" or "exercise more," more than compassion, actually respect, that most of the rest of the world has been getting shit done while I've been fine-tuning how many times I get to get refined carbs in a week. Life is choices, it's all good. And thanks for what you do, everybody. This is what I've been doing and you're very welcome to it, if you think it might help you.

If you're keeping track of what I'm saying, I think what I'm up to is: if shit's going down in your elevator, tell GTD to talk to the hand and get your TLC under control.

Right.

The other thing that I think besides Life Is Choices is Life Is Balance. In this case, balancing GTD with TLC.

Which means, TWO sets of reviews. And without further ado, this is the January TLC review.

Sleep

"Good" (remember, a technical term in the muntverse) sleep means undelayed and uninterrupted, there was a week in the middle of Winterval where that got wobbly, but I fixed that and now I'm good again. Sleep is everything, y'all. When I don't sleep I get depressed and I'm pretty sure vice versa.

How did I fix that. Remember when the doctor put me on statins and a low-cholesterol diet ::mad face emoji:: and then I fell into the abyss? I found some stuff about statins and low cholesterol being correlated to low serotonin and, hey oh, depression. Yes, I know I am a poor scientist and Dr Internet has a fool for a patient, but you see this is what I do when you will not help me, this is me "being my own advocate," my least favorite self-help phrase of 2015, so fuck you. I regard myself as having pulled myself out of depression with therapy and Power 30, but also I stopped taking the statins and once my cholesterol numbers came back hella low went back to eating the way I eat. And the depression stopped, and sleep was good, and after a time I got a new doctor who tested my cholesterol again and was fine with my LDL at 114. Because that's normal!! But being the goody two-shoes I so fundamentally am, I thought, woop, maybe I should get that below 100 and cut out eggs again. I did learn an actual foolproof technique for cooking chicken breast, so there's that. But then the wobbles came in, and that's when I read about the low cholesterol and depression. And put back eggs, moderately.

Anyway. Sleep is good. Undelayed. Uninterrupted.

I have this whole other idea brewing about how self-care really comes in two parts: Showing Up For The Thing and Doing The Thing. For sleep, showing up for the thing is really what's under your control and then if all is well, doing the thing does itself. TK, perhaps.

Hygiene

I'm sorry to say that this one area is where I have really improved, I'm not sorry that I've improved but that I needed improvement. But, I never don't brush my teeth before bed now. Even if I'm somnambulating toward bed high on muscle relaxants I stop by the sink and floss and brush like a zombie, a zombie with good dental hygiene. I never don't wash and moisturize my face either. I'm trying out Aveeno's Positively Radiant brightening facial cleanser, so maybe also a radiant zombie.

Okay after this I'm going to stop apologizing for my previously bad hygiene.

Hydration

Hydration fell a little by the wayside during the wobbles, but it's back on track again. That's another thing I almost never don't do, fill my water jar before I go to bed (except those times with the muscle relaxants) and now that it's winter, there's also a little humidifier routine.

Nutrition

Weirdly throughout the whole depression to present, nutrition has been pretty much on point. Or not that weird, it's what I've worked on the most, and apparently productively, because a lot of "work" on nutrition is what my technical term for is drama—i.e., unproductive Strung und Drang, you may have seen me refer to this as the opera about the bagel. The point of this self care work is to work, to set things up to do themselves so that you can get to the business of GTD. Not judging, though! We are not helped by our environment; it is a Gotterdammerung of drama out there, swords slashing at you and clashing with each other and just everything. It's really hard to find a quiet place to build a little fire, I get that.

See also above, about the chicken and the egg. I have another idea brewing about how all these TLCs support each other, and how they can motivate each other. Also TK, also perhaps.

Movement

So let me tell you about the state of movement in my life: I don't do shit. That is, I don't do anything that I think you would regard as a "workout." Maybe my twenty minutes of sun salutations two times a week, though I think that's much closer to ten minutes now that I know what I'm doing and am not taking long pauses to look up poses on the internet.

This is what I do:

  • Two mornings a week - a little at a loss for what to do, still figuring this out, one of those walking to the bus to bodywork
  • Three mornings a week - walk to the train to work
  • Two mornings a week - do yoga, the aforementioned sun salutations
  • Almost every afternoon - get out and walk just a little bit, even just around the block
  • Three evenings a week -  train clients, two of those loading up to 45# plates for my strongsters
  • Almost every evening - a little series of stretches in bed that end with a headstand also in bed (not recommended). Not when I'm on muscle relaxants, obviously.

Three days a week I sit on a stability ball and stand at a standing desk, really more of the former than the latter, and two mornings a week I'm on my feet cooking and cleaning. And one morning a week I get bodywork done, that's an actual thing.

But that really is all!

And you know what, I'm leaner than I was. My abs and upper back are more defined, just saying, and I'm stronger than I was. "The way I was" being B.S., before stroke, when I was skating 4x/week. I have no idea how I would deal now with a two-hour on-skates practice, but I know that I can run full speed up two flights of stairs and it barely registers as effort. I can just about curl a 45# plate without momentum. I can easily do chatarunga. Maybe I will have more to say about this later.

Meditation

Meditation apparently operates on the same positive feedback loop as hydration, where when you're in a good hydration routine, you love, you need, you crave water, and when you're dehydrated, you hatesss water ::hiss:: my beautiful wickedness. So yeah, that happened. I took to 15 minutes of meditation like a duck to water, went right up from three to five to seven days a week, went up to 20 minutes, that went well, went up to 30 minutes, and then things fell apart. Then meditation no days a week for a time ::hiss:: whose idea was this?? Why isn't it that you're thirsty when you're dehydrated?

Ooh, but anyway. I'm back on it, new year and all, starting with 15 minutes again. I think maybe 30 minutes was pushing too hard on GTD, and GTD pushed back. But, I have this smartphone now! For one hot meditation, I used the Insight Meditation Timer app. Very pretty, very nice bell sound. I thought I could ignore the other bells and whistles like I do on 750 words, I don't need anybody setting meditation goals for me (lol, where do I even begin with that). But then I used it again and there was this big stat saying that I had done one meditation, when I had just done two. Then I learned how to uninstall an app. I mean, I'm sure they're nice people. Now I just use the timer on my phone, which was actually one of the main reasons I wanted a smartphone in the first place. It works just like I imagined.

This post is entirely too long. I just read this thing on Joel Runyon about building one function per app, I think maybe it should be one topic per post. Maybe I write about each of these in their (gender-neutral singular, hey oh) own post, over like a week. Like Shark Week, but TLC.

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