How to get Through the Hard Days

Sometimes the fatigue or the pain slithers through your body unexpectedly. Through my practice in mindfulness, I have become better at knowing when a crash is about to happen, and often this allows me to take action (or inaction) to stop it. Yet I still feel some anxiety when I think back to the unpredictable nature that used to be characteristic of my symptoms. What can you do when you find yourself slipping into a dark place, or unexpectedly wake up to find yourself there? I have developed a few mechanisms that work well for me, it might be worthwhile to give some a try the next time you feel yourself glued to your bed:

  1. Yoga in Bed: I love to do yoga, but sometimes the thought of stumbling out of bed to get onto a thin mat and support myself is daunting. Thus I have developed my very own routine of doing yoga in bed. Poses range from child’s pose (where I drag myself onto my stomach, lean back on my heels, and rest my head on the bed), lying crows pose (lying on your back, and pulling one leg towards you while the ankle of the other rests just below your knee), and savasana or corpse pose (exactly as it sounds- blissful!). This both helps me meditate, and stops me from getting stiff and sore if I feel the need to stay in bed for a day.

    Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/82795201@N00/120772906/">BrittneyBush</a> via <a href="http://compfight.com">Compfight</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

    Do not try this in bed

  2. Cook a Fresh Meal: The thought of getting up to cook, when you feel like you’ve been beaten by a series of bludgers the day before may seem like an overwhelming task, but if you can enlist some help chopping and cleaning (or, in my best practice, just leaving the kitchen a mess when you are done) the effects of a hearty meal can be wonderful. Being exposed to the fresh spices, herbs, and ingredients stimulates all of your senses- helping you feel invigorated. Also, you can’t forget that your body is sick and needs nourishment, order-in or a microwave meal is not going to help you heal.
  3. Pamper Yourself: Treat yourself to a massage, manicure, or even a haircut. These treatments will help you to fully relax for an hour or so. I know it sounds superficial, but boosting your appearance often helps to boost your mood as well, making it easier to feel a little more energetic.

    Photo Credit: Sakurako Kitsa via Compfight cc

    Photo Credit: Sakurako Kitsa via Compfight cc

  4. Do Something Creative: This is a tricky one, being creative can be draining of energy, and if you are deep in a brain fog, it may feel impossible to do anything that requires the slightest bit of mental prowess. However, doing something creative can actually help you through a brain fog. It doesn’t matter much what it is- I personally like to write, or take photographs, but it doesn’t even need to be something that is ‘artsy’. Trying out a new recipe (or creating one of your own), thinking of a new idea for your business, or thinking of a creative solution to a problem you’ve been having, all fall into this category.
  5. Rest: This does not mean lying in bed thinking about all the things you wish you would rather be doing instead. It means treating yourself how you would treat someone you love if they were sick. It means taking the time to really, deeply rest. You can achieve deep rest through meditation, or sleep, or lying quietly with no stimulation. My vice is reading, if I am in bed and awake I always want to have a book on hand. But we need to close our laptops, put away our books, turn off the TV and focus on letting our bodies get the rest that they need.

    Photo Credit: ~fb~ via Compfight cc

    Photo Credit: ~fb~ via Compfight cc

Have you tried any of these? What are your ways for coping with bad days?

Regression, or, How I Spent the Last Week of my Life

My apologies for posting this a bit late, but I think you will understand when you read the post 🙂

“I knew that I had turned my world back to cinders, sunk my lovely ship with my own stupid, wicked hands.”
― Mary Stewart, Nine Coaches Waiting

It has been exactly ten days since I have returned from my round the world trip, and the worries of the real world have  quickly eroded my travel high. It turns out not driving oneself mad is much more complicated when one needs to think of the future. When will I find a job? What sort of job will be good for me? Where will I live? How long can I crash at my boyfriends until we start to drive each other mad? Can I afford a yoga mat? And other such questions that plague me day and night. Last week I left you with 8 tips on how to survive travel with CFS, and this week I will give you the antidote, 8 steps to ensure that things will get worse:

1. Worry. All the time. About everything

Moving to a new city is stressful, however, there are ways to handle this stress like an adult, and there are ways to sit in front of the computer all day constantly refreshing your email, willing a job offer to come in and sobbing uncontrollably. It is unclear if the sobbing is because you don’t yet have a job, or because of the horrors that will soon come with having a job, but you do know that if you can stay up all night worrying about money, you will be really tired the next day. Which brings me to my next step:

2. Stay up late and wake up early

There is nothing like sabotaging your sleep schedule to make you feel like a grump! The trick is, worry all day, and fill yourself with caffeine to ‘get more done’ so that you are so jittery by the time night roles around that there is no way you can possibly sleep. It’s good if you can get up during the night, turn on your computer, and repeat step one for a couple hours until you eventually pass out around 4 AM from sheer exhaustion. Since you probably won’t fall into a very deep sleep anyways, it will be really easy to wake up bright and early to repeat the cycle! Just think of all the refreshing you’ll get done!

3. Give up things that bring you joy and energy because you ‘cant fit them in your day’

A well-known Teacher once said (and there is debate on who this teacher is), “I have so much to do today—if I hope to accomplish everything on my list, I must meditate twice as long.” I used to have this quote posted on my wall in my old office. I do not have it posted anywhere in my new apartment. Though even if I did I would undoubtably ignore it, who’s got time for meditating when I have emails to be refreshed and apartment hunting to be done! Maybe I can squeeze a bit of time for meditating in between sobbing and passing out…you know what…never mind.

4. Eat fast food

Or any sort of junk food that really brings you down. You already feel so tired and stressed out, that double cheesburger from Mcdonalds can’t make anything worse, can it!? Yes, yes it can, so go forth and see how much of your daily calorie intake can be done with fat and empty calories. I promise you’ll feel terrible!

5. Try to do everything

‘Work smarter, not harder’ is a quote I really like to live by, but sometimes, you have a lot of smart ideas at once, and prioritization is for suckers! Try to finish all of your projects, and also, since you’re home all day, you should probably be responsible for the cooking and cleaning and shopping. If you find yourself working more than your employed partner, you’re on the right track!

6. Lament your uselessness

Make sure to reserve time each day to lie dejectedly on the couch, thinking about all of your failures. Youve been here a week and don’t have a job? You must be unemployable! You’re not fluent in Spanish yet? You idiot! You can’t stop crying when you think about your illness and your unemployment and all your other failures and you think your boyfriend can’t possibly put up with this any longer? You’re probably right, no one could ever love you! Try not to dedicate more than 2 hours to this each day, as it could seriously limit your productivity in the first five steps.

“In order to understand, I destroyed myself.”
― Fernando Pessoa

7. Do what others expect of you instead of what you want

Is your mother pressuring you to ‘get a real job’? Do you think your friends will respect you less if you want to take a job that will be better for your health rather than something more traditional? I mean, who cares about being happy and healthy if you can’t impress anyone, what’s the point! There is no way your friends like you for who you are, no matter if they let crash on their couch without saying anything for months at a time because you are so unemployable and exhausted and can’t pay rent right now, it doesn’t mean they like you, it just means they feel obligated. If you can’t get a ‘good’ job as soon as you are starting to feel a little better, may as well write off the support of most of your friends and family. It’s best to try super hard to live up exactly to other peoples expectations. Not married yet? For shame! Haven’t begun your ‘career’? You’ll never succeed at anything ever again! Definitely base your choices on societal pressure over what you want. Haven’t we established you’re too useless to decide anything anyways!?

8. Push away the people you love

Don’t, under any circumstances, surround yourself with the people who make you happy and support you and love you. What are you trying to do here? Feel better about yourself ? It’s best if you can push them all away by constantly needing to be alone. How else will you sob uncontrollably while refreshing your email and lamenting your uselessness? You don’t have time for these people anyways! You’re too busy and you’ll only hurt them in the end. Who am I to deserve their love and support? What have I done to make them love me? Treat them as badly as possible so they are forced to take distance from you and can’t give you the support you want and need. And then maybe, just maybe, in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep because it burns to close your eyes from all the crying and staring at nothing you’ve been doing, you’ll give your best friend a call, and you’ll tell her everything and let her into your life. And somehow, you’ll feel a tiny bit better, and maybe in the morning, you’ll even sleep in for a couple hours, and the need to cry and refresh your mail and lament your failures won’t seem quite so strong.

Maybe your sanity will begin to come back, and you’ll pick up the pieces and start again, because there is no other choice,

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.”
Napoleon Hill