fitness · health · illness

Easing back to ‘normal’

…or at least normal for me. 😉

After spending the better part of two weeks dealing with Covid, I am finally feeling mostly like myself.

I missed two weeks of Taekwondo, missed lots of walks with Khalee (I didn’t miss two full weeks of walks, those are easier to scale to my current energy levels) and kept my yoga mat rolled in the corner.

I really missed my usual activities. Aside from my enjoyment of the movements themselves, I missed the shape that yoga and walks give my days and the shape that TKD give my weeks. Without those things, my last two weeks have had a ‘stepped out of the normal flow of time’ kind of feeling.

A GIF of two characters from Doctor Who saying ‘Wibbley-wobblye timey-wimey. Misspellings are in the original.
(Yes, I know wobbly is misspelled) A GIF from the BBC show Doctor Who in which two character are saying ‘Wibbley-wobblye timey-wimey’ to each other.

This time last week, I had to sit down after putting in a load of laundry (there are two flights of stairs involved) and trying to do even gentle yoga left me feeling not quite dizzy but definitely disoriented.

And aside from the physiological evidence that I needed to take it easy, I also have read (and heard evidence from friends) that pushing yourself too hard when you are recovering from Covid can lead to complications.

Today though (I am writing this on Monday), I did a little gentle yoga and my walk with Khalee, while somewhat short, didn’t leave me feeling worn.

In fact, the movement in both cases felt GOOD instead of being mostly tiring.

I’m taking that as a good sign that my recovery is on track and that I am easing back to my regular life.

I’m still going to rest when I can and pay close attention in case things get to be too much for me but I’m glad to be stepping back into *my* normal flow of time.

A GIF of a person making air quotes while saying the word ‘Normal’
A GIF of a person with white hair and glasses, wearing a dark pink sweater and a flowered scarf saying the word normal while making air quotes with their fingers.

ADHD · Dancing · fitness · fun · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · self care

Making Space 2022: Day 5

December 5th seems like a great time to prioritize fun.

Or, at least, to make fun ONE of your priorities.

Have a look at your to do list for today and see if there are any fun things you can do sooner rather than later. Maybe you love writing cards or baking cookies or shredding old files or making schedules or whatever you find fun but you put those things at the end of your list because you feel like you have to get everything else out of the way before you do the fun stuff.

To hell with that: DO THE FUN STUFF FIRST.

If you are worried about getting carried away with fun stuff and never getting around to the less-fun stuff (this is a worry for those of us who are neurodivergent) then modify my advice above to:

DO SOME FUN STUFF FIRST. Set a timer or some sort of other limit so you get to have your fun and do the other things on your list.

Just, please, please, pretty please, don’t think that you need to EARN your fun. You can put fun first, you can mix it in the middle, YOU get to decide where fun belongs on your schedule.

Martha is also pro-fun – you tell when you read her 2020 Move with Music post that she will back me up on my have-more-fun position here.

So, it the spirit of that, here’s a fun dance video to try.

Not only do I love this song, I love the instructor’s energy, I love how much fun the other people in the video are having and I love that there are some hikers and their dog wandering down the path at the back part way through the song.

Whether you get up and dance, dance in your chair, or just nod your head or wiggle your fingers in time to the music, I think you’ll find this fun.

A dance video from Caleb Marshall AKA The Fitness Marshall entitled “Love Shack – EASY LOW IMPACT CARDIO | Caleb Marshall | Dance Workout” The still image is of Caleb and two back-up dancers, all with one arm extended overhead and one arm stretched out behind them, standing in a field. There is a red highlight outlining each of them. There is a trail extending up a hill on the right side of the image and there are trees behind them. White text on the lower part of the image reads ‘Love Shack Easy To Follow Low Impact’ and there is a rainbow filter behind the text.

Next up, our meditation for today is about feeling energized. They get into a bit of colour visualization that I am sure is related to chakras but if that’s not your thing, you can just do the breathing and build up your energy in black and white. 😉

A Great Meditations meditation video called ‘Feeling Full of Energy A Five Minute Meditation’ The still image is a cartoon-style drawing of a person’s head and shoulders. They have long black hair and gold earrings and their eyes are closed. The background colour is light orange with a mandala in various shades of yellow and orange drawn in the centre behind the person.

Whether you are able to prioritize your fun, do the dance video, do the meditation, do something of your own invention, or just take a few moments to breathe, I wish you ease today.

Please be kind to yourself. 💚⭐

In December 2020, Fit is a Feminist Issue blogger Martha created a tradition – a series of reminder posts to take good care of ourselves during this last month of the year when it is far too easy to get swept up in your to do list, no matter what you are celebrating or not celebrating. Last year, it was my turn and after an introductory Go Team post called Give Yourself Some Space, I created a series of reminders called ‘Making Space‘ that offered a suggested short exercise video and a suggested meditation in case you needed an easy way to find space for yourself in your schedule.

For 2022, I’ll be doing the same thing but I’ll also be including a link to Martha’s post from the same date in 2020 and I’ll offer a few extra ideas for relaxation, creativity, and self-kindness here and there.

These posts are not about insisting that you do more, more, more during this busy season. Instead, I want to encourage you to remember that there IS a *YOU* who is doing all of the things and you are worth taking good care of.

Perhaps the things I suggest aren’t what you need in the moment. That’s totally ok. Perhaps you can use something else to create some space, something that will help you feel more relaxed or more in charge of your day.

fitness · habits · health · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · rest

Making Space 2022: Day 4

Here we are on Sunday, December 4 and I think it’s an excellent time to plan for a rest.

Martha’s advice on December 4, 2020 was to Take a Nap and I am 100% behind that. Even if it is not possible for you to actually sleep in the daytime, planning a short rest period – sitting still, listening to restful music, taking deliberate slow breaths can make a huge difference in your well-being.

If you’d like some audio company for your rest, check out this episode of Dacher Keltner’s The Science of Happiness podcast featuring Tricia Hersey, AKA the Nap Bishop, from the Nap Ministry.

(Note: There’s a great quote from the Nap Bishop in Martha’s post, be sure to have a look.)

By the way, there are some guidelines for taking naps that you might want to have a look at – after all you don’t want your daytime rest to affect your nighttime sleep.

And now that you have been reminded about the hows and whys of resting, I have one more thing to ask you.

Can you plan short daily rest periods?

And/or could you plan ‘time off’ throughout this busy month? Even a few planned hours of deliberate relaxation scattered throughout the month can make a huge difference in how you and your brain feel about everything else on your list.

Seeing as we’re keeping today low-key, here are some relaxing stretches from Doctor Jo:

A video from the Ask Doctor Jo YouTube channel entitled Relieve Stress &Anxiety with Relaxing Stretches. The still image features Doctor Jo lying on her back on a blue mat and a pillow. She is bringing her left leg toward her chest and her right leg is bent while her right foot rests on the floor. She is smiling and she’s wearing grey pants, a green shirt, and light blue socks with whimsical patterns on them.

And next up, we have some yoga nidra – a wonderful way to get some deep rest without actually falling asleep (although, I often do.) This is a short video but if you like the practice there are plenty of longer ones available on YouTube.

A 5 Minute Yoga Nidra video from Ally Boothroyd’s channel. The still image features a person with a beard and chin length hair, wearing a light coloured shirt and dark pants, lying on their back on a yoga mat. They are in Shavasana, corpse pose. Text at the top of the image reads ‘5 Minute Yoga Nidra Rapid Deep Rest Reset.’

I hope the links and videos in this post help you find a little extra rest today but, no matter what you do or don’t do today, please be kind to yourself about how things proceed.

You are doing the best you can with the resources you have.

Be good to yourself. 💚⭐️

In December 2020, Fit is a Feminist Issue blogger Martha created a tradition – a series of reminder posts to take good care of ourselves during this last month of the year when it is far too easy to get swept up in your to do list, no matter what you are celebrating or not celebrating. Last year, it was my turn and after an introductory Go Team post called Give Yourself Some Space, I created a series of reminders called ‘Making Space‘ that offered a suggested short exercise video and a suggested meditation in case you needed an easy way to find space for yourself in your schedule.

For 2022, I’ll be doing the same thing but I’ll also be including a link to Martha’s post from the same date in 2020 and I’ll offer a few extra ideas for relaxation, creativity, and self-kindness here and there.

These posts are not about insisting that you do more, more, more during this busy season. Instead, I want to encourage you to remember that there IS a *YOU* who is doing all of the things and you are worth taking good care of.

Perhaps the things I suggest aren’t what you need in the moment. That’s totally ok. Perhaps you can use something else to create some space, something that will help you feel more relaxed or more in charge of your day.

accessibility · disability · diversity · equality · holiday fitness · holidays · inclusiveness · meditation · self care

Making Space 2022: Day 3

This post has a lot of different things crammed into it, kind of like an average December day. I tried to make them into a somewhat coherent whole but I’m not sure it worked. Let’s roll with it anyway.

On Day 3 of her 2020 Wellness Calendar, Martha telling us to Remember to Eat. This is another one of the basic that we often let slide during this busy month. We don’t feel like we have time to sit down for a proper meal so we just grab a snack and the next thing we’re cranky and running on empty. While I get that this kind of thing will happen from time to time, please do what you can to prepare in advance. That might look like making a plan about when you will take downtime for meals or it might look like planning for something quick to eat while you are on the run.

Speaking of all the busyness of the month ahead, one of the ways I’d like you to create space for yourself today is by ditching something from your to do list.

I know that sounds like heresy when there is SoVeryMuch to do but that’s exactly why it is a good idea.

Have a look at your to do list -whether that is on paper, on a screen, or in your head and turn your attention either to the list of stuff that you will do ‘if I have time’ or to anything on your list that you are absolutely dreading.

I would like you to ditch (or at least change) one of those things.

Yes, decide right now that you are not going to do it.

If it is something on your ‘if I have time’ list, then you will be able to create a little extra quiet in your brain. You will have one less thing that can float up to fill any downtime you are trying to create for yourself. And you will feel better about not doing it if it is a decision instead of a lack of time.

If it is something that you are dreading but that you really feel needs to be done, I’m wondering if you might be able to pass it on to someone else. Could there be someone in your life who would happily take that on – maybe not exactly in the same way you do but that’s fine too. Perhaps there’s someone you can pay to do it. Maybe you can trade disagreeable tasks with someone else. Or, maybe the task itself can be changed, reduced, or reshaped to make it less dreadful.

And, I realize that in one of the paragraphs above I told you to add something to your to do list (plan for your meals) and then immediately afterwards I told you to ditch something from your list. I stand by that apparent contradiction.

Adding things to your to do list that increase your well-being and your ability to take good care of yourself are more likely to reduce your stress than increase it. Taking good care of yourself increases your capacity to enjoy the rest of the preparations that you choose to include in your month and to keep the things you *must* do in perspective.

When I prepared last year’s Making Space posts I tried to include videos of people with a range of body types and abilities. I was moderately successful but I am determined to improve things for this year.

Since today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities I wanted to be sure to be open about my intention to be inclusive and to invite anyone who reads this to share any videos that they find useful. I don’t always know what search terms to use and I may be missing excellent videos because my vocabulary is limited.

These Making Space posts are not exactly the forum for an in-depth discussion of these issues but since I have your attention, I wanted you to know that the theme for this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world.”

I don’t think that my posts here are at all part of that sort of broad change but hopefully I can at least raise some awareness about today and give some of my readers something to think about.

I’ll be the first to admit that I know very little about disability activism but some things things I do know are 1) every person on earth has the right to live with dignity 2) change depends on listening to those with lived experience 3) any practice, policy, or accommodation that increases accessibility, diversity, and inclusion is a good thing for everyone who makes use of the service/visits the building/ participates in the activity – an inclusive world is a better world 4) inclusive practices are not about catering to anyone or providing special treatment, they are about creating a more just world.

And I think we can all be part of that change by seeking more just and equitable practices in our organizations, workplaces, and daily lives.

Okay, back to the stated purpose of the Making Space 2022 posts: short workouts and meditations to help create space for yourself on your to do list!

A video entitled ‘7 Minute – No Equipment Workout – Ella’s Wheelchair Workout- Video 40’ from Ella Beaumont, she is wearing a orange tank top, has her hair pulled back in a ponytail and she is in her wheelchair in her living room. Behind her is a couch lined with multi-coloured pillows and a bookshelf filled with books and knick-knacks.

If you’re not feeling up to a workout today, perhaps this meditation from Headspace might be just the thing.

A video from the Headspace YouTube channel called ‘Feeling Overwhelmed? Try This Quick Meditation.’ The still image shows an orange rectangle in the upper left corner that encloses the word ‘Meditation:’ in white and blue text below that reads ‘Feeling Overwhelmed SOS’ on the right side of the screen is a cartoon image of an orange bucket that is overflowing with drops of blue liquid falling from the side into a blue puddle below.

However you choose to take good care of yourself today, I wish you ease in the process.

Please practice self-kindness.

advice · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · season transitions · self care · yoga

Making Space 2022: Day 2

No matter what you have ahead of you this month, things probably feel like they are about to ramp up but they haven’t quite gotten hectic yet. That makes this an excellent time to put a few things in place for future you.

In 2020, Martha was reminding us that staying hydrated makes a huge difference in how we feel. And when we’re busy, we want to make sure to do anything we can think of that will tip the balance towards us feeling a bit better.

So, with that in mind, what else might keep us feeling a bit better?

What other small things can you do for your future self? You know, the one who might be a bit more frazzled that you are now.

Are there tasks that tend to build up over the month that you can do a little bit at time starting now??

Is there something that you often run out when things get busy but that you could pick up now? Like scotch tape, sugar, or soap – to name just a few things I have had to dash out and get at inconvenient times.

Can you block off some downtime later in the month? This could come in handy when you are invited to something that you don’t really have the capacity for, you can tell them that you are already booked that night!

Speaking of small things you can do for your future self, here are two videos of neck stretches that can really reduce the tension you carry in that area. Reducing that tightness could be just the right way to prevent a future headache.

Whatever you choose to do today, I wish you ease. I hope you can find your own way to keep stress at a minimum and be kind to yourself in the process..

A Yoga with Adriene ‘silent’ video called Yoga for Daily Neck Relief. This video has only music and no verbal cues. The still image is a black and white photo of Adriene with her hair pulled back in a lace band and low ponytail. She is looking to her right.

I enjoy the video above but since Adriene isn’t giving verbal cues, it might not be useful for everyone. Sooo, I have included the video below (another favourite of mine), that includes clear verbal cues.

A video from Mark Wildman called ‘A 3 Minute Neck Drill That Will Change Your Life’ – I’m not sure if it is life changing but it sure is helpful! The still image is two photos of Wildman sitting on a set of steps in a gym. In the first he is extending his neck forward so his face is closest to the camera. In the second he is pulling his chin backwards to extend the muscles in the back of his neck. He has his hands laid over one another on his chest.



Sidenote: As I mention in this 2018 post called Cause and Effect, Effect and Cause I have realized that while anxiety and stress can cause me to have a tight neck, the opposite is also true. If my neck is tight for some physical reason, my brain goes into overdrive because it assumes I am anxious. And, of course, with enough poking around, my brain will always find something to be anxious about. That anxiety makes my neck tighter…you get the picture. If that happens to you, too, these videos might be extra useful.

Not up to neck stretches today? Maybe this grounding meditation is more your speed.

A video called ‘Managing Anxious Thoughts And Stress with Mindfulness’ from the Headspace YouTube Channel. The still image has an orange background and a smiling yellow blob with its eyes closed is on the right hand side. On the left is text reading ‘Lost in Thought? Try Grounding.’

About Making Space 2022

In December 2020, Fit is a Feminist Issue blogger Martha created a tradition – a series of reminder posts to take good care of ourselves during this last month of the year when it is far too easy to get swept up in your to do list, no matter what you are celebrating or not celebrating. Last year, it was my turn and after an introductory Go Team post called Give Yourself Some Space, I created a series of reminders called ‘Making Space‘ that offered a suggested short exercise video and a suggested meditation in case you needed an easy way to find space for yourself in your schedule.

For 2022, I’ll be doing the same thing but I’ll also be including a link to Martha’s post from the same date in 2020 and I’ll offer a few extra ideas for relaxation, creativity, and self-kindness here and there.

These posts are not about insisting that you do more, more, more during this busy season. Instead, I want to encourage you to remember that there IS a *YOU* who is doing all of the things and you are worth taking good care of.

Perhaps the things I suggest aren’t what you need in the moment. That’s totally ok. Perhaps you can use something else to create some space, something that will help you feel more relaxed or more in charge of your day.

holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · yoga

Making Space 2022: Day 1

In December 2020, Fit is a Feminist Issue blogger Martha created a tradition – a series of reminder posts to take good care of ourselves during this last month of the year when it is far too easy to get swept up in your to do list, no matter what you are celebrating or not celebrating. Last year, it was my turn and after an introductory Go Team post called Give Yourself Some Space, I created a series of reminders called ‘Making Space‘ that offered a suggested short exercise video and a suggested meditation in case you needed an easy way to find space for yourself in your schedule.

For 2022, I’ll be doing the same thing but I’ll also be including a link to Martha’s post from the same date in 2020 and I’ll offer a few extra ideas for relaxation, creativity, and self-kindness here and there.

These posts are not about insisting that you do more, more, more during this busy season. Instead, I want to encourage you to remember that there IS a *YOU* who is doing all of the things and you are worth taking good care of.

Perhaps the things I suggest aren’t what you need in the moment. That’s totally ok. Perhaps you can use something else to create some space, something that will help you feel more relaxed or more in charge of your day.

On December 1, 2020, Martha reminded us that we are always enough (a position that I whole-heartedly endorse) and that things don’t need to be perfect to be good. Please go check out that post for an excellent reminder of how it is ok (and encouraged!) for you to show up just as you are.

On that theme, I’m wondering if you know about Jennifer Louden’s Conditions of Enoughness? I find them an excellent tool for keeping my self-expectations in line with my actual capacity but, like most useful things, they take a bit of practice. If you feel like you are always scrambling or if you have a nagging feeling that you are falling short, the advice at the link above could be just the thing you need to give yourself a break.

If movement is something you need right now, perhaps this short series of stretches will help.

Ok, so most of us are already up for the day but feel free to lie down again for a few minutes and do these stretches with Joelle. Description: A video called Morning Stretch in Bed from the Yoga with Joelle YouTube channel. The still image shows a person with long dark hair lying on their back at the foot of a double bed using their clasped hands to draw their right knee towards their body while their left leg is extended.

If meditation is more your speed, give this a try.

A short meditation from the Great Meditations YouTube channel. The still image shows a cartoon drawing of person with long brown hair with a peaceful expression sitting cross-legged on a fluffy cloud against a blue background.

Whatever you try or whatever you do, I hope you can be kind to yourself in the process.

PS – If you are already feeling overwhelmed by the thought of the month ahead, you might find this old article of mine helpful. December is like a messy closet, here’s how to get it back on track. I’m not actually too concerned with you be ‘on track’ but I do want you to have peace of mind and I hope the suggestions in that piece can help you move in that direction.

ADHD · advice · covid19 · fitness

On The Complications Of Resting

TL/DR: Resting when you are sick is a good thing but it is very complicated when many of your roles are responsive rather clearly defined. It would be helpful if people acknowledged how complicated it can be instead of just telling a sick person to rest.

Truth be told, I had a pretty good run of luck but, alas, all good things must end and last week, despite my various precautions, I came down with Covid.

A woman in a mask is lying on her side in bed
Here I am in my full Covid glamour. This was before anyone else in my house was sick so I was self-isolating and masking even though I was alone in my room. My oldest son was at his grandparents so I sent him this ‘proof-of-life’ photo because he was worried about me. Image description: a selfie of me lying on my side in bed wearing an N95 mask. My face is puffy and I look ill. I’m wearing a grey fleece hoodie. On the nights as behind me you can see my lamp, medications, and my new tea cup that my friend Paula made. It has Cold911 tea in but you can’t tell that from the photo.

(And, subsequently, despite our in-house precautions, so did my whole family. Thankfully, none of us took any scary turns for the worse and we are all improving slowly but it was overwhelming and difficult and worrisome.)

So, I guess that means that my resistance to (and reluctance about) going out last Monday was probably part and parcel of having a virus attacking my system, not just a case of garden-variety I-don’t-wanna.

Now, I know that the key to recovery from any illness is rest and that that goes quadruple for Covid. The internet is full of advice about just how much and how long you should rest during and immediately after a bout with the virus.

But, frankly, it feels a bit like when I was a new mother and I was told to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps.’

Just like back then, the advice is good and so are the intentions, but…

HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO PULL THAT OFF?

Who is coming to step into my (metaphorical) shoes?

I‘m pretty good at the physical aspect of resting. I can take to my bed like a Victorian lady, surrounded by tea, snacks, books, and tissues.

However, even in the midst of all kinds of practical and moral support, it is damn hard to step back from the mental work of the things I do day-to-day. So my bedside accoutrements also include my phone and a notebook and some lists so I can deal with the things that are too complicated to hand off to someone else.

I am definitely not trying to claim that I am indispensable or any other nonsense like that but I am *used* to the things I have to do on a regular basis. I have practice. I am well-trained for my roles.

I’d need to be able to download the entire contextual net of my thoughts to be able to hand this off easily.

Now, to be clear, my paid work as a writer/coach/storyteller can largely be rescheduled. However, my family and volunteer roles, those can’t be handled the same way.

And a lot of that work can’t wait. I can’t, for example, put off groceries until I feel better. Normally, I would just go once a week or so and pick up the usual stuff and while I cook most of the time, any of us are capable of cooking.

But, I can’t just drop that task. We have to eat, even if we’re sick.

And since our existing system hinges on how my brain works, I have to be involved in the process of reassigning those tasks. Even if I am not going to be the one going to the grocery store, even if I am not going to be the one generating the list, I’m going to be consulted on the details. And since the default system (me going to the supermarket) won’t be happening, we need to figure out who is going to go and when they can go, and so on. Instead of an automatic system, it has become a series of plans and decisions.

That’s just one small part the various details I generally handle for my family.

For my volunteer work, often a lot of things can wait, but my work last week was related to upcoming public events that cannot be rescheduled. Yes, I have a team but I’ve been the person putting all the pieces together to make the big picture and it’s a bit late in the process to plop someone else into that role.

And I know some people reading are probably thinking things like: “Well, if you delegated the work in the first place…If you didn’t gatekeep…If you didn’t try doing everything yourself…If you trusted other people to do their work…If you insisted that other people take responsibility for things at home…”

I get why you might think all of those things. It’s a natural response to wonder if I have had a hand in creating this problem.

However, this isn’t about me trying to be a martyr and it’s definitely not about me gatekeeping or not holding other people responsible to do their part. It’s way more complex than that.

It’s about the roles I have ended up taking on in my life – by choice, by default, by societal expectation. It’s about a series of things going slightly awry and things coming to a time crunch. And it’s about someone with ADHD just doing the best she can most of the time and then not necessarily being able to ‘show her work’ so someone can take things to the next step.

Because of my ADHD, I struggle with creating systems. I have trouble seeing the bits and pieces of a project. I appreciate when I can delegate things but I’m not always conscious of the steps involved in my work until I am in the middle of them so it’s a bit hard to help someone else know what to do.

In fact, I often say that it is only when I am working on step one of a project that step two will float up out of the fog and reveal itself. It’s like one of those adventure movies or video games where the heroine has to be brave enough to step toward the chasm in order for the first part of the floating platform to appear.

So, as a result, way too much of any project I am involved in is in my head. I am working on documenting more of my routine activities but since that is exactly the kind of work my brain hates the most and since I don’t have someone willing to follow me around and take notes, it will take a while to make that happen.

So, while I am not a Type A person and I am not obsessed with work, when I am resting I have extra trouble giving away the tasks I usually take on.

Don’t get me wrong, I would happily hand them off. I don’t even need them to be done ‘my’ way. I’m just not sure what tasks I usually do nor am I necessarily sure what needs to be done next.

And even when I do know what to do next, I find that the coordinating tasks that usually fall to me take a lot of work to pass along to someone else. In fact, it is less stressful to do the thing than it is to to figure out how to share the information that I am waiting on a call from person A and if they say yes then tasks 1, 2, 3 need to happen but if they say now, then task 1 can happen but we need to call person B for task 2, and skip task 3, and do 3B instead.

(Meanwhile, if I do continue with a few tasks, I give the impression that I’m not all that sick or that it is business as usual, and then more work comes my way but that’s a whole other thing.)

Even if I were to try to explain that collection of tasks and what-ifs to someone who has offered to help, it’s likely that they would get completely overwhelmed because it is too much all at once. And since they couldn’t possibly pick up a month’s worth of details in a single conversation, I would end up with umpteen texts and emails to confirm bits and pieces of information.

So, instead of having one set of tasks to do in bits and pieces as I felt able, planning for the kind of complete complete rest that we’re advised to do would actually involve multiple levels of new tasks.

I would essentially be choosing between 1) doing the tasks as they showed up for me or 2) a) struggling to identify the tasks I unconsciously do for a given project b) connecting them to their relevant information in my head and typing that out somewhere c) putting both of that in some sort of timeline d) figuring out who the best person is to take the next steps e) hoping it isn’t too much to ask f) responding to the person’s (completely justified) questions at random intervals.

Which sounds more like rest to you?

A light haired dog standing in a kitchen looking directly at the camera.
Speaking of being helpful, here’s a photo of Khalee who is closely supervising me as I eat a banana. She has indicated that if I need to rest, she can finish this task for me. Image description: Khalee, my light haired dog, stands next to our kitchen bench staring intently at the camera.

In the end, I’ve been doing a hybrid sort of thing.

I typed out as many things as I could think of that needed to be done and added any context that occurred to me.

I farmed out any urgent things to people who had capacity to handle them (and, to be clear, I had lots of offers of help and support and I took people up on them as often as was feasible.)

I did (and continue to do) any things that I could manage, whenever I felt up to doing them.

And, annoyingly, I’ve dealt with some of the same sort of pushback I had when I was a new mom who couldn’t rest when the baby rested because it was my only chance to get something to eat, to put in a load of laundry, or to pick up the things that were cluttering the room and making me feel overwhelmed.

I’m not ignoring good advice.

I’m not pretending that the world can’t get along without me.

I’m not refusing to let other people help.

I’m trying to recover from an illness while I balance my needs against my responsibilities.

And while I could, in the long run, develop systems to make the delegate process easier, for right now, I am doing the best I can with the resources I have and getting grief for that just makes things harder.

So, can I ask you a favour?

If you are advising someone to rest, could you be respectful about it?

Maybe say things like ‘Are you getting enough rest?’ or ‘Is there anything I can take on that would help you to rest?’ instead of ‘The world can get by without you for a few days.’ or ‘You’ll never get better if you don’t rest.’

It’s all well and good to tell people to rest so they can recover but the process way more complicated than them just switching off their lives and heading to bed.

Let’s not pretend otherwise.

PS – I am deeply grateful for all the help and all the offers of help we have received this week. My friends and family have made things a lot easier and I have been well taken care of.

ADHD · dogs · fitness · motivation · walking

Resistance, ADHD Time-Math and that time that Khalee and I were both so good despite everything else

Picture it:

Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador, November 21, 2022.

The weather is chilly (1 degree Celsius, 33.8 degrees Fahrenheit), there’s a wind warning in effect (80kmh with gusts to 95, 49.71mph with gusts to 59mph)

A GIF of people, animals, and plants being blown around by a grey rain cloud.
There’s no rain here at the moment but otherwise this feels about right. Image description: a cartoon drawing of people and animals being blown around in the wind. Text on the image reads “It’s just a little rain and wind. We’re fine.”

My house is noisy from the wind but it’s warm and cozy.

I’m a bit off track because several of my usual Monday things got changed and because I spent a good part of the day in waiting mode.

Why waiting mode? Tomorrow is my youngest son’s birthday and his present was due to arrive sometime today. Our address is often mixed up with a similar address nearby so I was on alert in case it was delivered to the wrong place.

Waiting mode is one of those situations where a neurotypical person (at least one who wasn’t anxious) would probably be able to put thoughts of the possible mix-up aside and carry on with their plans for the day. And if I had a strict schedule today, my neurodivergent brain *might* be able to do the same.

Alas, my schedule today was flexible. So between that flexibility, the loss of my usual Monday anchors, waiting mode, and the windy weather, I spent my day puttering from task to task.

And then, once the package arrived (yay!), I wanted to settle into my work.

That’s when this process started:

A woman looks intently forward as a variety of mathematical formulae flash over her image.
This could be a depiction of my brain during the following though sequence – if all of those formulae were related to the timing of going for a walk. Image description:GIF of a woman looking slightly to one side of the camera. She looks intent and focused while a series of mathematical formulae appear in white in front of her. The formulae calculations for area and volume of various geometric shapes.

Khalee would need to go for a walk later so my brain was telling me that I probably wouldn’t want to dive too deeply into whatever I was doing right now.

So, maybe we should walk now. After all, the weather isn’t going to improve until tomorrow – and at least it is still light out.

But if I walk now, I might not be able to switch into work mode when I return.

So maybe I should skip the walk, right? After all, the wind warning clearly states that outdoor objects should be tied down. It could be *dangerous* out there, couldn’t it? Stuff could be flying around.

Hell, Khalee and I could blow away, couldn’t we?

Yeah, it’s often like this inside my head – it’s not all that fun.

But then, luckily, I saw a post on Instagram from someone local who was out for a walk, wearing their mask because it was the only way to keep warm – and probably the only way to catch their breath.

That’s when I remembered that I have fleece lined pants to wear over my jeans. And I have a warm coat and my hatphones. And a scarf my sister made. And I could wear my favourite mask.

So, I bundled up, got Khalee into her harness (today was apparently NOT a day for a dog to wear a sweater – I have to give the pup some autonomy, don’t I?) and headed out.

And, like most things – it was far worse to think about than it was to do.

It was stupid windy out. It was quite cold.

An outdoor selfie bundled up in winter clothes with a mask over the lower part of my face.
It is hard being things glamorous all the time but I have gotten used to it – ha ha! Image description: a selfie of me wearing my green winter jacket, a black hat, my glasses (which are a little steamed up) and a black and white half facemask that has a depiction of a martial artist on the white side. I am also wearing a blue scarf that my sister made for me. My eyes are almost completely shut, the wind is blowing my hood backwards, and my hair is sticking out on one side and blowing in the wind as well.

But it was manageable. And it wasn’t totally awful.

And Khalee and I were both so very good for dragging ourselves outside even though 50% of us were not keen on it.

I mean Khalee is automatically good, obviously, what with being a dog and all, but she bravely forged ahead into the wind until I called out to her so I could take a photo.

A light haired dog stands on a path looking back towards the camera.
Image description: Khalee, a light-haired dog on a neon yellow leash and a blue harness, looks back toward the camera as she stands on the edge of an asphalt path next to some grass. Her right ear is blown backwards, her eyes are slightly squinted, and her fur is ruffled from the wind.

So yeah, she’s super-good but I’m pretty damn good too – overcoming so much resistance even though it would have been much easier (and quite understandable) if I had decided to stay home.

(And, I’m sorry to report, that I did indeed feel better after being outside and zipping through my walk. It was worth getting out for Khalee’s sake but, damn it, it was apparently also worth it for my own sake, too.)

Anyway, long story short (too late!), Khalee and I both get gold stars for our windy walk.

Image description - two hastily-drawn gold stars, one each for me and my dog​
Image description – two hastily-drawn gold stars, one each for me and my dog

How about you?

How have you triumphed over resistance lately?

Was it worth it?

Would you like a gold star? Khalee and I will share!

PS: Happy Birthday to my youngest son, J, who is my baby but is not, apparently, actually a baby at all any more. In fact, he’s a newly-minted adult.

ADHD · aging · birthday · fitness · motivation · planning

A low-key start for Christine’s birthday month

This post is a group of loosely connected thoughts in a blogpost-shaped trench coat but let’s just roll with it.

As I write this, I’m sitting in a lawn chair on my front lawn awaiting trick or treaters – Khalee is too much of a chaos agent for me to easily answer the door over and over so I take the treats outside and drink tea while waiting for the kids.

I’m so spooky and mysterious. Also I think my pumpkin lights are shy – none of them would face the camera. Image description: a nighttime selfie of me in front of the tree in my front yard. I’m wearing my jacket and a plaid shirt with a necklace of tiny glowing skulls. My hair is pulled back in a bandana, I have my glasses on, and I’m smirking. There is a string of pumpkin lights behind me, each pumpkin on the string is about the size of a tennis ball.

Tomorrow, or today by the time you read this, is November 1, just a little over a week away from my 50th birthday.

A few months ago, I thought I would have a good fitness routine by now. I thought I had a solid, low key plan. 

Turns out, I was still trying to do too much at once and I have basically been kind of ambling along trying to figure out my how and when, exercising more some times and less other times.

At the beginning of October, I thought I would have a straightforward month with two challenges to work on, but I was plagued with migraines and frustration and never really found my groove.

One tiny part of my brain is telling me ‘You should be more disappointed in yourself, don’t you think?’

But another part is reminding me that the word should is at least 90% evil and that, at almost 50 years old, I don’t have to put up with people being mean to me – especially if that person is me.

So, instead, I’m thinking that I must not have found the easy thing. I must have had too many steps or too many decisions, I must not have smoothed the path, I must not have included enough fun. Oh well! Too late to worry about those past plans now.

I’m not trying to revamp them, though, I’m just focused on what’s ahead of me.

I’m looking forward to my birthday month with the goal(s) of finding more ease, seeking more fun, and looking for ways to move more often on any given day.

There’s no overarching plan, there’s no big idea, there’s just me experimenting with trusting myself in the moment. Let’s just hope my brain will cooperate.

It took me a couple of Halloweens of trying different things before I figured out that I could circumvent the stress of the dog-related chaos by taking the treats out to the kids but I was making little changes in my approach the whole time.

I’m hoping the same is true for this whole figuring-out-routines thing, that I *am* making adjustments and learning as I go, even if it’s hard to see while I’m still in the middle of it.

PS – In case you have a tendency to worry: I am completely ok, by the way. I’m mostly just interested in how and why I feel so at ease with not having done what I had set out to do. And why I don’t feel the need to poke into what went “wrong.” I like the fact that instead of my brain leaning into the meanness, I veered off into the ‘try this’ of taking things moment by moment. I’m observational and reflective, perhaps a little melancholy, but I’m not sad, not upset, and there’s nothing wrong.

advice · fitness · illness · rest · self care

A short post about not very much

I’m writing this on Monday night.

I’ve spent the day feeling under the weather (and appropriately it has been very VERY rainy) and trying to sort my to do list into:

– things that I feel up to doing today

-things that must be done today (by me or by someone else)

-things that can most definitely wait

-other stuff

Resting, very low-key yoga, and an online meeting made the cut…a lot of other things did not.

I can’t, however, tell you how I decided which was which. (It’s not a secret, I just have no idea!)

How do you decide how much rest you need when you don’t feel well?

How do you decide what stays on your to do list and what you can let slide?

PS – Here’s a useful reminder I drew a few years ago. You don’t even need to feel sick to take it to heart.

A photo of a small square card on a patio railing. The card has been painted yellow and has dark blue lines extending outward from the centre to create the impression of a top-down view of a flower. ​Blue text on the drawing reads “you don’t have to be and do all of the things. Choose the ones that feel right, the ones you know are yours. (That’s enough)”
Image description: a small square card on a patio railing. The card has been painted yellow and has dark blue lines extending outward from the centre to create the impression of a top-down view of a flower. Blue text on the drawing reads “you don’t have to be and do all of the things. Choose the ones that feel right, the ones you know are yours. (That’s enough)”