Archives for posts with tag: take care of yourself

Living in the Pacific Northwest, at least currently, results in a lot of gray, rainy, autumn and winter days. I love the rain. My arthritis doesn’t respond to it as pleasantly. I’m in pain. It’s just physical pain. I think over past winter holiday seasons, and try to recall the last one that was not characterized, in some way, by the amount of pain I’m in. It’s been a long time. I give up on that, take a breath, exhale, and let it go. I think about Giftmas, instead.

The tree glows merrily. The mantlepiece, too. The gifts under the tree are a dazzling display of festive wrappings. I am eager to open them, and to enjoy the holiday with my Traveling Partner, here at home, us two, together. A simple holiday at home seems more than sufficient; I’m delighted with the planning, and the decor, and the company. I think about far away friends and family, and wonder about their plans, and wish them well from afar.

…I am reminded to do the holiday cards, like… tonight. lol It’s almost too late…

I sit with the last dregs of my morning coffee, and a gray rather dismal view through a rain spattered window. There is plenty of work in front of me. I took this break to write hoping to return to work feeling refreshed. 🙂

What is “enough”? I’m sure a lot of folks out and about without a mask on, possibly without practicing social distancing, maybe even without giving a care to people who may be more vulnerable to COVID-19 than they themselves feel, are struggling to feel a sense of sufficiency faced with limitations on their movement, their social activities, and all the details of life in the time of pandemic. I don’t really understand the feeling of invulnerability. I definitely don’t get making it a political matter. I breathe through that, too. I let it go, with a reminder to myself to wash hands often (and with care), and mask up before going out, and maintain social distance. Sure, it’s taken getting used to for me, too. I gotta admit though; I do like how much cleaner stores seem to be. I like how much less often people seem to go out into the world when they are obviously unwell, and how few coworkers attempt to work when they are sick, compared to last year. These seem to be improvements worth hanging on to… I hope we do.

In the meantime, Giftmas draws ever nearer… and I’m excited. 😀

I am sipping my coffee at leisure; I took today off. I know, sometimes it’s tough to sort out the days during a pandemic, working from home. Some folks may find “taking a day off” sort of pointless under those circumstances… I still find it pretty essential for my quality of life and general enjoyment and self-care. So. A day off? Yes, please.

I’m thinking about how easily loved ones can “push each others buttons”, even without meaning to. I contemplate how much more comfortable human beings often seem to be with being their most vile self in the context of their most favored or intimate relationships. (I still do not get how that makes any sense… why not, instead, be your worst self with absolute strangers, than with people you say you love? Would you not want your loved ones to enjoy the best of who you are?) It often falls to the individual to vigilantly “supervise” their vulnerable “buttons”, and to learn to be less reactive, generally. I’ve certainly found value in that, although my results do vary. “Expectation-setting” and asking any one individual to avoid pushing a given button doesn’t seem very helpful, sometimes (or within some relationships).

I sip my coffee, and my mind wanders on.

I think for a moment about the coffee, itself. A moment of comfort. A metaphor for self-care, for being centered, for self-reflection (at least for me). I so routinely take a moment of ease over a cup of coffee that having a coffee cup in my hand feels “complete” in an odd way. So… what happens when the coffee runs out? What would replace this coffee cup in my hand, if there were literally no coffee (or, at least, none for me)?

My mind wanders on. Payday tasks are handled. There is a secure comfortable feeling that comes with that, these days, especially with the holidays ahead. Another sip of coffee, and my mind moves on…

I hear the soft sound of lo-fi coffee house “radio” from the other room, over the whirr of my computer’s CPU fan. It reaches my consciousness as a sort of “wellness indicator”, telling me it’s a fine morning to enjoy life, just as it is. This prompts me to consider other “indicator dials” and gauges of wellness in my moment-to-moment experience of living life. What other signals do I send myself that “all is well”? Do I recognize conditions on a spectrum, as one might see on a gauge or dial on the dashboard of my car? Do I have an “internal dashboard” that I could quickly glance over in a moment, and correctly evaluate conditions developing in real-time? I mean… that’s sort of what all of consciousness is, more or less, I suppose… if I listen. I like the notion of an internal “wellness dashboard”. Buttons and dials. Better be careful with that. I smile at the thought of it. I have another drink of my coffee.

My mind wanders on. Not a bad start to a long holiday weekend at home with someone I love. Certainly it’s enough. 🙂

Chilly morning. Coffee just a memory at this point. I consider making a pot of tea, or having a mid-morning soak in the hot tub. I think ahead to the weekend, and blustery autumn days, chilly walks through piles of autumn leaves, and cozying up to the fireplace wrapped in a soft blanket with a good book. There are some delights that even pandemic life does not dim. A book by the fire? Add a mug of warm cocoa to that, and it’s a small slice of heaven for some of us. 🙂

I ran a brief errand, and returned home. There’s still something so magical about stepping over the threshold, here. Home. Feels good. I smile at the fall foliage on the pear tree beyond the window. Here and there, green leaves turning to russet shades, shaking with the breeze as if to say “it is chilly today”. I sigh out loud in the quiet of my studio.

Small moments and small pleasures make up so much of what is joyful in life. I mean… that’s true for me, specifically. I can’t speak for your experience. 🙂 My results do vary… often depending on my choices. I sit with that though for a moment, aware of the chilly autumn day beyond the window. Aware of the comfort I am fortunate to enjoy, here at home. I think about that hot tub, out on the deck, and the pain I am in with my arthritis, right now…

…Choices… verbs… free will… opportunity…

…It’s a good time to begin again. 🙂

I woke about an hour ago. It’s a bit past 3:00 a.m. now. Little point in attempting to return to sleep. No idea what actually woke me. For now, I’m dealing with this sinus headache, but, and this is just real, I’m almost delighted that I can, mostly, just breathe. The vertigo, which I think may be a result of sleeping with my neck at an odd angle, combined with this head cold, is a cruel new addition, and I’m already “over it” (meaning to say, I’d very much like to be done with this whole mess, now, please…).

I worked yesterday, from home, and wrapped up the day about 2 hours early, compared to a typical Monday. I honestly wasn’t good for much. Today, either, potentially, but I am feeling “up to it”, and no coughing or sneezing, so far, and able to breathe (mostly)… I may go into the office today. I sit here sipping icy cold grapefruit fizzy water, wondering if I really will. The advantage is small; I have more monitor “real estate” there, and this allows me to work somewhat faster, with more things open and easy to see. That’s it. The disadvantage? If I am still contagious, I get everyone on my team sick (small office space), and potentially also everyone I talk to. That’s a dick move. I resolve to stay home if I start sneezing or coughing, and decide that if I do go in, I’ll go quite early, and overlap with folks for a much shorter period of time, keeping my hands washed, and wearing a mask. If nothing else, the mask itself will discourage conversation, and reduce risk further.

…I’ll probably work half a day, get the essentials done, take advantage of the efficiency of the big monitors, and cancel live calls/meetings that involve face-to-face participation.

My coffee is very good this morning. I feel content and alert in spite of the ridiculous hour. My body feels mostly pretty comfortable, very little pain. The discomfort I do feel is largely to do with this cold, and I’m clearly getting over that. I find that to be very good news – honestly, I have shit to get done. Not being up to doing things sucks. I keep sipping this coffee, between physical therapy exercises, and wait for this vertigo to clear up; if it doesn’t, I’ll stay home. Driving to the office in the dark, in the rain, and also with vertigo? That just sounds fairly stupid.

Back and forth… water… coffee… work from home? Go to the office? More water. Another sip of coffee. How do I best take care of this fragile vessel? Water. Chicken broth. Tea. Sleep. More sleep. More water. Limited use of cold care remedies, and only those that are definitely effective, and don’t mess with my head. More sleep. More water. More broth. Food when I can eat. I don’t know what works for you – do that, though, I suppose. I do this. 🙂 I’d been going through a record-breaking number of Kleenex’s there for a day or two, but this box next to me has been open now for more than 12 hours, and it’s still half full. Progress.

…Oh, damn, do I enjoy being able to breathe? Oh, yes, yes, I do – so very much. 🙂 It’s nice having that back.

I find myself looking forward to the cold autumn air and the rain fresh breeze, when I step outside, into the pre-dawn darkness of morning. The house is comfortably warm, but not hot. I feel a bit overdressed for the indoor temperature, and remind myself that my coat is in the bedroom closet, my partner still sleeping. Going to work without my coat, in this weather, in this health, seems fairly dumb; I’ll have to go get it, probably waking my partner. :-\ It is what it is. I remind myself he would comfortable do so, himself, were the situation such that he needed a clothing item from the bedroom, while I am sleeping. lol No coat = no commute. 🙂 That’s some solid self-care decision-making right there. 🙂

I look at the time. It’s very early, not quite 4:00 a.m., but getting that kind of head start on the day will be a huge win for reducing exposure to any lingering contagion, so… I guess it’s time to begin again. 😀

Oddly, the title on this one has nothing whatever to do with the content. There’s probably a metaphor in that, somewhere. 😉

I’m sipping my coffee and thinking about breakfast. It’s quite early; I got up at 5:00 am, and on a Saturday morning, many breakfast places that are not of the 24-hour variety aren’t even open. I’ve got time to consider it. Do I even want to spend the money? Leave the house? Make the drive? Do I even know where I’d want to go? When I consider the effort and bother, is it greater or less than the effort to make breakfast at home? (Less, so much less. lol) I spend a contented half hour on Google Maps searching “breakfast near me”, entertained by the fantasy of having breakfast out.

I straight up love breakfast out, and brunch is probably my favorite meal, ever, followed closely by high tea at the other end of a day. Lunch? Lunch is generally a compromised meal, taken hurriedly at my desk, while I work, or grabbed along the way on a weekend day. I rarely sit down for a proper lunch. Dinner? Meh. Dinner can be fancy, simple, elegant, ordinary – all the things – it can be at home or out, just as with breakfast and brunch, obviously, but dinner? It’s grown to bore me, somehow. I do my best with it. I rarely daydream about dinners. lol Thanksgiving. High holidays. That’s where dinner has some appeal for me, generally.

Here it is Saturday morning. I’m awake. I’m hungry. I have no interest in messing up my clean kitchen, or doing so and then having to restore its sparkle. lol I don’t have on hand the sort of things I both enjoy and can easily have, which also support my dietary needs. Well, that’s not entirely the case… I could poach a couple of eggs and rest them tastily on a bed of wilted greens, and eat them with some fresh fruit and hot coffee. Totally a thing I can – and do – have for breakfast, regularly. It’s not what I want. I want the fantasy of breakfast out. lol

We dream of the things that are often just out of reach, whether that’s for always or for the moment may be a matter of circumstance – but it could also be a choice. This morning, I’m definitely in decision-making territory on this one. I could go out to breakfast. Totally could. Is it the wise choice? Mmm… possibly not. As mistakes go, though, it’s not super costly (from this vantage point, before making the possible mistake)… I’d earnestly like to talk myself into it, or out of it, but at any rate, the indecision is beginning to shift from delightful moment of contemplation of a much-loved meal to feeling a tad aggravated with the whole matter; I’m hungry. My blood sugar is probably starting to decline.

Here’s the part of the journey where I have to commit to self-care or foolishness, and either admit that I am not going to care for myself well, or quick fucking about and take care of this fragile vessel! 😀

The fantasy, of course, is an elegant brunch on the order of a feast – seemingly endless choices, exceptionally well-prepared from only the very highest quality ingredients, offered at an honest price – and all at my whim, with an excellent cup of coffee, besides. I get some major mileage out of my daydreams; there is no such meal to be had within miles and miles and miles. LOL I could, however, drive to a restaurant specializing in breakfast, once they open, queue up with all the other folks seeking an exceptional breakfast, deal with the stares and discomfort of being a plump middle-aged woman eating alone, make a careful choice from a limited menu and drink a fairly terrible cup of shitty diner coffee with an otherwise agreeably delicious meal… easy win there. Lots of choices.

Making a choice, even an “easy” one, can be… hard. Too many options. LOL The options are all rather similar. Too little variety. Americans, in general, seem to have a fairly limited palate, actually, and don’t much go for “weird food” (anything that isn’t entirely ordinary and generally fairly bland and familiar), this inevitably limits what is available. Businesses tend to cater to the greatest demand.

I finally get sufficiently frustrated with the entire concept of breakfast or brunch or meals or choices that I smash up a couple hard-boiled eggs in a bowl, microwave them with a drizzle of olive oil, some sea salt and black pepper, with some left over veggies, and eat them contentedly. It’s enough. It is, in fact, sufficient to the point that I lose interest in food entirely for the time being… and just…

…Enjoy the metaphor of a foggy morning – remaking the experience with choices…

…And begin again. There’s an entire day ahead to enjoy. 🙂