The Enforced Slow Down

I recently found out that I inflamed my bicep tendon at both ends, both where it attaches to my shoulder and my elbow. I was advised to rest my bicep and not lift anything heavy or least a week. Considering I’m the only parent in the house at the moment that seemed rather ridiculous. However my deltoid muscle was on fire, and my shoulder hurt so I thought I would go ahead and try to behave myself.

I suck at sitting still.

I am used to constant activity I have a lot of things to take care of. I don’t know how to do Nothing. I’m the person who thinks that if I’m watching TV then I should be doing something with my hands at the same time so that I’m not wasting time. I’m the one who reads while making dinner.  I’m the one who takes care of social media while eating breakfast. I’m the one who does research while  I’m waiting to pick up the kids from school.

I tried for several days to not do as much. I still ended up doing too much. As a result, my bicep and deltoid ached and my tendons became more swollen. So after using lots of ice to get the swelling down I decided to actually rest.

I suck it resting.

I decided to actually take time off.  I sat still. I watched TV. I ate popcorn for lunch. I decided to drink what I wanted to and eat what I wanted to the whole day  long. It was hard at first. But then it got easier the second day and then I found that I was sleeping better. I was waking up easier. And my imagination seems to have come back a little.

I’m still working on it I’m still trying to sit still because my arm still hurts. I don’t know how long I’m going to have to sit still, but the enforced slow down has helped my mind more than my arm. I’ve learned a couple of things.

First:  I think I’ve been putting so much pressure on myself to get so much stuff done and be a super mom and an author and a home improvement specialist that I’m killing myself slowly. I realized that I’m working so hard towards making sure everything is okay for everyone else that I’m forgetting to make sure everything’s okay for me. Everyone keeps telling me that if I don’t take care of myself, there will be no one to take care of everyone else. But it’s so hard to make time for yourself when you’re trying to squeeze so much into a day. I have so many things to do and so little time to do them. However the more I try to do the less I get done. So as I keep telling my daughter. Quality over quantity. I need to do less, but do it better.

Second:  I learned that actually giving myself time to do something that I enjoy made it seem a lot harder to go back to working. I think that I have been depriving myself of fun for so long that I’m desperate now to have as much of it as possible. I find that dangerous. I’m  tired of fighting the good fight. I’m stressed out enough right now, that sitting down and letting the world tick away to its inevitable conclusion is easy. The more I sit, the easier it is to want to keep sitting. It’s so much easier to sit and just enjoy. American culture is based on leisure activities. Unfortunately most people can’t afford them, but they’re still there. Work hard play hard. I want to. Bumming around is kind of seductive. I don’t want to go back to working that hard. But the work still has to be done and I’m the one who’s here to do it.

But I guess I need to listen to something else that I always tell my daughter. In all things, balance. I need to start working hard and enjoying what I work hard for. I need to learn that it’s okay to take time to enjoy a movie or just sit and read a book and not feel guilty about it. Perhaps I wouldn’t have injured myself if I had listened to that place to begin with.

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Thanks a lot Zen, you double edged sword!

I have anxiety issues. Bad ones. I am a constant worrier. I’ve had panic attacks for years.  My husband suggested a long time ago that I try to “Zen it.” I know that sounds rather disrespectful, but it’s not.

What he meant was that I needed to quit thinking about everything all at once. I needed to think about only one thing at a time and leave the rest for another time. He would say, “Worry about it from 8 am to 5 pm because you can’t do anything about when you can’t do anything about it.”

Easy for him to say. But I tried because he asked me too.

Years have passed.

I can now for the most part think only about my problems when I can do something about them, except that I am a plan ahead kind of girl so I’m always thinking ahead. I really do try to only think about what I’m doing now and now worry about things looming in my future.

However…

There is a disadvantage to only thinking about what I’m doing now. My imagination has been caged. I used to alway be thinking and pretending and imagining. Not really any more. Some would say that it’s just because I’ve grown up. I don’t believe that. Growing up has nothing to do with imagination. I believe it is because I’m so focused on the now that I became too grounded in reality. I’ve readjusted my brain to think in a new way but now I’m suffering an overdose of reality.

I want to daydream again. I’m finding it really hard to concentrate on my writing too because it is not a task that can only be thought about when you are doing it. Writing is an ethereal beast that must be always on your mind. When you aren’t writing you must be planning and plotting. You must be working out what could happen and rearranging what you did to fit what you will do. There is nothing Zen about that part. Zen is only helpful when you are actually doing the writing, the sitting and typing part.

So I guess that I need to learn to wield the Zen double edged sword a little better. I need to learn to compartmentalize my thoughts. Zen the day to day and unleash the imagination beast to run wild in the meadows of my mind. Sounds pretty straightforward and easy right?

Maybe in a few more years…..

Ah crap, I’m healthy.

I know. Healthy is a good thing right?
I went in for my “birthday labs” it’s a yearly blood check of everything. The clinic here gives it at a discount rate during your birth month. It is a wonderful preventative measure.

I dutifully went to see the vampire and had my blood drawn early in the morning. By the next morning I already had the results arrive in the mail. Never expected results to be that fast!

I read through the rows and rows of abbreviations with google in one hand trying to decode their meanings. Some were in bold type. Uh oh.

Cholesterol. That ominous factoid that is tossed around so often.
Mine was bolded. 119 and across from it was the range of where it should be 130-200. Wait. What? 119 isn’t even on the scale. What am I dead? Then of course the explanations say things like too low of number mean a risk of heart disease.

So I did the sensible thing and made a doctor’s appointment. Get it from the horse’s mouth. Once I’m at the doc’s and he’s looking at the numbers, he laughs.
Well, didn’t see that coming.
He grins and tells me that except for my weight which really isn’t that bad but is a little too high, I couldn’t be healthier.
Whhhaaaatttt!

I’m glad that I’m healthy. It is truly a blessing. I was just hoping something would be wrong to explain why I feel so awful. Headaches, weak muscles, depression, anxiety- obviously there’s something wrong.
Oh yeah now I remember – stress and not sleeping!
Ah the life of a mother of a special needs kid.
I read once somewhere that caretakers of special needs kids suffer from the same stressors that soldiers in combat do. I can see it.
The hyper-vigilance, the lack of sleep, the adrenaline rush and dump cycle that never ends.
However there is a major difference…moms don’t get to kill people when they reach breaking point, soldiers get paid to.
I guess I’ll have to be contented with being a healthy time bomb that’s been harnessed and dampened by love for my kids.
So yay me! I’m healthy!

Ok so after I wrote this I heard on the radio that the University of Ohio did a study showing that depending on how much stress a person has experienced they can gain up to 11 pounds a year. So where does that leave me?