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apike

Gahhh

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I think Gahhh about sums it up.

 

My last challenge ended pretty horribly. I've been really stressed out and doing not well. I re-injured my hip. New job is going well, but it's wiping me out too. And my social life is slowly turning into hell.

 

Since my hip is a problem (again) I should probably do something about it this challenge, but I am honestly out of ideas. My plan is to stay off it as much as possible until I no longer consume Advil like candy and then continue whatever else I decide to do. I have lots of ideas, but there's too much change and pain to have any ability to form a plan. So there's no plan, and very very little hope of forming one.

 

Since I'm having issues providing myself some of the most basic possible elements of care, here's what I'm going to do this challenge:

 

ONE - Water

 

Form a water drinking habit at work. I had one for my last office, but my new office and schedule have messed it all up, so I need to put an effort in to reform that. I've been dehydrated a lot lately.

 

Pass/Fail. Super simple: was each week better than the week before it? I'll call my baseline going into this: 1 coffee (which counts a fluid but not water), one glass of water at lunch. (My normal at my last job was at least twice that). Tea counts as water for my purposes. I have a pretty good sense of how much water I need, and that I feel better when I get enough. I just don't get thirsty and I live in a desert.

 

 

TWO - Handy proxy measurement for "active enough" baseline

 

Pretty simple - I've noticed that when I actually work out and make an effort, my back hurts a lot less than what I've accepted as "normal". This challenge is going to be about counting. Just that - not actively trying to change anything specific.

 

I don't really know why I think this is a good idea, but I think it is. How many times I crack my neck or pop my back over the day seems like it should make a good proxy for hitting an acceptable baseline of self care.

 

This is basically a free pass on my Pass/Fail system, as long as I don't drop out of the challenge and actually keep track as best as I'm able.

 

 

THREE - start writing again

 

I haven't written in a month or so. I need to come up with a goal, probably daily word count based, which is neither too aggressive nor too passive. I'm thinking.

 

-

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THREE (writing continued)

 

I've been meaning to switch back to hand written instead of typed writing, so I might as well continue with that plan. I think differently when I hand write, although I'm not sure if it's "more creative" or "better" than when I just type. I know it's slower.

 

The only for-sure plus will be that I'll be FORCED into rereading my work when I type it up.

 

I already have my notebook picked out, so I'll just make my daily goal ONE PAGE. No word count, just no obvious cheating either, like a page with a single word or something.

 

I'll probably continue on the story I started last challenge, but I'm not making that a requirement.

 

Grading: I'm not sure. I'm tempted to just make this pass/fail, since I can easily write daily for months at a time (if I put my mind to it). And the notebook is small, so one page is not terribly many words. Undecided what I'll stick to there.

 

FOUR - Stop skipping meals on weekends.

 

I thrive with structure. So I actually do some things way better on weekdays. Like remembering to eat regularly.

 

To that end, I'd like to make sure I eat an actual lunch, rather than snacking or getting coffee and forgetting to eat real food until dinner time is looming and I'm starving.

 

I started today, by making cornbread from a mix and eating it with chilli (from a can).

 

Grading: I hate grading scales.

Pass With Flying Colors: Succeed every Saturday and Sunday within the challenge time frame.

Pass: Succeed once every weekend.

Scrape by: Succeed on-average every weekend, but by missing some weekends and doing well others (inconsistency fail).

Fail: Any less than 50%

 

FIVE - Try to loosen up stupid hip daily.

 

I came up with something that will hopefully help my hip heal without being more of a burden than I can handle right now. Like, it takes longer to take pain killers all the times I needed in the past week than it would have to meet this goal.

 

Since it seems tighter in the morning and loosens up during the day, I will do sets of squats every morning when I crawl out of bed. And additional stretching is good, but not at all required.

 

As a general rule, I consider a set 10 reps. For this goal, doing multiple sets is not required. It is required that I do these in the AM, actually around breakfast time (11:59 doesn't count, unless it's a weekend and I just woke up - and I rarely sleep in that late).

 

This could easily be accomplished by doing 10 squats in kitchen while waiting on my breakfast. Before heading downstairs also good. After getting dressed less good (because it honestly means I'm likely to skip it, plus I prefer squats in PJs over squats in jeans).

 

Grading:

Pass with Flying Colors: All of the days, extra sets.

Pass: 5 of 7 days each week.

Scrape By: Hip stops hurting without me doing much. (Entirely possible since it needs rest).

Fail: Fewer than 5 days a week and hip is still just as awful 6 weeks from now. If I manage that, it better include some doctor visits, because I expect it to hurt less over the next few weeks without me doing anything other than not re-aggravating it.

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Summary: It should be pretty difficult to fail, short of giving up.

 

ONE - more water

TWO - measure back pain proxy - write down how much back is popping

THREE - write a page a day

FOUR - eat food on weekends

FIVE - 10 squats while making breakfast

 

Grading:

(in theory this is easy to track, and should be fairly simple to pass everything)

 

ONE - each week should be better than the previous one

TWO - free PASS

THREE - fail is anything less than daily

FOUR - there aren't really that many weekends in a 6 week challenge, and I'm allowing a pass at 50% or better. So it's like 6 lunches.

FIVE - get at least 5 days of squats in every week

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Hooray for water! I have the same problem with not hydrating. My blood probably has the consistency of syrup mixed with caffeine and ethanol lol. BUT NOT TODAY! TODAY I BECOME HYDRATED, RAAAARGH!

 

What are you writing btw?

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Hello apike!  Dealing with chronic pain is such a delicate balance.  Too much can aggravate the pain making it worse, and not doing anything can do the exact same thing!  I feel your frustration.  Don't stress about not doing well - it's all a learning curve until you find a path that best suits you. 

 

Have you ever tried foam rolling?  It can be a bit painful at first, but it has been the most amazing relief I've found!  If I skip more than one day in a row, I can totally feel my back start to cramp up and begin aching.

 

I wish you great success!  Any win or victory, no matter how small - is better than nothing at all!  :)  Focus on the good stuff!

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Hooray for water! I have the same problem with not hydrating. My blood probably has the consistency of syrup mixed with caffeine and ethanol lol. BUT NOT TODAY! TODAY I BECOME HYDRATED, RAAAARGH!

 

What are you writing btw?

 

I'm writing a fantasy novel. I abandoned my last project, too flat and I was bored by the characters and primary conflict. This one is still in its first chapter, which is when I tend to have the most ideas. It's hard to stick to it through the end.

 

 

Hello apike!  Dealing with chronic pain is such a delicate balance.  Too much can aggravate the pain making it worse, and not doing anything can do the exact same thing!  I feel your frustration.  Don't stress about not doing well - it's all a learning curve until you find a path that best suits you. 

 

Have you ever tried foam rolling?  It can be a bit painful at first, but it has been the most amazing relief I've found!  If I skip more than one day in a row, I can totally feel my back start to cramp up and begin aching.

 

I wish you great success!  Any win or victory, no matter how small - is better than nothing at all!  :)  Focus on the good stuff!

 

The hardest part about the learning curve is that there's so much random delay between doing things and pain or no-pain, that I struggle to even recognize stuff I should avoid.

 

I didn't care much for foam rolling. I did find a program from a book that seemed to be helping, but it got frustrating after a while too. (It was the Pain Free Program). My biggest problems with it were that I had to do it every day to see much improvement, and it took so long it stressed me out by require more time than I have to give, plus leaving no extra time or energy to go beyond on and do anything that felt like it might make a longer term impact. The other big problem was that the most useful part required laying on my back for long periods, which messes up my sinuses big time. So it was uncomfortable to the point of potentially headache inducing. I'll probably return to that at some point, but I just found it wore on me mentally even while helping me physically, which wasn't always a valuable trade off.

 

And I'm a very all-or-nothing person, with a new hectic schedule I haven't figured out, so I haven't figured out how to do it a few days a week on a regular basis. Maybe next challenge I'll make that part of things, depending on where I'm at and if I can start working it back in over the next month or so.

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I meant to update progress during the week, but things got super busy.

 

ONE - more water

 

I didn't do a great job tracking, but I'm definitely getting it a little more under control. I think it was something like:

M     T      W     R     F     S      S

bad  bad  ok     ok   ok   bad   ...

Although I don't have specific numbers of waters I consumed. I have a plan to improve my tracking for next week. See #2 below.

 

TWO - measure back pain proxy - write down how much back is popping

 

I tended to lose track, but it was always well over 10, except on maybe one day where my shoulder felt out of place from sleeping funny and I spent a lot of time wishing I could pop it into place. Basically my back felt screwed up all week.

 

I also started out making it too complex and trying to pay attention to how I popped my neck and random similar stuff.

 

Tracking: I'm going to make a little note card with a simple grid. Rows are: Water, Neck, Back, Hip, Other. Columns are dates.

Entries will just be tally marks. Water is for goal #1, the rest are for cracking body parts. I added hip because that was popping earlier this week too, and other because sometimes other weird stuff like ankles and elbows crackle.

Note card will live in my pocket, so it will be hard to lose track of, which is what has happened to my other random notes on #1 and #2.

 

THREE - write a page a day

 

Very good.

 

I've written > 1 page every day except Thursday. I've declared Thursday an approved loss, because I went straight from work to the playoff hockey game where I screamed myself into a headache that lasted until 5PM the following day, and also didn't get home until after I needed to be in bed.

 

FOUR - eat food on weekends

 

Only have today to judge from, but I managed to actually consume lunch today. So far so good : )

 

FIVE - 10 squats while making breakfast

 

I forgot about this so completely I'm not even sure which days I've missed. I know I missed today entirely because I most definitely did not think about it today. I think I missed yesterday too, but I don't remember. I think I remembered Thursday, but I'm not at all sure. I know I got Mon-Wed.

So that's pretty smooth. I'll add that to the master note card too so I don't go around continuing to skip it.

 

 

 

 

On the whole, I think I'm doing ok, but obviously my tracking needs to improve a lot.

I still need to write for today, and maybe I'll do today's squats even though I missed the critical window.

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Hello again!

Tracking can be really difficult!

Many here use google documents -would that be something for you?

It looks like you are also trying to learn to live with pain which I think is impressive!

As for the water, many just fill up a container and count the number if times they empty it (water bottle with rubber bands on it to remove for instance).

Here's to a great week 2!

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Hello again!

Tracking can be really difficult!

Many here use google documents -would that be something for you?

It looks like you are also trying to learn to live with pain which I think is impressive!

As for the water, many just fill up a container and count the number if times they empty it (water bottle with rubber bands on it to remove for instance).

Here's to a great week 2!

 

I wouldn't want to ruin my track record of making things more difficult than they need to be!

 

The problem with something like google docs is that I don't have it on me in the car, or easy access during meetings etc. If I have to remember more than one tally for more than 30 minutes, it's getting forgotten. Notecard in my pocket worked ok last week, although I haven't made a new one with a grid for this week, which is kind of bad. As it is, my "tallies" were pretty vague, but consistent enough to be useful.

 

I'm not trying to learn to live with pain. Pardon my language, but F that. I'm trying to HEAL IT AWAY. Because I'm young, with no obvious injuries or ailments, so I should absolutely not be forced to live with this pain.

 

Problem with the water bottle is twofold:

1 - mine is dirty and hidden under the seat of my car where I am inexplicably ignoring it as I have been for over a week.

2 - I still have to remember how many times I drain it. That's why my tallies are just living on that same notecard. Waterbottle only helps with consistent sizes, which isn't really my problem right now, so much as motivating myself to actually drink more.

 

Basically I'm just being stubbornly difficult. I really don't have a reason, besides random stress. But I'm having a very hard time settling down into a schedule in my new job, which is making life extra hard. I've not been sleeping well, which tends to affect every other thing I do.

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Summary of week 2: improved mostly in the context of having a notecard to write down tallies. And haven't made a new grid for this week.

 

 

ONE -

 

Did a little better tracking, but not much better drinking. I haven't returned my tea mug to my office since I took it home to wash. I haven't cleaned my water bottle, or even saved it from the depths of my car. And my thirst is kind of dead from stress.

 

TWO -

 

Back pain was tracked better with the notecard, and also slightly less. Downside? My hip was popping on Saturday, as was my JAW. I hate it when my jaw pops. So, not really feeling to even on the back.

 

THREE -

 

Pages and pages. I haven't missed another day of writing.

 

FOUR -

 

I ate an actual lunch every day except Sunday, where I messed up and ended up coffee + snacks instead (which is what I'm trying to avoid).

 

FIVE -

 

I missed squats today, because I was running late. Sleeping through your alarm for an hour will do that. And then I just kept being too preoccupied with things every time I thought of squats.

 

 

 

 

On the whole? Things not really getting much better. My hip is a little less angry, but not a lot. I'm sleeping poorly so I'm tired all the time. Pretty much all I've done is work, and recovering from work.

 

Now I'm off to make this weeks notecard before I put it off some more.

 

Also I'm still recovering from the hockey game on Saturday. My throat is so sore. Playoffs are rough : )

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Basically I'm just being stubbornly difficult. 

 

Yep, 

and a big part of the time I am too  :nevreness:

 

I didn't mean any harm with my comment about pain, I'm sorry if I offended you.

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No worries!

 

 

I should probably write up whatever it was that happened last week, but I'm not going to right now. It had some ups and downs, overall.

 

Instead, I'm going to talk about today.

 

Today some neat things:

 

I got new shoes! This is pretty exciting, because the soles of my old pair were so worn that it's almost certain they were making my hip worse. So hopefully it won't take very long to break these in and have things feel a ton better!

 

Also: I investigated the gym today. I'm pretty excited about it, even though it's crazy expensive. Why is it cool? It's right next to the building I work in. I mean literally, directly next to it. It's also super big and has everything I can imagine I'll ever want. It's got a ton of weightlifting stuff, it's super clean, it's got boxing equipment (although you have to provide your own gloves), a pool, and AND ICE RINK (with paid rental gear, including hockey). Also a climbing wall (for - you guessed it - extra money) and it's quiet enough to jump rope! (It's a university, so them being overly sport oriented is going to work in my favor as far as niceness of facilities at least).

 

Luckily I can afford it, because it really is way way more costly than it should be, but for the convenience, it's going to be worth it. And I can start out by paying as I use it, so I don't have to commit to their fees before I'm sure I'll really actually use it.

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Yay for inspiration!

My shoes are pretty new as well, and honestly sometimes just putting them on makes me want to work out.....

I hope they work well for you :nevreness:  

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Official Status: Failure. Just FYI.

 

ONE - water:

 

I've been ok on this. This part of the subchallenge I might declare is as passing, if just for self esteem reasons. Seriously though, it's been going ok, but not great. A few weeks ago I managed to wash my water bottle and start using it again, which is a plus. I was doing well enough tracking intake (not including this week), but not nearly well enough on upping my water intake. I'm still running a definite dehydration pretty much all the time, with a few exceptions. Not severely dehydrated, of course, but enough to notice my own personal list of symptoms.

 

(This week has involved zero tracking, and also being sick. Stay tuned for all the other ways this week has gone down the drain.)

 

TWO - proxy / counting back and neck popping excitement:

 

I haven't been tracking this week, but I did in general. Short answer is that my back dysfunction is stable (so constantly dysfunctional, basically). Most notably: the days with fewer back popping adventures were the days where my back HURT because I needed something to pop and couldn't get it to. So that's been interesting.

 

I need to gather up my notecards where I tallied this up and stash it somewhere useful, because when my habits change those numbers should be noticeably different. (They have changed in the past, quite clearly, even without making any effort to track it.)

 

This is a kinda failure, kinda success. Since I don't feel like I've gained much from this measurement though, I think the final conclusion is leaning towards an interesting waste of time. Did not improve my health any though. I guess awareness of self is good?

 

THREE - writing:

 

Up until last week it was going well. Then I just ... stopped. That was before I got sick. I haven't written anything in at least a week, but maybe more than that. I don't have dates on anything (hand written with no notes of which day anything was written on). And even moreso, I don't really feel like this is a bad thing. Part of it is that I have been consistently wiped completely out for the last few months, and have no mental energy pretty much ever. Probably because my physical health is pretty iffy.

 

My goal now is to salvage: reread what I've got, backtrack a little (the last bit I wrote is pretty lame and pointless and avoids making the characters or author do any work), and try to get going again by the end of the challenge.

 

This one should have been a slam dunk easy goal, so definite failure there. Like I said - salvage.

 

FOUR - no skipping lunch on weekends:

 

Actually going really well. I haven't had any problems keeping up with this one since my last update. While it hasn't made any obvious improvements, I don't expect to see them. Me on an empty stomach tends to mean either listlessness or anger, depending on the day, but in subtle ways. It took me years to figure out what a big problem it was - so this is one where I can see no outcome and still know that I've made things better.

 

So that's cool. Just need to keep doing that until it becomes normal.

 

FIVE - daily squats:

 

Ick bad bad bad.

I don't really know what's going on, but my hip and legs are definitely WORSE than at the beginning of this challenge. I don't think it's because of the squats specifically, but they aren't helping either. I've done squats before and felt either improvement or at least no worse, and that's no longer the case. Also, the squats (10 whole body weight squats which takes less than one minute to do) are hurting. Hurting random various parts of my legs. It hurts to squat. Ick.

 

So I haven't done these in a week either (which is a good decision right now, I think). But still. The fact that my legs are worse off now than before, not a good sign. And I don't know exactly what the problem is. Too many things in my lifestyle have been jacked up completely by this job change, and I think ALL of them are making things worse, and compounding together I basically am falling apart. Fun.

 

 

-----

 

To sum up this week: Screw this challenge. (Also keep trying with the water!)

 

I've been sick all week too. And fighting my crappy health insurance. Seriously, insurance is a huge drain on my limited resources.

 

-----

 

I walked to lunch today and it made my hip feel better. This is actual in keeping with my other findings. Walking with no load at all = better (if shoes in ok shape). Walking with ANY slight imbalance = disaster.

 

I'm only sometimes wearing my new shoes for two reasons. 1 - it's been wet so been wearing the waterproof boots instead. 2 - still breaking them in and trying not to destroy feet and socks. Mostly socks. I like my socks.

 

I'm still looking forward to the gym, but am kind of at a loss for when to try it. I think I just need to pick a date and stick to it.

 

Also trying to find useful medical professionals, but I fear what I need is a unicorn.

 

Will keep working on at least some of these things, even though this challenge has pretty much sucked.

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