Well first of all welcome to 2018! I hope everyone had a good holiday break and have settled into the new year. This time of the year is one busy time. As you get closer to Christmas things just get busier and hotter. Being a wheelchair user poses its own challenges with dealing with both crowded shopping centres and also the heat. My batteries (physically and mentally) drain very quickly as a result. Having anxiety doesn't help either. I'm a real bag of fun :)
This leads me on to my latest topic. How do you recharge your physical and mental batteries? I've been exploring several options recently (see my blog on Yoga and Disability). While I find yoga very relaxing it also takes a lot out of me and my fiance especially when we're too busy laughing at the fact that I've ended up looking like some sort of pretzel on the lounge room floor. Do the pro's outweigh the con's? Well the jury is still out on that one but I still say that doing something is better than nothing. But what about those times when you're too physically or mentally exhausted to pull out the old yoga mat? Thanks to my Google home mini (see my blog Come chAT with me) I can now just lay there as say “OK Google, play me some relaxing music" and hey presto I'm listening to waves crashing on the rocks or the subtle sounds of the forest.
December was a tough month for me. I was trying to cram too much into my day. As a result my health was starting to suffer and I needed to take time out to recharge. For me it can be reading, going for a roll around the block, spending time with my little fur-ball, Marley our rescue dog, or adult colouring books. I discovered the colouring books after I had a big seizure 2 years ago and my Doctor said that I needed to find a way to disconnect and break the cycle. It's amazing and works really well. It allowed me to break from what was causing my stress and just go back to the simple things. Even if it was only for 5 minutes it provided a much needed booster charge for me. As I started to run flat in December I started to explore other was of relaxing and recharging as part of what I found relaxing is the break to the routine.
So what do you do when you get an unexpected battery failure though? You know the type. You're happily going about your daily business and then all of a sudden your energy is gone or even worse you get a dreaded panic attack or anxiety attack in public! Can't reach for a colouring book in the middle of Big W! Well you can but they prefer that you pay for it before you use it. I have had the misfortune of having this happen to me more than once in public. Sheer terror suddenly hits you and that's it, you need to get out of there no matter what. The tightness in the chest. The difficulty breathing. Not being able to string a coherent sentence together. What can you do? This is something that I still find it difficult to deal with when it happens. For me it's more mental than physical but its still tough to deal with. This is in all honesty something that I have still not (and probably will never) master but it is something that is reducing as I have focused on taking more time out to myself on a regular basis. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that by keeping your batteries maintained and recharged throughout the week reduces the risk of these unexpected failures. Some tips that I've found that help me maintain my battery life are:
Sleep. As silly as it sounds many of us don't get enough. This is the best way to let your batteries recharge.
Over-thinking. This is a difficult one but many of us waste energy thinking about things that have not yet happened. I still do this almost daily but as I'm more aware of it I can actively work on reducing it.
Over communication. Some say that a problem shared is a problem halved (which is true) but if you spend too much time communicating our brains don't get a chance to power down. This includes limiting screen time. There's been various studies that show that by reducing screen time especially before bed we can allow our brains to go into a more relaxed state and will give us a much better quality sleep.
Say NO. You don't have to say yes to everything that everyone asks of you. If you're not feeling up to it then where possible say no. By agreeing to unnecessary tasks or favours that you don't really want to do then you're just increasing stress for no reason at all.
Eat healthy. While Doctors and health professionals argue over what foods are good for you and what foods aren't - just exercise a bit of common sense here. There are many foods that promote healthy brain function and others that leave you feeling sluggish and tired. My general rule of thumb is to eat fresh and eat foods that haven't been processed to the moon and back again in a factory. That's where I'm lucky with my fiance who likes to cook from scratch. No processed foods when he's in the kitchen. We still have a sneaky box of lollies in the fridge as comfort food though :)
Exercise. Even the thought of this one makes me break into a sweat lol. Even the most basic exercise is better than no exercise though. This is something that I'm really aware of considering the mobility issues that I have. On the plus side I can walk for 5 min now on a treadmill. Two years ago it was a struggle just to stand for 30 seconds with assistance.
ME TIME!!!! I think when needing to recharge your batteries this is the most important one of all. Even if its just for 15 minutes a day its better than running on empty. Choose a little break from the norm as dedicate that as your time. For me it can be colouring or even just reading a few pages in a book.
Now that we're over the silly season and all getting back into our normal routines its a great chance to add new items into our routine like the points above.
Til next time
Dream, Believe, Achieve