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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stress Management

I am definitely not myself right now. Between my grandma being unwell, my stupid leg/back pain, the crappy weather we have been having and my two practicum placements officially starting next week, I'm stressed.

I am completely sick and tired of sitting on a yoga block and playing detective with my physiotherapist to figure out what is causing my pain. I have 2 MRIs booked for June, both in the middle of the night. Yes, in Canada we get these tests for free, but we have to have them in the middle of the night. They also won't do a back and pelvic MRI at the same time, so I have to be up all night 2 nights in a row! This alone is stressing me out, seeing as I have a history of insomnia and I have to be very careful about maintaining my circadian rhythms. I am also worried about driving home from the hospital in the middle of the night seeing as I am falling asleep before 10pm most nights.

This has been a seriously miserable winter and spring. I have ALWAYS hated Toronto summers - I detest the extreme heat and humidity, but winters I used to be able to handle. The past 4 years, however, I have become increasingly disturbed by the winters too. Nine out of 12 months of the year, the weather here is either too hot or too cold for me and I'm sick of it. It is really wearing me down. We won't be moving anytime soon, however, I have a long-term plan. When the girls start thinking about university, I am going to send away for brochures from every college and university in Northern California, Washington State, Oregon and British Columbia and hope they both end up on the more moderate West Coast, so we can retire there. Just 16 more years of hell here!

So all this to say, the stress and strain is getting to me. Sunday night I was plagued with more vivid, intense dreams and I bit my tongue again. Like what is up with that? Blood on my pillow and a tongue so sore and swollen I am speaking with a lisp and it hurts to eat or talk.

Then, yesterday morning I developed terrible abdominal pain. I thought maybe I was getting a bladder infection. I cancelled my physio appt but then seriously like 5 minutes later, the pain started to go away. Adam says it must have been stress.

At last week's sedar, I dealt with my stress by drinking too much red wine and eating too many brownies (those Passover brownies are seriously amazing!). This was not a wise thing to do. The sugar and alcohol caused me to have a fitfull sleep and my digestive system was out of whack for most of the next day.

Today I went and taught a boot camp class. I had avoided the instructor's plea for help until her 3rd request. I figured, I enjoyed it so much the last time, why not? Besides, this particular gym is way closer to home and much less of a schlep than most of the others where I get requests to teach.

This proved to be a wise decision. The class was a blast, and the participants loved it. Afterwards, they crowded around and, again, wanted to know where and when I usually teach. Sorry folks, still not taking on anymore classes full-time!

Then I came home and had a loooooooooooong hot shower (yeah, yeah I know, not environmentally friendly, blah, I needed it!). The adrenaline rush and hot water have made me feel much better. Even the pouring rain isn't getting me down.

And there is some good news! I have had 5 straight days with much less pain. Seems that the latest rehab exercises my physiotherapist gave me are helping. We have also finally identified some definite triggers, which are not what you might expect. Most cardio is fine, although I am still avoiding my intense walking workouts, however, certain yoga moves (anything that requires me to balance all my weight on my left leg) and weight exercises (hamstring curls, certain types of lunges, upright rows, etc.) are likely to set it off.

So my advice for the day is, if you are feeling down or stressed or anxious, listen to the health experts and get some exercise, have a bubble bath or a massage, take a time-out, or laugh with friends, but avoid the alcohol and sugar!

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