I own 3 pairs of eyeglasses.
Prescription eyeglasses for seeing far away.
Prescription eyeglasses for reading.
And prescription sunglasses.
Yes, I know they make eyeglasses that do all three of those but I’m just not ready to take that plunge.
Yes, they make contacts now that are like bifocals, for those lucky enough like me to be nearsighted and farsighted. I tried them for a week and felt dizzy the whole time!
I’m pretty sure bifocal eyeglasses will make me feel that way too, plus, as I said, I’m just not ready for that. Yet.
For now, I’ll be the lady juggling three pairs of eyeglasses so I can see all the things in all kinds of conditions.
Can anyone else relate?
I’m learning how to be well
I learned something last month that I never realized before: I unconsciously take on the stress of my environment.
Whether it’s a conversation with a friend or if I’m watching a movie or tv show. Or the day before I’m supposed to travel on an airplane.
I feel it in my body, sometimes for hours after.
I’m the opposite of a chameleon. They adapt to stressful situations by changing their color to protect themselves.
What’s the opposite of a chameleon? It’s similar to this I think:
It takes me a while to settle down even under the smallest amount of stress.
I’m not sure when this started for me.
But I recently traveled to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for some tests and after spending some time with my doctor there, I finally have a name for it:
He explained it to me that it’s like when a bullfighter enters a bullfighting ring. The bull starts to charge and the bullfighter has a decision to make, fight or flight. The adrenaline kicks in, the bullfighter performs his task (or escapes) and essentially once the bullfighter is safe, the adrenaline starts to lower when you know you are safe.
For someone with CSS, your system doesn’t calm down immediately once your safe. It takes a while, and sometimes it manifests itself in pain. (This infographic helps explain the cycle).
I’m still learning all about this, but now that I know what it is—now that it has a name, I am learning how to cope. (Also, I will be going back to Mayo at the end of April to learn more).
The good news is that stress is not the problem. The problem is that the strategies that deal with stressors have almost no relationship to the strategies that deal with the physiological reactions our bodies have to those stressors. To be “well” is not to live in a state of perpetual safety and calm, but to move fluidly from a state of adversity, risk, adventure, or excitement, back to safety and calm, and out again. Stress is not bad for you; being stuck is bad for you. Wellness happens when your body is a place of safety for you, even when your body is not necessarily in a safe place. You can be well, even during the times when you don’t feel good.
Burnout, by Emily Nagoski & Amelia Nagoski
I am learning how to be well, even when I don’t feel good.
There are some examples in a book I’m currently reading quoted above, Burnout. I’m not going to list them here because it’s a great book! Grab a copy and dig in.
Here are a few things that I am doing:
Walk - To be honest, there are some days where moving my body is the last thing I feel like doing either from pain or fatigue but Greg and I have started walking every day. Sometimes it’s just around the block, but if the temperature is between 20 to 85 degrees, we’ll walk.
Eat whole foods - I’ve been on a modified AIP for over a year now. I’m slowly introducing foods back into my belly. Some have had favorable results, other’s not so much.
Get lost in a good story - Sometimes it’s a book. Sometimes it’s a series binge on Netflix or Prime. Click here for a list of what I’ve been reading and watching.
Stop googling my symptoms - trust my health team. It is good to be an advocate for your care, but it isn’t helpful to rely on the internet for my health concerns.
Pay attention to how I hold stress in my body - I tend to clench my teeth and tense up my shoulders, it’s involuntary at times. When I notice that I’m doing it, I take a breath, relax, and do a few stretches.
Laugh - I’ve said this before, but I tend to take myself too seriously. I get lost in my head, which almost always leads to anxious thoughts, which leads to stress…To break that cycle I watch funny videos, send silly memes to my kids, watch a rerun of Frasier and laugh at Niles, laugh out loud at the antics of The Durrells in Corfu, etc.
Keep a list of 2020 Yays - I have a page in my bullet journal where I’m writing down they Yays in our family, slices of gratitude that I want to remember as we go through the year.
What about you? I’d love to hear how you’re learning how to be well.
I realize this newsletter is a little different than the ones I’ve sent out before. I just wanted to share with you what’s been going on and hope to encourage you as well.
We all have things we’re going through. The stress of life surrounds us all and we’re all learning how to be well and cheer for each other.
p.s. there are a few affiliate links in this post, you can find them listed here.