To say I haven’t taken a moment’s pause since my birthday would be a GRAND understatement. My work and my social life have taken on, well, lives of their own so to speak. And usually this would be a great justification to neglect my own personal health and wellbeing but this time around, I’m struggling to set realistic boundaries for myself and work on my own personal health and to follow my own personal list of Do’s and Don’ts. I also gave myself permission (again) to put off my 101 things list. However, I decided to set a date in the near future to begin them so I merely moved the start date from my birthday to December 1st. I’ve been traveling a bit for work (PA last week, Vancouver next week) and am hosting a little get-together at the beach this week. Add in Thanksgiving, getting the house ready for Christmas, Jason leaving for Austria for seven days, making homemade Christmas cards, making Drue write her annual newsletter and quitting coffee and all soda, it’s been a busy time.
Yes, you read that correctly. I quit coffee and all soda… Again. For those in the know, I attempted this a few years back. My first attempt had limited success and after three months I was sneaking soda in the car (doesn’t count), in other people’s homes (doesn’t count) and as a mixer with alcohol (really doesn’t count). When I realized I was drinking soda at least three or four times a week (none of which counted, mind you), I figured it was time to just bring it back in the house and have it when it did count. Because unless you bring it into the house, it totally doesn’t count. I don’t remember if I felt awful or not when I quit caffeine the first time around but this time leaving caffeine felt akin to leaving an abusive relationship. While downing 2 bowls of coffee per day (have you seen the size of my coffee cup?) and two to three diet sodas a day, I felt awful. It was like being on a mental and emotional roller coaster. I was fine during the act of caffeine consumption, I felt great for 20-30 minutes after and then my mood and ability to focus took a nose dive. Lather, rinse, repeat over and over all day long. Nights were difficult as well. Around 10 PM I’d get that second burst of something – certainly not energy – that would ensure I could neither sleep nor focus. So I’d vegetate in front of my iPad or television until I was ready to pass out sometime between midnight and 2 AM only to wake around 5 in order to attend a series of meetings starting at 5:30. Insert bowl of coffee where applicable…
So I gave it up. Day one was okay. I was tired. No, I lie. I was exhausted and all I could think was “x” more hours until I can take a nap. Unfortunately, that nap never actually happened but I did pass out a little earlier that night. The next morning was sheer, unmitigated hell on earth. My head hurt like it has never hurt before. For the first time ever, I understood what my mom goes through when she has one of her migraines that causes her to retreat to her dark room and just shut out the world. Unfortunately, that day Drue had surfing, I had meetings and deliverables and I had a social engagement I’d put off a few times already so I popped two Advil, drank a ton of water and prayed the next day would be better. It wasn’t. Nor was the next day. But the day after that, the headache began to dissipate and by the end of week one, I was headache free and completely exhausted. I called my doctor who reminded me I was due for a myriad of blood tests including checking my Vitamin D and my thyroid so I popped into the lab and had the technician take as many vials of blood as she wanted. Then I called my tea dude in Chinatown and went on a tea cleanse for a few days which gave me a small boost of caffeine and helped cleanse my system and restore hydration. By day three I felt so much better, I cannot even begin to describe it.
Luckily that good feeling carried me through my trip to PA. However, I am still pretty tired and after tracking my sleep for the past month, realize I only average about six hours of sleep a night. That simply has to change as I really do so much better with 7 and 1/2 to eight hours per night. Additionally, this week I received the news that my Vitamin D level is incredibly low – it’s 13 when it should be between 30 and 100 – which also contributes to my general exhaustion. So I am on a new vitamin D treatment for the next ten weeks whereupon we’ll reevaluate where I am and see what our next steps are. Now that I’ve tackled caffeine my next goal is to get my roughly eight hours of sleep per night, a task that is incredibly difficult because a) I don’t like missing ANYTHING and b) am a night owl but c) am now getting up at 5 AM most mornings due to early meetings and/or surfing. So yeah… if you know of a way to convert from a night owl to a morning person, please let me know. To further that goal (aka wear me out every day), Drue and I are going to hit the gym or do something that forces us to break into a nice, big sweat daily. Not only does it help her stay in shape for tackling the waves but it wears me out enough that an earlier bedtime is slightly more attractive than usual. And by slightly I mean I am starting to recognize that passing out upright or at an uncomfortable angle on the couch is not nearly as awesome as falling asleep in my own bed.
So yeah, busy, busy. And, really, life is just so darn enjoyable at the moment that even with my malaise, I am still excited to go to work every day. I’m excited to hang out with friends and I look forward to tackling the 101 in a better state of mind and health than I was at even a month ago.