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Yes, Body, I’m Listening

“C’mon, you don’t feel that bad,” I told myself upon realizing I was slumped over the coffee table with my head resting on my arm. My next thought was “Oh, wait. Maybe I do.” What an exciting moment to realize I was listening to my body.

A couple years ago I conceded that if I find myself sitting on the kitchen floor, I probably feel too bad to be cooking or cleaning. Or if I’m resting on the couch and discover I’m in the fetal position, the migraine is probably pretty bad. Instead of shrugging off my body’s cues as melodramatic, I finally see that unconsciously engaging in pain-soothing behaviors is a good indication I’m in bad shape.

I have long done so much on a good day, trying to take advantage of it, that I push myself into days of sheer exhaustion and severe migraines. That hasn’t been happening so much in the last year. Perhaps this is a sign that I’m paying attention when my body tells me to stop.

How does your body tell you it’s time to rest?

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I’m Skipping Halloween

I love answering the door for trick or treaters. Tons of kids visit our neighborhood with big smiles and cute costumes. Our porch lights will be off this year. I just know it will be too much for me.

After migraines in the night both Friday and Saturday, the dizziness and pain finally let up Sunday night. My mom came to town Friday, so I was happy to feel OK for at least part of her visit. Yesterday we took the train to Portland for my sister’s birthday dinner.

I got an early train back today so I could prep for our drive to Montana on Friday. We’re visiting dear friends who have two-month-old twin girls. We can’t wait to see the happy parents and hold the darling babies. The last couple weeks have depleted my energy, but I wouldn’t miss this trip for anything.

Perhaps you recognize this topic; I write about it so much it bores me. I simply can’t keep myself from overdoing it. I am improving a bit — I’m only over scheduled for 10 days, not three weeks! I doubt I’ll ever figure out this balance thing, but am glad I’m trying. At least I know that something, even if it is a holiday that only comes around once a year, has to give.

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Trying to Catch My Breath & Grumbling a Bit

The rest of my niece’s visit was great. I’m glad I didn’t get too sick while she was here, but hate that I always lose a week to migraines after a trip or big event. Yesterday I slept too late and was fuzzy-headed and dizzy all day. Today I woke up and was out of the shower by 9 a.m., but have a growing headache and feel disoriented.

I’m sorry to complain. I’m overwhelmed by frustration right now.

I know better than to plan a lot for the week after a trip, visitor or activity. I put many tasks on hold until after my niece’s visit, which is normally fine. If I don’t get to my to-do list the week after the one that wears me out, I can do it the following week. While annoying, this isn’t usually a problem. I didn’t realize that doing so this time wouldn’t leave me enough catch-up time before our September vacation.

Freaking out isn’t a solution; neither is being grouchy. I’m trying to think “I’m not happy” and figure out how to be not unhappy. It’s one of those days where a resolution is far from forthcoming. Grr.

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My Niece, My Caregiver

My niece and I are having a terrific week, but, as predicted, I’m worn out and getting a migraine each afternoon. Instead of letting me push through, my niece has reminded me each day that I need to rest. She’s subtle about it, making it seem like she’s an excessively tired 12-year-old. (She’s not.)

I’m getting more tired as the week wears on — and she sees it. Yesterday she actually told me to lie down. This morning I told her I was too tired for the aquarium and she intuited that I wouldn’t be up for it tomorrow either. If she hadn’t, I would have said that we could probably go tomorrow even though I’m not sure we could.

Even with my afternoon naps, we’re having tons of fun. We’ve been out to eat four times already and are getting fondue tomorrow night. Doughnuts have been traded for cupcakes, the chocolate cafe and homemade cinnamon rolls. Not sure if we’ll make it to The Simpsons, but we have seen Harry Potter. We have movies to watch at home too. She’s not too into video games, so we’ve played board games (which Hart and I love) instead. We even made soap yesterday.

It’s a relief to write out all our activities. My niece isn’t acting bored, but I worried she was. Now that I’ve seen the list, I see she’s probably worn out too!

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Overscheduling My Niece’s Visit

For years we have planned to have our nieces and nephew stay with us for a week the summer after they turn 12. I’m so excited that the time has finally come for my oldest niece to visit. She’ll be here next week. Some of the activities I’m looking forward to:

  • Seeing Harry Potter and The Simpsons
  • Getting facials or pedicures
  • Meeting Hart with a picnic lunch when he’s working
  • Playing video games
  • Baking a pie
  • Seeing a minor league baseball game
  • Eating at some of our favorite restaurants
  • Going for cupcakes and fancy doughnuts
  • Doing some craft (this week it’s sewing)
  • Visiting Elliot Bay Books
  • Shopping at Buffalo Exchange
  • Going to a “grownups'” restaurant
  • Renting movies
  • Going to a farmers’ market
  • And, and, and. . .

Even I know we can’t cram this all into a week. There was a time that I could have and not been worse off for it. While that’s upsetting, I’m more concerned that there will be a day (or days) that I can’t leave the couch. I don’t want her to be bored, but I’m also the designated grownup.

I’ve made a plan. It may not work, but it has to be better than trying to go full speed. My niece is a late riser, so I’ll be able to keep my normal sleep schedule. I’ll make sure I eat regularly and keep a strict diet. (Although I might test a cupcake this weekend so I’ll know if I can cheat with one next week. :D) The hardest, and perhaps most important, part is to rest for two hours every afternoon.

As Hart pointed out, watching movies, playing video games (of which we have plenty) and eating at restaurants is a 12-year-old’s dream vacation. Instead of fretting that she’ll be bored, I need to remind myself of this regularly. It’s been successful so far. We’ll see if it holds once she arrives.