Fibronaut At Home

The Happiness Project

I have finally started reading “The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun” by Gretchen Rubin.  Julie Ryan of Counting My Spoons, suggested the book to me months ago and I’m so glad that she did.  I’m only half-way through, but I already love the book and I’m heading back towards the totally awesome me that I found in April.  I’ve been in a slump lately, which is the main reason why I haven’t posted here.  I didn’t want anyone to know that I was struggling, though my hubby and my Mom knew.  I’m ecstatic and relieved that I’m back.

The main goal that is sticking with me now and that could be life-altering for anyone, but especially for others like me with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is, “Act the way you want to feel.”  I was already trying to do this and seeing that it worked for someone else, really helped me.  I think I went into a slump because I was starting to wonder if what I was doing was really working.  Rubin had a similar experience.  Reading that made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my doubts and gave me tools for combating the negative thoughts causing those doubts.

Even though I was doing all the right things, doubts crept in and the old conflict of to-work-or-not-to-work started playing havoc with my mind.  If I don’t work, there isn’t any money for extras and if I do work, there isn’t any time for extras.  I want a part-time job so I can still pick up the kids from school and spend my evenings and weekends with them, but most places only have full-time available, or I just can’t imagine working there.  I talk myself out of jobs before I even apply for them.  I have finally come to the conclusion that, when it’s right, it’ll happen.  When I find my mind going to that black hole of never-ending worry and what-ifs, I sing to myself, “Que sera, sera.  Whatever will be will be.”  A little silly, but it works.

We’ve also had extra stress dealing with some school issues.  I’m not going to go into it.  I think we’re almost through it and I can look back and see that despite all the stress, some good things have come out of going through this.

I’ve gone back to keeping track of all I accomplish each day.  Even if no one else notices, it makes me happy to see all these tasks completed.  I have a spreadsheet I found in Microsoft Excel that’s meant for a chores list, but works perfectly for me.  Each week, I’ll start a new spreadsheet, so I can look back and see how much progress I’ve made.  There are some tasks that I do daily, some I do twice a week or more and some I only do once a week or once a month.  I don’t have to look to my hubby or my kids for validation that I’m reaching goals.  I’ve also added several items since I started.

I’m learning to find the positive in every situation, no matter how bleak.  I’m learning to be grateful for where I am, who I’m with and everything that I once took for granted in life.  Those are some pretty big statements, but I’m confident in them.

I’ll probably post again about this book because there is so much helpful advice in it.  I would recommend this book to anyone, whether you feel like you are happy and especially if you don’t.

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Re-learn Something Every Day

I should know by now that trying to go to bed when I’m not feeling sleepy and I’m having noticeable pain is not a good idea.  It is like I forget all the years I’ve tossed and turned for hours before falling asleep and I decide that maybe if i just lay down, I’ll get lucky.  I should know that will probably never happen.  It is 12:20 am and my muscles are aching and feel worn out.  I can already feel the weather we’re supposed to get on Thursday.  I really hope the weather doesn’t start another Fibro flare.  I am just getting my house back in order after the last one and I have way too much to get done before the kids are home on Christmas break.

I feel like I just did laundry and already it needs to be done again.  Is it just me or does dirty laundry replicate itself in the laundry hamper?  Same question, only with dirty dishes?  I already know that all my children have to do is drop one piece of cereal on the floor and the instant the cereal hits it multiplies itself by five.  Also, my children can fill a glass full of water and not spill a drop but give them anything sugary-sticky and suddenly they have two left feet and no oppose-able thumbs.

Now that these late-night ramblings are off my chest I’m starting to feel sleepy.  Oh, wait.  I jinxed it.  I shouldn’t have acknowledged that I might be getting sleepy.  I give up.  Good night all.

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Energy, Pacing Yourself and a Happy Ending

Before Fibromyalgia hit me last March, I was a whirlwind of activity.  I didn’t know the meaning of the word pace and if I asked someone for help, it usually involved opening jars and killing spiders.  If I was busy at work, I was on the balls of my feet, speed-walking through the bank, sometimes standing up to complete tasks because sitting would only slow me down.  At home there was always something to clean, pick-up or put away.  I’d save all the hard cleaning for the weekend and spend the majority of one of those days dancing my way through laundry, dishes, floors, bathroom and toys.  In the spring and summer, I liked to walk the three blocks to work, sometimes walking home for lunch as well.  We would go to the Denver Zoo and walk through the entire zoo in one trip.  I regularly walked with my kids to collect the mail, to play at the park where I would be the monster and chase them around the playground equipment, and to the library.  Energy was limitless, re-filled with a power-nap, boosted by a cup of coffee.

Since I was diagnosed in November of 2011, I have had to learn so many new things.  The most important thing I have to focus on, in everything I do, is that I only have half the energy I think I have, and if I use too much, then I will be paying it back.  Before I do something, I have to decide whether I have enough energy to complete the task.  I have to separate everything on my list of things to do into Have, Need and Want.  The Have category is made up of things that I have to do daily, that I cannot hand off to someone else.  Eating.  Taking care of my kids.  Taking a shower and getting myself dressed.   Exercising.  The Need category is made up of things that I need to do, but can ask for help if need be.   Wash dishes.  Wash clothes.  Take care of my cats.  Picking the kids up from school and helping the kids with homework.  The Want category is pretty obvious.  Crafts.  Shopping.  Video games.  Movies.  Reading.  Here is where it gets tricky.  I’m supposed to do what I want last, but I’m still supposed to take “Me Time” every day as well.  What is “Me Time”, you may ask.  I’m a married, mother of three so this is a work-in-progress.  The only “Me Time” I get is when the kids and hubby aren’t home or when I’m in the bathroom with the door locked.

I’m still learning how to pace myself.  After I shake of the morning fog, around 10 am or so, I have a couple hours to try to get what I need, have and want to get accomplished, done.  I rest in between, trying to not get lost in Facebook, Pinterest, or any of the other online mags I go to every day.  I can always tell when I’ve over done it because the next day my arms feel like they weigh 50 pounds and I whine a lot.  I feel like I have the flu, achy and I just want to sleep.  On days like that, I do some yoga or pilates and my daughter and I eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because they are easy to make.  I’ve called my parents on days like this and they’ve driven  an hour-and-a-half to come take care of me.

The last time we went to the zoo, my husband pushed me in a wheelchair.  I’ve decided that I don’t ever want to do that again, no matter how much pain or agony it causes.  In a visit to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science last week, I felt physically ill by the end of the two hours we spent there.  Sure I missed some moments with my husband and kids because I was looking for a place to sit while they walked around but the moments we did have were priceless.  My daughter and I walked to the library yesterday, a little over two blocks, and I was feeling light-headed by the time we made it there, wondering if I was going to be able to make it home.  I then had to pick up the kids from school, stop by the bank and I promised my daughter some sledding that she’d been begging for, so we went to the park.  It was such a nice day and it felt so good to be out enjoying the sunshine despite the wind.  I ached from my head to my toes last night.  I was dozing off at 7:30 and in bed, dead to the world, by 8:30.  If my energy had a meter, I was on empty.  I over did it.  It was totally worth it though.  My little one had such a huge smile on her face when we left the park.  Today I’m writing my blog, though a storm is coming in so my joints hurt.  I’m cutting up magazines so I can organize them into a format that doesn’t make me crazy and throwing away the rest.  It is a beautiful day, the sun is shining and I am dozing off.  Life is beautiful despite its hardships.  I push the pain and the fatigue to the back of my mind and though I suffer later, these are the moments I want my children to remember.

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