(brain) fog’s rolling in

I was waiting for it and here it is, right on schedule: the inevitable crash following a long weekend with too much driving, too much working and too many obligations.

I was almost useless today at work. I sat and stared at a blank Word document for most of the day, hoping the blinking cursor would provide inspiration. (It didn’t.) I couldn’t hold a thought it my head for more than a few seconds and I forgot doing something within seconds of doing it—like putting my keys in my purse after taking them out of my car’s ignition. I listened to every song on my iPod twice because I couldn’t remember it the first time. I’m exhausted, cranky and fighting tremendous brain fog. Not even a square (or two) or Godiva milk chocolate and caramel could bring me out of it.

So, I’m settling in my Remy across my arms and Otis at my feet and watching a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory with the Professor and then hitting the hay early—and hoping I’ll feel better tomorrow.

chronic holidays

The holidays are a great time of year: gathering with family, eating good food, spending time with friends. Still, they can be rough on those of us with chronic illness. Gathering with family can be stressful, with fights, tension and potentially seeing people you wish you weren’t related to. Too much eating can lead to weight gain or eating food triggers or stuff you wouldn’t normally touch. All of it can mean pushing yourself passed your limits. It can be a disaster.

There are some things that I’ve learned through 13 years of having a chronic illness. A lot of the same things that apply during the rest of the years help during the holidays. Limit your stress as much as possible. I know that can be hard with traveling, seeing relatives with whom you may not get along and demands on your energy when you may not have all that much to give. But keeping everything in perspective is essential. Maybe you don’t go to every holiday party to which you’re invited. Maybe you let other people cook the big show-stopper dishes. Maybe you plan in naps during all-day family affairs.

Eating as well as possible is so critical, too. I know it’s tempting to have two or three helpings of all that deliciousness, plus a few slices of pumpkin pie for dessert. Bad idea. The way I (try to) prevent overeating is I only allow myself one plate. Whatever I can fit on that plate, I can take. No seconds. But I’m sure there are lots of other ways to keep from eating too much.

But, really, all the holiday tips in the world boil down to one thing: Take care of yourself. It’s not worth working yourself into a frenzy and hit every holiday high note only to be flattened for days or weeks afterward. My advice? Do as much as you can. No more. The holidays are no less special if you spend a few evenings basking in the glow of a Christmas tree, listening to carols on Last.fm and sipping on hot apple cider or (soy) egg nog.

new turkey(less) day plans

Thanksgiving Dinner, Falmouth, Maine, USA 2008

Image via Wikipedia

My vegetarian journey is going pretty well. Meat (of any kind: pork, beef, poultry, seafood; some people keep making me things with seafood in it because it’s not meat, apparently) is definitely one of my triggers; every time I accidentally eat some (there are animal products in tons of things I never would have thought of), I feel pretty terrible the next day.

Now, since the mister and I are going to my in-laws for (American) Thanksgiving, I’ve been trying to find some vegetarian options, so I would have mountains of mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce for dinner that night. Once again, the New York Times has pulled through for me. On their health blog, Well, they’ve created a new feature: Well’s Vegetarian Thanksgiving. Every day until Thanksgiving Day, they’re adding another vegetarian recipe perfect for the holiday. Right now, I’m loving the maple roasted Brussels sprouts, the Thanksgiving roasted root veggies and the skillet macaroni and cheese, and so many more.

So, now I’m psyched again for a tasty Thanksgiving, even if it’s not the traditional one I remember. Thanks, New York Times!