Stress and Fatigue

August has been delightful busy for me. Paul McCartney in concert, camping, meeting new friends through an AIP meetup group, the state fair and the last week was spent getting ready to enrich the lives of about 460 middle school kids. All in all Augusts has been a great month.

Being a librarian/teacher gives me a different perspective on the year. Where most people set their goals from January 1 to January 1 mine go from Sept 1 to Sept 1. A new school year filled with hope and new goal setting.

There are many changes coming down the education pipe and educators have many more hoops to jump through to show their effectiveness. Stress and fatigue are going to be the words of the year. So here are some tips that I use to deal with both. I’m not an expert and I do have days where no matter how closely I follow my own advice by 7:30 in the evening I’m exhausted, it doesn’t matter what else needs to get done that day nothing else is going to be accomplished. Though if I prioritize these 3 things exhaustion and stress happens less often.

And here they are the 3 things I do to minimize stress and fatigue:

SLEEP! All health experts agree that sleep is one of the most important things you can do to reduce stress and improve your health.While you are sleeping your body repairs itself and new information is committed to memory. Sleep deprivation can lead to chronic stress, a compromised immune system, heart problems and obesity. I set aside 7-9 hours a night for sleeping. It wasn’t easy in the beginning but as I reflected on my productivity cycle I realized that I am more productive in the morning so trying to stay up until 11:00 to finish a project often resulted in project that really didn’t meet my standards. After about 10:00 PM I often hear myself say “Good enough” even when it’s far from it.

It is not always easy to shut down, especially after a busy and stressful day, I have created a bedtime routine that I follow. By following a routine it signals my body it’s time to slow down. I also wear amber-colored glasses once I have to start turning on the lights in the evening to reduce the blue light which can signal your brain that it’s daytime and I use f.lux on all my computers to remove the blue light from the monitor.

Remove sugar from my diet: This sounds impossible; I know when I start eating more sugar, even natural sugars in dates or honey, I start to crave sugar, I become tired more quickly and I start to gain weight. The buzz on the internet is that sugar is the next cigarettes, negatively effecting your health. Eating too much sugar can cause insulin resistance which leads to more insulin production which can cause type II diabetes. Sugar causes the release of dopamine in the same area of your brain that is affected by cocaine and heroine. It releases opioids, which makes you feel good so you want more sugar, which sounds a little like addition to me .Sugar also causes fatigue. When you eat something sugary your pancreas releases insulin to regulate the sugar in your blood, this causes a drop in sugar in your bloodstream causing fatigue. I know on days that I consume more sugar I crash earlier than normal, which causes me to not get as much done which causes me stress which causes me to eat more sugar, you get the point. Back in February I read The 21-Day Sugar Detox: Bust Sugar & Carb Cravings Naturally
by Dianne Sanflippio. After my detox I really began to really understand sugar’s negative affect on my health. (My sugar detox journey)

Meditation: The most important thing I do is meditate. It doesn’t matter if I meditate for 5 minutes or 20 minutes, on days I meditate I am just a calmer, more patient person. Meditation has been shown to decrease anxiety, stress, and slow down the aging process.I have never really done much research into why meditation does these things I just know when I meditate I feel better. Doing the research for this post I have learned it is a very interesting and complex process and feel that it will have to be a blog post of it’s own. In treating my blepharitis I put a hot compress on my eyes for 10 minutes every morning to help get the oils moving. This is when I meditate. On mornings I’m running behind and I skip my hot packing meditation I feel more stressed at work, I complain more, and I am less focused.

No matter if you’re a teacher having to deal with PDPs, PLCs SLOs and PPGs, (and that is just the tip of the iceberg) work in a stressful industry , work from home, are retired, or a stay at home parent, you get stressed and fatigued. I hope these tips will bring a little more balance to your life.

Citations:

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why.html
http://consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/stress-management-37/stress-health-news-640/sleep-deprivation-and-stress-646063.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2399351/SUGAR-real-reason-feel-stressed-Learn-CAN-break-habit.html
http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/features/diabetes-stress
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201302/why-our-brains-love-sugar-and-why-our-bodies-dont
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/fatigue-after-eating-sugar.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/30/meditation-health-benefits_n_3178731.html
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/use-your-mind-change-your-brain/201305/is-your-brain-meditation

Still Struggling!

I just finished listening  to the book Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. I found it to be a very interesting read (or in my case- listen).I liked its blunt, straight forward message, get off your ass, read labels and trust no one. It reminded me to be more vigilant about what I put in and on my body.

What I didn’t like about it, first it was just vegan propaganda, I have nothing against vegans, Paul McCartney is one so they have to be nice people. I do have a problem with people who are not experts in the field they are writing about preaching to me like they are experts.  I don’t appreciate people who only do half the research on a subject, the part they want to believe and then  try to cram a philosophy down my throat. The authors found research that stated evidence to show that humans are herbivores. What?? We’ve been eating meat for 1.5 million years! So we’ve been eating wrong for 1.5 million years? When we started eating meat didn’t have to use all our energy gathering food and we started acting , well, human!(Diet and the evolution of the earliest human ancestors). Now I started to buy into their  we also shouldn’t drink milk rhetoric. I can see that, I know a lot of people who are lactose intolerant, it is weird that we are the only species that drink another species milk. But then I did more research and this article made things a little more clear to me. Not everyone can drink milk but being of Norwegian decent I can.

So went out to a web site that looked like the Skinny Bitch web site and found the feedback link and here is a copy of the email I tried to send:

I enjoyed listening to your book, it was a very interesting voice you used, very direct, very amusing. I did skip the parts about animal slaughter, I was driving and felt like I was going to throw up!
One part of your book does puzzle me, when you talked about vitamin B12. Earlier in the book you explained why humans should be herbivores and later you said we should take B12 because the only food you get it from is meat. So if we are herbivores why would our body need something that can’t be supplied by nature? That doesn’t make sense to me.
 
Also I did my own research I love a book that pushes me to do more research and if you read about food from an anthropological point of view they have good arguments on why we do need meat and why humans from European decent started drinking milk.
 
I will not be a vegan but I will ‘get off my ass”, “trust no one” and “read labels”
 
Thanks for the entertaining read and the reminder of how to be healthy.
Unfortunately the link no longer worked, I’d like to see what they have to say 6 years later.
So how does this relate to me? Well I do agree with some of the vegetarian philosophy and I do not want to contribute to factory farms that mistreat their animals so every other week I will be eating vegetarian but not vegan, after all I am a cheese addict, truly according to the reasearch I am.