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

Sugar Detox Revisited

One of my new favorite ways to eat salmon, by the way I did not like salmon until I did the detox.

One of my new favorite ways to eat salmon, by the way I did not like salmon until I did the detox.

I should have ended my sugar detox on the 21st of January, I chose to end it early. If you recall I was starting to complain about being bored Sugar Detox Day 11, Day 16 Sugar Detox. Maybe bored wasn’t the right word or changing up what I was eating and trying new recipes would have taken care of that. I think the better explanation for why I stopped my sugar detox 5 days early was that I was no longer seeing new benefits, meaning I felt as good as I thought I could feel on this detox. I felt great! I didn’t stop because I felt it wasn’t working I stopped because it worked so well!

I stopped on a Friday and celebrated with a glass of wine, the only thing I missed on the detox. After a glass or 2 my son convinced me to get a pizza, I should have known better. Before I started moving toward Paleo I had no known sensitivity to wheat. So we ate our pizza, drank some more wine and were having a nice evening. About 30 minutes after my first piece of pizza I started to feel my gut move around, I thought “I’m just not use to it anymore.” About an hour and a half after the pizza I started having stomach cramps, so I thought “I’ll not finish this glass of wine, drink a big glass of water and head to bed.” Cramps woke me up a couple of time and then at 1:00 AM my body said “NO WAY!!” and I was in the bathroom eliminating my pizza and wine, I’ll spare you the details. I woke up the next morning feeling ok and with a lesson well learned!

My lunch, both left over favorites, from the book. Spinach and garlic soup, quiche.

My lunch, both left over favorites, from the book. Spinach and garlic soup, quiche.

Even thought I am not on a sugar detox I did learn in these last 10 days that sugar really does have a strong effect on me. I have had some sub par chocolate, you know the ones that melt in your mouth not in your hand, and even those, my favorite candy, just didn’t do anything for me. So the sugar I am eating is in the form of fruit. I haven’t even had honey or maple syrup. It also took until last night for me to want a glass of wine, and that was all I wanted and I will never want pizza (the delivered kind) again!

My over all review of The 21 Day Sugar Detox by Diane Sanfilippo is  I highly recommend it! I can’t wait for a payday or two so that I can buy the cook book that complements it. I had bought the book as a kindle addition because I wasn’t sure it would be for me; I will buy the cookbook in print.

Day 16 Sugar Detox

I have a confession, today I choose to eat sugar. Why,  because I am just bored. I’m sort of done with the detox. I know I have 5 more days, but I feel like I’m at the point where all the benefit I was going to get I got. Now I’m not saying I didn’t benefit, I think I benefitted a great deal from this and I will avoid sugar again until the 21st but not as carefully.

The benefits of the detox for me were I broke the habit of eating sugar. I discovered a lot of really great recipes without sugar and without grain. I feel like my skin is brighter, I’m happier and over all I have more energy but I feel like I have obtained all the benefit I can get. I’m sure that if you tested my glucose levels or what ever else you might test you would see room for improvement. I won’t go back to consuming all the sugar I was before, like I said earlier, I have broken my habit. I will also avoid sugar for my last days on the detox but I needed this break. I needed a night to not be concerned about what I ate. For the record, it was just old junky Christmas candy so I feel crappy and it wasn’t all that enjoyable to eat. I just needed a 15 minute vacation from the sugar detox.

Sugar Detox Day 11

Half way!!! Whoot!!

Yesterday and today I’m feeling a little tired and bored of this. I am not missing sugar as in chocolate or fruit, I realize my sugar consumption was habit not addiction. But I do miss a few things from my pre sugar detox lifestyle, ok, only one thing but yesterday I missed it a lot.

I had a frustrating day at work, I was trying to import apps for iPads into a program on a Mac (I’m a PC person) from the Volume Purchase Plan, yeah I know, what ever, and it wasn’t working. I have done it before but it was like I was just missing one step. Worse, I was trying to show someone else how to do it so I was flustered. I am a media specialist in a very busy middle school library so while I was trying to figure this out there were lots of students that needed help. Thus frustration, not at the kids, I love the kids, at myself for not being able to figure this out.

On a typically day like this I would definitely have a glass, or 2, of wine when I got home, yesterday I couldn’t. I also planned on changing up my blog layout and again I just feel more creative if I have a glass of wine while I’m working. Not that the wine makes me more creative, it’s the ambience of the glass sitting on the table while I work. I’ve been substituting tea and bought some fun teas, green tea with strawberry, ginger, orange, mint herbal tea, my favorite Earl Grey and some detox tea. But a cup of tea just isn’t a glass of wine.

Other than missing the wine I feel great. I’ve been making the dishes from Diane’s book and have loved 99% the other 1% have been good just didn’t love them. My energy is increasing everyday and my mood is off the charts! I feel calmer yet with more energy than I’ve had in years. Counting today I have 11 days left and I’m sure that when I’m done I will continue to limit my sugar.

Sugar Detox Day 6

Yesterday was hard, I didn’t really eat meals, I ate food but I didn’t sit down and enjoy a meal. I did a lot of snacking yesterday and never felt satisfied. Today I sat down while I  ate my breakfast and dinner, I feel like I did less snacking.

I don’t feel quite so easily irritated like I did yesterday and less fog in the brain. I am having sugar cravings too. Not bad cravings but enough where I gave all the left over fudge from Christmas to my ex. The big thing that helped to-day was I did some yoga again. I really felt good after that. I’ve fallen away from doing yoga daily and I’m hoping this is what I need to get back into it .

I did have a big disappointment today, I was making bone broth and I must have bought some bad bones. When I baked the bones, first a clear liquid, maybe fat, not sure, leaked out of the bones and then when I put them in the crock pot the broth stayed clear. My other batches were a nice beefy brown color. I’m letting it cook until I go to bed, if it still looks suspect I’ll throw it out and start again. I don’t thing the dogs will get this bone either, just to be safe.

My copy of the new book by Chris Kresser, Your Personal Paleo Code, comes tomorrow. I can hardly wait. I’m hoping to get it read in a week or two, as soon as I do I’ll add my review. There are a lot of great reviews out there on the book if you can’t wait.

I did take a picture of my breakfast, sautéed garlic and red pepper with chicken and egg in bone broth. Looks gross but tasted great.

bone broth and egg breakfast

bone broth and egg breakfast

Dinner was Mustard Glazed Chicken (from 21DSD) and steam broccoli that I put butter and lemon juice on, it was wonderful.

Mustard Glazed Chicken and steamed lemon broccoli

Mustard Glazed Chicken and steamed lemon broccoli

Sugar Detox Day 5

Lunch yesterday ended up being easier than I though. I had looked the menu up online before I went so I knew I was going to get the cobb salad. I also brought my own jar of dressing. I did good.

Today was not such an easy day. I woke up all achy, but I do have an old mattress and I did sleep on the other side of my body ( I wanted to see if I could even out the swelling under my eyes, it work). I also woke up with a slight headache, nothing coffee couldn’t fix.

I did some baking, roasted nuts and kale chips (snacks for the game, we lost) so I munched all day. Tonight is not so great. I feel light-headed, not hungry, and crabby. My headache is back and it is worse, I can’t have caffeine now. To make things worse my kids were eating pizza and munching on chocolate. The pizza didn’t bother me but I did looking longingly at the chocolate. So basically today I feel like crap but not so bad I can’t do things. I’m having a hard time focusing. My motivation to get things done is gone. And last but not least my eczema is back. I’ve been rash free for 2 years 🙁

Despite this all I’m going to keep going. I know I will feel great on January 21st or at least have a lot of blog posts.

Morning of Day 4

I truly meant to blog everyday on my sugar detox but on the afternoon of Day 2 I was hit with another health setback, Rosacea. I have been struggling with Blepharitis for months now and felt like I was in a continual flare up. I also need new glasses. I decided to wait for my eye exam to talk about my Blepharitis flare up. That’s when the word Rosacea was said. What I liked about my doctor was that he was respectful to how I’m eating and how I’m trying to remove toxins from my diet, so he gave me an option. I could try to heal myself with larger doses of fish oil or I could take a more aggressive approach and go on an antibiotic and steroid eye drops, ok, I’m vain, I took the more aggressive approach. I feel I can work on my end changing my diet to heal my gut( a post on gut heal will be coming soon) and taking the antibiotics to speed things along. Yes I realize that the antibiotics will be working against me trying to balance the flora in my gut but hopefully I’ll develop some good habits so when I can come off the antibiotics I will be able to heal my gut quicker.

Ok, now why you are really here, to hear how my detox is going, I have one word  -Great-!!

I could not be happier with how not difficult this is, I won’t say easy because it’s not easy but I will say it’s not difficult either. What makes it tough is planning and as the book The 21 Day Sugar Detox preaches planning is the key. Today I’m  doing my 2 week grocery shopping run and to sit and plan 14 meals and making sure I have something to snack on took about an hour. All of the dinners I’ll be eating will be from the book. But, I feel good and prepared for my next 14 days.

So far I have not felt any different, no withdrawal symptoms  like I thought, so I guess that’s good. I’m a little hungrier than normal but once I eat something, usually cheese, I feel satisfied. I have alway slept good so that hasn’t changed. As for energy and mental clarity I have noticed no changes.

Today will be a big challenge for me, I’m going out for lunch. Thanks goodness for online menus, I’ve already picked out what I will eat, a cobb salad, and now I just have to sneak my own dressing in and pray that it doesn’t come with something  sugar infused.

Sugar Detox Day One

I’m sure the first day is easy for most people and it was extremely easy for me. I did indulge on a little more sugar than normal yesterday, with it being New Years Eve and all, and I did pay for it this morning. My payment: more trips to the bathroom.

I started out my day with my typical cups of coffee. I had invited my parents over for a sugar-free, grain free dinner so I was busy most of the day taking down bits of Christmas decorations and cleaning in-between my preparing the meal.

I made a crock pot roast with homemade bone broth, carrots, celery and onions, it was delicious. For my sides I made mashed cauliflower, much to my son’s disappointment, he thought it was going to be mashed potatoes and herb biscuits. Everything, even the apple crisp which I messed up on, turned out wonderful. All but the roast are recipes from The 21 Day Sugar Detox.The apple crisp is not in the photo because it was still in the oven and when I took it out my boys ate it so fast I didn’t have time to get a picture.

I feel great, accomplished and full.
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Oh and Happy 1st Birthday to my dog Bessie. 20140101-210733.jpg

Moving On

It has been awhile since I have done a blog post, not because I didn’t have great ideas but because I really didn’t want to take the time to sit down at my computer and write. I recently was nominated for the Kohls Fellowship which required me to write 6 small essays and then I had to write a small article for a local newspaper so both this blog and my library blog were neglected.

Despite the neglect I have been reading and trying new things. A quick recap: no poo I did it for a while, successfully, until I went to get my hair cut. I was shocked at the amount of grey I had! I had been using Avadea clove shampoo and it helped cover my grey so after seeing my grey I went back to using shampoo. I’m on break from work so I went no poo again, even more successfully. To combat  the grey issues I found some articles on adding clove to oil or making a black tea, clove rinse that I’m going to try before I go back to school. I love being no poo, I just don’t love the grey.

My Paleo-ness; it’s going ok. the big problem for me is sugar. It’s like when I lost the grain carbs my body replaced it with sugar. I was doing really well on feeling great but as sugar became more predominate in my diet I started gaining weight and feeling like crap. So I bought  Diane Sanfilippo book The 21-Day Sugar Detox. I had read mixed reviews on her book and am glad I bought the 9.99 kindle version and not the print for 20.97. The information is very good and it is well written but I knew most of what she was talking about. The main reason I purchased the book was for the support. She has some recipes I can’t wait to try and I like the different levels of detox she lets you  pick from and the day-to-day what you might be feeling. In preparation I’ve been really paying attention to how much sugar I eat. Even when I try not to eat sugar I give in. My official start date is January 1st so I’ve been pulling out excuses. I will report on my progress, maybe not everyday but frequently.

I have been cooking a lot! I wish I had a bigger kitchen. I’ve made 2 batches of bone broth the last couple of days, beef and chicken. I also have been making my own stuff. I’ve read enough recipes in my life to have an idea of what goes together and it’s fun. No major flops, yet. My chicken soup was eh, a little watery but the chicken pot pie, or maybe it was a Shepard’s pie, I made today was wonderful. I haven’t made things enough times to post my own recipes but that will be coming eventually. I will start putting some pictures of finished products on instagram, trynde.

Well that’s my update, I will be writing more often this coming year.