Monday, March 16, 2009

Indulge, but wisely

In last week's post, I mentioned the toll that my recent travels had taken on a few of my joints. Thankfully, I'm feeling 100% now, but I failed to mention the one thing I did to help get my body back on track. Each time I realized my joints were swelling, I made a pact with myself to cut out as much activity as possible for the following day. While I can't take a vacation day from being a mom (nor would I want to with a baby as cute as this one!), I was able to forgo a few generic activities to try and let my body rest. Here's what I didn't do:

* Exercise * Blog * Work on my book * Make dinner

What did I do? Got in an extra nap when I could and let Johnny help out with Deirdre and dinner. It paid off, too. My knuckles went back to normal and my joints felt better than ever. What a difference a day makes! (Note - after reading my last blog post, my sister made the suggestion that I "take a day off" following my travels and I was proud to be able to tell her that I already had!)

Here's a snippet from my book about how to enjoy activities without sacrificing your health:

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Indulge, but wisely:

A friend of mine was struggling with the sacrifices that Lupus was forcing her to make, like reducing her sun exposure to little or none and restricting her activity level. She had a chance meeting with another woman who had grappled with the same things, but who had come to the following conclusion: indulging every once in awhile in an activity that is deemed “off limits” is okay if you allow yourself ample time before and after to recover. This woman happened to be an avid tennis player and it was causing her more stress and anxiety to miss out on a match than to deal with the effects of playing one. Given that her body was more fragile and prone to exhaustion with Lupus, she realized that if she took it easy the day before and after she played, she could enjoy her pastime and not put her health at risk. As long as you’re willing to compromise, you can enjoy doing just about anything.

Keep in mind that a compromise like this one should be view as an indulgence, not an invitation to develop a routine. Don’t let the thrill of the experience convince you otherwise. Just like eating a cookie on a diet, it’s not the one cookie that does you in. It’s getting a taste for it and wanting a second, if not a third.

In addition, be resourceful and open-minded when devising ways to enjoy yourself without jeopardizing your wellness. My in-laws once planned a wonderful day trip to New York City for sightseeing, shopping, lunch, a Broadway show, and dinner, complete with a limousine ride to and from the city. It required about four hours of traveling each way from where I lived – all in all too much for me to tackle in a single day. I didn’t want to miss the trip, but I couldn’t figure out a way to go without exhausting myself and running the risk of getting sick. After brainstorming with my husband and his family, we decided that my sister-in-law and I would skip the limo ride, take a train up the morning of the show, stay overnight with family in the city and leisurely make our way back via the train the next day. The scenario couldn’t have been more perfect! I would have the option to rest mid-day at my in-law’s place, crash early, sleep in the next day and still enjoy all of the festivities. I had to compromise and skip the fancy entrance and exit into NYC, but it was worth it. Exercise a little discretion, and I think you can have your cake and eat it, too!

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