Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Turning back the clock!

Growing up in central Indiana, I never had the pleasure of adjusting my clock during daylight savings, since Indiana was one of those crazy states that never changed time during the year. That has since changed (almost all of IN is now on Eastern time), but I still struggle a bit to remember that a) DST even exists, and b) which way the clocks go in the fall and spring. I know, I know - "Fall back, Spring forward"...but you have to admit, "Fall forward, Spring back" doesn't sound all that shabby either.

A friend of mine is going through a rough adjustment period with her newly-diagnosed chronic illness - and I know, the months after a diagnosis are never fun. Learning what you can and can't do, testing your limits, and figuring out how and if life will ever return to normal are frightening, frustrating issues. Life DOES get better, and eventually it DOES return to some state of normalcy, even if it's a new kind of normal, but in the beginning, it's hard to see how that will ever be.

The "testing your limits" thing is a real tricky one, but the whole Daylight savings phrase makes me think of how the whole thing works. See if you can follow:

While our minds tell us to do whatever it takes to get back to normal (be it pushing through the pain, ignoring our symptoms, or engaging in too much activity that stresses out our bodies), our bodies are the ones that suffer for it. If you try to Spring forward, you'll just end up Falling back.

However, if you're willing to Fall back, that is, take it easy, listen to what your body needs (or doesn't need), and pass up on an activity or two in order to catch up on rest, you're more likely to Spring forward in the healing process. Food for thought, huh?

Personal Victory while we're on the subject of clocks:

Over the past two weeks, I've had a hard time getting everything done on my to-do list that I've wanted to. I've thought to myself - ugh! If I could just turn the clock back about 2 hours, I could get everything in. Of course, that's not realistic, and I just have to deal with the fact that I can only do what I can do...but here's the silver lining.

Years ago - when I'd overbook myself, the first thing to go was my nap. I'd put it off and put it off, running around like crazy trying to cross everything off my list...simply to find myself at the late hour of 6:00 pm, exhausted, bleary-eyed, and way too overtired. At that late hour - if I did take a nap - I'd typically throw off our evening plans, miss dinner altogether, or mess up my bedtime. Usually, I'd just have to retire for bed super-early, missing out on an entire evening because I'd pushed too hard during the day.

But guess where I've been the last three or four times when I've wanted to turn back the clock a couple of hours? In bed, just waking up from a mid-afternoon nap (around 2pm or 3), thinking about the things I'd like to tackle before the end of the day. I haven't cut out my nap once! I've been sticking to the "Nap first" theory and it's worked! Sure, I've had to forgo crossing off a zillion things on my list, but being rested, healthy, and flare-free is better than running any errand I can think of, particularly if it threatens my well-being.

So here's to progress - may I continue to see my nap as a necessary to-do, and never one that can be sacrificed. Let's hope Deirdre agrees with me!

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