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Mind the body… mend the mind

Posted Mar 24 2010 12:00am

I have been having some excellent hours, today. I had an okay morning, talking to people who are interviewing me to see if I can do the job that I’ve been looking into.  I met with the main hiring manager last Friday, and it seemed to go well. But I’m not sure I want the job. And the folks I talked to today were a far sight less amicable than the manager.

But then, they do live on other continents (it’s a “distributed” team) so it’s not like I have to share a cubicle with them, or anything.

All the same, though, I would like to be part of a team that is on good terms, and all on the same page.

I may not take the job, even if they offer it to me. Frankly, I’d rather be doing something closer to coding, and this is a managerial type position.

Anyway, enough of that. I had the good sense today to take a nap this afternoon. I worked from home, and I had the house to myself after about 1 p.m. I lay down for maybe half an hour, but it was good. I woke up feeling human again, which is a slight change, compared to how things have been, lately.

My cardinal sin (if I’ve committed any) in the past week, has been not getting enough sleep. I had meant to rest over the weekend, but events conspired to either wake me up too early or keep me from catching up on my rest, both of which were BAD. And it’s taken its toll. Major meltdown on Sunday, followed by days of feeling hungover and feisty and cranky and damaged. Not at my best. When I really need to be at my best.

All over lack of sleep. Seriously sad.

It’s really quite ridiculous that I would come to this, but I’m a master at complicating every friggin’ thing in my life. How many times do I have to learn AGAIN that I have to sleep, or else? I’m like a bipolar/ schizophrenic/ generally mentally ill individual I knew years ago, who got it in their head on a regular basis that they didn’t need to take their meds. They’d be fine while they were on them, then they’d get off for a while, and they’d end up doing wild things like chasing their partner out of the house and chauffering them several states away to drop them off with friends who would come pick up said rejected partner and escort them to safety. It just wasn’t pretty.

I’m happy to report that my own temporary insanity didn’t result in complete domestic collapse. But it didn’t make matters any easier at home.

So, once again, I have the opportunity to learn that sleep is the ultimate cure for my mental ills. After feeling truly bent for days, now that I’ve had some sleep and I’ve taken some of the pressure off, with regard to my job situation (I just can’t do the pressure cooker thing anymore, like I have been), I’m feeling much better.

And my spouse can quit hounding me to find a therapist. For now, anyway. I know I need to find a counselor of some kind, but for now, I just want to go about my business, regain my even keel, and re-discover the things I love about life. I want to get familiar again with the feel of life without inner turmoil… life without intensive anger management… life without drama… life with just a mellow evening at home after a good supper… life that’s thoughtful and mindful and present and aware. And properly rested.

Heck, it’s springtime! It’s time to enjoy my life, not get bogged down in all sorts of crap and drama and wailing and gnashing of teeth.  I really just want to enjoy myself. Do good things. Write good words. Make a decent contribution to the world around me. Just get on with it.

And that goal is a whole lot more attainable, when I take care of myself, my life, my work, my body. When I take care of my body, especially when I stretch and lift weights and just move… well, my mind seems to take care of my brain. The intensity subsides, the pressure lifts off me. When I am comfortably  ”in my body” as someone once described it to me, I feel fit and worthy and capable and full of enjoyment and satisfaction. And that’s a great thing. Being in good relationship with my body is by far the best way for me to be in good relationship with my mind. Funny how that works…

Personally, I think a whole lot of mental illness issues could be cleared up with proper physical maintenance and care.  Eating the right foods has a way of regulating your mood, as does exercise and movement. And certain types of movement, like tai chi and qi gong and yoga, have actually been shown to benefit the brain. They have images to prove it. MRIs or somesuch. Very cool. That, and meditation of certain types also helps.

On the other hand, eating crappy food, stressing your body with all sorts of sugars and processed ingredients, not eating enough of the right kinds of nutritious stuff, and loading up on high-carb, high-sugar foods, has a way of putting a strain on the body that truly affects the mind in a sickness-producing way. Just the wild sugar fluctuations, the highs and lows and foggy haze that comes from a dietetic roller coaster, takes a toll on the mind and the brain, as well as the body. It throws off your moods, it makes you hard to live with, and it doesn’t benefit anyone in the long run except the ones who are selling the “food products” we’re eating, as though they were actually food.

For today, I’m eating real food, I’m getting real rest, and I’m not stressing over the future. My job situation will even out. My money situation will resolve. I’ll get myself back on track, and I’ll even enjoy the spring and summer. I know what to do, and I’m determined to do it.

That’s a good thing. A very good thing indeed.

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