Reflections of September

Ohh… we’re 9 days into the month of October and I realized I’ve forgotten to post my progress report. šŸ˜¦ Actually I’ve forgotten to post in quite a while, or maybe I should rather say I’ve prioritised other things! šŸ˜‰

I’m happy to report that the tasksĀ I set up for September have all been completed successfully! Go me!! šŸ™‚

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I’m back to work 2 hours a day as of 6 weeks ago and it has been lots of fun to see my co-workers again and also being able to get some kind of normal routine into my life. I’m far from ready to start working more though… some days these 2 hours totally drain me where as other days goes quite smoothly. I’m scheduled to work 2 hours a day throughout the month of October as well and I feel quite relieved that I didn’t need to work hard in convincing my doctor about it. I though that he was going to push me to work 50% but he listened to me and agreed that working 25% is all I can manage right now.

So my days right now consist of 2 hour work, maybe lunch with a one of my co-workers and then I head home. I usually rest a bit in the afternoon before I either workout or do something else productive. I’ve started to read a little bit and it works fine for a while and then the brain fog hits and I have no idea what I’m reading anymore. šŸ˜¦ I’ve come to the realisation though that I do need to practice and try focusing and concentrating on things at least for a little bit each day.

Here are my tasksĀ for October:

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Reward yourself!

In order to follow through of the different things I’ve set up as goals I have set up a reward system for myself. (This is also something which is encourage as part of the NFA and one of the quests is actually related to setting up rewards for yourself). Originally I thought these rewards where a little tricky, not that I couldn’t think of anything particular I wanted but rather because I’ve always just purchased something I need. Now I’ve tried to change my mindset a little and instead of just buying something I want/need I should work for it. šŸ™‚ Ā I’ve not set up rewards for every goal I have, it’s mainly for the ones I feel requires some extra work and attention.

I decided to break down my rewardsĀ depending on what the goal is. For example, if the goal is food related I’ll buy something for the kitchen. Goals related to training and meditation will have rewards related to that and for my weight goals I’ve decided to just treat myself to something special such as a manicure, spa treatment etc. I only have 4 weight goal marks, and the first one I hit last week!

Two weeks ago IĀ achieved my one month with no candy and for that I decided to buy new trivets for the kitchen. I’m a home decor nerd so I thought that the arrival of the Fall season required some updated design to what I had previously. Not that the new ones are particularly Fall like, but it’s a new design and look in the kitchen at least.

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The new trivets and a marble cutting board. Originally I had planned 3 trivets but when I found the marble cutting board I just fell in love with it.Ā 

Two days ago I hitĀ another goal as well… I’ve now been doing daily meditation for a month. For that my reward is a meditation cushion, but as of yet I’ve not managed to figure out which one I want. I need to find a place where I can go and actually take a look at the different styles and try them out.

I keep track of my goals using an app called “Countdown Days Since, Days Until” that can be downloaded for free in the app store. This exact version don’t exist for Android but I’m sure there are similar apps available there. I’m not keeping track of everything here. Most of my goals I just check off in Evernote and don’t really need to count the days.

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20 seconds of courage – September edition

I had decided to do this month’s quest this weekend already in order to have it over and done with. My husband is leaving for a longer business trip in two weeks and I wanted us to do it together. Another reason for doing it now already was that just the thought of the activity made me a little nervous to say the least as I’m afraid of heights… my choice this month was to go on the SkyViewĀ (a gondola ride to the top of the Globe Arena, 130 metres above sea level)! I think the photos speaks for themselves…

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The gondola of the SkyView
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I’m ready! Just remember, don’t look down!!!
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Almost at the top!
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Nice view towards downtown Stockholm.
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Going back down again!
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Hey… I said DON’T LOOK DOWN!!!
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We’re safe on the ground again!

And here is a video from the ride:

SkyView at Ericsson Globe from Cecilia Magnusson on Vimeo.

Now, I need to start thinking about my October activity! So far I have no clue… šŸ˜€

Reflections of August

I’ve now been part of the NFA for 46 days and have made lots of progress in regards to particularly my mindset and nutrition. I have decided myĀ main goals for this journey but decided to make smaller tasks for each month with things I wanted to accomplish. Small steps towards a larger goal!

I’m happy to report that the tasks for August are all completed successfully! I’ve also managed to ignoreĀ eating candy or snacks throughout this month, stayed away from liquid calories (only thing I drink which qualifies into this category is cider and juice and even those are on rare occasions so this one was quite easy for me to accomplish). I’ve reached level 8 (only 70 points fromĀ level 9 actually!) of the NF level. As far as food I’m on level 6 now. Also that one was easy as we’ve eaten Paleoish for quite some time so omitting certain foods (carbs, sweets, pasta, bread) as the levels tell you was not difficult for me. I’ve also completely omitted dairy for the last few weeks as even lactose free products causes issues. I’ve felt much better the last 3 weeks.

I’ve started using Evernote instead of tracking everything in a journalĀ which was my first plan. I figure a digital “bullet journal” will allow me the freedom of editing and updating no matter where I am without having to carry a notebook in my purse all the time. Much more convenient for me!

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And here are the September tasks! I might add some more items during the next few days or week, but this is what the plan looks like right now:

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Fighting Fatigue

I’ve been on full-time sick leave for almost 5 months now. I was diagnosed with fatigueĀ syndrome and according to my doctorĀ it is caused by all the pain I have had for more than a year. The pain has lead to severeĀ fatigue–some level of fatigue I’m used to considering my RA–and that in turned has caused me to be stressed out and so exhausted that my body/brain stopped functioning normally.

Before my sick leave I was constantly exhausted and in lack of energy, and my days consisted of either working or resting/sleeping. I slept on the way to work and I slept on my way home from work. As soon as I got home I went to the sofa and rested before dinner. After dinner and the clean up I went back to the sofa and by 9 pm, at the latest, I was in bed. Rest/sleep had the highest priority in my life and it completely took over everything else. I skipped doing things because I had no energy for it. Not even the weekend gave me enough time to be fully rested and ready for work on Monday morning.

I like my job and even though I felt so bad I somehow managed to hang in there for a long period of time. I ignored warning signs and just kept going… some mornings when I woke up I was so exhaustedĀ that it feltĀ impossible to get out of bed but somehow I always managed to do so. I did not want to skip work, I needed to be there… I had responsibilities and my job was, what I thought, the only way to keep me sane.

My brain was always foggy, and my ability to concentrate and remember things just got worse and worse. I was sitting in meetings at my job and I knew people were talking because their mouths were moving but I could not register what they were saying. Or, I could sit at the dinner table with my husband and he was talking about something and within minutes it was like my whole brain just shut down and I told him that he could just stop talking because I could not hear what he was saying.

I’m better now… I can hold conversations without any issues. I can sit in front of the computer for longer periods and concentrate on items I’m familiar with. I remember things I hear and things I need to do. I actually enjoy doing things again and I rarely need to take naps now. I’m still not pain free but it is better thanks to higher dosage of cortisone I’ve been on for 1,5 months. I’m working on going back to my normal dosage again though and slowly lower the dose every other week.

My majorĀ issue right now is noise/sound… I still have problems in larger groups and when there are different conversations going at the same time. I can barely listen to music in my own house so being in public can some days be difficult–seriously, do there need to be music playing EVERYWHERE? Ā I always have my ear plugs with me in case the noise is too annoying. A friend of mine recommended listening to rain when I feelĀ stressed and need to calm down and it does actually help, although it is quite weird to sit on the train and listen to rain when it’s sunny outside the window. šŸ™‚

I’m focusingĀ on my sleep and have started to meditate each evening before I go to bed and I’m trying to get a routine of walking and exercising. I’m also back to eating 80% paleo and always dairy free. I’m hoping these things will help me to continue feeling better and getting full control over my body and brain again.

Next week I will beĀ back at the office. I’m scheduled to work 2 hours a day all throughout the month of September. I’m really looking forward to it, and it will be nice to have a daily routine again and to meet my co-workers. I have to confess that I am a bit nervous though, I felt so bad when I left 5 months ago and I really don’t want to feel that way again. I’m keeping an open mind, trying to have positive thoughts and we’ll see how it goes.

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Beauty is pain!

I’ve been to the gym 3(!) times this week. Never happened before! Go me!!! šŸ™‚

Today’s visit was not something I had planned atĀ the beginning of the week. I had my hot yoga classed scheduled for Monday and then a visit with my physical therapist yesterday. I had not seen my physical therapist since May so the 40-minute session turned out to be only talk and no exercises at all. I was there 20 minutes before my time though so I managed to workout on the rowing machine and only 2 of the exerciseĀ machines. Therefore I decided this morning to go to the gym today too so I could get in a whole workout session.

As the gym is inside the shopping mall I decided to go to a place called “Rapid Brow Bar” where they could fix my eyebrows (trim and color). I’ve never tried them before but I was not so happy with my appointment in June at the old place so I had decided to try a new place when it was time again. They had an open spot for 45 minutes later so I went for lunch and then returned. Their method of trimming was not how the old place did it though… The old place used the plucking method (and that is also how I do it myself) and here they usedĀ threading. OMFG… that just hurt so much!!! I get teary eyed just thinking about it! šŸ˜› Looks very good though… so I will definitely go back again… šŸ˜€

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Wardrobe adventure

One of the most fun quests of NFA so far have been “How to NOT dress like a SLOB”. I don’t think I’ve ever dressed like a slob though, I’m way too aware of what I put on and how it look on me. I always want to look good, clean and “proper” when I go outside the house, actually, even inside the house… only time I don’t care how I look is when I’m sick. I might not have the most fashionable stuff because I dislike shopping for clothes as I have a hard time finding something that fits perfectly. I usually go to the stores when I really need something new and then I feel I have major issues trying to find something. Obviously I do find clothes because as of yet I’ve never had to leave the house naked! šŸ˜‰

The 3 areas part of the quest was to 1) think about your posture and 2) clear out the closet and 3) adjust the attitude toward yourself.

Now, that secondĀ part was major fun to do! I put ALL items in both of my wardrobes–I have one for everyday clothing and one for summer clothes–on the bed and then I went through each item one by one and sorted them according to keep, toss or give away. I took extra time with the ones to keep and really thought about how it made me feel and when I last used it. Many items I’ve kept only because “I might be able to wear them one day”. Those immediately went into the give away pile. Some items I did keep because I love the style and it will be my motivation for keeping this journey going, for example I bought a fantastic black and silver dress for New Year’s 3 years ago and that one I kept because I’m determined to wear it this year again. I have it hanging in my regular wardrobe so I see it every day.

Now I have all of my clothes in one wardrobe instead of two. In the extra wardrobe I put the few clothes I want to save for later (except the dress mentioned above). Now I only have items that I feel totally comfortable and good in when I wear.

I had 2 pair of jeans which had holes in them and instead of tossing them I cut off the legs and turned them into shorts. Quite short shorts too… major “going outside the comfort zone”-moment for me!

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All my clothes on the bed.
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Empty wardrobe.
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My new very short shorts.Ā