When Life Gives You Furballs, Find a Brush

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It’s been a brutal few months health-wise. You know the story about the frog in the gradually heating pot of water? In some ways that’s been me. I hit a bad series of arthritis flare ups starting late last summer, which led to decreased activity. Decreased activity led to weight gain. Weight gain led to more pressure on joints, more bad arthritis days, and frustration with the situation. Frustration and feeling frumpy in my clothes led to social isolation – less time with friends and out and about. Which led to less activity, stress eating, more unhappiness, and more pain. I’m feeling pretty crappy and I’m in the worst health that I’ve been in since moving to California 10 years ago.

I’m writing this post because it took me until about a month ago to see the pattern. When I was unemployed for six weeks, I gradually had to come to terms with the fact that I didn’t have the energy or physical capacity for many of the activities that I’d planned to accomplish. It took me getting real about my current health status.

I don’t want any sympathy…I merely want to share my cautionary tale. It’s often hard to see the pattern when you’re the frog in the pot of water.

I’m working on getting back into a steady, healthy routine. I’m getting up earlier, focusing on walking more. I’m heading to the gym, experimenting with bike commutes home, trying to eat more veggies, and intentionally setting up more social events with friends. I’m also scheduling myself more down time, so that I can effectively manage all these changes and manage my stress levels. I don’t want to burn out too quickly and backslide, which is a very real concern.

I’m also going to ramp up my experimentation with some alternative therapies for my arthritis. I have an appointment with a holistic medicine professional (attached to Sutter Health) next week. I’m working on finding a herbalist.

Life has been giving both Mr. Handsome and me some furballs over the past several months. The solution for him is simple – I need to brush his fur every couple of days. I’m hoping the solution for me is as simple — a few basic changes will lead to some positive momentum and hopefully, eventually, less pain and fewer flare ups.

And in the interim? I’ve stopped waiting for things to get magically better. And I’ve started carrying around my furball-preventing brush everywhere I go. I’m getting better at wielding it.

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