End of Winter, Maybe

Getting out of the apartment more than once a day now.  For awhile during the fall and winter, there would be times I’d go entire days without leaving my apartment.  But I guess that spending my days chatting with online friends, reading articles, and messing with computer games and programs gets stale after awhile.  A change was due.  Right now much of my region of the country is getting bad blizzards.  I personally have only a couple inches of snow, some ice, but terrible winds.  Fortunately it isn’t as cold as it could be, otherwise it would be Ice Age revisited.  And this happened right as most of the snow we’ve had since before Christmas was melted.  But, this being a late winter blizzard, should be melted soon.  Then we’ll worry about flooding.  So it goes.

Now that I actually want to leave my apartment and venture out, I can’t because of weather.  I’ve been bound to my town all winter just because it was too risky to travel.  My car doesn’t do well in snow.  So I pretty much stay inside most of the time.  I do force myself outside every few days just to get what little sunshine and fresh air I can.

Been having a few minor flare ups of irritability and depression lately.  Fortunately I’ve been able to constructively deal with these.  I do have to sleep more and severely limit my caffeine.  I haven’t had coffee in over a week.  While I do feel less irritable, I do sleep more and feel more scattered.  Fortunately I don’t get much for back pain anymore.  Maybe I have lost more weight.  I exercise some every day.  And I make it a point to stand up or lay down every couple hours so as to break up the boredom and long days.  Been a tougher than usual winter.  Physically it’s been tough because of the snow, cold, wind, and lack of physical activity.  It hasn’t been too terrible mentally.  The last several days have been the toughest.  But I’ve been socializing more too.  And I admit I get more irritated with rude people than I should.  I almost never respond to rude people except to avoid them at all costs.  I have enough going on already without dealing with unnecessary rudeness.

The unexplainable aches and pains are becoming less common.  I guess I’m taking more preventative measures now.  I no longer sit for more than two hours at a time. I sleep in my recliner half of the night to rest my lower back.  I sleep lying down so not to get leg cramps from sitting too long.  I take hot showers at least twice a day now, mainly to keep my joints warm and loose.  Sometimes a few minutes of hot running water on my knees, lower back, and hands will work more wonders than even a couple Advil.  And making a point to get up every couple hours to do even simple things like walk to the kitchen to get a cup of water or walking to check my mail every evening can keep my joints loose.  I think one of the problems I was having with my back and unexplainable aches was that I didn’t move around enough.  I went through a state of excessive paranoia and anxiety for much of 2017 and all of 2018.  I was scared to drive my car, I was scared to talk to my neighbors, I was scared to leave my apartment after dark, I was scared to walk my neighborhood, and I was even scared to check my mail.  Most of my mail is junk mail now that I do everything online almost.  The 1 percent that wasn’t junk mail was usually from social security or my landlady.  I always felt a tinge of anxiety with those letters, and any time I was called before anyone in authority.  I’ve had too many bad experiences with short sighted, heartless, and irritable people in authority over me.  I just don’t trust authority to not abuse their power and influence anymore.  And, yes, it is unnerving and scary.

Winter is almost over, at least according to the calendar.  And it isn’t happening too soon.  I’m beginning to get cabin fever real bad.  I guess even strong people have their breaking points.  I am convinced I would feel much better when the weather warms up and there are options to how to spend my days.

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Discouragement

I spent several days at my parents’ place last week.  I was needing the peace and quiet and a little encouragement.  Unfortunately the encouragement left as soon as I got home. I have been convinced for years that the environment a person lives in and the type of people they are forced to associate with on a day to day business can greatly effect a person’s happiness and overall well being.  Most people have thought I was full of it for believing this as the majority of people I know believe you can will yourself out of depression, mental illness, and a bad situation.  You can’t will yourself out of mental illness anymore than an amputee can will his leg back.  In this day and age of advanced medicine and science, the people that think such things think them mainly because they choose to remain ignorant about science, technology, and illness.

I don’t get encouragement from being around my neighbors.  Haven’t for a long time.  I certainly don’t find encouragement when I try to contact even close friends and family online anymore.  Even family and close friends too often act like barbarians online, and don’t even get me started on random strangers and friends of friends.  About the only real intelligent and rational conversation and interactions I have anymore on my tech enthusiasts groups and my parents.  And my parents are both advanced in age and not in great health, so they will probably be dying within twenty years.  When they go, I’ll lose the vast majority of my social outlets and supports.  Tell me again why I want to live to old age?

I’m not sorry for being discouraged and sounding off about it.  Why should I?  Everybody else feels free to gripe and complain and generally drag anyone within ear shot into the cesspool that is socializing.  Even Superman has his kryptonite.  And lately I have been exposed to near lethal doses of it.  I’m tired from fighting and not seeing any results.  I’m tired of trying to encourage people with good news that doesn’t make the press only to be told I am a liar and that I’m a peddler of fake news.  I’m tired of always having to keep my head down in the dirt when we as a species were meant to reach for the stars.  Normal people are discouraging, you really are.

Exercise Pain, Spring’s Renaissance, and Gradual Improvements

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I enjoy the spring season more than any other.  The weather is turning warm, the trees are blooming, the grass is turning lush green, and everything is brimming over with new life and new possibility.  I even enjoy the rain and occasional storms.  Spring is the annual rebirth of nature.

I live in a small town with several parks and lots of hiking trails.  I have visited a few of these parks on almost a daily basis for the last month.  The trees, bushes, flowers, lakes, and wildlife in these parks offer the added benefit of being able to relax and enjoy a little of the natural world while exercising.

Speaking of exercise, I’ve been doing that for longer times on an almost daily basis.  Walked in the light rain and humidity this morning for twenty minutes.  I was unhappy at first that I had to stop after a short time before the aches and pains came on.  What I didn’t take into account was I had been walking forty to sixty minutes four days a week for the last six weeks.  On the other days I was still doing at least twenty to thirty minutes a day.  I track all my exercise and eating on webmd.com in addition to keeping written logs.  When I reviewed these logs, I didn’t realize just how few days off I had.  I think I’ve had only two or three days of no exercise since April 1st.  Last year I made it a point to take at least one day off per week.  My aches and pains are no doubt from pushing myself harder and taking fewer breaks.

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Fortunately my mental health hasn’t suffered.  I probably should go back to the take one day off per week to stay fresh.  When I started exercising and losing weight, I wanted the project to be sustainable weight loss and small changes enacted every so often as my physical well being increased.  I never intended for this to be temporary or drudge work.  Last spring I started tracking everything I ate.  Last summer, I started keeping tabs on how much I exercised.  Other changes I made included decreasing my carbs intake.  I rarely buy or eat bread anymore because I feel sluggish after eating more than a couple slices. I love things like bread, rice with Chinese food, and spaghetti.  So this was a large transition.  It got easier because I felt better mentally and physically on days I kept the carbs low.

A big change I made starting on New Year’s was light weight lifting.  I did this for three times a week for four months.  I gradually increased the weight involved as well as the repetitions.  Gone easy for the last week as I was beginning to over do it.  My muscles let me know I was going too hard.  But it really helped me keep exercising and eating right during the winter.  Some days the weights would be my only exercise.  In spite of the decreased activity of winter, I still lost an average of one pound a week.

Been going pretty hard on the exercise since the first warm up in early March. I haven’t had many days off from exercise. I’m starting to feel it physically.  A couple days off from the grind are in order.  Need to reset and take a little time to reflect on how much has already been accomplished during the previous year.