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Tuesday, July 2, 2024

When you're going through a "tired" phase in your life -- 10 tips

Tired periods in life can be precipitated by illness, injury, surgery, grief, stress, loss or even those "happy" moments such as adding a child to the family or excelling in one's career or education. We all have those phases at some point. My own tired phase this go round is primarily due to my recent surgery. To deal with this, I compiled all of the advice I've been given in life and my own previous experience to come up with a list of 10 "rules" for myself.

Obviously, these suggestions only apply to responsibilities that are not part of paid employment. Beyond taking sick leave, most employers have only so much patience for an employee who performs well beneath their usual level for a prolonged period. My rules are more for how to deal with home responsibilities during a challenging phase.

Here they are:

  1. Make physical contributors to recovery (those that boost health, such as sleep, water, good food, and sunshine) a priority. This is not the time to stay up late watching movies night after night or binge-eat a box of cookies or bag of chips. I've had to be more disciplined than normal and opt for a bowl of brown rice and garden greens for a snack in place of crackers more than once these last couple of weeks. I will say, however, that it's also important to allow yourself a treat here and there. Eating food that is pleasing lifts spirits, and that in itself is healing.
  2. Lean into the responsibilities that you enjoy most or have the most ability for. For me, this would be cooking. I enjoy cooking and feel accomplishment when I've baked cookies or made a good lunch for the family. For others, this might mean doing basic cleaning, organizing tasks, or garden work. I've never enjoyed cleaning the house as much as I do baking. These last 2 weeks I've spent many of my work hours baking cookies, snack cake, bread and cheese strata, and mixing up a small batch of frosting for some lingering plain cupcakes that my daughter had baked. I feel productive. I am taking care of my family in this limited way. And I'm slowly reintroducing regular life back into my days.
  3. Take the easy route with the jobs that you like less. This might mean spending a bit of extra money to buy cleaning supplies that do more of the work for you, or buying a few more convenience food products for daily meals. It might also mean using the vacuum on the kitchen and bathroom floors in place of a broom and skip the mopping for a week or two or three. Dusting tools abound and are real time-savers compared to a rag and spray. Heating a healthy frozen meal for dinner one night could provide you with time enough for a quick late afternoon nap. If you have friends or family who can pitch in on these chores that you find burdensome, ask. We'll be hosting a 4th of July celebration this Thursday. I don't mind the cooking part. It's the cleaning house that I dread. One of my daughters has offered to clean the guest bathroom and stove top for me. I'll also skip mopping the kitchen floor until after the gathering, running the vacuum over it to clean before our guests arrive. That will be clean enough, in my opinion.
  4. Intersperse rest breaks in between work periods. These past couple of weeks I've found my days are often composed of 30 minute work periods alternated by 20 or 30 minutes rest periods. I also alternate rest days with work days. Yesterday needed to be a rest day, as I had constant low-level pain that didn't respond to meds. Today I was up and out the door to run my errands, shopping for the foods we'll want, picking up an rx for a family member, dodging into Value Village for a minute, and buying the fireworks. After a long rest break and lunch, I was able to get outside and water the garden. After a bit more of a break, I'll get up and make dinner. I can do all of this today because I had yesterday as a rest day and I know that tomorrow will also be rest day.
  5. Accept a lower standard of "doing" for the time being. My projects are stacked up, but I'm not pushing myself to work speedily on any of them. I'm puttering, doing a bit here and there on my project list. On Saturday I began another spray paint project, but I only got halfway through it. I'm not pushing myself to complete this one, even though its completion is simple and uncomplicated. For now, I have accepted that I can't keep doing and doing,
  6. Go fewer places in a week if you can. Send someone else to do the grocery shopping. Last week, I made a detailed list for my daughter to use when shopping for the family's groceries. It worked out well. She had time to spare and wanted to pick up a few things just for herself anyway. And it saved me from a huge energy crash that would have incurred had I done the week's shopping myself. If you don't have someone who can do the shopping, do a grocery pick-up order or even have your groceries delivered. Staying in more often during this "tired" time will result in a shorter recovery period overall. 
  7. When you rest, really rest. Don't go online or even read a book. Close the curtains and lie down. I have to admit, I am so guilty of using rest breaks to go online. It's just so tempting. I've had to remind myself over and over that I do need real rest for me to move forward.
  8. Expect bad days, whether those are emotionally or physically bad ones. They'll happen. Prepare your mind for them. The pain I had yesterday came seemingly out of the blue. I'd been doing so well with pain. It didn't make much sense that I would now have persistent, although low-level pain. But my doctor had warned me that doing too much too soon would increase blood flow and exacerbate pain. The same can be true if what's going on in your life is dealing with loss or excess stress. You can feel like you're dealing with everything well. And then boom, one little thing derails you. If you mentally prepare for these set-backs, you'll know in advance that you need to show a little more kindness to yourself and not try to power through it all.
  9. If and/or when you have a set-back day, don't feel like you need to completely catch-up the next day. Go slow in catching back up and forgive yourself for your body or mind's limitations.
  10. Finally, try not to think of yourself as feeble, infirm, or a hot mess. Stay hopeful that this period will pass, just as they always have passed before. My own "tired" phase does not define who I am at the core. I will return to an energetic person once again. No matter how fatigued I feel, I intellectually know that I've made a lot of progress from those first couple of days post-surgery. The fact that I got out and did the grocery shopping today is evidence that I'm doing better. One step in front of the other, and soon I'll be back to my normal.
What do you think? Do you have any advice for someone going through a "tired" phase in life?

Thursday, June 27, 2024

What's been in my grocery cart this month? What's your stock-up style?

June 8 Walmart and Grocery Outlet just before our Father's Day celebration, 1 week early. Many items that I bought were for our cook-out dinner.  

2 lbs fresh strawberries, 2 lbs frozen broccoli cuts, large bottle ketchup, 5 lbs shredded mozzarella, package turkey snack sticks, canister whipped cream, 3 lbs apples, bagged salad kit, 3 lbs onions, small bag yogurt-covered pretzels, package hot dog buns, 1 bell pepper, bunch bananas, bar unsweetened chocolate, cabbage, 5 dozen eggs, 2 jars salsa, chicken bratwurst, Doritos, regular tortilla chips, andouille sausage, uncured beef hotdogs -- spent $87.56

June 13 WinCo for the last shopping before surgery 

multipack string cheese, 1 gallon milk, 2 cartons tofu, 2 lbs butter, 2 lbs frozen broccoli, 2 lbs frozen peas, 5 lbs carrots, 3 lbs apples, cabbage, cucumber, celery, 3 tomatoes, 2 red bell peppers, 2 bunches bananas, bag of dates, almond flour, natural peanut butter, 2 cartons soy milk, 10 lbs bread flour -- spent $69.85

June 18 Daughter went out and bought some raspberry sorbet for me. Spent $5.48

June 23 Husband went to Grocery Outlet and bought 1 bag of frozen chicken breasts. Spent $6.99

June 27 Daughter is doing grocery shopping for this week. 

1 green and 1 red pepper, 3 tomatoes, 1 bundle celery, 5 lb bag carrots, 1 bunch bananas, natural peanut butter, 2 lbs butter, pepperoni, 2 lb block sharp cheddar cheese, gallon whole milk, soy milk, unsweetened, 2 cartons, organic unbleached all-purpose flour, 5 lb bag, 1 lb roasted peanuts -- spent $44.84

Total spent in person for the month of June -- $214.72
We also received another delivery of beef, at a cost of  $359.00. It was charged in May, but we received it in June. So my grand total for groceries this month is $573.72. Wow, that's a whopper! However, next month our total will be significantly less.


The Father's Day foods consisted of some of my husband's favorite foods for a cook-out, Doritos, regular tortilla chips, salsa, yogurt-covered pretzels, a salad kit, fresh strawberries and whipped cream for strawberry shortcake, andouille sausage, beef and chicken sausages plus potato buns. We otherwise wouldn't have spent quite as much that week. Our budget for our Father's Day cookout was $25. We went over by about $2. Still, not a high spend for a special meal.

I didn't do the grocery shopping for 2 weeks, instead sending out family members twice to get 1 item each time. This turned out to be a good thing with regards to food wastage. When I was finally up and around, one of the first things I did was straighten the fridge shelves. I only had to compost one item due to spoilage. My family did a great job trying to use everything up. What I did find that was still good to eat but in need of consumption soon was a container of cooked macaroni noodles, a container of cooked rice, and a container of pumpkin puree. I turned all of the macaroni and some of the rice into a dish of macaroni and cheese for lunches today. I've been working on the pumpkin puree. I made a snack cake the other day. Today I made pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies. I still have a few tablespoons left of pumpkin. I'll stir that into some applesauce along with some cinnamon to go with tonight's dinner. It's been a drizzly day today. Those are always good cooking and baking days, in my opinion.

I am in stock-up mode again, focusing on bread flour, butter, and cartons of soy milk this month. I'm not buying a lot, instead just buying maybe one or two extras of each item per month to slowly build a surplus. While it may save more money just waiting until these foods go on sale before buying a lot, buying one or two extra of anything not highly perishable each week is an easy and less financially painful way to build a stock pile.

So that's what was in my grocery cart this past month. What's been in yours? 

Do you prefer to stock up little by little, even if you don't get the lowest price, or all in one fell swoop when items are on sale?

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