2016 Rundown

This post accompanies the next. Wanted a quick rundown but it didn’t fit in with the rest of the post.

Information Diet: greatly reduced. Holidays, far less reading (though not none: should maybe have tried none).

Caffeine: Mostly usual strict limitations. A few times where a bit more than average (drip coffee laying available is a siren that calls to me).

Diet: “Poorly” (holidays! so the “poor” was planned, not a failing). Some supplementation continued.

Interaction: A lot. Possibly record new high levels (though different than the normal business/social types: time spent with family). And definitely some that was “inspirational” idea-wise.

Exercise: Slightly more than average (read: barely above sedentary).

Stress: Mostly low, a few moments of very high (mostly the period of time before holidays in the mad scramble of trying to get everything done).

Induction: First, what is this? Oh right: “what things are inducing, eliciting, or drawing me forward or towards happiness?”
This has been pretty good. Moderately higher than average. Again, some stressful items here (it’s possible that induction items will always spillover into some stress: good challenge inducing towards better things is somewhat stressful).

Advertisements
2016 Rundown

Some thoughts from the silence

5:08am

The interleaving months have been filled with various struggles, though none new.

Recent stress has brought a level of anxiety that I haven’t had to deal with in quite some time. Physical tics, itches, and muscle adjustments; stress from travel, extroversion, difficult memories, and reduced time to restore myself. These stresses exacerbated the anxiety but I don’t think they were the cause – the anxiety started before the stresses.


Coming out of the anxiety somewhat was unusual. The anxiety got dramatically better in the span of a day. I had spent time trying to relax and restore. This time I had scheduled, knowing I’d need the time and space following other stressful events.

However, it didn’t seem to help. And, after a weekend, I was at my worst – far and away. I continued with some activities intended to help, but wasn’t optimistic.

But, in that day, things shifted. As usual, it’s more of a realization noted while looking in the rearview mirror not in the moment. But I did realize that evening that I was better.

Despite thinking back on my activities, I couldn’t pinpoint a likely cause for the improvement. Not that I really think it works in an obvious deterministic fashion, but still worth the question for potential learning of how to care for myself.


On the whole time more broadly, being more conscious of my anxiety greatly improves my ability to handle it. Likely via a mechanism of distance and perspective. Simply being aware of mental health issues and thinking of them as such is the single more useful thing I’ve learned in the previous year.


As usual, entries here slant towards times of being up. Time of being down fill the silence. By definition, less energy to accomplish things translates into fewer entries. More nights of disturbed sleep, more entries.

Even keeled time also tend to reflect as quiet periods with fewer entries here.


Some thoughts from the silence

I need to sleep *cough*

3:58am

What is this, six days running? It’s at least five for sure.[0]

sleepless

Frustrated, on the one hand.

On the other, I feel like I’m doing a better job managing. I’ve had a morning meeting, and made it – despite waking up early (in the middle of the night) that morning. I’ve had a long morning hike, and made it.

And not just barely straggled through, but been fully present and engaged.

I can make it on five hours of sleep when otherwise rested. Five hours only for too many nights and that’s a problem. Six is completely fine for a night or two. At least the same hypo-mania that brings lack of sleep brings some energy to manage through the lack of sleep.

But I’m worn out from this lack of sleep. So definitely wishing for those days with more sleep.

Rundown? Thought so.


Information Diet: Reduced.

I’ve continued on the cutback diet, avoiding information that generally makes me less happy and sucks up time. I haven’t been overly strict with this, but still reduced and avoiding.

 

Caffeine: Mostly continued, slightly more.

I’ve continued the “new regime” of strict caffeine intact monitory. Strict and much reduced. Most people would think that the amount can’t possibly be affecting me. Maybe it isn’t, maybe the effect I feel is placebo. Placebo affect is real, even if the stimulus isn’t.

What I have changed is that, due to some increased interactions, I’ve had caffeine a few times in preparation for those interactions where otherwise I wouldn’t have. This is the approach I have been taking: trying to limit caffeine strictly but recognizing its use for boosting my mood.

Faced with an evening of interactions, late afternoon caffeine will boost my mood throughout the afternoon and evening but doesn’t interfere with falling to sleep. That works.

Of course, I don’t know that it doesn’t have an effect on my alertness at the 4am time spot.

I really want to have three or more days off caffeine soon. I’m not sure about when to do this abstinence given all the work I want to get down. Won’t be today

 

Diet: Well, some breaks.[1]

I’ve been doing very well here. As for the diet specifically, even finding some new tweaks that work better diet-wise. But a few breaks for various events.

 

Interaction: Whew. More.

Both social and works events. Work in particular much increased this past week with three events, one being higher stress in particular.

Above, I wondered if the caffeine use for interaction was part of the cause of this hypo-mania. That is, the caffeine as a cause.

Now I’m wondering if it is the interaction that is the cause. And the caffeine is merely correlated (more interaction means more caffeine use to keep up). If I had to guess, I’d guess correlated – but since I can’t know, it’s still worth taking a break from caffeine and seeing if that doesn’t even me out.

 

Exercise:  Back to usual.

After doing nothing, I’ve gotten back to the basics in a focused way this past week and done well. Even watching for some feeling “down” and planning to use that as a trigger to get exercise.

Being more tired, late afternoons once caffeine is clearly gone, I feel a bit dark. I noticed this and so exercised, the next day, expected this fatigue and related “down” mood to set it and planned to exercise when it did. As usual, exercise is the best antidepressant we humans have available.

Also did more this weekend.

 

Stress: Mixed.

While mostly low, there were a few extra stressors this week. From shuffling my overall medium-term schedule, as well as acute stressing events.

Shuffling my medium-term plans is stressful in two ways. One, changing plans generally causes me stress. It is frustrating to have to juggle and re-set things. Secondly, my medium-term plans were things I had been putting off but that I really wanted to do. I didn’t want to do what I was planning on shifting into, though I recognized its value so was going to change. Things haven’t finalized on this, so likely some low-level background stress continues to radiate from this possible-pending change.

Probably additionally enhanced by the “possibly” part: the unknown. That this change that I don’t want to make might still happen, but I don’t know so I can’t even just accept the change and get on with it. As possible, I’m trying to live like it isn’t coming and just ignore it. But it requires my attention sometimes so I have to then live like I’m completely sold on the change and that it will indeed happen. So completely ignoring it is difficult.

The acute stress event is related to the schedule shift: the event precipitating the change.

 

*NEW* Induction: Good, but may change.

New thing here: what things are inducing, eliciting, or drawing me forward or towards happiness? While the other items are stress, stressors, and managing items. This is more about things that elicit happiness, health, and well-being.

The medium-term shift to my schedule? Well, my current focus is on something I’ve been promising myself for quite some time. Explicitly for about a year, implicitly much longer[2] . Also, it is a really good thing to focus on.

So working on it has been a good thing drawing me forward. Imagining a better world and life.

It has also been something that was calling for a lot of good effort and learning from me. So it is beneficial in that way as well: the joy of learning and the satisfaction of being challenged.


I’m proud of myself for maintaining the activities that I need to stay healthy: diet, exercise, time to myself to think and relax. I know how I have sometimes let these slip, even while knowing how helpful they can be.

While my mania and its cause I cannot control. I can control activities that drive me to be healthier. And I’ve been doing those well. That’s within my locus of control, so that’s what I work with and accept the rest that I cannot change.


Beyond the things that push for unhappiness, other things push me towards happiness. I want to think about those more and monitor them more closely. My goal isn’t just to reduce or manage things that make me unhappy[3] and end up “normal” or “fine”, but to get to be healthier and happier in general.

Sometimes there are efforts, projects, work, or plans that can represent and bring about that better future. I’ve had more of that in my life recently and will be more conscious of seeking out more of those and cultivating those that I have. I’m not really sure the best ways to do this.


Anxiety has been much reduced recently. Not sure when it dropped off nor why. Feels so random that anxiety just shows up unannounced and then disappears equally as unannounced.



[0] Reviewing other posts, it’s possibly/likely that this is actually eight nights: since previous posts.

[1] Showing that increased interaction and stress, like experienced this week, doesn’t have to set my diet off. It’s more than possible to manage and maintain the activities needed to be healthy even in the face of stress.

[2] “implicitly”: I’m thinking of GTD plans/stress and “internal commitments” that we make without thinking about them. They can stack up as internal stress or frustration when I feel we are falling short of this expectation that we have even though we haven’t actually made any formal commitment to accomplishing something.

[3] I’m using “unhappy” pretty loosely here. I’m thinking of things that cause me to be down, depress, unhappy, or just generally aren’t where I want my life to be. Not just things that make me unhappy in some small, fleeting way.


Photo Credit: micagoto


 

I need to sleep *cough*