Posts Tagged ‘rest’

Stop. Rest. Relax…Repeat.

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

things to do I am not one who can easily relax. Usually, I need a brick wall in front of me to make me stop (or a cliff will do fine, too). Adrenaline runs through my veins. I am continually creating and updating my to-do lists (or as I call them, my must-do lists) and the I-don’t-have-time-to-relax attitude often overtakes me.

Now, I KNOW, that I need to relax, for the sake of good health and a clear mind. I KNOW I need sleep, a healthy diet and exercise. But, when the list of all that needs to be done is before my eyes, or in my hand, or on my phone, I have a very hard time turning away from it and shutting down my mind. Does this happen to anyone else out there?

As parents, we have the responsibility of providing for our children – financially, physically, emotionally and in every other way that they need. Parents of children with special needs face additional tasks to conquer, from appointments with specialists, to IEP meetings, to figuring out a system with continual twists, turns and dead ends. For pregnant women, stress related hormones may play a role in causing certain pregnancy complications. Unless we purposefully have a method or a way to shut off the engine and refuel it, we risk burn-out and ill health.

But, easier said than done.

A few years ago, I took up yoga, as I knew that it offered health benefits. Among the benefits is a curious thing called “mindfulness.” Now, I am a science geek at heart, so the touchy-feely aspect was not really something I gravitated toward. But, I gave it a try anyway. What is this thing called “mindfulness?”

Well, it is a way to help shut out the noise of everything around you (and even your own busy mind), and just…be. At first I was not able to just sit and “be.” Be what? I am a do-er. Not a be-er. But, I kept going to yoga class thinking that there must be something to this, and to just give it time.

relaxing at workEventually, (after about a year!) I got comfortable and even good at sitting down on my mat, crossing my legs, uttering OOOOOOOMMMMMMM a few times, and becoming “present in the moment.” My yoga instructor would say “you have nowhere to be, nothing to do, but to be here, present.” I would concentrate on my breathing (never did that before!), and work on blocking everything out of my mind (much harder than it sounds).

During class, I give myself permission to put the world on hold for an hour. My must-do list will be there when I am done, and my noisy world will return, but for this one hour I honor myself, I rest my mind, I invigorate my body, and I …..relax. What a concept!

When my son was in first grade, he received a writing assignment; the topic was “my favorite thing to do.” He wrote “My favorite thing to do….is to relax. I like to go home, lie on the couch, put my feet up and just watch a movie.” (His teacher was not too happy, as she expected to hear he liked to play a sport or build a Lego creation, but I found it enlightening.) His favorite thing, was letting go, relaxing….just “be”ing. Hmmmm. Kids GET this.

April is Stress Awareness Month, so, as you rush around, going from appointment to appointment, crossing off items on your must-do list, remember that you can only go so far without re-fueling. The stop-rest-relax portion of your day is as important as the go-go-go part. It does not have to be through yoga, but find something that helps you relax your body AND mind. Then, when you pick up and go again, you will be refreshed and able to handle whatever comes your way. Believe me, if I can do it, you can, too.

So, try this as your new mantra for today:  stop – rest – relax.

And tomorrow?

Repeat.

 

For more posts on how to help your child with a delay or disability, view our Table of Contents.

 

Nap time for Santa

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

nap-timeMost pregnant women wrestle with fatigue, especially during early and late pregnancy.  If you celebrate Christmas, you’re probably running around putting finishing touches on gifts, dropping cards in the mail, planning meals, coordinating holiday parties… It gets exhausting just thinking about it.

If you’re pregnant, all this holiday hubbub can be really tiring. Don’t forget to plan some down time into your day.  And don’t think sitting still while you wrap a gift or two counts – it doesn’t.  Give yourself permission to chillax, take a snooze.  Pull the shades or drape a facial beanbag over your eyes and get horizontal.  Turn off the phone and cool it with the bell ringing for at least half an hour.  Recharge your batteries (oh, don’t forget to buy batteries for the gizmo!) so you’ve got the energy to enjoy the hustle and bustle.

de Quervain’s tenosynovitis

Monday, September 21st, 2009

36237998_thbIn de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, the sheath of the tendons on the thumb side of your wrist becomes swollen. This restricts the tendons’ movement. The result with de Quervain’s tenosynovitis is discomfort and pain EVERY time you turn your wrist, grasp anything or make a fist.

This condition can occur in postpartum women due to the position of the thumb in abduction for extended periods of time while holding a baby. Additionally, prolactin levels in new mothers who are breastfeeding may have something to do with it.  Often, if a woman stops breastfeeding, de Quervain’s will disappear.

Your doctor may confirm a diagnosis of de Quervain’s tenosynovitis by doing a Finkelstein test. In this simple test, you bend your thumb across the palm of your hand and bend your fingers down over your thumb. Then you bend your wrist toward your little finger. If this causes pain on the thumb side of your wrist, the test is considered positive.

I was diagnosed with de Quervain’s tenosynovitis in BOTH hands several months ago. It’s a real pain (no pun intended). Movements like lifting the baby up from her crib, brushing my hair and picking up a pot off the stove are all very painful and aggravate the swelling. My doctor told me to immobilize my wrists and thumbs with braces (yeah, right – try doing that while taking care of a baby), ice it and take ibuprofen. Hopefully, once I stop nursing it will go away. I have no idea when that will be though, so for now I just have to grin and bare it.

Happy Monday!

Making the best of bedrest

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

knit-scarvesSometimes a health provider tells a pregnant women to stay in bed because she is having spotting, early contractions or other signs of preterm labor.

Both mom and the provider want to do everything they can to help get the baby to term.

But let’s face it, bedrest can be BORING! Women knit, catch up on their reading, watch a lot of TV, or visit online communities like Share Your Story from the March of Dimes and Sidelines.

Some women get very anxious when they’re on bedrest. They worry about everything they feel in their bodies. And with so much time on their hands, their thoughts race.

A small new study has found that music may relieve anxiety. In the study, women on bedrest chose from a selection of slow, soothing music provided by the researchers. Anxiety levels in women who received “music therapy” decreased.

This study reminds us that sometimes medical research confirms what we already suspect. So if you are on bedrest or if you know someone who is, play some restful slow music. It might help.