Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Advice for the conditionally healthy

Disclaimer: I don’t really know anything.

It has not escaped my attention that a 5- to 14-day incubation period means any of us could have coronavirus right now and be totally unaware of it. You’re feeling good? Congratulations, you weren’t infected as of March 18. (Well, actually, that is pretty good news, because my own personal COVID freakout began on March 12, and I’ve been as careful as I can since then.)

Anyway, I always assume I have the virus, and based on that assumption, here are the steps I’ve been taking:

1. Do not eat anything that might make you feel sickish. So for me, sugar can give me a sore throat, and dairy makes me congested—I am avoiding both like the plague. The last thing I want is to have a cough and then a panic attack. My diet is pretty impeccable right now.

2. Get hours and hours of extra sleep. Maybe you’re bored anyway. Sleep has the dual advantage of killing a lot of time and also giving your body tons of help with whatever it’s doing.

3. Take every supplement known to boost the immune system. It’s better if you’ve been taking these for a long time, but go ahead and start in with the C, the D, the probiotics, the leafy greens, the green tea, etc. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, and coronavirus hurts us with inflammation, so I don’t see a downside.

4. But don’t take a fever reducer if you can help it. If you get a fever, you will want to know asap, and you won’t know if you just took Advil for neck pain.

5. Give yourself a fake fever. Fever possibly works by improving the efficiency of white blood cells, making it easier for them to spot invaders. So sit in a hot bath or a sauna if you have access to one, and sweat. Or do what I do and pile a million blankets on yourself at night. Heat stress is good for you anyway, and maybe your immune system can kill this thing off before the symptoms even show up.

6. Keep active, but don’t push it. I want to be healthy and limber and strong, but if I am falling ill tomorrow, I certainly don’t want to have done an exhausting workout today. I’m personally cool with walking (fresh air!) and yoga, but I absolutely do not want to huff and puff right now.

7. Don’t do anything that will land you in a medical facility. To me this means excellent dental hygiene, being extra-careful with kitchen knives, keeping meat and vegetables on separate cutting boards, and just generally not doing anything dumb.

8. All the usual. Wash hands, six feet away, stay mentally healthy, hug the people in your bubble, etc.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Three creations of mine

I ended up being vaguely dissatisfied with my “other people’s group” Facebook gratitude journal experience, so I created my own after all: If you’re curious, find it at https://www.facebook.com/groups/223776962087017/. So far almost no one is curious—LOL.

And I wanted to show you my painting in progress. I like the way it looks from a distance, but not close up, and I decided black outlines would just muddy up a canvas that is already getting a little muddy. Also, I have 90 percent convinced myself to draw in a giant, monster venus flytrap looming over the horizon. (To be clear: I’m 100 percent convinced it needs a dose of whimsy; 90 percent convinced that it’s going to be of the venus flytrap variety.)


And I created one other thing today:


(Did you know you can google “hierarchy of needs template” and just fill it in yourself in Illustrator?)

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

More about gratitude

OK, I finished The Gratitude Diaries—and, disclaimer, I didn’t really end up liking it much at all, so this is not a book recommendation. But I DO feel convinced that gratitude is an important and overlooked part of surviving in the world, especially right now when 10 minutes on Twitter (or, I assume, the evening news) is enough to make anyone believe we’re all doomed and everything is hopeless. And maybe we are, and it is, but it seems silly to act that way when my day-to-day personal life is objectively fantastic and there’s always the hope of changing things for the better.

I have been thinking about creating a gratitude journal or turning this blog into one, but that sounded kind of cumbersome and/or annoying. Then I got an inspiration: I went to Facebook, typed in “gratitude,” and joined the first group that popped up, which is simply a place where people post daily expressions of thankfulness. That sounds easy, and the fact that others can see it should hopefully make me put some thought into what I write there. And it will be a bonus to see other people’s posts, maybe, probably.

If the group turns out to be not what I was expecting, I think my next step will be to create one myself and invite friends and family to join. Actually, I might just do that anyway; it sounds like fun and might be a novel way to keep in touch.

Monday, February 17, 2020

ArtWalk project

I’m back from my trip and SOOO glad it’s Presidents’ Day; of course the actual president is a human venereal disease, but apparently all my clients observe the day off. (The swim meet was good—nothing too exciting from the kid but major thrilling team win!—and my mom and I had fun seeing Mik.)

I am participating in a little art contest thing that one of the local galleries does every year. For $10 you buy a small canvas from them, turn it into art, and then they display it at an event called ArtWalk, where bunches of people gawk at it, vote on their favorite, and have the chance to purchase it. I am 100 percent going to try to sell mine, because why not? I know from personal experience anything priced under $40 at ArtWalk hits the sweet spot of supporting local artists + easy affordability.

I thought some sort of Montana landscape would be my best bet to sell, and I’ve been playing with a new set of black pens I got for Christmas (I think “messy black outlines to make everything more whimsical” is my aesthetic). The picture below is a photo I took, run through some filters and messed around with in Illustrator. I think I’m going to make a color print of this and then try to paint something in this vein:

You can’t see it too well on this, but that sandstone formation at lower right is a distinctive landmark that places this in Billings.

We can all have a good laugh, maybe, at what I actually do paint, but I feel like clouds are kind of hard to mess up too much, and I anticipate that putting black outlines on them will be MAGICAL.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Not entirely unrelated to gratitude

I’ve had a bit more work than usual these past few days because I’m gearing up to go on a little trip to see Mik swim at his big college meet of the season. That has led to rebellion about work, which has led me to procrastinate, which has led me to pay attention to what I do when I’m procrastinating:

  1. I made an hourlong Spotify playlist for my favorite yoga instructor to use in her classes, and started a second one with some of the leftover songs (spent HOURS on this).
  2. I started writing a poem about my dad.
  3. I started blogging again a little.
  4. I thought incessantly about painting, and what I want to work on next, and took some pictures and played with digital images that could be future paintings. (I did not actually paint, though.)
  5. I researched yoga and yoga-like moves that can be used as a warm-up for meditation, because I’ve been fantasizing about developing a series of 10-minute meditation warm-up sessions.

Oh, and I spent a lot of time on social media, but setting that aside for now, because although I deeply love that short-form writing you get to do there, most of it is just unhealthy addiction, as we all know.

Have you heard that thing where they say if you’re looking for what your calling in life is, think about the things you were doing for fun when you were 10? For me, they were pretty much exactly the same as that list above. Obviously “blogging” and “Spotify” did not exist.

But it seems to me that I really want and need to spend more time on creative projects, and in particular I want to write more (and not the soul-killing dreck I get paid to write, unfortunately). Gonna try to make it happen, even if I come home to another huge pile of work in a week or so.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Time will tell

I’m being pretty good about getting my meditations in, although I dropped the time down to 25 minutes per session in order to make that happen. Possibly this indicates that I am no longer following the instructions in my path-to-enlightenment book and instead just meditating to try to be a better person—just like I said I wasn’t doing—or possibly it means I AM on the path to enlightenment but am still at Stage One (Establish a Consistent Practice). Time will tell, but I’ve definitely decided that I’m not going to go for the gold in terms of time sitting there if it means getting frustrated and giving up entirely.

Also, I’ve started reading a book about gratitude (The Gratitude Diaries, seems OK so far), so don’t be too surprised if this blog turns into some sort of gratitude journal next. Not sure that is any more interesting of a blog topic than a long list of days of the week and how long I meditated, but maybe it will inspire me to write again.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Transitions

Just checking in to report that I am alive—but only barely, because I’ve gone back to eating keto, and there is a Transition Period after your body has used up its very last carb, during which you feel like the human embodiment of the sound of someone trying to suck the last drops of soda through a straw. It is January, so I’ve also been heroically doing my meditation and yoga, taking winter walks, and getting back to work.

There is a transition period on that last front, too—meaning that any urgent work gets done and all longer-deadline projects get patted on the head and set aside for another day, maybe, if I ever pull myself together.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Cry for help

I just reread my last post, and it’s safe to say that, generally, I overreacted to it being December. AS USUAL. It’s an annual cry for help, honestly. It’s the month when my brain says: “Even though you may not think you’re living by a restrictive set of rules, you actually have been, and those are canceled. There will be no meditating at all, let alone for 45 minutes; it’s a perfect time to binge all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer; you’re going to be sleeping for 11 to 12 hours a night; you’re going to be doing the bare minimum of work that keeps you from getting fired; and, here, have some more chips.”

I don’t have a New Year’s resolution, but I did start a 30-day at-home yoga thing that I do every January, and as part of that I set an intention to be the best version of myself. This is of course much easier now that December is over.

In fact, here’s a picture of me and M.H. in January: We wanted to take a walk and also needed to go to the grocery store, so we bundled up, grabbed a backpack, and walked the nearly two miles to Albertsons, where we bought $8 worth of loose produce, walked home, and made soup out of it.