A Healthier Life

For the past few months I’ve been slowly working on improving my health. Living with ten chronic conditions plus a few non-chronic can make for a very unhealthy lifestyle. I’m looking to improve that as much as possible.

First, I worked on my water intake. Second, my sleep habits. Third, doing my neck stretching more frequently. Tuesday I started a new step. A friend started Whole30. I’m not ready for such a drastic change and my health is too fragile to attempt it without speaking to my primary physician who is currently on vacation. But, in solidarity, I started tracking all my food again on My Fitness Pal.

I started with water first because I know it is such an important aspect of our health and I was not drinking as much as I used to. I am now up to at least 1800 ml and most days over 2L [64 oz]. I no longer feel thirsty near as often as before I started working on this.

Sleep is another component of good health. Both Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome impact sleep causing fatique, disturbed or restless sleeping and insomnia. I was and still am having all those symptoms. I was also needing to nap daily regardless of the previous night’s sleep amount. My Fitbit tracks my sleep, not well-anytime you lie still with sleep mode on is considered sleep-so I tried figuring out my optimal amount of sleep. I thought it was eight hours but soon realized I was still napping daily with eight hours. It turns out that right now I need ten hours of sleep to not NEED a nap later but dependent on how restless I was in getting that sleep I may still be fatigued enough to nap. Anything over nine hours causes increased pain upon waking unless I was restless enough to have changed sleep positions frequently. This is a very tough component to control.

A few weeks ago I added in restarting to consistently do my neck stretches. Because a few of my health issues affect my neck it is very easy for me to lose neck mobility. But when I’m in a lot of pain this is something I often drop. My aim is to do the stretches daily but at least three times a week. I have to consciously remind myself to do this; it is no longer the habit it once was. But, most weeks I am doing them at least every other day.

And now, I’ve added tracking all food and drinks. I used to do this faithfully just a few years ago but when my life became so complicated and my health decreased tracking was dropped. I have committed to tracking for 30 days. I do not plan on making any food changes the first week but hope to  be back to eating properly for my Diabetes by the end of the 30 days. When I was first diagnosed I saw dietitians who were also Certified Diabetes Educators. Their recommendation was 30 g net carbohydrates for meals and 15 g net carbohydrates for snacks. Skipping meals was not allowed and snacking was only to occur if there was more than four hours between meals. I was also taught the Plate Method. This has you virtually divide your plate into quarters; one for carbohydrates, one for protein and the other two for vegetables [preferably different vegetables]. I slowly stopped following this advice as things became more complicated and because my Diabetes was under great control. I want to see just how much I’ve deviated from the plan and a great bonus would be losing the weight I’ve gained since moving back in with Mum.

My Weekly Plan

Hi!

I hope to write this topic post on Sunday but it didn’t happen this week. I’ll  try to do better next week!

I have a number of things scheduled this week but I also have goals and plans for the week. I’m trying to have three main monthly goals and three main weekly goals although, of course, those are not the only things I intend to do. In the Starship we have quarterly goals as well. I am failing most of my quarterly goals due to illness, stress and moving. There isn’t the time to do everything I want within the limits of what my body can do. I’m trying to adjust my life to what my body can realistically do in a day, week, month and quarter.

September is not over but I’m pretty sure my monthly goals are not going to be met although I will try. My main September goals are now the move, and finishing the king-size blanket sample for the design I’m working on.

This week my main goals are packing, moving things, and unpacking them again; crocheting the sample and setting up a content calendar for October. I plan to start periscoping in October so content planning now includes periscope, blogging, Instagram, the Facebook Page and Twitter.

For anyone who isn’t aware, I’m awaiting disability approval, slowly building my business and moving in with my mother. I’m now at Mum’s so is my husky, Mira, staying in the spare room while I move my belongings over. My cats are moving in this week and my furniture this weekend. I need to be completely out of my house by the end of September. So much to do and so little time and energy…

Returning to Sunday Previews

It’s been a long time since I wrote a post for this column. I stopped because I was having difficulties finding the right scheduling system and what I was using was not photographing well for the posts. I am fumbling around in a flare and accomplishing very little these days. I hope returning to this column will provide accountability. I hope it will help me to find incentive to do more business-wise. I have returned to using Gneo for my weekly schedule. I am not currently using a daily schedule. I stopped because it was too discouraging when I was completing so little. I’ve also discovered I work better when I choose my task in the moment. I don’t know Sunday afternoon how I will feel at 2 pm Thursday afternoon, how fatigued and fibro foggy I may be, but I do know at 2 pm on Thursday. This allows me to better pick a task I can accomplish.

Here is this week’s schedule:

This week's schedule

I just realized, I missed a few things in my plan. I should have checked my iCal! I also have our usual Starship chat on Wednesday afternoon and an Evernote webinar on Thursday night. I’ll add those to the plan but I’m not retaking the post photo!

C’est Ma Vie! 2015 is for Sale!!!

It’s been three months from the idea to fruition.

The fall last weekend backed me up a week. It is exactly seven days after the planned release, and it’s taken most of the day but it’s happened. The files and the covers have been uploaded. Descriptions and thank you emails typed. All that remains is waiting for purchasers; and the next chapter, of course.

Chapter Two: February is almost complete. The designs are almost ready for editing. Can you believe it’s almost March?!

For those of you on Ravelry, a just the patterns version will be available there tomorrow. If you buy the C’est Ma Vie! With Patterns version, contact me via the same email as your PayPal account with your Ravelry username. I’ll send you a coupon code for the Ravelry version so you can have the patterns in your library.

The books are available here or via Payhip. The regular version is $15.00 CAD. The version with patterns is $25.00 CAD. It looks like a huge difference in price but there are thirteen knit and eleven crochet patterns included in the pattern version. That’s a pretty good deal-less than a dollar a pattern whether you do both crafts or not.

Design Friday

I have finally managed to get a few things accomplished! Going to bed early most nights cuts into productivity. But if I overdo it, I pay for it in pain.

The book cover has been revised. There were valid concerns of legibility in thumbnail size on websites. The same photo and colours are used but the title font and placement of a few things have been changed for the better, I think.

Chapter One: January of C’est Ma Vie! 2015 is currently being proofread.This chapter is accompanied by two knit patterns; the Damia Cowl and the Damia Hat. The Damia Cowl pattern is off with the tech editor. The Hat, I am still working on. I’ve never designed a sized pattern without knitting or crocheting each size. I’m not sure how to size the hat. I’m going to finish it tomorrow so I can email it to my tech editor. If I wait any longer it may not be ready for next Sunday’s release! I can’t believe how quickly the release is arriving! It seemed so far away when I chose the date.

I’ve been wearing the Damia Cowl when I go out. It is so warm and snuggly when it’s frigid outside.

Chapter Two: February is being written on almost daily. I think I missed one day. This chapter is accompanied by a crochet and a knit pattern. Samples one are completed for both patterns. Sample two of the crochet pattern is almost done. I should have it finished tomorrow. I will then begin the search for a crochet tech editor. Here’s a peek at sample two of the crochet design from this morning:

Elodie, sample two
Elodie, sample two

Another task for tomorrow is to figure out which yarns will be in the next few months’ designs and write some emails. I would like to include a dyer bio and yarn base info for each yarn I use. Some may decline, but I’m hoping most will see it as an opportunity for free advertising.

C’est Ma Vie! 2015 Ebook

It’s time to start marketing the book. That’s one of those forgotten to do list items I mentioned in yesterday’s post.

C’est Ma Vie! 2015 (It’s My Life! 2015) is a chronicle of my journey through 2015, as I work a full-time job, work part-time at my creative business Bridgwater Crafts, live with chronic health conditions, have close relationships with family and a life besides. It’s about me and how I live as a Cancer survivor-maybe, they think it might be back-with carpal tunnel syndrome, diabetes-type 2, fibromyalgia, lactose intolerance, and spinal degeneration. It’s main purpose is to journal how I grow my business, adapt to my health issues and live my life.

The book will be self-published electronically, each month equalling a chapter. Each month’s chapter will be released the fifteenth of following month. There will be two versions: one with patterns I design (crochet and knit) and one without. I hope to have one crochet and one knit pattern per chapter. The patterns are exclusive to book purchasers until after the final chapter is released in January 2016. Occasionally I work on someone else’s design; credit will be given and links provided to the pattern source.

I see the book as having multiple audiences:
1. Crocheters, knitters and other designers will read it for the business information and the patterns included in the patterned version.
2. Chronic illness survivors will read it for information and inspiration.
3. Caregivers and loved ones of chronic illness survivors will read it for insight into how living with chronic illnesses affects our lives and for the information and inspiration.

But it is primarily for me. This is something I have to do now. I don’t know why yet but that’s just how I feel. I’m already thinking of doing 2016 and 2017 versions. In 2016, the segments will be compiled and available for sale on my website and other ebook sellers. Purchasers of the monthly book will gifted a coupon at that time to receive the compiled ebook free from my website. If there is enough demand I will consider print-to-order as well.

If you think this sounds interesting or you might enjoy reading the book, join my newsletter. All subscribers will receive the dedication and prologue free on January 15th. The ebook will be available for purchase on February 15th.

Weekly Review & Plan Creation

First up, I apologize for the lack of post on Friday. I was ill and spent most of the last two days in bed. Nonetheless, I had a great Christmas with my family here in town. I’d forgotten how noisy it gets when you put ten people including excited children together for a few hours.

Here’s last week’s plan:

Last Week's Plan
Last Week’s Plan

I accomplished quite a bit. I never get everything off my list. The harder I try the less I seem to accomplish. It’s something I am working on. I need to up my productivity or reduce time sucks or nothing will get done once I return to full time work next week. One of my current time sucks is trying to understand the EU’s Jan 1 VAT changes and how that affects my business and my book plans.

Here is this week’s plan:

Dec 28 to Jan 2
Dec 28 to Jan 2

It’s not as bad as it looks! Four of the Urgent/Important tasks are quick things. Ravelry has teamed up with LoveKnitting. LoveKnitting will sell our patterns and deal with all the VAT collections and remittances for sales to EU residents. But my four patterns all have evolving formats. I prefer my last format and want to re-format my earlier patterns before uploading them to LoveKnitting. I want a consistant format. The re-formatting shouldn’t take long as it’s mainly cutting and pasting.

I am helping Mum babysit my three year old nephew for a few days this week. He received a tablet for Christmas from Mum (it’s a cheap older model). If he brings it with him I should be able to get lots done with him sitting beside me with his own tablet instead of begging to use my iPad.

I can’t remember if I mentioned last week that I started physiotherapy. I did and have two appointments this week. I think I feel a difference already from doing the stretches she gave me. I’m hopeful!

Just a Few Things Changed

This is a photo of my plan from last week:

Week plan ended 14-20
Week plan ended 14-20

As you can see only three things on my to-do list were completed. There’s two reasons for that:

  1. The Book

  2. Fibromyalgia/cervical degeneration

Adding the book into the plan, of course, shifted my time around. The prologue is almost complete. I discovered it’s harder to type about the Cancer aftermath than expected which has slowed the process. But I hope to have the prologue complete tomorrow or Tuesday. I already edited draft one in an effort to get back in the flow and out of the freeze. It didn’t work but does mean I only need to edit the new stuff.

I learned with Fibro when you’re body is done, your body’s done. If you try to push past the pain, the fatigue, too much your body rebels. I don’t know if it’s the fibro rebelling the massive (comparatively) amount of typing or the cervical degeneration but for the last two days it feels like someone’s trying to pull my arm out of its socket. It hurts from my ear to my fingers on my right side. Maybe I’m just sleeping funny. I don’t know. All I know is it hurts more than normal. And my normal hurts enough already, thank you very much.

I start physiotherapy tomorrow morning finally then am helping Mum watch my three year old nephew while my sister works. The Day Care Centres here are all through the municipality and are closed for the next two weeks. So I don’t know how different I’ll be pain wise tomorrow. But I learned before Siri is actually a pretty good transcriptionist. Worst case, I’ll have her type up the end of my prologue and I can just cut and paste it.

Here’s this week’s plan:

Weekly Plan Dec. 21-27
Weekly Plan Dec. 21-27

I should probably start calling these weekly dreams instead of plans. I never seem to make a dent in them. But that’s life with chronic diseases, especially when one is a pain disorder than the others all cause extra pain! If nothing else I want to get my Christmas knitting done and the prologue before Christmas. Then I can start catching up on the design knitting.

I expect to have lots of knitting time while munchkin plays games on my iPad. He’s only allowed if he sits beside me at the table and if he’s been a good boy. It’s good incentive to be a good boy when you know Auntie’s iPad is the reward.