Health

10 Warning Signs You’re Doing Too Much

Are you like me and burning the candle at both ends over-committed yourself to classes, a day job, writing, blogging, and other activities? Perhaps you or a loved one has had a sudden, unexpected health problem. Or you’ve simply gotten worn down by the day-to-day things that get under your skin.

Now you barely have the energy to get through the day. Or you’ve caught the current flu bug or cold and you can’t seem to get over it.  Your body and mind are screaming ENOUGH!

Don’t let get to the point that you feel like a pile of burnt matches.  Know the signs that the stress is getting too much.

Ten Warning Signs That You’re Working Too Hard:

  1. Your Productivity Declines – you put in more hours, yet get less and less done.
  2. You Don’t Have Time – for a favor, a commitment, a date with your friend or sweetheart, or even for your cherished indulgences.
  3. You Forget – to eat, an appointment, where you put that report or your keys.
  4. Things Are Out of Control – you’re always late; your normally neat desk is a mess; the dirty dishes are mutating in the sink; the stacks of bills or laundry (or both) are quickly becoming a mountain you can’t climb.
  5. Lack of Focus or Creativity – you flit from one task to the next, never finishing and never find a solution; you struggle to come up with new ideas, solutions to problems, or how to express an idea.
  6. Loss of Joy – you are beginning to dread tasks that normally you find enjoyable.
  7. Sleep Issues – you can’t sleep; can’t stay asleep; or you want to do nothing but sleep.
  8. Irritability – you snap at loved ones unjustly; you find yourself ‘just one more stupid driver’ short of total road rage.
  9. Health Issues – you have migraines or stomach problems on a daily basis; your acne, arthritis or asthma flares more frequently.
  10. Warnings from Friends and Family – you haven’t talked in weeks; your significant other tiptoes around the house afraid to disturb you; friends and family tell you you’re always busy, or they sit you down for an ‘intervention.’

You don’t want to know how up-close and personal I know all those warning signs. Really, you don’t. 🙂 But you do want to know what you can do when you recognize the warning signs in yourself.

Five Things to Do to Beat Stress:

1. Check Your Body

  • Are you fatigued despite getting 7 or 8 hours of sleep? Is your urine dark? The first sign of dehydration is fatigue. Be certain to drink plenty of water every day.
  • Is your resting heart rate up? Is your blood pressure up? If yes, be certain you get more sleep and more exercise. It’s not a matter of ‘when I can fit it in,’ it’s a matter of get it done or pay a price.

2. Re-prioritize – take a day to look at what you want to accomplish.

  • Look hard at your list. Are there some things that really don’t need to be done right now? Put them aside.
  • Is there some pieces of what you do that you can outsource? Hire a laundry lady or a housekeeper; have the secretary type up those letters; or you can ask family to help with tasks for a while.

3. Make a new plan. Break the task into smaller chunks that are more manageable. Make goals that allow you time to do the next four items on this list.

4. Schedule Fun – do something you love. Even just one hour a week can help. Take a walk, a swim, a jog. Meditate. Listen to music. Watch a movie. Read a book.

5, Take time off – An hour, a day, a week or more. Do something entirely different, at a different pace. Give yourself permission to breathe, to laugh, to do absolutely nothing.

Slowing down is not something I do willingly. I tend to be a bit (hubby chimes in with “majorly!) obsessive. I throw everything I’ve got into a project. I forget to sleep, to eat, to call friends and family. This is true not just of my writing or blogging, but of attention to my day job, household chores, whatever I want to ‘get done.’ I don’t seem to know how to pace myself. But, I’m learning.

If you push yourself too hard, something has got to give. Don’t be like me and let exhaustion make it impossible to work. Yes, there are times when an extra work load is needed. Just remember to listen: Listen to your body, your mind, your friends, and your family.

It’s nearing the end of summer and I’m hearing and reading that many people are feeling a bit overwhelmed. How about you?

Are you nearing Burn Out? Which of the steps above do you think you’ll find useful?

Have you pushed yourself too hard in the past? How did you recover?

Or have you learned to slow down?

Your readership means more to me than you can know. And when you take the time to leave a comment or two, I am thrilled and honored you’ve chosen to spend your valuable time with me.

All You Need Is The Air That You Breathe

If you are the average person, in moderate to good health, I’ll bet you don’t think much about the act of breathing. Unless you have a cold or illness, breathing happens naturally.

The average person takes

28,880 breaths per day

365 days per year

for a total of

10,541,200

breaths per year.

I’ve had asthma most of my life, so for me, breathing hasn’t been entirely taken for granted. But my asthma is very mild so that I don’t think about it a whole lot. My husband, who is my soul mate in oh-so-many ways, also has asthma. We avoid triggers (irritants like second hand smoke and illness). We strive to stay healthy. For the most part, that’s worked for us and neither of us have spent a lot of time thinking about our breathing or our lungs. But over the past three years breathing comfortably has become something we do not take for granted. Especially not since he was diagnosed with COPD.

WHAT IS COPD?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, COPD, affects more than 32 million people in the United States alone. It is the third leading cause of death. And 80 – 90% of those cases are caused by smoking.

To understand COPD, it helps to understand how your lungs work.

Lynette M. Burrows, author; Lynette M. Burrows, science fiction author; Lynette M. Burrows, author of action-suspense science fiction

image courtesy wikimedia commons

When you breathe in, air travels through your mouth and nose, down a tube in your throat called your trachea. The trachea divides into two main bronchi, one leading to each lung. Inside the lung the bronchi branch off as in the illustration above. Each of the bronchi branch into smaller tubes called bronchioles. These tubes end in bunches of little tiny ballon-like structures called alveoli. The tiny blood vessels pass through the alveoli. When air fills the little sacs, the blood vessels pick up oxygen to carry to the rest of your body. In COPD the air sacs are damaged or blocked which means your brain and body cannot get as much oxygen.

There are two forms of COPD: chronic bronchitis which involves a chronic cough and excess mucous production and emphysema which involves damage to the air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs. Many people diagnosed with COPD have both, though one may be more severe than the other.

People with COPD have difficult expelling air from their lungs, they feel breathless. Wheezing, coughing, a feeling of tightness in their chest and chronic fatigue are also symptoms of COPD.

These symptoms develop slowly over time and usually are not diagnosed as COPD until middle-age or later. Because the disease is so slow to develop, many people may have it and not know it.

It is diagnosed by a combination of the symptoms you report to your physician, your medical history, blood tests, chest x-rays, pulmonary function tests, CT scans, and/ or procedures such as bronchoscopy, bronchi alveolar lavage, and/or lung biopsy.

There is no cure for COPD. There is no way to repair the damage to your lungs, to regrow your alveoli. The disease progresses with time making it more and more difficult to engage in normal activities. However early diagnosis, treatments and lifestyle changes can help you stay active and slow the progress of the disease.

Staggering information, isn’t it?

My husband stopped smoking years more than thirty years ago. Yet, the damage to his lungs was there, getting worse in tiny increments of time until his symptoms began to interfere with his activities. It took time for us to realize there was a problem and more time for the doctors to decide upon a diagnosis.

There are good things about this diagnosis. Knowledge is power. We know what the problem is and what we can do to make it better. New, improved medications are being developed as we speak.

We have made, and are working on, life style changes. He’s receiving good medical care and responding to treatment. He does not need extra oxygen.

He has good days and bad. On bad days even tying his shoes can leave him short of breath and exhausted. Bad days are debilitating for him, painful for me to watch, and they frighten us both. I don’t share this with you to get your sympathy or your pity. I share this for two reasons.

#1. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

If you think you or a loved one may have COPD, don’t wait, see a medical profession for diagnosis and treatment. The sooner you’re diagnosed and begin treatment, the more you can slow the progress of this disease.

If you are still smoking and think this won’t happen to you. Think again. There is no way to tell what damage has been done to your lungs until the damage causes symptoms. Stop smoking. Now. Your alveoli are precious. Don’t waste them.

For additional information about COPD, check out:

The American Lung Association

WebMD

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

#2. Carpe Diem

Always remember Carpe Diem. Seize the day. You never know how many days are on your life calendar. So make sure to

Do something you love every day.

Be present with someone you love every day.

Seize an opportunity to laugh, every day.

Appreciate the time and place you are at, every day.

Lynette M. Burrows, author; Lynette M. Burrows, science fiction author; Lynette M. Burrows, author of action-suspense science fiction

image courtesy of Gurumustuk Singh via flickr commons

Title of this post adapted from the hit ballad, The Air That I Breathe, written by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood, and recorded by The Hollies in 1974.

I appreciate your support and your comments so very much.
Please, no pity or sympathy.
Please do share how you seized the day today or how you will tomorrow.  I love to hear from you.