A while ago, I made a Facebook event for a housewarming party. I lacked the energy to actually invite anyone.

Now the date of the event is approaching. Instead, I am having people individually over. That’s about the level of energy right now.

It would be even easier to not have anyone over, but that is just not happening either. I may enjoy my own company, but I also like my friends. 

Summing up January in pictures

January has actually been pretty eventful – even though it may not seem like it here on the blog. We had snow. And freezing cold. And I just curled up under two sets of duvets (both designed for winter) and decided that I might consider hibernating like a bear during this period of year. Then I decided on being social instead. I had a tea party with good friends. Nothing like gathering a bunch of great people together a Thursday evening in January and just doing warm tea  and eating buns with jam and cheese. (When I found myself excusing that I hadn’t made the buns from scratch, but actually bought them, I realised that it may be time to downsize my own expectations a bit. Buying pre-made is not something I need to excuse, ever.)
The electrical work is done. We started tearing off wallpaper in the downstairs bedroom. Still not completely done with that – but just getting started is a huge relief. Not finding anything particularly horrendous behind the three layers of wallpapers was even better. The amount of ease with which the wallpapers came down, cemented my decision that wallpapering another layer on top of the existing ones wouldn’t be a good idea.

The plan is to finish that room before we move on to the next step in the renovation. Use it as a test run.

I have made like a gazillion Pinterest boards for smart things I see for almost every room in the house. I am apparently very into dark floors and white walls, (considering I have limited amount of either at the moment it may be interesting.) window seats and craft storage. Speaking of craft storage – I am really into knitting. These are going to be socks for me. I was really unsure about the yarn on the skein, but knitted out, it just looks so pretty and makes me happy.
 And my Dad turned 60 in the middle of the month. The above is the cake table. (And that is us being restrained.) I made the chocolate cake.


Advent calendar: Colour away

I know colouring books for grown-ups are everywhere. I have a lot of them myself – and the more I have, the less patience I have for doing it.

But, for me, what is fun, is having a bunch of colouring books, drawing pencils and markers and having my sisters over for a colouring session. It is so much better when you can look at what the others are doing. Even though the point of colouring books for adults might be the mindfullness aspect of it, I find that that is one of the things I don’t have interest in.*

This one looks nifty for adding to the collection and bringing out for the holiday parties: The Magical Christmas: A Colouring Book

* This might explain why my mother is showing no hesitation in throwing away my old colouring books as I had a tendency to scribble all over them with one or two colours. For far longer than my age would dictate normal.

Nanowrimo update

So far, about the only thing I have done with success (out of the three things I am signed up for that happens in November, as mentioned in an earlier blog post) is Nanowrimo.

I’m a rebel this year. I am actually not writing a novel. Instead, I am sort of journaling the mood of the day. I am trying to figure out my anxiety and depression and panic attacks and fatigue and everything that comes with it. Just writing. All the crazy things in my head.

The goal is still 50,000 words. The goal is still to see if there can be a book manuscript out of it. (After about a shitload of editing, obviously.)

But it is more about getting stuff out of my head. So I can sleep. So I can try to get back to a normal function again.

Making notes from things that are helping me. Trying to swim my way to the bottom and back up to the surface.

Halfway in – I am kind of feeling more stable about it all. But also wary. I am over halfway in my word count.

As long as the writing is going well, the knitting and the reading isn’t. But at the moment it feels like the writing is of paramount use to me so I can’t be bothered.

Goals for April, and burnout update

I figured it might be time to give a little update on the whole burnout situation. Since my March goal was all about getting  better, it also seemed fitting to combine it with April goals.

Because I am better. Slowly getting there. It has taken a while. But this week was actually the first where I have had a couple of days when I felt like I had a surplus of energy and was “clear” in the head. And it was so amazing that even the down-time the next day, did not feel like such a downer. Because I had a good day the day before.

I am slowly taking the initiative to extend what I do and gain a sense of accomplishment from that. When I go to visit my grandmother in the nursing home, I take a walk around the nursing home (or further if the energy allows.) When I visited a local museum (because I had free tickets.) I actually stopped the car on the way home to walk three times around a small pond.

We have also done some cleaning out and organising  of some storage space in the basement, and just the concept of being on my feet for four hours and doing things would have been too much for me a month ago. I am rather feeling that it is telling of where I am at the moment.

Today I started work again. Not full time. But the time I was there was good. I even had more energy to spare once I was done. And then I biked 20 minute outside in the sunshine in the afternoon. And now I am exhausted. I know why I am exhausted, so it is a good exhaustion. I have done things.

The goals for April is:

  • Continue what I am doing, as I feel like it is working.
  • Do some gardening outside.
  • Meet friends for coffee.

Goals for March

My goal for March is pretty basic. Take my time and get better from this burnout, and figure out steps to prevent it from being a recurring thing.

I am now over two weeks into the sick leave. The fogginess in my head partially lifted this week. I have energy for longer stretches of time now – but still require some catch-up rest after doing activities. (And by activities, I mean doing the dishes, making a meal, walking around the block, visiting my grandmother in the nursing home, visiting with friends or the physical therapist.) Unlike the first week, where I would lie in bed all the time or on the couch, I have been slightly more active this week.

I am due to see my doctor again next week, and evaluate from there. I think that I have improved a lot during these two and a half weeks, but at the same time, I also know that I am quite far off from being where I really should be and where I started out, so it will be interesting to see how I am at the day of the doctor’s appointment.

My doctor originally wanted to give me sick leave for five weeks, but we started with three weeks. I think some longer time would be good, given where I am at this moment.

But as we are beginning to think that the theory is that I actually experienced my first “burn-out” over two years ago (with an unknown time leading up to that), it will likely also take time to get to point normal again.

Of course, the fact that this post is a week after I initially expected to publish it, kind of is very on-the-nose with how I am feeling at the moment. Everything takes more time to do than I think it will.

Status for February goals

In February I wanted to…

  • Order tickets to visit Oslo. –
    • I did not do this. With the level of energy I was having, traveling anywhere seemed like a major task – and even ordering tickets for a future date seemed unwise.
  • Play in the KVSC Trivia Weekend. 50 hours of trivia. Playing from Norway, on Minnesota time.
    • Anything that could be done from the sofa… It was great fun, but again the energy levels played in, and there was a lot more sleep going on than there has been earlier years.
  • Go on more hikes. (Possibly walk to work depending on shape and weather.)
    • The flu and the energy levels put a stopper for this.
  • Reschedule with friends who were invited to the tea party – and set up new times to meet.
    • See: Energy levels. I have been in contact with them, though.
  • Blog more.
    • Anything that can be done from the sofa… in theory. Slightly higher activity levels than in January though.

Summa summarum: after two months of listing goals, I am really bad at following through on them. On the other hand, even if just some of the goals get fulfilled, that’s better than none.

Burnout: week 1

One week of staying home from work. Honestly, it does not feel like it. It feels like I was at work yesterday.

One reason for that is that the majority of the days go by quickly without feeling like I do much of anything. I  sleep a lot, and it takes me a long time to get started in the mornings. I read a bit. I watch a bit of the cross country ski world championships. I knit a bit.

I have reblogged a lot over at Tumblr. Not that that really says anything about how much energy I have. Basically, it requires about as much concentration that I have.

When a trip down into the basement feels like a long hike. When a trip to the kitchen feels like a long hike… I think that not going on my work trip this week was a smart decision.

I said to my sister as she came home from work today that my head feels less foggy today than it has done in a long time. It does. But at the same time, there are also huge variations in how I am feeling just within an hour, so I am also expecting that to go back and forth over the coming weeks…

Burned out

On Thursday, I went to my doctor. (We have been having bi-weekly appointments since November/December.)

Back in September the theory was that various physical ailments that have popped up since January 2013 (at least) were depression and anxiety related. (Dizziness, nausea, headaches, tiredness, feeling down, etc.) So I have been having sessions with my GP for that.

But after listening to me on Thursday, she said: “I think you might be burned out. And the anxiety and the depression are really symptoms of that, and not the main cause of the other symptoms which also come in burn out mode.”

There was a theory on why it has lasted so long, and have gone in waves on how strong it has been – basically it has been building in strength until I hit the top of a wave, and then it crashes and I am forced to take time out. This time we are sort of hoping that we have caught it before a major crash, and just a minor one in the aftermath of the flu two weeks ago.

I am therefore on sick leave until our next appointment in three weeks, with a strong admission to not do any work. I disconnected my work email from my phone.

A planned work trip next week got cancelled – which felt like such a huge relief (not have to wonder whether I would have the energy to be around co-workers and be “on”.) that, while I initially wondered about the doctor’s decision, it made up my mind that it was the right one.

For the next three weeks, it will be a matter of first relaxing completely, and then gradually try to fill the energy back up with activities that I enjoy. And then we will evaluate where I am and what we need to do to stop it from happening again.


In-between ill

Of course, it became evident when the fever left me that I am really terrible at being “in-between” ill. When I had fever and was coughing, I was quite good at that. Making sure I had enough to drink. Kept warm or cold depending on what my body wanted. And took a couple of Panodil to get the fever to behave once it reached 39 degrees.

When the fever went away, I still felt terrible, because then the mucus started its invasion. I felt lethargic after the fever.

But also because the hormones that the fever had repressed suddenly came back to life and with the hormones come my anxiety and my depression.

Which result in fun (?) times either way.

After almost a week at home, I had my first day back at work today. With the lack of energy, and lack of appetite, it was a shortened day at work – but as I kept working from home, it still ended up being a long work day. Fortunate that I have enough projects that can be done from home.

The flu

When I visited my grandmother in the nursing home on Saturday, she and the other inmates were a coughing choir.

On Monday, two days later, the cold I had been waiting for, for weeks, broke. Only, I suspect the flu instead, as there is fever, aches in the muscles, lack of appetite, mucus and a lot of coughing.

Fun times. I am sleeping moderately well at night, though, thanks to Panodil. I am not a person who naps during the day, so getting in 6+ hours of sleep at night is crucial.

I am trying to only use the Panodil for the things it will help the most with – the fever and muscle aches when I am trying to sleep. I sort of figure that my body needs the rest to heal itself.

Yesterday, I juiced a bunch of clementines and ginger, with some carrots and an apple to get some vitamins and fluid in.

Anyone have any good tips for the flu?


January resolutions

January resolutions
Happy New Year, people!

I never keep the resolutions I intend for a whole year, so I thought I would try to have some resolutions each month this year, instead, and then hope at least some of them will become new habits. Or you know, a way to get it done.

In January, I will…

  • Read more paper-books and less e-books.
    • I made my goal over at GoodReads to read (at least) one more book in 2014 than I did in 2013… and I ended up at a lot more past that, thanks in part to e-books. . So new goal is one more than I read in 2014 for 2015. But I also figure that I need to get cracking on reading the physical books in my TBR pile…
  • Visit a couple of museums.
    • I was fairly good about doing this when I lived in Oslo for the first six months of 2014. Now it is time to start going back to it in my home region.
  • Print out myNanowrimo novel and start editing.
    • I actually finished in 2014. So, clearly, I need to go back to it and have a look at it.
  • Make the BBC GoodFood Calendar recipe for January.
    • I missed a couple of recipes this year, but overall, I made some tasty new dishes that I might not have made otherwise.
  • Invite friends for a tea party.
  • Walk to work at least once a week.

Review: 10% Happier

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True StoryI can’t remember where I first saw the review for this, and when I picked it up, though I know it is recent, and I might have seen it on one of the many book blogs I skim through Feedly. (Amazon tells me I bought it 9 days ago.)

I’d like to say I picked it up because of the catchy first part of the title, but I think it might be the “reducing stress” part of the title that caught my eye first. Though I certainly wouldn’t mind being 10% happier either.

The book is 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris

Continue reading “Review: 10% Happier”

Munch museum

20140115-103353.jpg The next step in my Oslo exploration was a trip to the Munch museum. I walked down to it in the snow.

Considering that I came in from the chill, the museum felt overly warm. Probably better to visit when the temperatures are better outside.

The collection at the Munch museum is actually more extensive than I thought – and I spent more time on the lesser known pictures than the Scream and the other famous ones.

Incidentally, the Scream at the Munch museum is a bit like the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. Everyone wants to see it, but in the end it is smaller than you’d think – and not nearly as impressive.

It was a fun museum to visit.