Breaktime

I spent the whole morning working! Can you imagine? I spent breakfast reading/commenting on blogs but was working away by 7:45am. So now it’s noon and I’m having lunch and blogging then it’s back to work. Today I actually feel quite good because I finished another decent draft of a chapter (okay so on my schedule I said I would be done with it on Friday, but it’s only Tuesday so that’s not too far behind, right?). Just have to put it aside for today and write a conclusion and make a few changes tomorrow and it’ll be really ready to hand in on Thursday.

I have lots to distract me from the increasing horror of week 22. Meeting with adviser on Thursday – one I have only corresponded with via email since April so she didn’t know I was pregnant. I was tempted to not tell her until I saw her, but I thought that might be too much of a shock. I’m so terrified that I’ll have to notify people of bad news again. But back to happy thoughts, the best part of the week, lunch with Kate on Friday. I get to meet Castor and Pollux, er, I mean Max and Theo!

I’m in a good place right now, having finally put the two big work tasks that have been plaguing me since before behind me.  I know some of you can relate, being academics or writers yourselves, to how extraordinarily difficult it has been to return to things I was in the midst of when I went into the hospital. It’s a constant reminder of the horror, and now, my terrible in between place. I’m excited to be starting again from scratch on a chapter.

At the same time, I’m terrified that my life is about to be thrown into turmoil and tragedy again. Yesterday afternoon, at one point I felt really ready to cry my anxiety was getting so intense, but I told myself I had to wait until I finished the section I was writing. By the time I’d finished, the sad moment had passed although I was then crabby and intensely stressed out for awhile.

I have decided on an evening routine – about 8:30 or so I’ll go into the bedroom, turn down the lights, burn a candle, and read quietly while listening to music. Does anyone have any other practical relaxation tips that have worked for you, for days and moments when this begins to feel like too much?

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15 responses to “Breaktime

  1. I watch TV, although very discriminately. I have TiVo, so I look through what’s on and tell it to record movies or programs I want to see, and then watch them as needed. I also read blogs (duh!). If I am feeling energetic, I tackle long-stored household tasks. I prep for those in advance so I can get to them when I can. Right now on deck is clearing out and rearranging my office (although that’s not an option for doing while lying on your side :)) and going through the big boxes of old photos and arranging them into neat photoboxes I bought. After that I would like to try scrapbooking. We’ll see how any of that goes.

  2. Good on you. I am totally incapable of spending an entire morning working, which is why I abandoned plans for graduate school in history and went to journallism school instead. Daily deadlines really help.

  3. I purposely read books with happy endings or light fluffy type magazines, or watch TV or movies that are again, happy, light, subject material. Especially right before bed. If I indulge in very very sad or intense things before bed, I get nightmares. If I do think about intense stuff, I try to set myself a time limit, or I’ll just get lost in it all.

  4. I find television numbing, but not relaxing. Mostly I end up annoyed that we finally got cable and still there’s nothing to watch. I’m finding that when I really need to relax and stop thinking, I need quiet. That’s why I’m not into shopping as a relaxation or distraction either — the noise, lights, and people make me unable to think and focus and I just end up confused and wondering why I’m there.

    I guess I need some happy book suggestions. I don’t need to go through Harry Potter again for the 4th time this year.

  5. If by happy, you mean light but engrossing, I’d suggest Austen, Thackeray – especially Vanity Fair – some big fat novel like A.S. Byatt’s Possession or even, if your tastes lean this way, the cheesy but fun feminist SF novels by Marge Piercy, such as He, She and It. (The latter flips between the embattled Jews of Prague around 1600 and a “free town” in corporate North America circa 2059)

  6. I have no advice for trying to relax–I am struggling with that myself! I don’t find T.V. that helpful, but I am finding that learning new software can keep me pretty darn busy. Your idea of the quiet reading is a good one, I might give that a try. Other than that, I find my puppy to be a good distraction–really having a giggle now and then is a good thing! And he always comes through with something to make me laugh. Oh yeah, and I like listening to internet radio too. As for crafty things, I was thinking of trying knitting. Let me know if you come up with any more ideas, I sure could use them!!

  7. This post left me puzzled as to what IS it that I do when I want to relax?? I don’t know if I think that consciously about relaxing, or if there are just certain activities I gravitate toward naturally when I need to check out.

    One of my favorite spots is our living room couch, which is extremely comfortable, curled up with a good book, or even just a fluffy magazine. I agree, quiet is most helpful for me when I am feeling anxious. And I am completely with you on the shopping thing. Even when I am not out of sorts, I can find that activity terribly disorienting and not at all relaxing.

  8. Well I’m the last person who should give advice on how to relax, but the few times I have managed to get relaxed I took a good book to the coffee shop and read. I cannot read or work at home. If I have papers to grade or papers to write, I must leave the house. The same is true of relaxing. I just take a book to the coffee shop and people watch, read, write, listen to my ipod… Sometimes though, large groups of teenagers come and I go crazy. The worst is when I sit next to a rendezvous when a salesman is trying to entice someone into participating in a “get rich scheme”. I feel like I should speak up, but I just listen. I also like to write poetry in coffee shops. Not anything good mind you, very EMO type stuff. But it makes me feel like I’m still part of the counterculture even though I live in suburbia. Too bad we can’t drink a margarita or take Ambien. I’m so craving Ambien. BTW… nice work on the chapter and I think you are doing great in this pregnancy. I’m at 32 weeks now and it is getting better.

  9. serious kudos from here on a morning of disciplined work…nothing feels better than getting a bit behind you, especially a bit as fraught with memory and emotion as the piece you’ve been revisiting.

    for me, one of the things i did from about your point in pregnancy was get some kind of pregnancy massage weekly – the first two i paid for, the following seven were provided by the hospital where i was on bedrest. i find massage relaxing almost to the point of emotional vulnerability, but particularly when i was in bed all the time and unable to exercise and stretch, it really really calmed me, centered me, gave me a focal point in the week at which i had to face all my shit and let it stop distracting me in the background.

  10. btw, you get to meet Kate and Max and Theo! how cool is that?

  11. and you get to meet Kate and Max and Theo! how cool is that? do we get pictures? 🙂

  12. okay, me and your comment section are not getting along. sigh.

  13. Your problem with conflict section made me smile though, so it’s good.

    I was actually thinking about asking my doctor if I could get pregnancy massage! Wasn’t sure about it because I’m at such high-risk for PTL. But I will ask for sure.

    Ack – pictures? I’m sure the babies and Kate would look lovely.

  14. recognizing that different doctors and hospitals have totally different policies and practices and guidelines, the hospital (in Halifax) that i spent three weeks in on bedrest with Finn and seven weeks in on bedrest with O actually had an agreement with a local massage therapy clinic where the masseuses got to train on us. i loved it…it was the one thing in those very long weeks that i looked forward to.

    and with Finn, i’d already had my water break and my labour stopped…with O my cervix was down to 1.8 with no cerclage…still they massaged. and it was very very nice.

    just in case your docs need some anecdotal convincing. 🙂

  15. Thanks. I’m definitely going to try, especially now, because I remember my hips and back were in agony after 7 days in the hospital.

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