It’s amazing what 5 days away from work and my 4-hours-a-day travel routine can do to my energy and stress levels. I haven’t had 5 days away from work since last August and having worked through Christmas and a very busy January, just 5 days away from the constant demands of deadlines and train timetables has paid dividends.
I feel rested and much more in control of my emotions. I am less short-tempered and more amenable. I can deal with change in a measured manner and I don’t feel that I’m “on the edge” and about to explode constantly. I carry much less tension in my neck and shoulders and my sleep is better.
I love my job, and I thrive on the energy and variety of work but I can’t help the way that my mind and body react to stress. As I have often said before, stress is not necessarily negative. Stress can often be positive and provides the necessary energy and creativity to get the job done both on time and done well.
If I had to describe to chronic fatigue syndrome in one word it would be “frustrating”. From the symptoms to the manner in which I have to mange this illness it is nothing short of frustrating. I still haven’t come to terms with my limitations but I am learning how to manage my illness much better. I know I have to rest more, to relax more and not to be too hard on myself when I don’t accomplish what I set out to achieve. It’s slow progress but it’s still progress.
Looking forward to the next 2-4 months I have a very busy and exciting schedule with lots of amazing things to look forward to. I am trying to keep a lid on my excitement as this wastes precious energy and whilst it’s “not the real me” as I usually wear my heart on my sleeve, it has to be the “new” me if I am to retain my equilibrium and improved mood.
When I was young I loved Aesop’s Fables and my favourite tale was about the race between the Hare & the Tortoise. Looking back, I think that the hare was afflicted by CFS as he had a spurt of energy to initially overtake the tortoise but had to take a nap halfway through the race as he had run out of energy. This allowed the slow and steady tortoise to take the victory. It’s classic CFS!
So the moral of my story is, train yourself to be a tortoise and leave the high-energy-sapping activities to someone else.
Many of us appreciate that living with someone who is feeling low, fed up, anxious or out of control can be difficult. Not so many however are able to work out the best way to help those who are struggling. Our thinking and behaviour towards our friends and loved ones who are perhaps going through difficult times can become introverted instead of generous and all that matters is how we feel. In extreme cases the scenario develops into a power game as some find it is easier to protect themselves and their wants and needs rather than to think creatively in order to help and understand others. Once this pattern of behaviour is established it’s hard to break but one of the best ways to help yourself cope and bring back some equilibrium and peace is to be more considerate and patient towards those clearly suffering. It doesn’t take much and it is amazing just how uplifting being nice to someone can be when rewarded with a smile, a hug or a simple thank you. In all probability, you will also find that by making someone’s life easier to bear by providing kindness and understanding that your world becomes warmer and brighter too.
The sun and the wind-Aesop
The North Wind boasted of great strength. The Sun argued that there was great power in gentleness.”We shall have a contest,” said the Sun.Far below, a man traveled a winding road. He was wearing a warm winter coat.”As a test of strength,” said the Sun, “Let us see which of us can take the coat off of that man.”
“It will be quite simple for me to force him to remove his coat,” bragged the Wind.The Wind blew so hard, the birds clung to the trees. The world was filled with dust and leaves. But the harder the wind blew down the road, the tighter the shivering man clung to his coat.
Then, the Sun came out from behind a cloud. Sun warmed the air and the frosty ground. The man on the road unbuttoned his coat.The sun grew slowly brighter and brighter.Soon the man felt so hot, he took off his coat and sat down in a shady spot.
“How did you do that?” said the Wind.
“It was easy,” said the Sun, “I lit the day. Through gentleness I got my way.”
On holiday in Swanage last July we were joined by a couple of foxes who were clearly used to people and not at all afraid. I have to confess that I took advantage of their cheek and managed to coax one of them into eating out of my hand. We called her Roxy and she was particularly fond of the BBQ’d freshly caught mackerel we fed her. She was even stealthy enough to run off with 4 beefburgers left out by the BBQ for a mere 30 seconds….good job we had spares.
She flattered me with her attention and I fell for her charms. Just as Aesop warned me I would….
The Fox and The Crow-Aesop
A Fox once saw a Crow fly off with a piece of cheese in its beak and settle on a branch of a tree.
“That’s for me, as I am a Fox,” said Master Reynard, and he walked up to the foot of the tree.
“Good day, Mistress Crow,” he cried. “How well you are looking today: how glossy your feathers; how bright your eye. I feel sure your voice must surpass that of other birds, just as your figure does; let me hear but one song from you that I may greet you as the Queen of Birds.”
The Crow lifted up her head and began to caw her best, but the moment she opened her mouth the piece of cheese fell to the ground, only to be snapped up by Master Fox.
“That will do,” said he. “That was all I wanted. In exchange for your cheese I will give you a piece of advice for the future: “Do not trust flatterers.”