Categories
Emotional Work

Day 641 and Recovery

This might sound a little shocking but I sleep at least 9 hours a night. Sleep is one of the obsessions of the biohacker. If I’m lucky I might be able to get to ten. It’s always a sign of me doing poorly if I am not sleeping a TON.

It’s usually the first sign I am not adequately reserving time to bring down my central nervous system into rest and digest. I’ll stay up till 11pm and then it’s a hop skip and a jump to only sleeping seven hours.

The best combination of effort and exertion for me is only adding in specific necessary stressors during the day and give ample time to recovery. Much of my work requires focus and information processing and synthesis. And that isn’t improved by overwork and exhaustion.

Nevertheless I am still carting around a lot of lessons from my childhood about the value of hard work. More is better. More hours is best. And this is a fine and noble thing if you do work intelligently with your goals in mind. Simple exertion is sometimes the best option. But not always.

Categories
Aesthetics

Day 640 and Weekend

Maybe it’s a function of having never owned a home before we bought the Montana homestead, but I was never much of a weekend errands person.

Now my weekends are all about errands. It started with doing a weekly grocery run. Now that groceries aren’t just being delivered to us demand by Whole Foods (the closest one is probably a thousand miles away) we’ve got a standing Sunday drive into town to the food coop. We do actual meal planning now.

And if you give a mouse a cookie he’s going to want some milk. If you give a yuppie a drive into town…We just keep tacking errands onto the drive into town. To do list and errands are the milk to the cookie of the drive into town.

We are still in the process of settling in to our house, so naturally Home Depot is heavy in our errands rotation. Today it was floor lamps and scones for the guest rooms. Last week it was a new pump for our hydroponic system. We basically always have something that requires a Home Depot Run.

We also needed a few other sundry items for our elaborate hospitality driven guest room project. We want our friends and family to feel comfortable coming to stay with us so we have dedicated quite a bit of time and resources into designing and planning for turning our upstairs into a hotel. This is going to be ongoing for sometime as furniture is a pain in the ass these days.

To check off design and toiletry items we hit up World Market and then Ulta. We came away remembering that shopping used to be a fun browsable experience and also a little poorer as we picked up an entire screen printed photo canvas we didn’t intend on buying but kind of love. We also got a very nice set up of brushes, anti-frizz hair turbans, and makeup remover towels for the guest bath.

A bathroom cabinet with hair towels, hair dryer, a round brush and a flat brush.
Categories
Chronic Disease Emotional Work

Day 636 and Waves

Yesterday I was on top of a wave of positivity, so naturally this means today I was prepared for that wave to crash. The rhythms of both life, and my body, must accommodate the full range of highs and lows. After several intense days of work and activity I spent my day reading and absorbing news and financial reports in bed.

I am becoming modestly less indignant about having to monitor and meter my energy carefully. This is a new development in some ways as I’ve struggled quite publicly with mixed feelings about accounting for fatigue and pain in my workflows. I have in the past easily fallen into envy and jealousy when I see how much able bodied friends give little thought to their physical realities.

I have slowly let go of negativity around around around my body and come to embrace the rhythms of requiring rest. I’ve even come to see it as a strength as being forced into mitigating stress loads and cortisol spikes means I have more control over my sympathetic nervous system. Rather than give in to fight or flight, I am able now to able to choose how I respond.

Categories
Emotional Work Uncategorized

Day 623 and Pausing

I am feeling a bit anxious about back to work season. I’ve traditionally had a terrible relationship with work. I’m a workaholic and struggle to pace myself effectively. I particularly love riding on the zeitgeist of a season like the fall as “everyone” is back at the grind and I like to ride the energy of the moment.

But I also need more frequent and shorter pauses than the American work week or season has ever allowed. I’ve always been afraid to take them because I fear being seen as lazy. “Only the morally weak rest” is a truism of English and Germanic lineage well prior to the Reformation. Though that’s kind of an aristocracy needs the serfs working thing.

But Protestant Work Ethic aside, I’m not really cut out for hustle culture. Being disabled, even modestly with something my spondylitis, is like the double whammy of being weak and lazy. I need to maintain a different schedule because I cannot overcome the foibles of my own body? That’s an affront! I’ve got a lot of self talk that basically goes like this

You soft feminine pathetic weak bitch get your ass back to work.

Me to myself. Sadly.

Does someone have internalized issues with feminine cycles? Oh yes she does! I guess it’s not just being lazy but it’s being female and a waste of productive worker all in one body. Super fun! And yet here I am a libertarian and I work in finance. Square that circle my friends.

Capitalism has enjoyed patriarchal structuring because it allows us to categorize the inconveniences of bodies that are harder to regulate. Women in the workforce was a pain in the ass until we figured out chemical birth control I’ve got to assume.

But all these legacies of who is worthy and who is strong and who is valued are kind of bullshit constructs. I can take what serves me. I don’t need to get all up in my head about having a less productive body because who even set the damn standard right?

So I am reminded I can pause without crashing. I choose to pause at my own leisure. I can choose to self nurture so I operate from my own point of maximum strength. I have to chose to pause. A pause is not is weakness.

A pause is like the ocean cresting before the wave breaks. And I can choose to ride that momentum. This is all a part of my own work on not just surviving the current moment but thriving with optimism. It’s peace from strength. While I recognize and even ride the chaos outside, I do not feel chaotic inside.

Categories
Politics

Day 617 and Overnight

I plowed through a bunch of choring yesterday. Which apparently tuckered me out. I took maybe an hour nap before dinner. I had a little extra CBD beforehand and found myself drowsy as hell. I passed out sometime around 8:30pm.

Alas the napping and the early bedtime, if you can call just utterly losing consciousness “bedtime,” had consequences. I came to around 1am and found myself wide awake. Oops.

At first I wasn’t quite sure how to approach this unexpected moment of being lucid and energetic in the middle of the night. I toddled over to the bathroom to pee. I crawled back into bed. I debated if I should try to force the issue with an Ambien. But I didn’t have anything in the morning so I thought maybe I should take those sleep hygiene folks seriously and just do something till I get tired.

Of course, the thing I decided to do was read on my phone. I cleared a few back logged essays from my collections on my favorite reader app Matter. I logged into Bloomberg to check pre-market sentiment. I opened up the New York Times and read Queen Elizabeth’s obituary.

Around 2am it seemed clear I wasn’t sleepy at all. Whether from the back lighting of my phone or the five hours of sleep I’d logged earlier. So I said fuck it and opened Twitter. I dig deep into the feuding discourses of “God Save the Queen” versus the survivors of British empire. Monarchists loved their kindly grandmother and the Irish did their best to be polite about the genocide of it all.

If the sun never sets on the British Empire the doom scrolling through the celebration of the end of the longest reigning monarch seemed like the way to go out. But unsurprisingly there was a lot of darkness to be found in the pre-dawn sentiment. I tweeted a reminder to myself to explore how enclosure movements and anti-colonial “fuck the federales this is our land” historical context plays into the American political moment.

Eventually I got drowsy. I feel asleep around 5am just as the rest of the country was waking up. I slept till 9am or so.

Categories
Biohacking

Day 606 and Recovery

As you might know, biohacking is more than just a hobby for me. It’s the way I keep on top of any remaining chronic health challenges. In particular, I love how my Whoop helps me pinpoint where I am between strain and recovery.

I had absolutely stellar recovery scores last week even as I pushed my strain significantly. I was “in the green” which meant I was getting enough rest to recover from all my activity. But I’ve had a few days of yellow “warning” recovery scores that suggest I may need extra sleep and less activity strain.

I felt it this morning when I had some anxiety hit me hard as made a run to the grocery store. If I am feeling particularly tired I can easily let myself get anxious and overwhelmed if I don’t feel I’ve got the space and time to recover myself physically. I was racing against the clock to get lunch for everyone (both Alex and our house guest) hoping I’d be home within enough time for making meal and taking shower before my usual Monday therapy power hours.

I was thus quite relieved to find that therapy was canceled. A little end of summer reprieve. All the rushing to get things done went poof as did any remaining anxiety. I didn’t need to push. I could pay attention to my recovery. I was now free to heed the edicts of the Whoop. I hope this bit of good luck puts me into the green tomorrow.

Categories
Aesthetics

Day 603 and Summer Vacation

It feels like I’ve always disliked summer. I suspect people like it because of it’s association with vacations. But I find neither summer nor vacations to be that appealing individually or in conjunction. What is there to like about heat, ozone pollution, and fire season? And then you want me to add travel and disruptions to my routine? I’m skeptical.

This is probably more a reflection of how much I’ve come to hate the intense heat associated with climate change in the west. Heat domes that keep the temperature over 40 C for weeks and their associated forest fires are the stuff of nightmares. But I don’t recall looking really forward to summer breaks as a kid except for the ones that were spent at an ashram. I enjoyed all of the meditation and yoga. But otherwise summer was just a weird time when I was mostly alone.

So it’s a bit of a surprise to feel like I’m having a summer vacation and I like it. I promised myself I’d take off all of August so we could really settle into our new homestead in Montana. I didn’t expect it to feel particularly relaxing as we have a chore list a mile long. It was meant as a different kind of working summer.

But I feel like I’m having the best summer vacation of my life. The weather is lovely and cool at the moment. The food is spectacular. All cherries and steaks. I’m spending a lot of time outdoors just by walking around the neighborhood. I’ve got time to workout. We installed a full lifting cage in the barn. I’m getting plenty of sleep. My Whoop is entirely green except when I push because I want too. My time is entirely spent on personal projects. Maybe this is what people have been raving about?

Categories
Biohacking Chronic Disease

Day 601 and New Limits

The past couple of days have been super intense. Heck, the past month has been a lot. I passed out last night with my phone in my hand a bit after 9pm and woke up well after 8am this morning. My Whoop indicated I had high strain for the past two days and needed more recovery.

Still I went about my usual routines but soon found myself yawning and struggling to keep my eyes open after eating lunch. I felt lucky I hadn’t scheduled much today. I got back into bed figuring I would read a little bit. I kept drifting off. So much for being productive this afternoon.

One of my biggest fears is doing too much. Because I’ve been a workaholic in the past, I have a lingering sense of unease anytime I can tell I’ve been pushing myself for a few days. It used to be that my body would simply crash if I applied too much pressure, but as my health is at about 80% improved from my initial diagnosis I can no longer rely on such direct feedback.

I say that like it’s a bad thing but it’s a huge relief that I can modestly over do things and not immediately find my body crashing into a rest period. But it also means I have to be much more conscious of my own needs for rest and recovery as it’s no longer quite so obvious when I’ve done too much. This represents both a huge achievement for me and also a transitional moment in which I must find new boundaries.

Categories
Preparedness

Day 593 and Walking The Lines

We’ve been in our Montana homestead for two weeks. I wanted to say “only” but I do feel as if I’m starting to feel at home. The boxes are dwindling and we’ve cleaned up most of the major debris and boxes inside. We are still waiting on the various bits of furniture we ordered new for the home but most of what we already owned is accessible.

This has opened up some mental space for me to get a lay of the land. Literally. The heatwave that greeted our arrival improved, meaning as long as I am outside before 10am it is pleasant enough for long walks.

I’ve been taking different routes around our rural neighborhood. Where we live outside Bozeman has lots of gravel roads, big plots of land, and interspersed pieces of county and state property in between.

I’ve been making an attempt to walk as many routes as possible circling our land. Part of the exercise is because it is nice to go for long walks but I’m equally interested in feeling like I know the lay of the land and am prepared to navigate our back roads.

I’ve done concentric rings changing my direction as I see fit. I’ve opened them up and tightened them down. I’ve left due east to exit the property and then gone in every direction.

Seeing our land from the east, south, west and north shows completely different things. The closer I am the more I recognize new facets. But I’m learning to spot the lines of our land even as I am further out. The frisson of excitement I get from spotting our house from afar never gets old.

Walking as many types of property lines as I can has sparked my imagination. I spotted where our hedges could use some additional density. I spotted a window upstairs we’d been neglecting to close as it’s for a room that’s still empty. I’ve spotted where the deer seem to prefer coming in (the fawns can’t jump our fences) and where I might prefer to go out if our front drive is blocked.

The exploration has been grounding. I have a firmer sense of place. My body is beginning to recognize where I am. And it’s an absolutely lovely way to get in some thinking. I highly recommend walking the lines of your property and your neighbors. You never know what you might find.

Categories
Biohacking

Day 583 and Inflammatory

Remember how I said I was overclocked yesterday? I felt like my entire central nervous system was on overdrive. Well I am a little less anxious today, but no less unfocused. It has been suggested to me that this may be a function of inflammatory stress.

I have in general followed a strict biohacking routine. But moving meant many of the nutritional supports and routines that keep inflammatory stress at bay were not possible. Sometimes your only option is picking up takeout. While I appreciate seed oil disrespecters as the natural intersection of left coded hippies and right coded bro-scientists sometimes the best you can do is chow down on fast food. And boy am I feeling the negative effects of that necessity.

I used all of my focus today to do my various biohacking routines to try to mop up the inflammatory mess that I think might be contributing to this overclocked emotional state. I have a spreadsheet of supplements that has stuff for me to take basically every hour (here are the highlights of my 8am hour which is normie friendly). I went hard on making sure I didn’t miss a single dose.

I also took the time to reboot other activities that should be calming. I went for a leisurely walk. I meditated. Our new power cage arrived so I will hopefully be back squatting and deadlifting soon. We’ve got plans for an infrared sauna. Our pond is fed by a mountain stream and I’d love to dredge it deep enough to enjoy it as a cold therapy dunk. Alex installed a new shower head until then so I can get a more intense cold shower.

All of this is mostly just a mental overview of where I am at and my plans to get my body stabilized over the next couple of weeks so I am at my most focused and capable once summer is over and my fall work season kicks in.