Everyone in my office environment is suffering from some sort of running nose, watery eye phenomenon but some call it a cold others call it allergies and who really knows? Last week I traveled clear across the country from Portland Maine to Vancouver BC and it was one of the longest trips I have taken in sometime. I was on 2 airplanes for more than 12 hours and my body was stiff and sore when I got off the plane out west. I did yoga that same night and each morning thereafter until I returned home. When I got home my body was so stiff and sore that I have been doing a mixture of Yin yoga with Vinyassa to get the kinks out and also doing some massage therapy. My body and mind feel utterly exhausted. My thoughts are scattered and I while sitting up meditating I actually fell asleep one morning. I have been trying to walk, do a lot of yoga and lay off the weight training until my body has the strength to perform normally again.
I have been doing some reading and writing but like now just typing out this blog is taking me longer than usual as I’m fighting foggy brain and forgetting my words. Last night my skin was hurting and my body was so sore but my husband mentioned that I had glassy eyes also. I said oh I think it is either a cold or allergies. He said it was traveler’s fatigue. Interesting, traveler’s fatigue, I believe he just may be right. The symptoms are similar to what other people in the office are facing but because I don’t get office bugs but once a year and have never had allergies I think he might have nailed my diagnosis. I have never really done well with traveling and doing a long distance stint like that was fairly grueling. Coming back and losing the 3 hours seemed to be more difficult but it could all be mental and both ways are just as difficult.
When I got home I went to one yoga session at the studio but realize my body needed more restorative yoga and that is when I turned to Yin. I have been doing Yin now every day since my arrival home, but fitting in some sessions of vinyassa just to remind my body and mind that I can in fact do this and although it will take some time to get back to base line I am willing to do everything needed to get there as well as wait as long as it takes. It all goes back to listening closely to what the body needs and what mine needs right now is rest. Walking seems to be working fairly well and even doing a few minutes of walking meditation at lunch time are helping. The weather has turned a corner here in Maine so getting fresh air outside and some vitamin D is also helping. All these things add up to getting back to base line as quickly as possible without pushing too hard, too fast and expecting too much.
Vacations are a wonderful concept that keep us all working hard and give us something to look forward to with loved ones. My husband and I really enjoy our vacations each year and we put so much thought into them, plan them together, start to think about them the week the before. We even get so excited that it is hard to sleep the night before we leave. I wouldn’t change this feeling that we get, but it is also not lost on either of us what traveling does to the body. Both of our bodies by the way, not just mine because of MCTD. Although the MCTD really heightens fatigue, achy joints and completely run down feeling. Even my husband who doesn’t have an autoimmune feels run down after traveling. There is a certain stress associated with traveling, there are extremely long days on your travel days and then there is the eating and drinking and a little too much letting go while enjoying your vacation. This is all well and good but it comes at a price. At least it does for us.
I have been trying to get back to feeling my normal self now for nearly a week. Increasing my sleep, just walking and doing my yoga as to not stress my body more, eating clean, and drinking so much water and tea to flush everything out. While this may be helping it takes a long time. I don’t know if other people go through the same thing when they travel or not but it always takes me a bit of time to get back to normal whether I travel for vacation, work, or other reasons. Quick trips I can recover quicker, but long vacation trips it takes me longer. I wouldn’t give up my vacation because of how I feel now only because the feelings before and during my vacation out way this feeling.
Walking and yoga feel good and although I’m not putting many miles on my fitbit I am walking here and there as I can muster the energy which is fine for now until things settle back to normal. Slowly I will increase my activity as my body is ready and push harder as I feel the fatigue dissipate.
I was on vacation last week so I tend to do a lot of walking on the Beach, golf course and just in general. My husband and I are people who explore with our feet so we walk whenever possible and as much as possible. These stats reflect that week of walking. Week of 2/23
Total Steps – 119,844
Average – 17,121
Miles – 45.80
Floors – 30
My floors drop off a lot even with the increased steps because they don’t usually have a lot of steps on vacation resorts. It is all level walking but lots of it.
I’m sure many are familiar with the phrase “I need a vacation from my vacation” and that is exactly how I feel this morning. The whole plan was to be with the entire family for a week at the lake just like we have done that last 9 years. Lake life requires nothing but resting, relaxing, playing in the water, and making some meals. This year we added the additional value of golfing, and it was truly a relaxing trip as well as extremely enjoyable. We didn’t have the whole family but we had a lot of it and planned our days really well. We would start with walks or some would head out in kayaks and get the blood flowing a bit and get a little exercise. However, the first question of the day is what will be eating. We had it pretty well planned and I felt really good about all my choices except when it came to the sweets. I love them so much and I do indulge often but I way over indulged this trip and to no fault of my own my body let me that under no circumstances was this behavior acceptable. I will also say we had quite a bit of damp weather since we were right on the water therefore some of my stiffness and soreness could be due to the extra damp air. I did drink alcohol almost every day at the beginning until I felt really terrible and cut it out for the rest of the trip. I did not flare nor did I worry I would because that was not what I was feeling. I was however feeling like my body was inflamed and that I was feeding it way too much sugar, gluten and alcohol and not nearly enough vegetables. Again, I only have myself to blame and will not insinuate I was persuaded in any way. My decisions are my own and I make my own decisions.
We arrived back at home on Saturday and my detox regiment began. This is not detox in the sense of “Master Cleanse” or fasting techniques but real food detox. The first day back I went right to the store and stocked up on all things fresh and clean. We made a list of the meals we were going to be preparing and the foods I would need for work. We made dinners that could be eaten for a few days and stocked up on a lot of greens to make sure any protein we had would complement the greens nicely. By this morning my body was feeling better and the stiffness has now starting to subside. I also booked a training session for this day so that when I got back from camp I could also get work out beating. I was not disappointed. I was a little on the light side since it had been a week since I did any heavy lifting but we wrapped my hands and loaded the bar and started the lifting. By the end of my hour I was certain I had finally found that calm that I needed and my body is not as angry anymore. I still need to stay on my real food detox plan for the next several days if not weeks and make sure my body has reduced some inflammation. I also need to find my sleep again, we don’t sleep well at camp and now that we are home we aren’t sleeping great yet but I think the next couple of days things will calm with my body and mind and I will find my restful sleep once more.
Finally, I’m not saying I’m giving up all sugars and sweets because I love sharing them with my husband and my family but I do need to let the afternoon cravings subside that keep creeping in and that I indulged during my week away. A little yoga, a lot of walking, some heavy lifting, very clean eating and back to drinking only water and tea and I’m certain this body will thank me again.
I would never not enjoy my vacations or indulge if I want but I do realize that my body is very delicate and it doesn’t take much to get it out of order and much harder to get it back in order but I a couple more training sessions to help this body find its strength once a again and start to build off that strength. I’m looking forward to some yoga and although I did take my yoga mat on vacation I did not unroll it once. My intention was good, but my execution lacked commitment.
Before I start this blog post I must say no one should feel bad for me as I don’t feel bad for myself and the reason I am writing this post is more to discuss how when we think we are doing everything right, things can still go wrong.
A couple of weeks ago my husband and I went on a vacation to Mexico and had a fabulous time. The beach was perfect, the food was good, the weather was incredible and my stress had almost vanished. Being away for a week and not really knowing what time it is other than when our bellies growled and it was time to eat is so good for the soul. I didn’t exercise that week but between golfing and walking I had logged over 140k steps on my fitbit. I don’t usually log that many when I’m at home making a conscience effort to exercise. I was feeling so good and upbeat about life and learning to play golf with my husband, which is what we want as we enter our next phase of life together. Things were incredible and even coming home seemed relatively easy.
After we had been home for 5 days and I will say those 5 days I was exhausted, I didn’t know why and just figure I needed a vacation from my vacation. I did work out as usual as soon as I got home and started weight training again and started my normal spin routine and Insanity routine but felt like my body was function fairly well. On that 5th day I was in my Insanity Class when my body suddenly didn’t feel ok and I truly mean suddenly. I can usually tell if something is off and other than the fatigued I had no indication. Some might say the fatigue should have been my clue but I live with a level of fatigue off and on in my daily life so it honestly was not an indicator for me this time. After my Insanity Class I was feeling the most incredible pain I have felt in my life all in my abdominal area and back area. I made it home to bed and there I stayed until Monday morning when I made it into the doctor. It seems as though I brought back some sort of bacteria with me from Mexico that does not make contagious to anyone but it certainly has put me in a new place.
I have finally gotten liquids into this body and I’m up and around but walking even short distances in the house is exhausting. I know my body is running on zero energy and therefore I’m struggling just to function. Every day I wake up thinking today is the day the pain will subside and I will get back to my base line. My base line is changing every day that I’m ill because I can feel my body getting weaker and weaker. Exercise is not an option but I am trying to walk a little bit more every day and eat a little bit more every day. I have noticed my strength has dropped a lot in a very short amount of time and I will be starting at the beginning once again when I get started with exercise and weight training. The good thing is that I have already spoken to my trainer and once I’m able to walk a fair distance without too much struggle we can start a beginners weight training workout until I build my strength back up. He is certain that once we get started it will come back quickly but it is amazing how quickly it has left.
I am not afraid of travel in the future and see this as an isolated situation since it has not happened prior to now and may never happen again. I get such joy from traveling with my husband and adventures we experience together that this even as annoying and painful is a mere blip in regards to the happiness and ease I feel when I’m with him traveling.
This past week I had to travel for work and when I travel I don’t feel my best. There are a few things I do that help the situation but I have to be so diligent about my routine. For most people when they travel there is very little routine or not a routine that they are used to. If they travel a lot they may find a routine on the road that will work for them. For me I travel so infrequently that when I travel it is in my best interest to keep my routine as close to my home routine as possible. A few things I do to try to keep my normal routine is I get up the same time every day even while traveling. On Monday that was my travel day and since I try not to eat in airports I did intermittent fasting and ate at a nice restaurant that night when I got to my destination. It does make for a long day without any food but I don’t have low blood sugar issues such as light headiness and dizziness just hunger pangs. There is nothing wrong with feeling the hunger and taking care of the hunger when I have a place to sit down and eat some good food.
I found a nice place to eat and talked to them about me eating gluten free and that I liked to keep my meals and ingredients simple. I opted for a salad with steak and mushrooms on top and some dressing on the side that I didn’t use. I felt great and went for a nice long walk before heading to bed at my normal time. The next morning when I got up it was the same time as when I’m home and went right down to the fitness center for a workout. I looked at my options for breakfast and didn’t see anything I was really interested in so I opted to wait until lunch and had a nice grilled chicken salad. For dinner I had some chili and went for a walk again to end a very long stressful day.
The next day looked very similar to the day before and Thursday mirrored my other two days. Friday was my travel day back home and again I did some intermittent fasting until I got home and ate food at my own home. I went to Bikram yoga when I arrived home and got back to my normal routine at home. Some MCTD symptoms that popped up for me are fatigue and still today I am dealing with fatigue but it will take a few days to get over that. My hands are very swollen and my body is a little sore. I’m not in flare but I feel it in my body that this past week is different then other days. I try to spend as much time in the Bikram studio as possible when I get home so that the swelling in my hands and feet can decrease as well as my mind can start to rest. I tend not to sleep well when I’m on the road but when I get home I can sleep very well again. The fatigue I feel should be gone in another day or two.
I’m fortunate that I don’t travel a lot and every time I do travel I try to keep as close to my normal routine as possible. When we travel for vacation I still have similar symptoms but the difference is there is no stress when we get to our destination so I can relax. When I travel for work I have some stress and some long days to deal with. Now I’m home for about a month and will travel again. The good thing is I’m traveling to the same place again so I have found myself a yoga studio and the restaurant is familiar with my diet as well as the place I stay has a nice fitness center so the next trip may go better.
Our first morning waking up at Kripalu it is dark. Granted it is 6am and I’m off to my first yoga class. Matthew as sweet as can be says, “see you when I see you” back to sleep he went. I look out the window and darkness is looking back at me. Although, I’m certain it must be cold out there I’m tucked safely and warmly inside the walls of Kripalu getting ready to stretch my morning achy bones.
Yesterday our yoga sessions were all about being gentle and easing Matthew into the yoga as well as stretching our hips and lower back from sitting in a car for hours. Today however, is all about me really working my yoga practice and getting deep into my practice and my postures. The instructor this morning was one of my favorites so I was expecting a great class that was going to have me work. Unfortunately, it didn’t get any fluid off my joints but it did open up my hips and lower back as well as loosen up
my knees and ankles and I’m already feeling like a new women.
From there we headed to breakfast. The philosophy at Kripalu is every morning you start with a silent breakfast. It is time to reflect and keep quiet and just be with your food and your thoughts. I had forgotten how nice this ritual is and how much I really enjoy eating in a quiet atmosphere. During my silent breakfast I splurged on some yummy home-made banana bread and ate it completely guilt free. Back at home I will forgo these types of indulgences but they are made with love at Kripalu so yes I indulge.
Since we did the R&R program we are kind of on our own. This is the first time I have done this so we basically looked at the schedule and decided what we wanted to do throughout the day. There are lots of workshops and meditation classes as well as yoga all day long. I did everything I possibly could and this was the day Matthew headed to the spa so dance yoga was all mine. It is type of yoga made up of all dance and yes the first time you step in the class many are self-conscience, I know I was but now after doing it so much I just find it incredibly liberating. No one cares what I’m doing and just let the music move me. This hour is great fun.
The day wasn’t over by a long shot and there was plenty of workshops and yoga to be done and I did it all. However, after dinner we were totally exhausted and didn’t go to the music show but headed to bed early to get a good night’s sleep and start again on Sunday.