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So, we are halfway through this term with three heavy-duty courses. Each one is extremely demanding of time and effort, though the prof in Advanced Practice Procedures is giving us a little break, God bless her!  I find that I am almost at a mental standstill. With over twenty chapters to read in the next week; a final, a midterm, 2 quizzes, a case study, a history and physical, a term paper and a group project all to be completed within three weeks. I look at this list and my mind goes blank, my eyes mist over and I can barely get a coherent thought together.

Stress is one of the subjects under scrutiny at this point in Advanced Health Assessment. Is the instructor trying to create it so we can study the effects of stress on ourselves? If so, she is doing a great job. We are supposed to find methods of coping with this stress. In a discussion, students presented various options:

  •  wine: maybe not the best option due to abuse potential
  •  sex: well, for me it isn’t any fun unless I am already relaxed
  •  massage therapy: my idea, but I need the time to go get one
  •  exercise: again, time but I have been making  a go at daily bike rides. This has helped, and I actually am losing some weight, an extra plus.
  •  being organized: not my strongest suit, but I make occasional forays into the list, schedule and sticky note reminder system methods of organizing. My computer desktop is covered in little yellow electronic sticky notes so I can’t see my “best of Bing” pictures.
  • retail therapy: this only works if you have extra money to spend. The stress relief is counteracted by the big credit card bill.
  • eating healthy: this is supposed to make you feel better, and it does, I am sure. For many people, food itself is a stress reliever, but then the happiness is counteracted by the bathroom scale readings. Of course, you could avoid looking at the bathroom scale, but then your favorite jeans get uncomfortable to wear, and that is stressful in itself. Yes, eating healthy is definitely a must. It takes 3 weeks to get over carb cravings, I found that out for  myself. Once you get past that, it becomes easier.
  • getting enough rest: yes, it is tempting to try to fit in more reading at the very end of the day. However, absorbing information by osmosis through your cheek after you fall asleep in the book is not a very efficient way to learn. However, I  read a study that stated you retain things better if you read them last thing before you fall asleep. Timing is crucial here. You still need to get your 8. Hmmm, perhaps reading and then taking a power nap will help me retain the info, will have to try that.
  • meditation: this works for many people, but my head is just too busy. A freight train of thoughts goes through my brain whenever I try to “empty” my head. No matter how hard I try, concentrating on my breathing just isn’t enough to stop this continual flow of thoughts and distractions. The physical effort of bike riding actually works better for me, as I have to concentrate on not falling off and where I am going;  the trees, birds and wildlife keep my attention; and I am constantly aware of my aching butt on the ice pick of a bike saddle. (It actually is quite large, the saddle I mean, and is gel cushioned, but I still have some weight to lose before it is comfortable again.)

Actually, sharing my thoughts with all of you has turned out to be a stress reliever for me, I am now ready to take on my day’s projects…

This week’s Health Behavior Exercise consists of drinking water to reduce the effects of aging.  The ice tea I make at home doesn’t count, nor the coffee. The formula is 1 ounce of water for every 2 pounds of body weight. I am not going to tell you how much water I am required to drink, but being a tall, sturdy Viking kind of a gal, it is a LARGE volume. I will have to do one of four options: 1) not drink that much water and decide to age gracefully,  2)insert a foley for the duration of the week, 3). move all of my study items into the bathroom, 4). wear a diaper (especially at work, where I can’t move my desk into the bathroom.) 

I think I will just age gracefully. I don’t really like water.

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