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Posts tagged stress


Eyeballs feel like they’re going to fall out of my head.  Mlugh.  Maybe because I didn’t have tea this morning?  Maybe because I’ve been doing eyeball-intensive junk all day?  My day has been a big stressy blur.  Not because anything has really been going on, but more because I’ve been stressing out about nothing and I can’t remember what seemed so important earlier.

Section this morning was fairly crappy, though that’s sort of to be expected with midterm reviews.  Everyone is so tired of hearing about these topics by this point that it’s hard to keep anyone interested in what’s going on.  Went to CogNeuro after that, which was fine.  I’m going to be glad to be done with classes soon, for sure.  Went downtown and had lunch with my Lewis (Steve’s!) and hit up some stores for Mother’s Day stuff.  Ended up not finding anything that really sent off my mom sensors, so I came home and whipped up a batch of my rosemary cashews, and then I also worked up a batch of something new – honey roasted sesame cashews.  Both turned out well!  I do hope she likes them.  Lewis took them to the pochta while I hit up the gym.

I’ve been pretty spent every since I got home.  Just feeling tired from my day, and worried about giving this exam tomorrow.  Things seem to be all in hand, though, and I’m really ready to go to bed.

Ye Olde Laure

Odd day today, but much productive.

Got up really early.  Woke up at my usual weekday wakeup time, 6:30, though it was in fact Sunday and I had every intention of sleeping in.  Eventually got up at 7, and spent a nice leisurely time working on fixing some pyjamas I had made with my sister that were too big.  So I ripped stiches and listed to NPR until Lewis got up and was ready for breakfast.  Got a lot of reading done after breakfast (I love it when papers go faster than you anticipate!) and then spent an hour at the gym.

Got home and had lunch, and just in time for me to start working again… sadly I got another optical migraine.  I had been hoping all this focus on de-stressing and the exercise I’ve been getting to do so was going to prevent these… and it’s been a few months since I’ve had one.  But it’s the midway point in the quarter, and I had a relatively stressful week.   Looking on the bright side, even with the migraine, I’m feeling much less stressed out than I was last quarter, and I at least seem to be staving off a majority of the panic attack-y heart palpitations.  And the migraine was smaller and less disruptive than it has been.  I took a rest with Lewis (who was napping anyway!) while it played out, and even managed to eventually get rid of that post-occular muddle-headed feeling.   So… oh well.  I’ve got more relaxation work to do before I’m out of the stressed-out woods, I suppose.

So I had a lazy evening, since I got so much work done this morning, and spent all night watching PBS (Nature + Masterpiece Theatre!) and working on these pyjama bottoms.  They turned out really great, actually!  I fixed all the things that went wrong the first time.  I put elastic and a tie in the waste, took something like four inches off the whole piece (as in overall width) and put the cuffs on.  All this was nicely easier than the Lewis PJs, partially because I’m doing it for the second time, I’m sure, but also the fabric is less stretchy and picky, and I didn’t bother with any piping or fancy stuff.  So the end result – revamped them entirely in just one day, and now they fit, and look nice, and are very comfortable!  I’m proud of how they turned out since I freehanded the repairs.  Soon I’ll put up pictures of both the Lewis and the Laurie PJs so I can properly crow about my work.  Yay!


I’m feeling stressed out.  And disappointed in myself for being stressed out.

It was sort of a rough day, though Lewis made me a lovely waffle breakfast with strawberries this morning.   Spent the rest of the day wrestling with some rolls I was making for easter dinner with the Lawyers.  Probably should have used a recipe I’ve tried before, but I’m always game to get to try something new, especially when it’s something sort of time consuming I don’t usually get a chance to try.  Stupidly it took an hour longer than I was hoping, and they didn’t even turn out very well.  I shouldn’t have stressed out about it.

Through the stress fog, some good things went on.  I got a nice walk this morning to get some ingredients, and the dinner at this evening was very nice.  I also got all the laundry done.  And did some reading outside, where I got a small sunburn.  I was going to hit up the gym today, but it was closed for the hoilday.  I do think it would have helped chill me out.  I wish I knew some more immediate way to alleviate my anxiety, it really ruins my days.  Or at least sucks the life out of them.

Tomorrow is a new day.   I slept off my stress last night and woke up feeling well this morning.  I can do it again.

Cows like nose pets

Good day, but sadly I must admit my first stressed out day this quarter.  Ever since my awkward office hours with that kid yesterday I’ve had the same stupid elephant-on-chest heart-scared-of-breathing lungs-full-of-flan feeling I had all last month.  Makes me feel distracted and grouchy spending every minute waiting for my heart to start some crazy death spiral.

Despite this, I think I had a pretty good day.  Got work done this morning after making a delicious breakfast scramble.  Made chili in the slow cooker for dinner, and spent a good few hours slowly biking around town and visiting the dairy cows on campus and having frozen yogurt.  So really, I don’t know what my problem is.  But right now I just want to go to bed and wake up and have it seem likeone of the clear, open-ended, wonderful days I’ve been so lucky to wake up to lately.  Sigh.

On with the show

It’s 8:30, and I can barely keep my eyes open.  I didn’t get up particularly early or any such thing, but I guess it’s been sort of a long day.

I had my first section this morning at 9.  It both went well and sort of crap, which seems to be how section always goes.  The atmosphere was really great.  The kids asked a bunch of questions, some clarification, some curious, and I had good participation in all the questions I asked of them.  That’s the good.  The bad… my computer wouldn’t work with the projection system for some reason, so I couldn’t use all the web resouces I had prepared.  But we didn’t even end up getting that far, because we spent so long on the really basic (and reallllly boring) consonant chart.  It’s good if it was helpful, and it seemed to be so, but I definitely felt like I wasn’t quite on my game, and couldn’t entertain the kids like I wanted.  We’ll see if I can’t spice it up next week.  And hopefully I can think of some way to improve Friday’s section so they don’t get stuck with this same boring task!

Skipped over to the Center to get into my cogneuro class (late, since my section conflicts) which had a guest lecturer today.  I got there only about 35 minutes late, which was good, but the lecturer didn’t seem to know how long our class was.  We got out about 45 minutes early, which means I didn’t get much of the matieral at all!  It is, however, always a nice treat to get out early.  Walked home with Lewis (sans bike), recombobulated myself here, and then headed out to the Center again to meet with my fMRI partner from yesterday.  She was too busy to discuss data or anything, and our lab professor is in Hawaii, so there really wasn’t anything to do.  Thankfully the Center is right next to the gym, so it wasn’t out of the way to drop by.

Gym was good.  It’s ridiculous how easy it is to get my heart rate up to near max, so I always try and make sure I’m staying at a reasonable rate and not working too hard.  I’ve been trying to aim for something like the suggested 30-minutes of vigorous activity a day, and that’s pretty managable.  I’ve never worked out regularly before, but I’m really surprised how big of a difference it makes in my stress levels.  I was chuckling to myself in the lockroom today when I realized that I’m one of the lucky people there who achieves their goal every day.  Very easy when your goal is “do any exercise”, and not gaining strength or losing weight or learning to do stuff.  Whoohoo!  I’d like to think the regular de-stressing exercise has something to do with my lack of migraines so far this month… and I’m still major palipitation free since spring break too!

It’s Good to Have Options

Spring break is over, it is.  And I’m feeling pretty good about that.  I got everything I wanted to do done, which is really rather surprising for a relaxing vacation.  Garden was planted, much weeding and work accomplished, I decided on the gym to join, saw all my Ask friends (twice!), hung out a ton with Emily, baked goods, read books, got a new bookshelf moved in and filled, finished our taxes… amazing!  I’m feeling very relaxed, my palpitations have been minor in the last few days, and I’ve almost entirely gotten rid of the elephant-on-my-chest feeling.  I’m not feeling nervous about tomorrow, but rather looking forward to this week.  It’s my easy week, with no sections to teach, and I’m hoping for a pretty smooth quarter.

I’ve had a long thing about this stress and my life, and I think I’ve made some headway.  My mantra this quarter: “everything is optional”.  As in, I take on only the stress I take.  Everything in life besides basic function – food, home, pay – are entirely optional.  School is optional, thus classes are optional.  The gym is optional, biking is optional, blogging is optional.  Reading is optional, assignments are optional, excelling is optional, research is optional.  I choose to do these things, but they do not characterize my life.  They are choices I make every day, because I like to do these things, and because I choose to spend my life this way.  And there is nothing that says I must keep doing any of these things.   I think keeping this in mind will help me keep from stressing out.  I’m a lucky girl who gets to do what she wants to do nearly every day.

Lessons in Obvious

It’s been a most triumphant spring break kind of day.  Got up early to go to the doctor… turns out I have twelve kinds of stress.  Or at least I have enough stress I’m failing to do anything with that I’ve racked up three stupid body things this quarter – migraines, heart palpitations, and a knot in my neck that feels like a tumor.  Anyway, doctor checked everything out, and he’s going to do some routine bloodwork, but otherwise I’ve been prescribed some chilling the hell out.  So… yeah.  Like I said yesterday, I guess I need to take this seriously.  That’s a really difficult thing to get ones mind around – seriously needing to chill out.  It’s a lot easier to think you’ll get to chilling out at some point when all the important stuff is done, instead of the chilling out being part of the important stuff.

I’m making headway in that direction though.  I toured a gym today, and I think I’m feeling settled on joining.  It seems like a great place – a separate women’s workout room, classes are all free and are all drop-in, towel and locker service… they even put shampoo and conditioner in all the showers, have free towel service, don’t play any music, have the TVs all on mute, and give you two free sessions with a trainer.  The class schedule looks nice, the fees aren’t terrible, and there’s no contract.  The people in there today also seemed really reasonable – no crazy bodybuilders, no meat market feeling, and a surprising number of middle-aged folks and seniors… just the sort of folks I want!  Plus, it’s just a stone’s throw from the Center (where I have a class, and will be doing research at next quarter), thus not far from the house, and also could be made to be on the way to campus.  I don’t see how there’s a downside, other than general gym-phobia.  But if yoga classes and some regular working out-type exercise make me feel better, and maybe teach me to release some stress… it’s got to be worth it.  And maybe I’ll stop having panic attacks and migraines!  I’m pretty excited, if somewhat aprehensive.

So post gym and doctor today, we spent the whole day working in the front yard.  I put together a little master plan for what I want to do with the front garden, and we got a really great start today!  I spread out the whole pile of dirt that was left over from the palm tree stump’s removal.  We’ve been letting the pile decompose for a while hoping to make dirt out of palm fiber, and it was looking really nice when I got into it today.  So I flattened all that, and trimmed the front hedge, and helped Lewis remove some small tree things.  It’s amazing how much nicer it looks already!  Thursday is going to be our big nursury trip, I think, to get the plants and vines and whatnot we’d like to put in.  I’ll post pictures as soon as there’s something more than excitingly flat dirt.  I’m very excited!


Lovely day for a lovely wedding.

Got up mightily early this morning to make it to a 10 am wedding in Berkeley.  The groom was one of Lewis’ friends from junior high.  It was quite a nice affair – both the (fairly non-traditional Jewish) ceremony and the reception were both at The Brazilian Room in Tilden Park in the beautiful Berkeley Hills.  There was a great Bay Area mist about this morning, with lots of light rain and fog.

The wedding was a much smaller affair that I anticipated, since Lewis and I got invited and I’ve never really met either the bride or groom in the years we’ve been together.  But they were at our wedding, and Lewis and the groom seem to have solid affection for one another… so it was quite an honor to be on the list!  Our friends Ben and Maya were there, as well as some other old classmates of Lewis’ from Davis, so we were in good company.  We also carpooled with another couple from Davis who we hadn’t met who were quite lovely and I’m sure we’ll see around town in due time.

I’d never been to a Jewish wedding before (actually, this is the first non-family wedding I’ve been to!), and it was very cute.  They aren’t particularly orthodox, so it was a very casual ceremony, but it did have the various blessings and canopy and glass-crushing I came to expect.  And a klezmer band.  And lots of circle dancing!  All in all, it was a really warm and relaxed reception with lots of participation from the crowd and lots of silly happenings.

Only downside for me was for some reason my heart wouldn’t stop palpitating in the latter half of the reception.  I kept walking outside to get some air, getting myself calmed down, and then going back inside and having it start up again.  It did eventually stop, but I think I went through four prolonged rounds of it or so, and it’s usually just one or two off beats before it rights itself.  It was at least well timed to prod myself into getting an appointment at the health center, since I had spoken to my nurse about the general palpitation issue last week and she told me to come back in with my records from my old place in LA where they had done an echo cardiogram.

I do think it’s just stress (as in, this always happens waaay more frequently around finals week and such than any other time), but anyone who has had regular palpitations must know how off-putting and a little troubling they are.   At any rate, when I had that echo cardiogram done last time all my doctor said was that I had a slightly irregular heart beat, and I’m sure that’s all that’s going on now.   It’s funny how nervous I get about my body when I’m stressed out.  I keep finding muscle knots (I think) in my neck that my brain just can’t let go of.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to talk myself out of thinking that they’re cancerous lumps or some sort or another.  Any tiny thing goes wrong and I presume the worst.  This doesn’t happen when I’m feeling less stressed – I wonder what it is about stress that makes me feel so… perishable?  At least my hair isn’t falling out, like one of my grad school compadres.