What I Learned From Tracking My Health

What I Learned From Tracking My Health

Months ago, I created my very own book that combined a health tracker and daily planner all in one. I did this because I wanted to be able to do these two things daily without having to get two different books.

I am coming up on a year of using these and it has been pretty eye opening for me. In this post, I will be discussing what I have learned about myself in the past five months.

What health stuff I track and why

Ever since about two weeks after I had COVID-19, I have experienced many different symptoms that can be attributed to post-viral syndrome (I have a whole post about that). I am also really sensitive to hormonal fluctuations which has caused uncomfortable symptoms. These two things combined have greatly disrupted my life.

After a couple months of the post-COVID symptoms, I decided that I was going to start tracking how I felt each day. I began tracking my mental/physical status, the food/supplements I consumed and what day I was on in my menstrual cycle. I have kept up with doing this since then.

The reasoning behind tracking everything has been to see if there are any correlations and/or causations. Finding any may help me figure out how to fix things or be able to anticipate things happening so I am prepared.

What I have learned from tracking my health

As I stated above, tracking has been eye opening. Looking over these five months and analyzing everything has made me realize that I am not out of the woods yet with the post-COVID and menstrual cycle issues.

Here are the things that I have learned:

Post-COVID/general-

  • May-June were horrible overall. I had lots of bouts of my post-COVID crud (GI, neurological, respiratory and heart issues). I guess I was too proud to admit that the symptoms didn’t totally go away.
  • I am groggy on days without vitamin B12.
  • Allergy-type symptoms (itchy nose, swollen throat, itchy skin) are a regular thing for me. I believe this is another post-viral annoyance combined with a mast cell issue.
  • I will randomly have actual cold-like symptoms about three days out of the month. I have gone to get drive-through PCR swab tests but they are always negative. This must be a post-viral thing, too.
  • I was taking turmeric and Aspirin because I read that they can have health benefits that are needed during the pandemic. Things were going good with them for a while but within the past few months they started to mess with my GI system. I am no longer able to consume them.
  • My mental state consists of being happy and motivated most of the time.
  • I have developed heat stroke symptoms whenever I try to mow the lawn for some reason.

Menstrual cycle-

Before I start with the list, I wanted to give an explanation of the “GI and mental distress times” that you will see on it. This is when I get extremely anxious, upset, worried and experience horrible stomach issues (pain, bloating, nausea and sometimes loose stool) all at the same time.

Here are some general things about my menstrual cycle symptoms:

  • Since taking the full dosage of Claritin everyday starting in early July, my GI and mental distress times have reduced greatly. They don’t last for more than 1.5 hours and I am able to just breath through them most of the time.
  • Any hormonal nausea I do get that is too intense for me is taken away by red raspberry leaf tea and half of a Meclizine tablet.
  • The length of my cycles switched from 27 days to 31 days and then back to 27 again. I am not sure why this happened. PCOS maybe?

My last two cycles yielded pretty much the same symptoms on all 27 days of them. Here is a play-by-play of what I experienced during them-

  • Days 1-4: Menstrual cramps (days 1-2), fatigue, mild headache, low appetite, post nasal drip, happy and focused.
  • Days 5-8: Itchy eyes, post-nasal drip, happy, motivated, focused and bloody gums.
  • Days 9-11: No physical symptoms, happy and motivated.
  • Days 12-15: Leg aches, bloating, appetite increase, lightheadedness upon standing, ovary aches (day 14), GI/mental distress time (day 15), happy most of the time and bouts of sadness.
  • Days 16-19: Appetite increase, good energy for workouts, irritable at times, happy at times and easily startled.
  • Days 20-23: Lightheadedness at times, irritable at times, happy most of the time, some bloating and not enough energy to workout on day 22.
  • Day 24-27: Tender breasts, nesting, neck aches, nausea (day 26), smell of blood in my genital area, insomnia, some bloating, rumination, irritability and night sweats.

The main takeaway

What I take from all of this information is that I have some health issues that I probably won’t be cured of. All I can do is keep managing my symptoms so that my life is not disrupted further. Things have been going pretty good lately and I want that to continue on.

Do any of you track your daily health symptoms?

Thanks for reading!

If you are interested, you can find one of my health tracker/daily planners here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0915M7S3B

#journalsandplanners #health #women #nonbinary #pms #pmddtreatment #postviralsyndrome #COVID19 #symptoms #mentalhealth #physicalhealth #hormonalproblems #pcos

The Simple Breathing Exercise That Helped Me

The Simple Breathing Exercise That Helped Me

We all have been through a lot since the pandemic began. Having to give up certain things and basically try to adapt to a different way of life- is tough.

Things have been rough for me since getting COVID-19 in March 2020. It left me with some physical issues that have been very uncomfortable and scary at times.

One of the scary things for me has been some breathing problems I have had to deal with. Fortunately, I have learned a great breathing exercise that has helped me in times of need.

Intro to breathing issues

Having difficulty breathing is a terrible feeling. Most people are used to not even thinking about their breathing-its just something automatic. It may come as a surprise to know just how complex of a process the act of breathing actually is.

When you are having breathing difficulties, you may feel like you are unable to take a deep breath or you can take a deep breath but it doesn’t feel like your lungs actually got any of the air you breathed in. You may also have a tight feeling in your chest and/or chest pain when you try to breathe.

It is never a good feeling no matter what.

There are various reasons as to why someone may have issues breathing and in most cases- should be checked out by a medical professional.

Breathing issues: physical

When it comes to breathing issues, there are quite a few physical ailments that can cause them. The degree of physical breathing difficulties that one can have ranges from mild to life threatening in these cases.

What people may not know is that it is not just lung conditions that can cause difficulty with breathing- it can also be caused by heart issues. The following includes some of the conditions that cause breathing difficulties:

  • Infections-Pneumonia, whooping cough, bronchitis etc.
  • COPD
  • Asthma
  • Hypertension
  • Pulmonary embolisms
  • Cancer
  • Anemia
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Allergies

An extra word on COVID-19-

When it comes to COVID-19, there seems to be a high risk for individuals who test positive to end up with pneumonia. The Delta variant seems to cause this to happen even more than the other variants have.

If one is having a hard time breathing when dealing with COVID, it is important to also check your oxygen levels. This is because they may be low which indicates a trip to the hospital is in order. It is actually a good thing to do this no matter if you are short of breath or not because your oxygen levels could be low without difficulty breathing being present.

If you test positive for COVID-19, it is important that you let loved ones know so that they can check in on you while you are at home recovering. This is so that they can possibly bring you something you may need (if they live in the same town) or call an ambulance if necessary.

Even after one “recovers” from COVID-19, they may still struggle with shortness of breath or their shortness of breath may start after “recovering.” Oxygen supplementation may then be required afterwards and/or a prescription for an inhaler may be necessary.

Please consider buying an oximeter to have around. It is extremely important when you are ill with COVID-19.

Breathing issues: mental

Difficulty breathing can be caused by mental health reasons, too. This is due to our minds being able to create physical problems.

It can all start with someone feeling a sense of worry, anxiety, panic or fear. Then, these mental symptoms will trigger the fight or flight response which is physiological in nature. When this response happens, adrenaline (a hormone) gets released.

The release of adrenaline is what causes the breathlessness some people may experience when they are dealing with the aforementioned feelings.

The thing that is different about your mental state causing shortness of breath is that it can get better in a shorter amount of time. You will have to calm yourself down somehow (might be hard to do) but you probably aren’t going to end up in the ICU for this type of breathing problem.

Because your mental state can create shortness of breath, it can also make it worse. For example, you could already have shortness of breath due to a physical reason and the fear you feel from not being able to breath very well makes it worse.

My breathing issues

Whilst having COVID- I did not have any shortness of breath. It oddly came about two weeks after “recovering” along with all my other post-COVID symptoms.

One day I felt like I had this tight band around my chest. This made me unable to take a deep breath in. It was scary as I had no idea what was happening to me.

There were other times that I would have this feeling where I could take a deep breath but my lungs (or brain) weren’t able to register it or something like that. It was a really strange sensation.

These two breathing issues were very frequent for a quite a few months. I kept trying to get an appointment with my doctor as I thought I was having serious lung issues but he told me it was probably just anxiety. Because of this, I decided to just work through it at home.

I was aware of the breathing issues a lot of the time and it was really annoying. I tried putting Vick’s on my chest, neck and nose with the idea that it might help me breath better. I also tried breathing in steaming hot water mixed with peppermint essential oil.

It wasn’t until I came across a breathing exercise that I would find any kind of relief.

The breathing exercise that helped me

On my desperate search to find something that would help me, I found a list of breathing methods and exercises. The very first one on the list was the one that turned out to be an amazing tool for me to use when my breathing gets funky.

It is called, pursed lip breathing.

The pursed lip breathing exercise is really simple and can be done anywhere, anytime. It is just inhaling through your nose for a couple seconds and then breathing out with your lips pursed (like you are whistling) for a few seconds. You will most likely need to repeat this a few a times.

The reason why this is a recommended exercise for people with shortness breath is because it helps to slow down your breathing so you can get a deep breath in. Overtime, it can even strengthen your lungs if practiced regularly.

Pursed lip breathing is also very calming for some people. It can be used for when your shortness of breath is caused by mental distress, too.

I first went into this breathing exercise with the idea that it would not help me at all. I was thinking, “how can something so simple help me?” As it turns out though, it helped me so much.

After a few rounds of doing pursed lip breathing, I felt the shortness of breath reduce by quite a bit. It was like it helped “reset” my breathing (for lack of a better explanation) and took the pressure off of my lungs to work so hard to get a good breath in.

Ever since, I have been practicing this breathing exercise for about ten minutes each day. I really feel like it has strengthened my lungs and continued to help me. Other people with long-COVID have found relief with it as well.

In conclusion

Breathing issues can be really scary and life disrupting now matter the cause. Exercises and methods such as pursed lip breathing can be really helpful when you don’t need to be hospitalized for your breathing difficulty.

I have found great relief with pursed lip breathing and highly recommend it for anyone who deals with shortness of breath.

Have any of you had breathing problems? How did you deal with them?

Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: Some links on my site may be affiliate links. This means that I may receive a commission on things you click on and purchase.

#breathingproblems #mentalhealth #physicalhealth #covid19 #infections #longcovid #covidlonghaulers

Super Goals For The Fall!

Super Goals For The Fall!

We are almost to fall. Whoa! I was hoping things would be better in terms of the pandemic but that didn’t happen. In fact, things are actually much worse.

Regardless of things still being crappy, I am determined to make the fall good for my family and I. This means that a another “Life Check-In” is in order.

I completed one a couple of days ago and I wanted to share my fall goals with you guys!

The Life Check-In environment

A big part of doing a check-in, is the environment. It needs to be set up in such a way that I can accurately asses my life and dig deep on things.

This means comfort, comfort, comfort!

To do this, I first pick out a comfortable place to sit and start making some tea (or coffee). Next, I find a good ambience video to watch/listen to. There are a lot of good ones so it usually takes me a few minutes.

Once my tea and ambience video are ready, I get out my handy-dandy notebook with my purple gel pen. Then I sit down and start thinking!

For this particular check-in, I sat in my favorite chair in the living room. Here is a picture of it:

Well loved and cozy!

The following is the ambience video that I picked to put on my TV:

I love the videos on this YouTube channel. This one in particular caught my eye due to the name. Leaving the past and moving forward is what I want to do.

My tea beverage of choice was the following:

I made myself a Pumpkin Chai latte. Absolutely delicious!

These three things together set the stage for another wonderful check-in!

How I am doing and goals

I decided to break this down into different parts of life…

Physical health-

I am doing great physically overall. My workouts are consistent, diet is relatively good, my supplements are having a positive effect etc.

The only goal I have for my physical health is to get in some more vegetables each day. They are so healthy and I just feel like I need more of them.

Mental health-

I am a naturally, extremely anxious person. This pandemic is not helping that at all. In fact-it is making it even worse.

My goal is to not read/watch so many stories about severe COVID infections. I know I need to stay vigilant and in the know about what is going on but I have been doing too much with these horror stories.

I don’t know how much good reaching this goal will do but I will try anyways. Sitting in my bed and crying is not conducive to a good life.

Work/career/finances-

I have two goals for the fall in this area. They are as follows:

  1. Snag a remote job- I have a lot of skills and 1.5 college degrees (didn’t finish my master’s degree) to bring to the table. There is no way I wouldn’t be a good candidate for some of these jobs!
  2. Get my tea line going- Once I secure a job, my goal is to start a line of teas. I will reveal more about this when I actually get a job.

Family-

Family life is going well overall. I do have two goals and they are as follows:

  1. Reach out to loved ones more- I need to talk to my parents and brother more. Sometimes they don’t think I like them and that isn’t true- I am just bad about contacting people. I always wait for them to do it and I don’t want to do that anymore.
  2. Have more meals together (my husband, son and I)- We usually do our own thing when it comes to eating. I want us to start sitting at the table at the same time and eating some of the same things.

Romantic relationship-

My goal for this part of my life is to have some at-home date nights. I just want to keep our relationship fresh and fun which is hard to do when we can’t go out anywhere. Hopefully some of the ideas I have seen will work for us.

House and home-

My goal here is to keep my home cleaner and more organized. I am never going to be like the women I see on YouTube that have perfect homes but I can do better than what I have been.

Leisure/hobby-

I love to blog as a hobby. My goals for it are as follows:

  1. Increase my reach- I want to get a lot more views each day/week/month. To do this, I think I need to work on my SEO skills and go back to tweak some of my older posts. If you have any ideas for me about this, please leave a comment!
  2. Keep improving on content- I want to keep putting out quality content that is informative and helpful for many people.
  3. Improve look of site- I want to make some tweaks to how my site looks so that it makes people want to stay a bit longer.

I also love to read but haven’t been doing it much as of late (I sure have bought a lot of books though!). My goal is to read at least one book a month starting in the fall.

Beauty-

I try not to be vain, but I do care about the way I look. Because of this, there are some goals I have for fall regarding the outer physical part of me. They are as follows:

  1. Maintain my facial skin- At this point, there really is no other option for my skin when it comes to clearing up my severe hyperpigmentation. My goal is to just focus on using the things that don’t make it any worse (aloe Vera gel, rosehip oil and sunscreen) instead of wasting money on so called dark spot removers. I have pretty much given up at this point.
  2. Clear up my back and chest acne- My goal is to have the acne in these areas get cleared up. I am going keep using my sulfur/salicylic acid soap most days of the week.
  3. Figure out how to retwist my locs- My goal is be successful at retwisting my locs this fall. It has got to be done! I don’t feel it is safe to go to the salon and I don’t really want to spend the money anymore.
  4. More consistency with under eye massages- My goal is to be doing the Gua Sha massage and LED light massage under my eyes multiple times a week. I fell off the band wagon a bit with that and I want to get back on it to see results.

So there are my fall goals!

I really like doing these check-ins. They allow me to come up with goals that will help me feel even better about myself and life. Even if I don’t reach them all the way- the fact that I tried is good enough.

What goals do you guys have for the fall?

Thanks for reading!

#fallgoals #2021goals #goals #fall #autumn #wfh #careers #life #familylife

Tested Positive for COVID-19? Here Are Some Tips!

Tested Positive for COVID-19? Here Are Some Tips!

I contracted COVID-19 early on in the pandemic (first week of March) and have since become a “long-hauler.” Knowing what I know now, I would definitely go about things differently if I were to get it again.

In this post, I will be providing tips for what to do when you are sick with COVID-19.

Tips for if you test positive for COVID-19

First of all, you should go get tested if you have ANY of the symptoms seen in COVID-19 infections. It is important to know for yourself and for those around you. One person can end up infecting many people.

  • Contact trace- Let people that you have been around in the days leading up to your positive test result that you have the virus. This is very important.
  • Let loved ones know that you have tested positive- This can be helpful so that they know what is going on with you and they will be able to check up on you.
  • Isolate yourself in your home- If you live with other people, try to isolate from them if you can. If you have to be in the same area, wear a mask and disinfect things you touch. Try to eat in a different area than the other person (or people) are in.
  • Get a pulse oximeter if you do not have one already and measure your oxygen levels frequently throughout the day. This is important because COVID-19 may cause life threatening dips in oxygen. Anything below a 95 reading is cause for concern.
  • Take supplements- There are supplements to take that may help when (and before) you have COVID-19. These include vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, turmeric, magnesium, selenium, oil of oregano, NAC, ginger, Quercetin and B vitamins.
  • Take Aspirin- Taking a baby Aspirin everyday when infected with COVID-19 may be a good idea to help prevent blood clotting that is known to occur with it.
  • Treat your cough/sore throat- Cough medicine, hot teas, throat lozenges and Vick’s VapoRub may help a cough and/or sore throat.
  • Treat aches/pains- Using Tylenol and Vicks VapoRub may help the aches/pains.
  • Treat an upset stomach- Using anti-nausea treatments may help with this symptom.
  • Treat and monitor your fever- Using Tylenol to bring down a fever is a good idea. If it does not come down or gets really high, you need to go in for medical care.
  • Try steam treatments- If you are really congested, breathing in steaming water with peppermint essential oil may help.
  • Get nutrition in if you can- If you are having a hard time eating, try something like broth and saltine crackers. Have someone deliver you food if need-be.
  • Keep hydrated- Hydration is especially important when you are sick. Drinking something with electrolytes would be a great idea.
  • Sleeping on your front (prone position)- This is something they have COVID-19 patients do in the hospital. This may improve oxygenation of the lungs when you are weathering the COVID-19 storm at home.
  • Rest but do walk around once in a while- Many people have fatigue when they are infected with COVID-19. It is important to listen to your body and rest but it is also important to get up every now and again. This will help reduce the chances of clots in your legs. Do not do any hardcore exercise when you are sick though.
  • Take care of your mental health- Getting worried and stressed out about everything may make things worse when your body is trying to fight the virus. Listening to happy media and talking to loved ones may be helpful during this time.

Tips for after your COVID-19 infection

Once you feel the active phase of your illness is over, you are going to still want to be careful with yourself. Here are some tips for you:

  • No hardcore exercise for a while- It is important to not try to go back into your intense exercise routine after the acute phase of your infection. This is because the virus may wreck havoc with your lungs and heart so you still need to let your body rest for a while. I know that this can be hard for fitness enthusiasts but experts believe it is important.
  • Keep treating the lingering symptoms if need-be.
  • Keep taking the supplements and Aspirin.
  • Monitor yourself for any after effects that are especially troubling. Document them.
  • Consider seeing a doctor (s)- COVID-19 can cause some damage to organs and also abnormalities in blood work. It may be a good idea to consult with a doctor and decide if things need to be looked at.
  • Keep taking care of your mental health- Some people who have had COVID-19 end up with mental health issues. Because of this, it is important to monitor your mental health and act accordingly if you are having issues. Reaching out to your loved ones and/or medical professionals may help.
  • Breathing exercises- Breathing can end up being a problem during and after a COVID-19 infection. There are some breathing exercises you can find on YouTube to help with this.

In conclusion

Despite learning quite a bit about COVID-19 in the past 9-10 months, there is still a lot of unknowns with it. This can make it very scary for some people to think about.

Just know that not everyone ends up on a ventilator and needs a double lung transplant afterward. Also, not everyone dies or even becomes a long-hauler.

While there is no cure available for the common person, there are some things that one can do to help fight a COVID-19 infection off. I hope that these tips I provided will really be of benefit to anyone who reads this and has contracted the virus.

Have any of you reading this had the virus? What was it like for you?

Thanks for reading!

#covid19 #safeathome #maskup #virus #sick #symptoms #health #supplements

How I Practice Self-Care

How I Practice Self-Care

Happy fall!

This year has been so bad in my opinion. It also has seemingly dragged on for a very long time.

I just wanted to discuss the problems I have had throughout 2020 so far and how I try to make myself feel better from time to time.

This year can kick rocks

I, like many others, had hope for this year. Then the pandemic happened and that hope went flying away.

2020 was supposed to be a start-over year for me. I was unemployed all of 2019 due to the stress of running a home daycare. Things were going okay until I took a virtual assistant position that turned out to be a scam.

I lost a good deal of money that I had saved up and I still owe my parents money to this day because they helped me out. Talk about shitty!

Here are all of the problems I have had so far in 2020:

  1. Felt like I had to start doing daycare again because I have no other job prospects.
  2. The pandemic happened.
  3. Could not even get started doing daycare due to the pandemic.
  4. Got rejected from every single remote position I applied to.
  5. Got sick with COVID-19 in early March.
  6. I have been experiencing post-COVID symptoms since the end of March.
  7. I really want to get blood work and scans done but I can not get a referral due to my doctor thinking it is just anxiety.
  8. I am always worried about being reinfected and the next infection killing me.

Needless to say, I am not having a good time and I do not think many people are either.

Trying to feel better

It is a good idea to practice self-care in these times. I have been trying to do this more instead of constantly reading about all of the bad things that are happening and how I might die a horrible death soon.

In the past few months, I started getting into women’s fiction books. The specific author I really like the most is named, Barbara O’Neal. Her books leave me feeling good inside and have been a perfect escape for me.

Barbara has about 13 books available to buy on Amazon and I am quite certain that I will read all of them! Here are the ones I have read so far and my opinions on them:

The premise for this book is that of a woman finding out that her sister who she thought was dead, is very much alive. This prompts her to try and get in contact with her again.

This is the very first book that I read by Barbara and I am so glad I bought it! Its time on the bestselling list was rightfully deserved. The characters were well developed and the descriptions of the settings were beautiful.

It was an all-engrossing read that I highly recommend to others.

The premise of this book is that of a woman finding out that she inherited a large estate from her mother after her passing. As she tries to figure out what she is going to do about the estate, she gets to uncover her mother’s secrets.

I loved this book and found it really cool. I was very eager to find out what the secrets were and why her mom was hiding the information. It was hard to put down and I read it in about two days.

I highly recommend this book!

The premise of this book is that of an aging, food blogger who meets with other bloggers to decide who gets to inherit her farm. She has to choose between three women with different backgrounds and back stories.

I loved this book and it took me only a day to read it. The fact that it was about bloggers was what made me buy it in the first place. It had great character development and the graphics of their blog posts sprinkled throughout the book, made it all the more interesting.

I would recommend this one, too!

This is the book that I am currently reading from the author. It is just as wonderful as the other ones!

These are the books I have on deck. I am excited to delve into these stories next.

Books, a nice cuppa tea and ambience

I have been sitting down with these books with a cup of hot tea beside me. Doing this is unbelievably relaxing.

Another thing I added a couple days ago into my book reading times is playing nice ambience sounds. It just ties everything together for a great experience.

There are so many ambience videos on YouTube to choose from. This is one I really like:

Self-care is important for all!

We need to take care of ourselves, physically and mentally. Times are really rough right now and it is imperative that we stay as healthy as possible.

I have been struggling a lot this year and my self-care moments really give me some relief.

How are you guys handling this crazy pandemic and what are you doing for self-care?

Thanks for reading!

#selfcare #womensfiction #books #bookworm #tea #coffee #covid19