Tag Archives: health

Shortcutting… Illness

9 Jan

For the past few days, I have been ill. Nothing serious, before you panic, but just one of those slow-burning January flu type things (Northern hemisphere reference). Sore throat, headache, general fatigue – the works. It’s not a lot of fun but like Bradley Cooper’s character in a recent Hollywood film, I have found the silver lining to my experience: I can use it to help y’all out!

Stage one: symptoms.
Everyone gets headaches. Everyone gets tired. And quite a lot of people get sore throats every now and again. But tick all three boxes and hey presto – you might actually have a valid reason to complain. To this list of ailments I will add sinus pain, aching all over, and a runny nose. If you have three or more of the above, you’re ill. Congratulations.

Stage two: diagnosis.
This time, I decided to just mope around feeling sorry for myself, but if you want to know exactly what’s getting you down, there are a few alternatives. One is going to the doctor but that’s time-consuming and a bit old school. Much more fun is typing the symptoms into Google and freaking yourself out with all the weird and wonderful diseases you might have. In all seriousness though, a trusted website like NHS Direct is actually quite handy when you’re in need of a little indication of what might be wrong.

Stage three: recovery.
I have been relying on painkillers to get me through, coupled with rest and relaxation (read general slackery), and comfort food (read any available food). (Come to think of it, maybe that should be tripleted or something rather than coupled, but who really cares…) One benefit of a doctor is that they might actually give you proper medicine, but dragging the illness out is good in that it gives you an excuse to do a half-arsed job of everything for a few days.

Stage zero: avoidance.
There is, of course, a way to avoid all this trouble, and that is by not contracting any sort of illness in the first place. Contrary to popular belief, antibacterial hand gels are not the answer, although they’re kinda fun to carry around and whip out when the going gets rough. The ole soap and water are supposed to be a lot more effective, although I would recommend hiding your hands and not touching anything during sick season, just in case.

Hope you have more success than me in staying over the weather!
Keep shortcutting,
Zoe

Shortcutting… Stress

25 Jun

I’m not going to lie: I am super stressed at the moment (those italics meant emphasis not sarcasm). I won’t go into detail about all the little things I have to do at the moment at risk of boring you to death but I can say it’s a helluva lot. There are lots of metaphors I could use about drowning or climbing mountains but I’m sure you’ve all been here so let’s just get down to the dealing with it part.

1) Write a to-do list. It’s good to see that the list is finite, even if it’s pretty bloody long. Also, there’s nothing better than ticking things off. I sometimes write things down that I’ve done already just to tick them off. Yes. It’s that much of a rush.

2) Have breaks. I know it’s tempting to just keep on trucking but in my experience, the longer you plough on for, the less snow you clear at a time. It’s as though your plough keeps shrinking until it’s teeny tiny and you can barely shift the snow of your front step. Okay, that was a weird metaphor but you get my drift.

3) Have a bath with lavender bath salts. I know I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but you haven’t done it yet have you? Naughty. Go do it now. You will feel more relaxed than Father Christmas on Boxing Day. (I do apologise for all these wintry metaphors in summer, I’m sure I have some deep-set psychological issues or something to explain it.)

4) Get rid of distractions. You know my post on procrastination? Ignore that. That was a joke. You don’t actually want to procrastinate do you? Do you? Sorry, I’m a bit highly strung. But yeah, try not to put off important stuff with less important stuff, like eating, doodling, checking your blog stats…

5) When you do finish a big task, celebrate in some way: do a little dance, treat yourself to an oat and raisin cookie (a personal fave), or just do a little YouTube surfing. Or should I say snowboarding…

Hillary to base camp: we have reached the summit!

Keep shortcutting,
Zoe

Shortcutting… Tiredness

2 Jun

Okay: my phone battery’s low and my WiFi access is temperamental, so let’s make this quick.

I’m currently running on empty, rather like my phone, (so please excuse me if I don’t quite live up to my usual sparkling wit) and it has been difficult not to just collapse into bed and shut out the world, but I have found that there are ways to get through it. If you just can’t sleep head to my post Shortcutting… Sleep but if you have no choice but to power through, then stay right here.

Firstly, minimise movement. Any muscle contracted is energy wasted, so don’t do anything you don’t desperately need to. I also have a theory that eating loads should help as you’re getting more energy but this isn’t based on the most sound of scientific data so you might want to look into that before doing it. Also, shut your eyes whenever there’s an opportunity, i.e. whenever it’s not 100% necessary to have them open (so driving, cooking etc are excluded): I find that it makes me feel that bit less tired to just ever so slightly drift off. Finally, don’t stay up all night blogging. Your readers will understand (right?). On that note, good night (or if you’re not in a country where it’s night time, have a nice day)!

Keep shortcutting,
Zoe

P.S. Went to that Coldplay show I mentioned yesterday evening and it was AWESOME!!!

Shortcutting… Sleeping

18 May

Everyone around me seems to be suffering from insomnia at the moment, and it’s an issue that’s really been keeping me awake at night. I can’t help but worry about all the poor, sleep-deprived folk who are somehow tired at all the wrong times. I’ve tried dishing out advice wherever possible, but I think it’s time I reached a wider audience. My dear readers: it’s bed-time.

There are several ways to reach the land of dreams. The most obvious and reliable would be sleeping pills and/ or a glass of wine or two, but I’ve heard that drugs and alcohol are frowned upon by some, so let’s look at some alternatives…

You’ve no doubt heard that counting sheep is a great way to fall asleep. I agree that this is an extremely boring activity, but not a ‘fall asleep’ kind of boring, just a ‘stop counting’ kind of boring. Hmm, back to square one.

It’s certainly true that the harder you try to fall asleep, the more difficult it is. I would suggest distracting yourself with music or a book (I’ve found celebrity autobiographies particularly sleep-inducing), or even something more productive like writing (although be sure to proof-read in the morning; things sound very different in the light of day).

If we regard the battle to fall asleep as a war against the body, it becomes clear that, as brute strength will not prevail, more underhanded tactics are necessary. One of my top strategies is imagining myself in a different place with a random assortment of characters, thus tricking my body into thinking it’s already dreaming. Super sneaky, I know.

And if all else fails, these insomnia-related jokes might bore you to sleep:

Did you hear about the dyslexic agnostic insomniac? He lies awake at night wondering if there’s a Dog.

Having trouble sleeping? Try lying on the edge of the bed: you’ll soon drop off.

Keep shortcutting,
Zzzzz