Thursday, November 17, 2016

Pondering Healthy Hermit-Hood

Someone told me recently that they think I moved out to the farm and now I'm becoming a hermit.  I've been thinking about this lately  - I have time to ponder the pros and cons of hermit-hood because I'm home so much now, tending a menagerie of animals and a plot of land.  I even turned down an opportunity to attend a professional conference that I used to attend annually.  In the recent past, I would have been a little upset if I wasn't given the opportunity to attend.  It was important to me to maintain my professional contacts and to make sure I was perceived as someone who stayed current with new information.  I wanted to be involved.  I also wanted to stay in a hotel and have a good time drinking beers with friends who I don't see that often.  Why didn't I want to go this year?  Why don't I want to go anywhere?  

My focus is changing, I think.  Part of my desire to stay home more is that I'm excited by all the new experiences I'm having learning about raising animals and managing our small acreage, but I'm also tending to our health more lately, and that's really hard to do when I'm not at home.  A few years ago I had a routine heath screening and my numbers were borderline.  I was in my mid-thirties and my blood work was indicating that I wasn't healthy.  Not sick, yet, but the nurses talked to me like I was a person who was going to be sick.   They kept talking about boring stuff like cholesterol and blood sugar.  They measured my waist and weighed me and marked me down on the form in the obese category.  Sigh.  

All that was a bummer, for sure, but then I started having back pain.  The kind where my back would "go out" and I would have weeks of limited mobility and pain.  My job and some of my favorite things involve movement, and when my back was hurting it really sucked the fun out of everything.  

I've been known to say that if I have to have a job, then my job is definitely the one I want.  Not only do I work with cool people and have a flexible schedule, but it's taken me places -  I've traveled all over our region, working in at least seven states, and been to workshops out west and as far north as Canada.  I get to switch focus all the time, which keeps things interesting.  In the past fifteen years I've trampled through swamps, climbed mountains, and been deep under ground in caves, and got paid for it all.  

I've also spent countless hours riding in a truck to get to all those places, and once I'm there, I eat at restaurants.  Three meals a day, all made from low quality ingredients.  Turns out, it doesn't matter how hard I work physically, I can't work hard enough to counteract the hours of immobility in the truck and the repeated exposure to low quality food.  Add disrupted sleep on top of that, due to staying in strange beds and keeping strange hours, and its no wonder my health was beginning to slip as I got older.  

Luckily, I figured out that yoga keeps my back in line.  I have to do it regularly, but I don't have to do anything extreme.  I started with this Yoga Therapy for Back Pain DVD, and now I select free routines from the Yoga with Adriene website, and use my phone to watch them.  If I get out of the habit, my back reminds me that I need to take it seriously.  

I managed to get my blood work back to normal too.  I had to make food a hobby.  I read about food and nutrition, and make myself think about where the food I eat originates, how it was grown, and what's been added to it.  Brandon and I tried seemingly extreme things like juice fasts, and we found out that drinking fruit and vegetable smoothies and juices makes us feel better.  We spend a lot of money to buy quality ingredients, and it's working.  We're healthier, and stronger now at and nearing forty than we were at thirty, but it takes a lot of concentration, and when I get out of my routine by going somewhere, we get off track.  So maybe being a hermit is healthy.  

Or maybe I'm just a lazy introvert and I would rather stay home with my goats!

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