Chronic fatigue, my old friend.
It's been an odd couple of weeks being back to work. I'm working a different loom to normal, which means learning new things. I like that, I enjoy getting to know a new tool, how it operates, getting to know it's faults so they can be dealt with quickly. It's a bit like getting to know a new friend. One thing I have noticed is I'm not getting anywhere near as much back and leg pain. Probably because it's not as busy and there is space for a chair so I can sit at the loom if necessary, but I have noticed my RLS is much worse. I wonder if, because I'm not as physically exhausted, I'm not sleeping through the RLS periods during my sleep?
Sadly there is not a great deal known about RLS or Willis Ebkom's Disease so this is one of those things I'm going to have to work out myself (you will find symptoms and treatments in the link I have posted above). I'm not anaemic so it could be caffeine, as I have a bit more time to drink a whole mug!
Every artist I know has drunk paint with their coffee!
The leg pain is often is worse if I haven't done much during the day, so it could be that I'm not doing as much physical exercise as usual and as I said before, I'm just not exhausted enough to sleep through it. There is a medication I can take but it often leaves me feeling hungover during the day which inhibits my ability to concentrate, As I drive and operate machinery, I don't want the medication if I can help it. This isn't to put people off from trying it though, you may find it works for you, if you are offered Pramipexole (Mirapex) take it and see.
Although being in less pain is great, it's a lot easier to manage than being constantly tired. The go to things that help to keep me awake, caffeine, sugar for instance are some of the main triggers for RLS, so those need to be avoided.
I have had a look into energy giving foods. This is also a tricky one because I have quite bad IBS and use the FODMAP diet (which I will talk about in another post) I am also vegetarian and allergic to wheat! (I don't make it easy on myself do I?)
So in instances like these, I keep a diary, I will play with my caffeine intake, energy food intake, physical exercise and write down how this effects my sleep to find a way to make my working day a more pleasant one.
One solution has been to drop a day halfway through my week. I work 2 days, 1 day off, work 2 days, weekend off. One of my weekends is spent with the children, those weeks are harder as there's less rest, but this can't be avoided for obvious reasons. These weeks, it's important to stay positive. I've only got 2 days of work before my next day off as opposed to, I've still got 2 days of work.
To cure the soul, by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul -
Although I still get up on my days off (I try to avoid staying in bed if I can - rather rest more frequently during the day) to avoid not being able to on my work days but I do sleep better the night before, probably knowing that I don't have to get up for work, I am probably more relaxed mentally. I fill my days off with things I want to do, not have to. Painting, writing, pottering in the garden, knitting etc. Naturally there are things I have to do, usually it's various GP and hospital visits, but there haven't been as many of those just recently!
I have just entered a competition which I am quite excited about, not that I think I'll win, but that with every order, Wraptious, the competition organisers will plant 3 trees!
There is a link here if you would like to vote for me. Just click the "like" button.
The plan for the day, as it's my day off, is to work on some Robin pastel drawings. Someone reminded me that pastels used to be my go to medium whilst at college. Nowadays I tend to use ink and watercolour but I'm going to give pastel a go again.
I still have my little Robin following me around the garden so I have plenty of photographs to work from.
His breast feathers are nearly all grown in.
With RLS it's really important to stay relaxed, the more tense you get, the more pain you feel. I find stretching my legs helps or a little routine I do, which was advised to me for IBS, but it seems to work for RLS too.
I start from the toes and work my way up my body to my head. I tense my toes as much as possible, count to 10 and relax, the same with each of my joints and muscles including taking a deep breath, hold it for 10 and relax, the last is to scrunch my face up, hold for 10 and relax...soon after, I fall asleep.
Any questions, feel free to ask, or just say hello!
Take it easy.