The official blog of author Jean Marie Bauhaus

Tag: health Page 1 of 2

laundry on the line

When You’re Stressed About Stress

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve recently become aware that I show all the symptoms of low cortisol and adrenal fatigue, and in researching that I’ve learned that managing stress is just as important for low cortisol as it is for too much cortisol.

When I think about managing stress, I’ve always thought about emotional stress – the big, obvious kind that comes from dealing with people or work or circumstances or not sleeping enough. That’s a big part of it, but it turns out, that’s kind of the easy part.

And then there are the environmental stressors – the noise and clutter that unconsciously take up our attention and cause low-grade anxiety and stress. Digital clutter, physical clutter, background noises, the million little decisions we have to make each day – these things can add up and place a lot of stress on us. These are also relatively easy to deal with, albeit time-consuming. But we can all set aside time to tackle the clutter, use white noise or noise-cancelling headphones to block out the noise, and create routines and habits that cut down on our daily decisions.

laundry on the line

Doing things the slow way is one way I’ve been managing stress. Bonus: less exposure to chemicals!

The hardest category for me has been the hidden stressors – all of the exposure to chemicals and toxins and pollutants in our food, our water, the products we use and even the air we breathe that can disrupt our hormones and endocrine system and put stress on our organs, digestive system and immune system. It turns out that this stuff is everywhere, and we don’t need to be aware of it in order for it all to place stress on our bodies that impacts cortisol production and our overall health.

I find this group the hardest because it is so insidious, and because it also carries the biggest monetary cost. It gets expensive to always eat organic and pasture-fed, to take supplements that cancel or mitigate the effects of the toxins, to always drink filtered or purified water, etc. If you’re someone who loves to use makeup and beauty products, finding versions that don’t contain potentially harmful or disruptive chemicals is also difficult and expensive.

I’ve dealt with a lot of this by opting for a more natural approach to beauty and to cleaning. I make my own household cleaner out of vinegar, water and hydrogen peroxide. I’ve also substituted skin and hair care products with ACV and natural oils. I wear makeup rarely enough that I don’t need to worry about the occasional exposure when I do wear it, and I’ve really streamlined and minimized the amount I wear. (Sidenote: my skin has been so much healthier since I started doing all of this.)

Veggie garden

I even started trying to grow my own veggies to help cut down on food toxins and make it easier to eat healthy.

But there’s only so much I can do, and that’s where I’m often tempted to get anxious and let this stuff stress me out, and I realize the irony of getting stressed about trying to avoid stress. But I can’t avoid everything. It’s simply not possible, let alone practical.

So I have a choice. I can either fret about what all those unavoidable toxins are doing to me, thereby making the effects worse by letting it stress me out. Or I can remember and trust that God is sovereign over my health and my lifespan, that he is Yahweh Rapha, the Lord my Healer, and He can protect me from the effects of all that stuff I can’t avoid.

I have a responsibility to be a good steward of my body and my health, but we’re not called to be perfect stewards – only faithful ones. His grace will always be there to fill in the gaps and make up for our shortcomings. I try my best – and my best wavers from day to day – and that’s enough. I have nothing to fear.

This comes back to what has become one of my guiding philosophies for work and life — do the best you can with what you have, right where you are, and trust God to handle the rest. And it’s also a good reminder that when I start to get motivated by fear, I’ve let my gaze wander too far from the One whose perfect love casts out fear.

There’s no way I’ll ever eliminate every source of stress from my life. But as long as I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, I’ll have perfect peace. And that’s better for my health than all the detox diets in the world.

Spring is in the air and I have so many plans

Our first bloom was lying on the ground, battered by a recent storm.

We’re already eleven days into March, and I’m finally feeling better, Daylight Savings Times’s attempts to rob me of sleep notwithstanding. It’s been a slow journey getting here, but I realized yesterday that I’ve had more energy lately and it’s been a while since I’ve had to battle brain fog.

A few things are responsible for this development. Back at the start of the year I cut way back on sugar and also started doing yoga regularly, and I’ve stuck with those things. Getting out to help rake leaves a couple of hours at least once a week has also helped to build up my stamina. I’ve lost about ten pounds, which is really amazing, considering that A) I wasn’t actually trying to and B) I’ve had to work really hard at losing weight my entire life. So either, God forbid, I’ve got some kind of wasting sickness I’m not aware of, or my body has actually finally healed to a point that I have a healthy metabolism and just eating healthy most of the time and doing a normal amount of activity can actually make me lose weight like a normal person.

But I think the real turning point came when I started going to bed earlier. Ever since our dog got sick, I’ve been making myself stay up until 10 PM so I can give him his last heart and seizure meds of the day, only for him to inevitably wake me up around 5 AM, if not earlier. So I’ve started setting an alarm for 10 and turning my light out between 9 and 9:30. Usually, when the alarm goes off, I give him his meds and then go right back to sleep, and I’ve actually been managing to get almost 8 whole hours of sleep more often that not, and I feel tons better. I don’t know why it never occurred to me I could do this sooner. At any rate, it sure is nice to have energy again (something I suspect I wouldn’t have if I actually had a wasting sickness), and I expect that will only get better as the days get longer and warmer.

With increased energy comes increased productivity. As much as I try to separate my productivity from my self-worth, it still feels great to be getting stuff done. Starting today I set a goal of writing at least 2,000 words of fiction a day, and in meeting that goal this morning I came very close to finishing a novella I started back in January. I’m also planning to write 2,000 words of nonfiction every afternoon, so watch for this blog (and my other one) to get a lot busier in the coming months.

I’m gearing up to do all of the stuff I’d put off until spring, when I knew I’d have more energy. I had dedicated this first quarter of the year (and man, I cannot believe the first quarter of 2019 is almost over already) to finishing all of the stuff I started last year, and I’ve accomplished two-thirds of that goal in getting both Broke Author and Dominion of the Damned published. The only thing left from last year’s list is Deliverance of the Damned. I’m about halfway through my dry read of the rough draft, and so far I haven’t found any significant changes that need to be made, other than the prose needing a good polish. When I finish reading it, I’ll give it a polish and then I’ll be ready to seek beta readers, so give me a holler if you’d like to volunteer for that. Deliverance won’t be ready to publish by the end of this quarter, but if I can get through the first round of revisions by the end of the month, I’ll be satisfied. After that, the speed with which I can get it to publication will depend on how fast my beta readers and then my editor can turn it around. But I’m really hoping to get it out there by summer.

As for my second quarter plans, in addition to revising and editing Deliverance, I’ve got two novellas in the editing queue, counting the one I’m about to finish, which is a standalone, and I’m planning to write two more to complete the new series I started with the other one. I’m also planning to write a short story set in the Damned ‘verse, about the prison riot mentioned in Dominion, and what happened to Phyllis. I’ll be giving that one away to everyone who signs up to my newsletter, including those already signed up, so head here to sign up if you want to read it. Or just enter your e-mail address in the form below. The March issue will be going out later this week, so you’ll be just in time to get that in your inbox.

On the non-fiction side of things, I’ll be putting together a course or two, and I’m also planning to launch a podcast, but I’m still figuring out what that will look like, so I can’t say too much about that yet. I’m also trying to decide if I want to go ahead and tackle the next book in my Broke Author series, or put that off until fall.

Anyway, considering how everything always takes way longer than I think it will, even when I allow extra time, I’m sure these things will keep me busy well into summer.

What about you? Are you coming out of your winter hibernation and starting to feel alive again? Have you got big plans for spring? Tell me all about it in the comments!

It’s 2019, but I’m Blogging Like it’s 2003

My goal for the new year: become as relaxed and chill as this good boy.

Happy new year, folks! I hope you’ve managed to get off the post-holiday struggle bus and start getting back into the swing of things. As rarin’ to go as I thought I was for 2019 to get started, as far as actually getting off my butt, my new year didn’t really get started until this week. But so far, it’s going pretty well.

2018 really kicked my hinder. I talked some in my last post about how stressful and chaotic it was, but I don’t think I fully realized the toll it had taken on me, or just how burned out I was, until I had an opportunity to really slow down and rest during the last half of December. I was a complete emotional mess in the days leading up to Christmas. I spent a lot of my break just being lazy as h*ck and refusing to feel guilty about it. I did a lot of journaling, but other than that and the necessary stuff around the house, I allowed myself to do ZERO work–not even to think about it–until after New Year’s, and then I spent the first few days of January just thinking about what I want and hope for for 2019.

My word for the year is “Health.” I have some chronic health problems I need to address, and I need to get better at taking care of myself. Part of that means eating healthier. I’m not doing anything drastic like Whole 30 or anything crazy like that (if you’re doing Whole 30, more power to you, and I wish you success. I did it once, and once was enough), but simply trying to be more mindful about what I put in my body and making healthier choices on a day-by-day, meal-by-meal basis. One positive thing I got out of Whole 30 was the idea of stopping whenever I’m tempted to consider the impact what I eat will have on my health and on how I feel, and to ask myself if it’s worth it. Sometimes the answer is yes (with pizza and homemade baked goods the answer is always yes), but surprisingly often, the answer is no.

It also means moving more. I’m not going crazy with that, either, but I definitely feel better and tend to be in a happier mood when I fit some movement into my day. Currently that looks like doing yoga most mornings and occasionally before bedtime. I started doing yoga on my break, mainly because it seemed like a good way to settle my mind and my overwhelming emotions, and I kind of fell in love with it. By now I’ve been at it long enough that it’s starting to be a habit, and my day doesn’t feel complete without it. I’m also becoming bendier and less prone to carrying tension around in my muscles, which is helping a lot of my aches and pains.

It also means resting more. I thought I had a pretty good handle on slowing down and resting when I needed to, but I took this rest assessment and discovered that I actually suck at resting. Apparently just getting to bed on time (most nights) and letting myself be lazy on Saturdays isn’t as adequate as I thought. So I’m trying to fit more types of rest into my life. Yoga is part of that. I also got out my guitar and started practicing again, and I dug out my coloring books and pencils and started a new embroidery project, because it’s easier for me to be still and quiet and not let my thoughts spin out of control and wear me down if I can keep my hands busy and have something visual to concentrate on. And I’m trying to take advantage of this freakishly warm winter to get outside and into the woods more often. Oh, and I’m trying to spend less time on my phone, except for when I’m using it to read or listen to books or podcasts.

As far as my working life goes, this looks like being more gentle with myself and moving at a more relaxed pace. Last year, I let myself get sucked into this hustle mindset of trying to do all the things and get them done as quickly as possible, and I blame that for the burnout I was feeling by the end of the year. I’m just not made for hustle. I’m wired to be slow, thoughtful and methodical, and when I forget that, or try to force myself to be different, it’s always a recipe for pain and suffering. I also let myself get pushed into believing I had to be a lot more ambitious than I’m actually wired to be, to come up with a vision for my life that, when I snapped out of whatever spell I was under and really examined it, was sheer insanity and not the kind of life I want for myself AT ALL.

Side note: one thing I discovered about myself last year is that I’m an Enneagram 9 (head to the Lazy Genius’s Instagram and click on her Enneagram story highlight for a quick primer on the Enneagram, if you don’t know what that is), and 9’s have a tendency to “merge” with people we spend a lot of time around, meaning we tend to internalize their goals and ideals as our own. I realized I was spending a lot of time following influencers whose ideals and goals are great for them, but terrible for me. So I had to spend some time culling my feeds and eliminating all of the voices that were leading me down an unhealthy path, and I also had to spend some time just staying off of social media altogether and getting really quiet while I figured out what I actually want and what is actually best for me and my life. And going forward, I now know I need to be really careful about the voices and influences I allow into my life. But on the flip side, I can use this tendency for good by surrounding myself with people who are positive influences and will help steer me in the direction I want to go.

So I’m trying something new this year. I’m not setting any concrete goals for myself, I’m not going after any big dreams. I’m not actively investing in personal growth or trying to change myself in any big way. Instead, I’m just going to let myself relax this year and really get to know myself, and get used to being comfortable in my own skin. And I’m going to just enjoy my right-now life without trying so hard to change it. Because while it’s not perfect, it’s actually pretty good. I’ve already accomplished a lot of things and I’m living out the result of several dreams having already come true, but you wouldn’t know it, because instead of letting myself slow down and enjoy any of it I’m always looking ahead and chasing after the next big thing. But I have this theory that if I just relax and enjoy my life and just keep doing my work at a steady pace, it’s all going to work out the way it’s supposed to. So for now, I’m just going to allow my life and career to unfold one day at a time without trying to force anything to happen, and to be led by my own intuition and instincts instead of by the proclamations of gurus and experts.

What does that mean for my writing? It means I’m going to take a more relaxed approach, for one thing. This is the first time in three years that I don’t have any official deadlines or contractual obligations to fulfill, so I’m going to enjoy that freedom and follow the muse where it leads me. I’m going to allow myself to have multiple projects going at once, bouncing back and forth as inspiration leads me, instead of forcing myself to focus on one story from beginning to end. I’m going to work at a comfortable pace and not worry about a production schedule or setting arbitrary deadlines for myself. Stories will get done when they get done. Books will come out when they come out. And hopefully, I’ll rediscover the joy of creating for creation’s sake instead of focusing on what the end product will look like and how well it will sell.

Currently, I’m working on two novellas. One is a stand-alone. The other is the beginning of an experiment in serialization–I’m planning to release this story as a series of shorter novellas, and eventually bundle them together into one larger volume (or volumes, depending on how long it ends up being; I’m thinking this could turn into an ongoing series) a la what Hugh Howey did with Wool.

I started this new series this week on a whim, although it’s been percolating in the back of my mind for quite a while now. If you’re a longtime subscriber to my newsletter, then last year you got the chance to read a short story called “Night Driving,” which I’m getting ready to release in e-book form alongside another short I wrote last year. This new series will center around the main character of that story and pick up about six months after those events. I’ve got a couple of scenes in the can and I’m really in love with these characters and this story, which popped up more or less fully formed in my head over the weekend. I’m also really excited about the possibilities of where I can go with it. It’s a supernatural thriller, and it’s going to allow me to explore some themes and questions relating to my Christian worldview in ways that won’t be too explicit or preachy. So anyway, since that’s what I’m excited about, that’s what I’m focusing on right now.

The other novella–which might be more of a novelette–is a horror story inspired partly by my own experiences with sleep paralysis, and partly by all the murder documentary shows I watched last summer when we had free satellite and no streaming memberships and the only decent channel was Investigation Discovery. I’m not as excited about that one, but I’m having fun writing it.

I’m also still working on outlining and world building for the YA Southern Gothic I got inspired to write last year. And don’t worry, Dominion of the Damned Damned fans, that hasn’t fallen off my radar. Getting both the new version of Dominion and the sequel, Deliverance, published this year is still high on my priority list. I’m still awaiting the final six chapters of Dominion from my editor-slash-husband, but he also needed a break, and currently he’s distracted by trying to figure out what to do about some raccoons that have apparently invaded our walls and ceiling and keep waking him up in the middle of the night with their antics.

But I’m hoping to get Dominion back out there soon, and then I’ll turn my attention to revising Deliverance. As for writing the third book of the trilogy this year, though, I’ve decided to put that off until next year. For one thing, Deliverance is pretty harrowing and ends on kind of a bleak note, and my emotions need a break from that universe. For another, I truly have no idea how to get these characters out of the bind I left them in. I know the answer will come to me eventually, but it won’t do any good to try to force a solution. But knowing my tendency to think about stories other than the one I’m working on, there’s a really good chance that the answer will come to me while I’m writing something completely unrelated.

One thing I won’t be doing a lot of this year is marketing. Last year, I made book marketing a big goal and spent a lot of time and energy (and a little bit of money) trying a number of different tactics. And it made not one single whit of difference to my book sales. In fact, if anything, my overall sales went down. According to smart people who are a lot farther along in this journey than I am, active marketing is pretty useless unless you’ve already got a large back catalog of books, and at this stage of my career I’m better off putting all of that time and energy into writing and producing more books. So that’s what I’m going to do, which takes a whole slew of marketing-related projects and activities off my plate (as far as fiction goes, at any rate. I’ve got a nonfiction book coming out soon, and marketing tends to be more effective for nonfiction books, so I’m not entirely off the marketing hook, alas. But nonfiction marketing also tends to be way easier, so it should balance out).

One thing I’m still undecided about is my newsletter. Last fall, I had both decided and announced that I was going to move from a monthly to a quarterly newsletter. But I don’t think I really like waiting that long between issues, and also, that’s when I was viewing my newsletter as a marketing tool. But now I’m starting to look at it as a way to connect with my readers in a more personal way, and a way to share bits of my life and cool stuff I’ve discovered, rather than a way to say “Hey, here’s a new thing I wrote, please read it.” But (again) I’m also wondering whether it would be better to do that via newsletter or here on the blog. Right now, I’m considering moving to an every-other-month schedule and sending out a curated newsletter filled with stuff I think you’ll like. What do you think? Would you like that? Or do you already get enough of that sort of thing in your inbox?

Which finally brings me to this here blog. I know this sort of post is really old fashioned. This post is more Livejournal circa 2003 than 2019. This post assumes you’ve got a long attention span and, even more audaciously, that you actually might care about what’s going on with my life, and that you care to know not just what I’m working on, but why those projects. This is what blogging used to be, and why I got into it in the first place, and I miss it. From other grumblings I’ve been hearing, I know I’m not the only one. As people grow more and more weary and disconnected from social media, I have a feeling that this type of blogging might come back into vogue. I know that I certainly plan to do more of it in this space. Not real often, because, let’s not kid ourselves, this post is really long, and I’ll honestly be surprised if anyone is still reading by this point, and also because it’s taken me all morning to write. But once in a while, maybe, when I’m full of things I want to say.

What do you think? Do you miss this lengthier, more personal style of blogging? Would you like to see more of it from me? Or do you want me to stick to short, fluffy entertainment articles and announcements? I’d love to hear your thoughts about what you’d like to see here, and also in the newsletter. And I’d also love to hear how your new year is shaping up so far. So leave a comment below!

Updates: On the book launch, the new WIP, the new diet, and new TV

I’m working backwards today. I had a light freelancing load today (though it’ll get heavier as the week goes on), so I knocked that stuff out first, and I’ll get my word count in after I’m done blogging.

Actually, the first thing I did was make a new Amazon listing for Midnight Snacks. Apparently I missed the deadline to get my final ebook file uploaded by a few hours, so they cancelled the pre-order listing and took the book down. It’s back up now, at a different URL, and available to purchase outright instead of pre-order, but it doesn’t officially launch until Wednesday, when the price will drop to .99 cents. But if you just can’t wait, you’re welcome to go grab your Kindle copy now.

I’ve settled on a tentative title for the Restless Spirits sequel: Ghost of a Chance. Or GoaC when I’m feeling too lazy to type that out. I’m hoping to make it to at least 10K words this week, although that might be a bit overambitious considering I’m looking at a full workload and a book launch this week. At any rate, you can read a rough excerpt here.

In PCOS-diet news, I’m at the start of Week 3 and still feeling great, despite cheating over the weekend (we had pizza and beer and Chex mix and Halloween candy. I may have also had a few slices of pumpkin bread and some ice cream). I could definitely feel the after-effects of all that gluten and dairy in my system yesterday, but today I’m back to feeling energetic and clear-headed. It’s pretty awesome.

In TV news, I’m caught up on everything from last week. I have not yet watched last night’s Once Upon a Time, Walking Dead or Downton Abbey. Avoiding Walking Dead spoilers is already proving to be a challenge, so hopefully I’ll be able to get that watched tonight.

Some quick thoughts…

I’m a bit miffed that Doctor Who has finally managed to make Clara so likeable and relatable just as it’s becoming clear that she’s about done. I’m still working out my feelings for Twelve, though. At this point I think I want to like him more than I actually do, although there are moments when I love him. I guess that’s pretty close to how Clara’s feeling.

I’m not sure I care if Dean Winchester is kind of evil if he can keep singing karaoke and being besties with Crowley. If “saving” him will put an end to all of that, I don’t think I want him to be saved. Also, I am so beyond caring anymore about angel politics, but I guess they have to give Castiel something to do.

Dean Winchester Karaoke

More of this, please. (Image via Pinterest)

Matt and I were talking the other day about Sleepy Hollow and how likeable that show is, and how it would be even more likeable if it realized it’s a character-driven show and not a plot-driven show. The crack-addled supernatural plots are fun and make for some neat visuals, but really, I’d watch this show if it’s just an hour of Ichabod throwing snit fits about the decline of Western culture and Abby trying to get him to wear skinny jeans. I wish they’d look to the Whedonverse — especially Buffy — for cues on how to put the main focus on characters and relationships while still having entertaining monster plots to drive the action.

Oh! Speaking of Buffy, another thing I’ve been doing on the weekends while I work on crafty things is listening to Dusted, a new BtVS podcast by Lani Diane Rich and Alastair Stephens. They’re going through and recapping and analyzing each episode, beginning with the original movie, and it’s terrific. They’re only up to “Teacher’s Pet” so you’ve got plenty of time to catch up. It’s making me so nostalgic. I’m going to have to make time for a complete Buffy rewatch sometime in the near future.

And that’s it for me. It’s a lovely, rainy fall day, perfect for writing about haunted houses, so I’m going to go make some tea and get cracking on that word count goal. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear about what you’re watching in the comments. Just remember if you spoil me on Walking Dead I’m going to have to send Liam Neeson over there.

PCOS diet update, Halloween craft explosion, TV ramblings & other blather

After a full week on the new PCOS-friendly diet (no gluten, no dairy, mostly low-glycemic carbs), I can report that all week long I was more energetic and more clear-headed. I was also less moody (which, considering it was a PMS week, is really saying a lot), and by the end of the week I was sleeping better. I haven’t yet noticed any lessening of my external PCOS symptoms, but I figure that will probably take considerably more time than just a week. But if I can just keep all this energy and eliminate the brain fog for good, then that will make it all worth it.

I didn’t stick to it as diligently over the weekend. On Saturday Matt made bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers with cream cheese filling (a little overpoweringly spicy, but SO delicious), and then on Sunday he made brats, which I suppose I could have enjoyed sans hot dog buns, but I chose not to. And then since I was already in for a penny, I had ice cream. Oh, and that morning I had pumpkin spice bread for breakfast. Mmm. But I’m back on track today, and finding that the weekend indulgences didn’t derail me from feeling good like I worried they would.

I finally got out all of the Halloween decorations over the weekend, and got crafty and made a few additional items. You can see how all that turned out:

Halloween decorations 2014

For closeups, take a gander at my Instagram feed.

While I got my crochet on, I also caught up on all my shows, including Once Upon a Time, which was better than I expected. I appreciate that they’re basically telling a sequel to Frozen with those characters and not re-hashing the movie (which I still haven’t seen), and also that they haven’t completely derailed Regina’s pseudo-redemption arc. Although that show can’t do a decent redemption arc to save its life, so my expectation bar is set pretty low.

As for Castle, they’re just being mean, although I do like that they’re trying something new with (what I’m assuming will be) a season-long mystery to solve (and now watch them have it all tied up by the end of the second ep. Which I won’t see till next weekend, so don’t spoil me if you watch it tonight).

I didn’t get any writing done over the weekend, but I did meet my word count this morning, bringing the total on the untitled Restless Spirits sequel to 3,885.

I’ve (so far) got a fairly light week ahead of me as far as my freelance workload goes, so that should work out to give me the time I need to do the final edits on Midnight Snacks and get it ready for next week’s launch (you can pre-order it now for your Kindle, if you’re so inclined). I’m also hoping to get an official website up for my editing and self-publishing services.

So that’s how my week (and weekend) went. What about you? Did you watch anything that made you want to scream, or squee? Has Halloween exploded all over your house? How did you spend your weekend? Tell me all about it in the comments.

PCOS, goal interference, and reluctant diet changes

Last week was just a bad week. I have those from time to time, and I’m growing more accepting of that fact — and better at extending grace to myself — now that I’m past 40. Still, it’s really annoying to have stuff that needs to get done and lack the energy or mental clarity to do it. On the bright side, spending last week feeling vaguely ill has finally helped to convince/motivate me to get my diet back under control, since probably at least 99% of what was wrong with me could be traced to not eating healthy enough.

Seriously, I’ve been doing some research on my various chronic ailments and diet, and basically I’m not supposed to be eating any of the stuff I’ve been living on lately. I already knew that PCOS causes issues with insulin resistance and that I should be eating a low glycemic-index diet and not nearly so much bread (I’ve been eating a ton of bread, y’all) or sugar (hello, Halloween candy!). But apparently the fact that I have both PCOS and hypothyroid means it’s highly likely that I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disease that’s been linked to gluten intolerance. Yet more reasons for me to avoid bread. Excuse me while I cry into my pumpkin spice flavored English muffin.

And then this short podcast offered compelling reasons why dairy is also horrible for anyone with PCOS. The gist of it is that any animal-based milk contains natural growth hormones that stimulate androgen production and make PCOS symptoms worse. Also, despite the fact that dairy is considered a low-glycemic source of protein, it actually causes blood sugar to spike about as much as bread or sugar.

So lately, this is what my diet has looked like: for breakfast, an English muffin with peanut butter and a glass of milk; for lunch, tuna salad with cottage cheese mixed in on two slices of toast; a cup of yogurt in the afternoon; and something involving meat, veggies and some form of cheese for dinner.

Can you see a few problems there? No wonder I feel like crap half the time.

Of course, this is the worst time of year to try and start a new healthy eating regimen, with Halloween and the holidays right around the corner. And I’m actually dealing somewhat better with the idea of cutting out bread and sugar than I am with giving up cheese. But I’m really tired of not feeling well and it would be nice to actually have the energy to go after my goals.

I like that the podcast I linked above pointed out that it’s not like I have celiac disease or anything, so the occasional indulgence won’t kill me. That’s good to remember, because so many of my favorite things have either gluten or dairy or both. Off the top of my head, that list includes pizza, egg rolls, cookies, breakfast toast, beer, grilled cheese sandwiches and ice cream. Sure, there are gluten-free alternatives to all that stuff, but it tends to cost twice as much and often tastes half as good as the real thing.

At any rate, I’m going to need to do some more researching and planning on all of this. If you follow me on Pinterest, don’t be surprised to see an influx of PCOS and health food related pins showing up on your home page.

On discipline — or the lack thereof.

Lately, I have been suffering from a lack of discipline in my life. And I do mean suffering. As if my sporadic attempts at growing my WIP’s word count weren’t bad enough, I also keep failing to do basic good-for-my-health things like establishing an exercise routine or eating enough vegetables or getting to bed at a reasonable hour. All of this failure is leaving me feeling run-down and foggy-brained and blah, and it’s certainly not making me want to write during my allotted writing times, so of course you can see how it’s a whole vicious cycle.

Just as I keep starting out the week with good writing intentions and some actual productivity, I also start every week with excellent health intentions and manage to make myself work out and eat salads and avoid sugar or too much caffeine. But then I blow it on the not staying up too late part, after which I’m too tired to exercise and I need extra caffeine and I start craving starches and sugar.

Ostensibly, when I stopped going to bed super-early with my husband and started keeping later hours, it was to give myself more time to write and work on writing- & publishing-adjacent  tasks, and also to read before I turned in. Originally, I set myself a strict 11:30 bedtime, and it was all working out pretty great. But then my night-owl proclivities started getting the better of me, and I started going to bed later and later.

Part of the problem is that I started catching up on my “just me” shows — the ones Matt has no interest in watching with me — after he turns in, instead of trying to cram them all in on the weekend. At least this shouldn’t be a problem much longer, what with the TV season winding down. Half the shows I watch are having their season finales next week, and the other half will wrap up the following week. Then maybe I’ll be able to get some work done in the evenings and get myself to bed on time. Unless I cave into temptation to start marathoning some new shows. Or some old ones. I’ve already got my eye on a summer re-watch of both Buffy and Farscape.

At any rate, today I worked out AND ate my vegetables AND added just short of 500 words to Radium Town. Except about half of that was recreating the part of yesterday’s word count that somehow got eaten by Scrivener. I’d post a snapshot, but Scrivener still keeps acting wonky and freezing things up, and besides, I’m still on the dinner party that doesn’t end, so I’ll wait until I have something more novel to post than Agent Blake’s sparkling dinner conversation.

Now I’m going to see if I can watch my shows (Warehouse 13 and Agents of SHIELD) and get myself to bed at a decent hour for a change.

Around and About

Sorry for the blog slowdown, folks. It’s been a general writing slowdown, really, while I’ve been taking care of business re: my health. I hesitate to go into detail here, since that’s not really what this space is for, but since a lot of women deal with this and don’t even know it, because it’s grossly underdiagnosed (seriously, I told probably five different doctors about my symptoms before one of them pinged on the right diagnosis), and someone might actually be helped with this info, I will mention that part of what’s been keeping me busy-distracted-busy is developing a plan to manage my PCOS. I blog in detail about that and other health issues at my personal blog, which is rapidly evolving into a PCOS-management blog (Livejournal followers, you can find it syndicated here).

And as long as I’m telling you about other places you can find me, here are a few more:

– I created a Facebook page for commissioning knit/crochet hats. For a few years now I’ve been making cute novelty hats for my nieces and nephews for their birthdays, and every time one of these hat presents gets opened, somebody invariably tells me that I need to be selling that stuff on Etsy. The problem with that is that I lack the budget to buy enough yarn and materials to build up inventory, and my yarn stash has been whittled down to really impractical novelty yarns that are terrible for hat-making. Also, I failed to take decent pictures of each hat I made before giving it away. So the hope here is that I’ll get enough commissions for made-to-order hats to be able to build my stash back up and make a lot of hats and open a proper shop on Etsy, eventually. And it’s not just novelty hats on the menu. I can do regular grown-up pretty hats, too. And bags. And fingerless mitts, and scarves and blankets and… basically, when you see something on Pinterest that makes you wish you could knit or crochet so you could make it for yourself? You can hire me to make it for you. So check that out.

– I can’t remember whether I’ve mentioned this or not, but my Tumblr is active again after lying inert for over a year. It’s basically a catch-all that includes the feed for this blog, my Instagram pics and whatever I feel compelled to reblog from my Tumblr dashboard, usually geeky and fannish sorts of things, and occasionally inspiring things about writing. And of course the odd cute animal GIF.

– Due to an increase in activity from both trolls and creepers on my personal Facebook profile, I finally made that friends-only, and I’m only accepting friend-requests from people I know or with whom I have some degree of connection.  I have an official author page specifically for interaction with my readers, and I’m doing my very best to be more active there. So if we don’t actually know each other but you’d like to talk to me or ask me questions, either that page or this blog is probably the best place to reach out. You can also chat with me on my Twitter, but I’m not on there very consistently so I might be slow (like, taking days)  to respond.

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