Another month, another post.

I’ve been busy lately…some of which is in a good way, some of which is not. I have been feeling better in general, and I think a couple of factors have played into this.

I have NOT gone to see a therapist yet. The doctor that my regular doc recommended doesn’t take insurance, and frankly I don’t have the money to pay $170 per session. I’ll eventually find someone else, but I’ve had a pretty full schedule, so haven’t really had the time.

The holidays came and went, and I am super-relieved about that. We had Christmas dinner with my wife’s side of the family at our place, which was just a ton of stress…we pretty much didn’t stop moving for 2 days. I had the week of Christmas off, but it didn’t really feel like a vacation. That’s okay though…sometimes these things happen.

After the new year, I decided to quit smoking again. For about 15 years of my life, I would smoke up to a pack a day. I had quit for about 2.5 years before, but had picked it up again over the summer, probably as a byproduct of all the stress that we’ve had. It was always my crutch, and I just ran right back to it. It started as “just a couple” smokes on the golf course, but then spread to other parts of the day. I kept it away from work, mainly because it’s embarrassing. My intake started to really ramp up around the holidays, and I began to see the toll it was taking on me (in case you weren’t aware, cigarettes are bad for you). I think the last straw was when I did an “Insanity” workout in the basement, and I could barely get through the thing. At the same time, I hadn’t done one of those particular workouts in over a month, so that was a factor, but still, one would have to figure that the smoking played a large role.

Quitting is easy, folks. If you’re a smoker now, you probably want to slap me for saying that, but it is. Smoking provides no benefit to you, no benefit whatsoever. It does not relieve stress…it creates it. My 2.5 year run was accomplished by reading Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking. I suppose I lost my way a little bit during the summer, forgetting the very important point about the stress. I read it again over the new year holiday, and it has reinforced the knowledge that was already there, and so I feel confident to stop again. I have pasted a link to the book on Amazon at the bottom of this post. It’s about 100 pages, and you can read it in one sitting. You wouldn’t think that reading a book would help more than any other treatment (nicotine gum, Chantix, etc), but it did for me, and it can do the same for you. It’s been over 2 weeks, and I have no withdrawal pangs, no anxiety over not having smokes on me, and no desire for a cig when I pass by someone smoking. And it feels good. Read it.

Other than that, I’ve just been keeping busy. I’ve been hitting the gym more in past weeks…I was a 3 or 4 times per week guy before starting this new job, but dropped off when we moved and when I got busy at work. It really does make things more difficult when you actually DO something at your job. I’m making a conscious effort to get back to that 3-4x/week spot, and so far, so good. It’s about 4 hours of my week. There are 168 hours in a week. Let’s say 5 hours of exercise time, just to include showering time, etc. 5 hours out of 168 is about 3% of the week. 3 friggin’ percent. You know, it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is. But, it has to be done. It has been well documented that you feel better when you exercise (I don’t even need to link to anything; just google it), and maybe that’s one of the reasons I felt so bad in the past few months, because I haven’t been getting in there.

I have been practicing guitar like a madman. I try to get in at least an hour a day. Usually my wife goes to bed at about 9:30, so I’ll just practice until about 10:30. The Saturday after Christmas, I picked up a nice acoustic-electric from the local music store. It’s a very nice piece, and it was sort of necessary, because pretty much everyone agrees that it is best to learn on an acoustic, because your fingers get stronger, and the frets are slightly bigger, so you have to learn to stretch more. I’ve been doing well with that, and actually, I’m thinking about getting another acoustic (just a cheap $50 job) to keep in our basement. The logic behind that is that it’s a good idea to have one within reach whenever you get a moment to play. We watch tv in the basement, so if Elisa gets a phone call, or has to do something else for a moment, I can grab the cheapy and bust out some chords and scales while she’s busy, which is a lot more productive than just browsing the nets on my phone while she’s up.

With the exercising and the practice, there isn’t much time left in my schedule for video games, and you know…I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t care. Last month, I was upset about not being able to play, but I think that maybe I’m just starting to understand that it’s not a very productive thing to do. I have a once per week set time where I play online with a couple friends for maybe 2 hours, but other than that, I just don’t think it’s a great use of my time. This is just kinda funny, coming from the guy who, last console generation, bought an xbox360, a PS3, a Nintendo Wii, a Nintendo 3DS, a Playstation Vita, and a decent graphics card for his computer. Good lord. I now have a PS4, which I barely use. The thing that is mainly used is the PS3, and that’s because it’s our Netflix/Amazon Prime machine.

I also had my performance review yesterday. It actually went pretty well. I am progressing at a good rate (so they say), and my manager is impressed with my drive to really learn the systems and processes, which is good. I really thought that they were going to escort me out of the building, but it turns out my fears were unfounded. That was a HUGE load off my chest.

And finally, I have decided to lessen my alcohol intake. For a couple years, I have been a “weekend only” drinker, but I think that maybe even though I didn’t normally feel drunk on those days (sometimes, sure), I may still have been taking in too much. Too much booze messes with your nervous system, and can be another cause of depression. I’m not saying that I’m going to be a complete non-drinker…just going to probably stick to 2 drinks or less on weekend nights.  I think I’ll feel better, and maybe my energy levels will improve. The wallet size will improve as well…spending $50/week on booze does not a wealthy man make.

That’s pretty much it. Long story short, I’m feeling much better, and making improvements by being more productive. I probably should still see someone, because I think this thing will always be inside me. Again, I’m just ignoring the fact that it’s there, by keeping busy, so I think it’s important to talk about that with a professional.

Oh, and here’s that link: http://www.amazon.com/Allen-Carrs-Easy-Stop-Smoking/dp/0615482155

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