Anxiety is a bitch

I apologize to my mother and grandmother for using choice words in this post. 

That really seems to sum everything up. 

I went to bed last night at 8:45pm. (Yes, I am champion like that). I had great plans of getting 9 hours of sleep Thursday night. I was going to feel awesome on Friday morning. That was the goal anyway. Turns out, I probably fell asleep around midnight due to the major sciatic discomfort in my leg. I eventually got up and took a hot bath, which helped me relax. 

I know, I know. If I am not complaining about my garden, I am complaining about my weird health issues. But this is real life for me right now. 

Recently, I've started to notice that when I am completely relaxed, I have significantly less or even zero nerve pain. I've also noticed that these past 2 weeks I have been in a lot of discomfort. It's constant. And guess what is coming up on Monday? Oh right. My least favorite thing of the year: Traveling to Colorado to make donor visits. 

I think my anxiety causes my stress levels to be abnormally high on such a consistent basis that I don't even realize I am stressed out. (And really, I am not exactly sure what I have to be stressed about. My life is not that hard). High stress is so much my daily norm that I don't even notice how tense I am or how long I stay in "Fight or Flight" mode. 

So last night, during my sleepless hours, I started googling, which I know can be dangerous for many reason (One of them being that sometimes my anxiety makes me into a hypochondriac. Another being that I think it's a common human experience to get on Webmd and be convinced of your untimely death). However I did find this article about how stress can cause pain, including sciatica

Sciatica pain, which is often felt in the legs, is thought to be caused by the compression of the sciatic nerve. Some experts believe the condition most likely results from prolonged stress, and by getting to the root cause, the pain can be reduced or eliminated.  
So that's something. And the more medical things I've tried, which didn't work, the more I think that maybe it's connected with my anxiety. Don't get me wrong, I did see the x-rays of my back. I definitely have a vertebrae that is pinching my nerve, but I am beginning to believe that anxiety/stress is keeping it from healing, even if I go to the Chiropractor 3 times a week, (which I do).

I've also recently gain a little bit of weight and thus clicked on the suggested article from that previous article to this one: Stress Hormones and Weight Gain. One of the things they suggest is to straight up quit your job if it's causing too much stress trauma in your life. Oh geesh. I am not exactly ready to quite my job, but I think this upcoming work trip will be really telling. The last donor trip I took made me physically ill. I am really hoping this trip will not be like that.

Like with every work trip, I am trying my best to make sure I have things in place to be a healthier version of myself. (That way I don't have to spent next week solidly in crisis mode).

Here's what I've planned so far.

1. I am very strategic about where I am staying. Since the region I have to cover is really large, most work trips involve driving some place new every day. This time around, I am driving to different areas around Denver, but will be ending up back at the same spot at the end of the day. I'm really excited about this. I won't have to worry about check in or out times more than 1 time during my entire stay.

2. I cut my trip short by 1 day. Thus I am sticking with the "work trips should only be 3 days long" theory. Anything beyond that becomes hard for me to handle

3. I am staying at an Airbnb. (For those of you who don't know, this means that I am renting someone's entire apartment. Don't worry. They won't be there). This means I have access to a couch, internet and a kitchenette (so I can bring my ice pack and ice my back at the end of the day. I can also keep it stocked with cold water and fruit). I also will have access to a small community pool where I am staying and am hoping to maybe go "lap" swimming while I am there. That might be ambitious, but even if it is there is a park not too far from where I am staying too. Finally, this place isn't too far from a juice place, a yoga studio, Jimmy John's and Panera Bread. What else could I possibly want?

4. Harry Potter Audio Books. They seem to be my biggest source of comfort when I travel. Laugh all you want, I am fine with this.

5. Headspace: I think I've mentioned this app before but it's been awhile. Headspace is a meditation app that helps me with some deep breathing exercises. They had a special to get the extended version of the app for only 99 cents for the next 3 months. So I went ahead and got it and am going to give it a try. I actually started it again last night. My hope is to do this every day, at least for while.

6. Journal: I really need to start journaling more. Writing has always been helpful to my mental well-being. During this trip, I am planning on bringing it along and writing everything down that scares me. I hope this will help with some perspective.

7. Trader Joe's: Ah yes, my favorite. On Wednesday, I have one donor visit and then I am heading home to Kansas. But before I do that, I already found the Trader Joe's that's near my route and will be stopping there as a treat (and so I can pick up some treats, which brings me to the last point...

8. Healthly food, but also coffee: I am planning on avoiding fast food on this trip. My stomach is already upset during these trips because of anxiety. So I am really going to try and pay attention to my fruit and veggie intake (as much as I can). However, if I want to get a grande iced caramel latte on the road. I totally am and I am not going to beat myself up about it.

Alright. That's the plan. We'll see what happens on Monday.