Overcoming my compassion fatigue

With everything going on right now in national politics and the world, there are a lot of things that I feel I ought to care about. I’m pretty sure you all know what I mean. With the presidential election coming up later this year and the things happening in the Middle East with Iran and the earthquake in Puerto Rico and the whole climate change issue, it’s becoming overwhelming to try to focus on what I actually should spend my time caring about. I have a lot of empathy and it causes me to be very concerned for people who are in need and in pain, but after a while, it’s just completely overwhelming and I start to shut down and back away because if I don’t, I will completely fall apart. I have to separate myself from it in order to maintain my sanity. There’s just TOO MUCH.

But I can’t just ignore it all or just decide not to care about any of it, either. I have to find a way to make it more manageable for me to address. If I keep on trying to figure out how to deal with all of these things, all at once, I’m never going to be able to make a difference about any of them.

The video below helps explain this a little bit. (Erica, you might not like it because it’s very Democratic and there is at least one swear word.) Specifically, starting at 3:35 minutes into the video, it starts talking about compassion fatigue.

So my plan for this year is to find a way to do one thing a month. Either volunteer somewhere or donate money to something or find a way to do something that helps address my concerns about the many, many things that are happening right now.

This month, I’m picking up trash. We went to the beach on Friday and we picked up trash on the beach. It was very windy and there wasn’t a lot to pick up, but we had a lovely time taking a walk. Yesterday, I picked up trash outside my house. I don’t know if it’s the grounds crew who cuts the grass or the regular maintenance guys who are supposed to do that, but they’re all very busy lately and the cigarette butts and trash around the place has gotten out of hand. So I went around my building and picked up what I could for a little while. And today I walked up the street where I do my regular walks and picked up trash that way, too. I mostly see this street in the dark and I knew there was a lot of trash. There was so much more that I could see during the daylight! It’s astonishing.

Picking up trash isn’t something that’s hard for me. It doesn’t require any money for me to do it (we already had the trash grabby thing and a trash bucket). It does require some time, but it’s time that I have available and time that I’m happy to put forward toward this effort. It requires my mobility, and my improved fitness certainly helped with this. And I certainly feel good about myself for having done this. I feel a little negative toward other people who are throwing all this trash all over the place. (Come on people! Pick up your trash!) But I still think I’ve managed to do a good thing. And that makes me feel better about myself and what I’m doing in my world.

I was out for about 2 hours and got 2 1/2 buckets full of trash. That first one (left) was going up the street where I walk and I had to turn back because it kept trying to fly out of the bucket. The top right was just outside my complex, the sidewalk beside the gas station. And the lower right was from the grass in the median of the street just outside my complex. Humanity as a whole, we are such trash goblins. So much garbage!

But you know what? I did something. It might not be much, but it was something and I can see the difference and I feel good about it! I can’t fix the whole world. But I can do something to make my corner of it a little brighter!

Saturday fun

Today has been an absolutely lovely day! Let me tell you all about it!

Justin got up when the dogs begged to go outside, so I could keep on sleeping for a while. Eventually, he came back to bed and the puppies were too excited to lay quietly, so I got up so he could rest longer.

While he was sleeping, I played with the dogs for a while, caught up on a little reading, and then decided to get my yoga in for the day. I think Saturdays are going to be yoga days – I have plenty of time usually and it’s a nice break from walking and a good opportunity to work on my strength and stretching. I’m still working to make sure I’m balancing evenly on both legs and getting the muscles on my left leg to stretch out properly.

While I was doing yoga, Nivis blitzed around the coffee table over and over again. He’d run around one side, jump on on the sofa, jump back down, run around the other end, run over my yoga bolster, and then back around again. And then he’d run over and attack Einstein for a minute. When I laid down on the floor do so some bridges and crunches, he decided to come over and lick the sweat off my face. He’s a helper.

After I finished that, we went for a walk outside for a little while and it was nice and warm and they were good boys and did not chase after the puppy like I know they wanted to. We’re working on it.

We went back inside so I could shower. And then check in on Justin, who was waking up, just reading in bed. And then get some breakfast.

We were going to have dinner with some friends, but they got some unexpected company come into town, but we filled up our afternoon by going to the park and doing some archery for a little while. I will have a bruise on my elbow again and I completely snapped an arrow in half. I have no idea how I managed it. And Justin lost another one. Two? At least one more arrow to the deceptively deep canal filled with murky water behind the targets. I think I’m improving, but I’m not sure, and either way, I’m having a blast.

We had to leave in time to get to the mall for haircuts. I think it’s been about a year since I got a cut and it was getting really crunchy at the ends. I definitely needed it. And Justin wasn’t full on shaggy yet, but he was getting there.

After haircuts, we went across the street for some BBQ and then went back to the mall for some ice cream before heading back home to relieve and feed the dogs.

It probably doesn’t sound like a whole lot, just some yoga and archery and haircuts. But I’ve been so filled with sunlight and joy by everything today. It’s the little, wonderful, sometimes ordinary things in life that make me happy. Sleepy morning kisses. Water rippling the sun-speckled water in the pond. Laughing with Justin over ice cream. Excited fluff-ball dogs when we walk in the door.

Life is good! And I’m happy!

Wednesday fitness update

I think I might be better about writing if I have a specific thing for each day of the week to think about writing. Not that I’ll always have to write about that thing on that day instead of another day or maybe just write about something else entirely, but it’s a starting point, right?

Anyway, for right now, Wednesday is going to be fitness updates.

I’ve been very mindful for the past week about making sure to get 30 minutes of exercise daily. It doesn’t have to be much, just a walk down the street and back, something to make sure I’m moving more than I have been all the rest of the day and try to improve my current fitness levels.

This has been the most I’ve exercised consistently in a long time. And I can tell the difference in just the few days I’ve been doing this. My knee isn’t hurting as much, I’m able to walk faster and get further during those 30 minutes than I did last week. I’m feeling good!

It’s been a challenge some days when I just really don’t want to go back outside again or do anything other than sit on my butt and read. Especially with the longer work days, my evening has gotten shorter and giving up what is essentially an hour for this goal is something I have to really set my mind to doing. (It’s 30 minutes of exercise, bracketed by a couple minutes to change, and then stretching and showering afterward.)

But I’m giving an hour now in order to be able to do things later that I really want to be able to do, like hiking in the mountains and donating blood, which I can’t do right now because my blood pressure is too high, and, you know, live longer and be happier!!

So, today I walked down the street from our apartment complex toward the next housing division down the street. When I started doing this last week, I just barely made it to the entrance to that housing area. And today, I made it 3 lamp posts past that, nearly halfway to the next housing division! And my knee wasn’t nearly as swollen and I wasn’t nearly as painful the whole way there and back. Progress!

What’s that like: Routine eye exam

I did this just last week, so let’s get the “What’s that like?” series started with a routine eye exam.

Most posts in this series are going to be very long, so I’m going to put most of it under a little bit of a “fold” to try to keep it from being really long on the page in case you wanted to scroll past it.

Continue reading “What’s that like: Routine eye exam”

Update for today

Starting on Monday, my work schedule shifted to being four 10-hour days Monday through Thursday. I had been working four 9-hour days Monday through Thursday and then 4 hours on Friday. But, for the moment anyway, they’re changing it to 4×10’s. And while a lot of people are really excited about that, and while I’m looking forward to 3-day weekends being the norm, I’m not excited about the longer days. I start at 7:00 and get off at 5:30, so it’s dark when I go and dark when I come home and it’s just a long day.

So when I got home today, after a long week of people getting back into the swing of things at work and freaking out about a variety of different things and talking about schedules that were scheduled without the actual help from the Scheduling Person (me), I was tired. My back has been hurting. My knee has been hurting. I missed Justin and my puppies. I didn’t want to do anything other than sit on my butt and chill with my boys.

But this dang calendar. It’s so cute. And surprisingly good at nagging.

So I went for my walk anyway. And then I took a bath.

And now I’m pressure cooking squash.

Erica, this is that squash I was talking about: Kabocha squash. (Wikipedia link) It’s very yummy, but I don’t see it at the grocery store very often.