Homer's Travels: Stress ... Sleep ... Sponge Bob

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Stress ... Sleep ... Sponge Bob

I haven't made much progress in the two weeks since I announced my Optimism Resolution.  This isn't much of a surprise since it has only been two weeks and changing one's attitude is not an easy thing to do.  Having said this I have made progress in a couple areas - one where I have the control, the other a surprise side effect.

I am a news junky.  When the TV is on you'd be safe to bet it's on CNN, MSNBC, or, on occasion, CNBC (FOX is never on - too much stress).  I've come to realize that the more news I watch, especially if it has to do with the Republican primary or the upcoming election,  the more stressed I feel.  I've always known this, really.  Every time I've taken a vacation alone (in 1995 and on the Camino in 2011) the television stays off and, not only do I not miss it, but I feel happier.  When I'm home, though, I have always found it hard to keep the TV off.

So I am fighting my news addiction.  I can't kill my news habit completely - I like to be kept informed about the world around me - but I think I can minimize it and my stress along with it.  I will keep the TV off when I'm not watching it.  I know that sounds odd but the TV is often on for background noise.  When I do watch TV, I think I'll stick to cartoons and CSI reruns.  Hard to remain stressed when your watching Sponge Bob.

The other thing that's happened to reduce my stress was totally unexpected.  Starting late in December I started sleeping better.  Instead of waking two or four times a night I started sleeping through the night or waking only once.  After a couple weeks of great sleep I realized I was sleeping better and I started wondering why this was happening.  I've come to the conclusion it is a byproduct of my physical therapy (PT).

You all know I have a bad back.  I hurt it way back in college ('85 or '86).  This is one of the issues I'm working on at PT.    One of the results of my bad back is I can't sleep on my stomach.  When I'm on my stomach, I start getting uncomfortable in less than a minute.  I suspect, while I'm asleep, I get myself into a position that irritates my back and this wakes me up.  As I've done my PT exercises, I've strengthened my lower back to the point that it doesn't bother me as much.  I think this has resulted in me not waking up as much and me sleeping better.  One thing I've discovered is stress levels go down if you get a good night's sleep.

These are only a couple small things but they're moving me in the right direction.  I'm feeling happier so I must be doing something right.


  1. Yay for positivity!! And for a good night's sleep! I can't imagine spending all those years with a sore back and trying to sleep. It makes me bonkers if I don't get one night of good sleep :)

    I'm also glad that you aren't injured in anyway in this post :) You're poor self keeps getting hurt on your adventures. Still, you're Having Adventures which is better than never leaving the house. So good on you!

    1. I have been posting a lot about getting injured haven't I? In a way this post is about injuries getting better! Thanks!