|One of my favorite things in Maine - the beautiful coastline!|
|Our home away from home!|
Let's start with vacation. We had a great trip - two weeks spent camping (we have a pop-up camper), first in Cape Cod and then in Maine, mostly in Acadia National Park (one of my favorite places on earth!). Camping with a trailer is a great way to travel for someone with CFS - you basically have your own little home with you all the time! We returned on a Thursday evening, did a few loads of laundry, unpacked and quickly repacked and left again Friday afternoon for a weekend with extended family.
From a CFS perspective, I did really well on vacation, as is usually true. This year, with beta blockers keeping my heart rate down to normal levels and the extra stamina and conditioning from exercising (cautiously) all year, I was able to do some amazing things with my family. We hiked up to the tops of mountains (small ones when I was along, but mountains nonetheless!), walked around quaint coastal towns, and went sea-kayaking for 2 1/2 hours! I hiked almost every single day of the trip. I know - incredible, right?
|The trail goes up THERE?|
|On top of Beech Mountain, Acadia Natl Park|
I thought a lot about why I can't exercise this much at home. I have goals to walk 3 times a week and to do some light weights twice a week, and I have trouble meeting those goals. Some weeks, there's not a single day when I have enough extra energy for a short walk. I think the difference is all the other daily activities I must do when I am at home. Just the ordinary aspects of daily life (the stuff that healthy people don't even think about) are often too much for me at home - laundry, dishes, cooking meals, running errands, taking the kids to doctor's appointments, getting groceries...whew! Choose whichever CFS analogy you like best - spoons, energy envelope, etc; I use them all up on this stuff and have nothing left for exercise that I find pleasurable and that might actually be beneficial in increasing my stamina.
|Relaxing around the campfire with my sons|
I also think that stress has a role in this equation, too. On vacation, I have few responsibilities or pressures. Since we camp on our vacations, our trips are mostly digital-free zones (though my sons just recently got smart phones). I like to vacation this way - no e-mail, no Facebook, no blogs. This, coupled with leaving the to-do list at home!, results in a true vacation for me - no obligations, no worries, and hence, little stress.
The only two days that I crashed severely during this entire time away were the two days following a day of packing, laundry, etc. - the first day of our trip when we stopped at my sister's house (I had to go back to bed after breakfast which she definitely did not get) and the first day of the family visit, after unpacking and re-packing in just 18 hours. That is even more significant when you look back on how physically active I was during the rest of the trip! I hiked for over an hour many days, paddled for more than two hours, and those things didn't make me crash as badly as packing and racing around the house.
|Sea kayaking near Bar Harbor, ME|
I don't have any answers here, just these observations. I don't know how to do less at home. I mean, certain things just have to be done, especially when you have a family, you know? Summer is always toughest on me, with my kids at home. Yesterday was my first day with them both at school, and it was such a relief! I was able to slow down, savor the quiet, rest as much as I needed to, and even begin writing again. I am hoping to use this time to get back into some healthier habits - resting more so I can manage more exercise (I know that sounds like a paradox but you understand, right?), spending more time with friends, lowering my levels of stress. I'm open to any ideas!
I hope you've had a good summer and are also looking forward to fall. Enjoy the vacation photos!
|We saw many gorgeous sunsets in Maine.|