Friday, October 23, 2015

On Taking Sick Days

I was reminded of this after reading an article on NPR the other day. The article was about how people working in the food industry often come to work sick and don’t take sick days because they typically don’t get paid sick days. And if they can afford to take a day without pay (which most can’t), they’re often quickly replaced. The issue of people not getting paid sick days in the first place is one that I’m not going to tackle today. I did comment on the article though, saying that people coming to work while sick is an issue in almost every industry, even those that do provide paid sick leave. I also commented that I had a manager earlier this year who was baffled that I left the office because I wasn’t feeling well. She made a comment to a coworker that she was once “throwing up at her desk and managed to make it through the day”.

Not too long ago, a woman retired from her job at the bank I work at. Aside from taking maternity leave, she only ever took 2 sick days in the many, many years she worked there. She was proud of this fact, and several people praised her for it, hinting that younger generations are more prone to taking sick days and should try harder to follow her example instead. 

I used to think perfect attendance was important. I often put schoolwork and other priorities way before my physical or mental health. After years of struggling through school or work while sick (I’ve taken finals with a concussion, with a freshly torn-off toenail, etc.), I finally started making my health a priority.

I take sick days now. Sometimes even when I'm not physically ill. Because I [now] believe in taking care of myself. After 26 years, I know my limits. I know when I'm sick enough to need a day or two to rest completely. I'm also courteous enough to stay home when I'm contagious to prevent coworkers and others from getting sick as well. And I appreciate when coworkers do the same. 

Sometimes I'm not physically ill. Sometimes I'm just exhausted and burnt out. Sometimes I need a break to recharge. Because when I burn myself out, I give far less than 100%. And my employer, coworkers, and customers deserve 100%. And I deserve to be capable of giving it. So yes, I've taken a day off here and there to sleep or watch Netflix all day. Because sometimes even the weekends are so busy that I don't ever really get to truly rest. And, as with my current job at the bank, I work some weekends, and that plays a big role in burnout. 

Sure, having a great attendance record is important. Getting all of your work done and meeting deadlines is important. But physical and mental health should come first. And if that means taking a sick day every now and then, so be it.  

Thursday, October 15, 2015

My Experiment

As I mentioned in a previous post, we did a lot of walking on our honeymoon, especially after meals. We’d eat breakfast then head over to the beach. We’d eat lunch or dinner on the board walk and then walk around for a while before heading back to the condo. I felt pretty great the whole time we were down there. Sure, there were a couple times where I probably just ate the wrong thing and I paid for it. But for the most part, I felt good, and that was a really nice change from how I had felt in the months and weeks leading up to the wedding. 

I do think stress plays a pretty large role in my IBS, and wedding planning is about as stressful as it gets (I hope). So I’m a lot less stressed now and I’m sure that’s making a difference in how I’m feeling. But I’m also making an effort to walk after as many meals as possible, even if it’s a short walk. 

Right now, I’m walking after breakfast 2-3 days a week and just about every day after lunch. Walking after lunch is a little tricky because I only get 30 minutes for lunch. So to make sure I have enough time for a decent walk, I only have about 15 minutes to eat. I’ve been averaging close to half a mile each day after lunch. Then, on the days I don’t have yoga, I try to take Copper for a walk after dinner. 

I’m not doing a Whole30 right now. In fact, I’m still kind of ignoring my “sensitivities”. I’ve been eating gluten and dairy almost daily (and yes, sometimes I’m eating way too much of it), and I can honestly say I have felt better in the last month than I have in the past year, even with all the Whole30’s I’ve done. I’m sure if I were doing a Whole30 right now, I might feel even better. But for now, my stomach hurts a lot less and I’m spending less time in the bathroom and that’s a huge deal for me. 

I’m going to continue to eat what I want for the most part and continue walking after as many meals as possible to see if this keeps working for me. So far, I’m very happy with the results!  

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Wedding & Honeymoon

One month ago today we said "I do"! It was a crazy busy weekend, but everything turned out amazing.

The day of started bright and early with some very un-fun stomach issues and terrible allergies (constant sneezing, runny nose, etc.). Not exactly how you want to start your wedding day. Luckily, after a pretty bland breakfast and a lot of immodium, my stomach issues subsided and by the time we got to the hall, I was done sneezing.

We had a beautiful, slightly-chilly, overcast day which explains the allergies. Our pictures really turned out amazing though, and it was better than being over 100 degrees!
Photo by my beautiful sister

My beautiful sister. Taken by our photographer on my sister's phone 

My daddy walking me down the aisle <3 Photo by Amy Rush

My aunts decorated the gazebo for us and it looked so beautiful! Photo by Amy Rush

Yay we're married! Photo by Amy Rush

Cheers! We drank whiskey instead of champagne ;) Photo by Amy Rush

First dance. Photo by Amy Rush
The next day we opened our gifts and then drove 12-ish hours to Pensacola, Florida for our honeymoon. It was a very long and exhausting drive...we didn't get there until around 2am. But man, when we woke up the next morning and looked out our balcony, it was totally worth it:
View of the bay from our balcony.

Another view from our balcony.

Down at the board walk

On the beach <3
We went to the beach every day while we were down there and we took a nap every afternoon. That's the life, my friends. We had such a relaxing week and we're so grateful that we were able to go.

Dinner at Casino Beach Bar & Grille--fish tacos with plantain chips! So delicious! 

Yes, I read Anna Karenina on the beach.

Sunset from our balcony <3

McGuire's is just the best.

I didn't worry too much about my food sensitivities while we were down there--I just wanted to enjoy myself. So I ate gluten and dairy basically whenever I felt like it. And I actually felt pretty good all week long. I think travel has a pretty big affect on my digestion (in a good way!), so that helped too. But more on that later.

Boxties! They were so delicious!

We wrote on a dollar and hung it up, so he had to kiss the moose! Which of course I couldn't get a picture of. :(

Our dollar is now hanging in McGuire's.

So we accidentally ordered crabs instead of crab legs. Those are whole crabs...eyes and all. Creepy. But delicious. Also not worth all the extra work. 

Footprints in the sand <3

I tried oysters for the first time! I won't do raw ones...those totally gross me out. But these were pretty damn good! 

We ate at a restaurant on the beach called Hemingway's. It was awesome (I had red snapper and it was delicious) and they had lots of cool stuff in there and, naturally, I bought a t-shirt from them.

We woke up super early Saturday morning to make the 13-hour drive up to Chicago to see the game on Sunday. Another long drive. We attempted to listen to an audio book, but it made me really sleepy, so we listened to my awesome road trip playlist instead. :)

On our way to the Cards-Cubs game in Chicago!

Oh yeah, we won! The only game the Cards won that weekend and we got to be there to see it!

We can't go to Chicago without stopping for pizza! Giordano's is our absolute favorite! Plus they have chicken sausage so yay for me!

On Monday we made our way back home after driving up to Wisconsin to buy beer (Spotted Cow is delicious guys). I was sad our trip was over. I went an entire week without being stressed, without having constant stomach issues, and without worrying about our financial situation. It was incredible.

While we were on our honeymoon, we did a ton of walking. Pretty much after every meal we did at least a small amount of walking. And I think that, combined with the travel, really helped my digestion. So I've been experimenting with that since I got home. I'll do a full post on that later. 

Since we've been back, we've been busy writing thank you notes, getting our house back in order, and putting away wedding gifts. We've still got a few sitting around that we have to make room for, but we're almost done! Things are starting to get back to normal and it's extremely nice to not have the stress of wedding planning. 

It's good to be back!