Stress, magnesium and love.

I realise that I do indeed have a privileged first world 1.5 income household with food, warmth and shelter pretty much guaranteed so long as I don't develop a gambling habit.  No one hits me, I'm married to a wonderful person, the kids are healthy and lovely and are enjoying and progressing at school.  On the big scale, it's all pretty hunky dory.

If we could zoom in though, I want to write about my recent strategies to manage stress and get my nutrition intake back on track.  At my work, it is absolutely the most busy and pressured time of the year at the moment.  I'm at work what seems like all the time, despite being paid to be at work half of the time.  It will pass and the pressure will, I hope, ease off significantly in a fortnight or so.

I've been losing massive amounts of sleep, which no one has ever been able to convince me is an optimal way to live.  Some nights I've been awake for hours in the wee hours of the morning when I don't even have alcohol consumption to blame.  It's all very well saying stress is bad and the world should have less of it, but I'm keen to a) learn to handle work-place stress better and b) to look at ways I can support my body.

There is a large body of thought which focuses on exercise for stress management.  I believe them/it.  But on the whole, I'm not very successful at fitting exercise into my life, unless it is gardening, which can itself be problematic when I live in the area which surely inspired the story of Noah's Ark.

What does help me is a focus on nutritional support.  Magnesium is really important for the nervous system and for sleep quality (and quite a few other things).  It's important for me to take supplemental magnesium when I am also taking liver detox tablets which contain green tea and IP6, both of which chelate magnesium.  The liver detox is supportive of a better iron balance, given that I have a genetic disease called haemochromatosis and that I have had symptoms of iron overload this year.  Vegetables also matter.  I'm inclined to eat a lot of bread when I'm busy/stressed.  Not so much what might be described as 'pigging out', but a tendency to eat toast on the run in the morning, sandwiches on the run at lunchtime and a wrap or pizza for dinner.  Bread, I've found by trial and error, is not my friend healthwise.  But it is quick.  We always eat dinner around the table as a family, every night, and that is a great thing on about a million fronts, but also for getting me to slow down and eat.

Last night I started in earnest, taking my magnesium supplements twice per day and vitamin c as well.  I made an epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) foot bath and, in the absence of any camomile tea in the house, made a lemon and honey drink to sip while I had my footbath and read A Life on Gorge River.  It was a bugger that Brighid was in pain and unsettled all night, but when I wasn't getting up to her, I did sleep well.

Today I'm still on the magnesium supplements, and I also started back on my older habit of having almonds on my work desk to snack on during the day.  Almonds are a good source of magnesium and they taste good.  Tomorrow I shall take a bag of apples as well.  Part of my day is not spent at my actual work desk, but jumping around gesticulating, so I'm not overly worried about eating myself bigger with all this snacking.

Tonight I remembered to buy some camomile tea, so I'm supping that now and soon I will run an epsoms salts foot bath.  While I understand at a technical level that an entire bath with epsoms salts in it would be even more beneficial, I can't be bothered.  Plus, last time I did that, feeling most pleased with my positive self care practice, I crooked my neck.  Between the pain and the chiropractor's bill to fix it, I'm not enthused about doing that again.

Lovely things.  When I first started blogging, I was a stay at home mum with a four year old son and a seven month old daughter.  Blogging was my outlet which wasn't about the children, and I consciously chose not to blog about my son and daughter.  Now, when they are away at school most of the day and sometimes I am at work until 5pm, my thoughts on blogging about parenthood and my children have shifted.  This morning was special.  I didn't absolutely have to be at work until 11am.  Brighid had been awake half the night (I plan on getting some extra magnesium into her somehow too), so I got to let her sleep in.  I dropped FH into work early and then had about an hour with just my boy.  I dropped him to school just after Brighid woke up.  Then she and I hung out getting ready.  We went together to the chemist and health food shop for some remedies for her ills.  I took her into school about 10.45am on the most beautiful sunny day we've seen on the coast in at least a month, and watched her with delight as she went off to meet her friends, happy and comfortable in her school environment.  That little window with my kids this morning was the bestest present.

A Life on Gorge River is proving an interesting read, about a man who has been living in the remotest possible part of South Westland for the last thirty years.  Thanks to my brother for recommending it. 


Anonymous said…
Hi Sandra
Have I ever been bossy with you? OK maybe once or twice, but this time, yes I will be.
THe first piece of advice you can take or leave.....brazil nuts contain magnesium in good quantities. That's not the bossy bit.
Here 'tis:
1) you've got to beg/borrow/steal and read Sweet Poison (ignore the subtitle coz it will make your blood boil)
2) spend one week eating no fructose. I promise you'll be sleeping all night. (OK so the evidence is anecdotal based entirely on my story, but it is so worth a shot if you're struggling to sleep - just be warned, unless you're superwoman, breaking the habit is hard)
All the best

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