I have now completed my first week of a research study which is designed to help patients with PBC (primary biliary cholangitis, an autoimmune disease) reduce stress, improve physical health, & have a greater sense of well-being. To me that says a better quality of life.
As a reminder, the study includes yoga, breathwork, meditation, nutrition & positive psychology.
The positive psychology for the week was to identify 3-5 values. We were to write the values down & put them where we would see them daily. That part was easy because I had already reviewed my core values a couple of weeks ago. Once values are in place goals can be established that correspond with values.
Breathwork & meditation were simple. I already do both of those daily. What we do in the study is a wee bit different than my normal routine, not a problem. It is always nice to have a little variety. I will do both my usual routine & the study routine.
Nutrition, straight forward for the first week. Follow Canada’s Food Guide. I know this, but that doesn’t mean it is easy. I love chocolate & beef. But, I will adapt. I might not be able to do it all everyday, but I can move in the right direction. My husband & I have been working on this already.
Now, the yoga. I have done yoga off & on for years. Most recently was 1 – 2 months ago. It was only when I discussed this with one of the researchers that I realized I had not done yoga since the evening I experienced Transient Global Amnesia following the yoga (that is a story in itself that I will write about in another blog). I intended to do the yoga daily as the poses presented are basic & at a beginner level & I have done them many times. I was in for a shock. One of the first things I found was that my balance is very, very bad, it had gotten so much worse. Doing the simple tree pose requires me to find support at times to keep me from falling over. Obviously, a lot of work is needed. Besides balance being important in general, it is also very important as we age. I must have had balance once upon a time as I did gymnastics, rode a bike, & even skated. As we age good balance becomes a must. Seniors often fall due to poor balance & unfortunately break bones. I have always been concerned about breaking a hip – I really don’t want to have that surgery. I think I might want to do tree pose a bit more often to make decent improvement.
Though I had planned on doing the yoga every day that did not happen. After 2 days in a row I was exhausted beyond belief (fatigue is one of the symptoms associated with PBC). Listening to my body, I decided every other day was the way to go to begin. That was good, as I noticed I was very tired on the rest days & there was no doubt I needed that recovery day. My goal is to be able to do yoga at least 5 days a week. I have been crazy tired so I will start with 3 days a week, boost up to 5, once I am not so tired & then daily. I don’t know if this will happen during the study. I have found with the PBC all things physical take me much, much longer.
The program seems excellent & if l can improve my quality of life I will be thrilled. I am very disappointed in how out of shape I am & that the yoga wore me out. However, that tells me that I need to be doing much more. In my younger, healthier years I was active & in good physical shape. I taught aerobics at the YM-YWCA in Moose Jaw, jogged regularly, all while I worked or went to school & cared for the house & children. With such a long way to go, it won’t take much to show an improvement. More work on nutrition & yoga is definitely needed. Each little bit more that I do is a relatively big improvement, so quite rewarding & I will celebrate all the little successes along the way.
I have successfully completed Week 1. I am about to open Week 2 of the study & see what this week holds.
Watch for a recap of Week 2, next week. Have a great week!