Being Sick

Through the past several years I have been sick fairly frequently and each time it would play out the same way, soar throat, sinus, joints last about two weeks and completely incapacitate me during that time.

This was common for many years. I assumed there was nothing I could do about it but I have made some progress this year. I think major contributing factors were stress and diet.

A friend of mine mentioned to me that they drink water with apple cider vinegar mixed and that helps. I tried it when I was sick and noticed a significant reduction in the symptoms and length of time that I usually get knocked out for.

Rest and vitamins didn’t make as much of a difference as apple cider vinegar. I also consumed a decent amount of almond milk and I found that this aggravated sickness and made it worse so I reduced my consumption.

I’m just recovering from a head cold now of the same type but this one lasted two days instead of two weeks and it was a lot less unpleasant. I am able to be up and go out to run errands which I would not have been able to previously.

The last time I was sick a few months ago I watched youtube videos on health and wellness. One branch of that was on a raw diet. Since then I started eating raw but gradually introduced cooked foods because one, i’m not a good cook and the foods I could make raw are boring and I found that I have cravings for cooked food and the feeling of fullness that it gives me. My experience eating raw is a much better feeling both mentally and physically but I still have a strong addiction to warm comfort food. When sick raw food does help me recover from illness but my impression is that the largest health effect is staying healthy not recovering when sick.

The other significant contributor to recovery from sickness is meditation. I wrote a previous post here on the details of the meditation I use. For me this practice is something that I find easy to do and causes a relaxed, calm almost trance like state that lasts for about twenty four hours after a thirty minute session. This reduces the discomfort of a cold sinus and join pain far better than Advil or Tylenol.

Because I don’t have to work any more on a fixed schedule I don’t feel stressed about resting for a few days to recover. When I had a nine to five job my sickness would always last two weeks of which the first I would take off work and then worry about balancing taking more time or getting sicker.

Life Insurance and Emergency Prep

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Here is a summary of some plans and strategy i’m using for general life related insurance and risk hedging.

I have a twenty year old adopted daughter living with me while she originally moved back in with me to finish school but she dropped out and is just working. Unfortunately for her she isn’t able to earn enough to live in this city so I subsidize her housing and food. If something was to happen to me she would have extended family to help her if she needed and she would inherit my assets and be financially ok. My current concern in that scenario is that she wouldn’t know how to manage or maintain investments and loose the benefit of financial independence. I will impart what I can over time but ultimately her choices will be up to her.

I also have two small dogs that come from a past relationship and I love them. They have been by my side for ten years are the most important part of my life so I want to make sure they are safe and healthy. I bought a Nest Protect smoke detector because it has a feature that will notify me if there is a fire. This would at least give me a better chance to rescue them if I was out but nearby.

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I’m in the process of also putting together supplies for an earthquake or other emergency. This includes food, water, lights and a bag with warm clothes, and cash that I can grab if I need to leave in a hurry.

It’s always a good idea to maintain and check the coverage details of your property or rental insurance policy.

If you have dependents and don’t have financial independence levels of equity and depend on income that would disappear if you died it’s probably a good idea to look into a life insurance policy. Be sure to shop around because there is a big difference between offerings.

Other than that it’s always a good idea to keep an up to date will or let an emergency contact know your wishes should something happen to you. Now let’s hope nothing bad does happen.

Meditation

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Years ago I was reading an interview of a guy named David Wilcock. David is an author and has a cool website at https://divinecosmos.com. When he was younger he worked in a mental health institution providing care to people with various types of handicaps. I gather is was a stressful environment for everyone involved.

One takeaway from the interview was about how the behaviour of the people at the hospital changed simply by him holding an idea of love and forgiveness in his mind. David would think about and repeat the two part phrase ‘I love you, I forgive you’ internally in his mind. He Just put his attention on the idea of love and forgiveness and the level of anxiety and stress the patients exhibited in the hospital dropped.

I thought that would be really interesting if a mental activity or state that you hold inside your mind could have a noticeable affect on others around you. So I tried it.

On the first occasion I laid down on my bed and relaxed for a few minutes and begun with a low level of effort or intensity the phrase ‘I love you, I forgive you.’ with a pause over and over. On each iteration I put my focus on my solar plexus / abdomen to represent myself and I would visualize virtual hands to point. Almost immediately I felt what I would describe as a trance like state that was calming relaxing and left open a space for me to continue with the process.

After about thirty minutes within the trance state I started to feel really good almost euphoric. I continued this for about two hours over the next few days and I got to a point where I had to stop because the feeling of trance and euphoria were so strong that it was making me nauseous like I had been riding a rollercoaster for an extended period of time.

During the process something interesting came up while repeating the ‘I forgive you.’ portion. Memories from my past all the way back to my childhood of either things that I had done that were embarrassing or hurtful to others. Because I was in a trance state they played like in a dream and popped up in front of me from nothing. Most of these issues that came up I was able to reconcile them and appreciate why I did them and how they changed me in a way that I can let go of. But there were a few in particular that were not easy to actually forgive myself for so I just accepted that I can’t address it right away and then let all thoughts go for a while and came back to it later. I feel like I am ok with all of the issues that came up previously and I haven’t had any new ones show up for a while now.

One effect that I noticed as a result of this right away is that when I am sick with a cold or other illness this will reduce the recovery time by about four times easily. I now often do this through the day for five minutes in addition to longer times when I can lay down.

I have tried other forms of meditation with other very unique experiences in the past but this one has been the most consistent in terms of effects. I wanted to share this and see if anyone else has the same experience.

This is more of a how to based on my experience. Additionally I believe this has had a lot of interesting results magically manifest themselves in my life that I will continue to experiment with and write about later.

Weight Lifting

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A physical activity that I really enjoy is weight lifting at the gym. I have been going on average three to four days a week and have learned a few things about avoiding injury first through trial and error and then by seeking professional advice. I find that lifting weights regularly makes me feel better day to day and also helps me get to sleep at night as long as I go regularly. I think it is important to stress that this feeling better is personally the most important aspect of weight lifting and it definitely outweighs most other activities in my life that contribute to my happiness.

I noticed that my body will quickly adapt to different workloads, in the past I was going five days a week for about 1.5 hours and recovering in time for the next day. Right now going for about 45 minutes only three times a week gives me the same positive benefits but it does take me longer to recover after each session.

Injuries

Early on probably 6-7 years ago when I started to push heavy weights I ran into nerve problems by failing to stretch and warm up with lighter weights first. The problem first appeared in my elbow where the Ulnar nerve was not sliding properly through a protective sleeve as it normally does. It was tugging and causing a great deal of pain. A physical therapist fixed the issue in thirty minutes but I have to get massage therapy every year in areas around my neck and arms for this reason. I have found that stretching and doing a set of weights at 50% of my max before full weight reduces these nerve problems.

Another common injury I experience is more unique and unlikely to affect many others but I will cover it anyway. I have very weak tendons and this does cause joint problems. Normally your tendons hold bones into a controlled track as they move but in my case it is easy for them to slide out so that the joints don’t track properly. This mostly applies to my knees, hips, elbows and shoulders. As an example your knee joint can rotate forward and back as well as rotationally allowing your foot to point left and right. But in my case just a little bit of force will cause my tibia to rotate to the side left and right. This means that I can not use a leg extension machine at all even with light weights. Because the machine isolates your knee so effectively slight imbalances in other leg muscles pull the joint to one side or the other and I end up with joint pain for several days. The solution is to do free weights and in the knee example this means squats and deadlifts.

It is probably useful for others in general to use free weights in addition to machines because it helps strengthen surrounding support muscles to give you more balanced strength. If you overuse machines it can be easy to rely on the hinge and push on one side or the other overdeveloping one side of the support muscles. When using the joint in daily activity it will tend to be pushed to one side and cause joint pain.

Muscle Growth.

I have found an efficient way of developing muscle mass is to do two or three sets of ten or fifteen repetitions at the maximum weight you can safely lift. This is only after warming up with a set at 50% of course. In some cases I will break up second sets into parts because I can’t physically to them in a continuous set.  I will test my maximum by adding weight in small increments, if I can’t push more than five repetitions I will back off on the weight. If I experience joint pain within twenty four hours of lifting I will also reduce the weight at the next session.

This makes effective gym sessions very quick. After cycling through three sets of each muscle group i’m about fourty five minutes in and I just leave.

My recovery time varies depending on how frequently I stress the muscle group. If I was going to compete in a sport that used certain muscle groups I would work the area daily or alternate days at 100% of my capability. I’m not too motivated to increase my absolute physical strength at this point in my life, I just use the maximum safe weight to make my sessions efficient for time. If I wanted to though I would do more research in that area and be very systematic with training strategy and diet.

Going forward my current goal is to increase the strength of my shoulders as they are a current weak spot. I’m using twice as many exercises that focus on the shoulders as I normally use on other muscle groups to achieve this.

Schedule, Price and Clothing

I find what works for me is to go to the gym after I finish work.  After I get home walk my dogs, eat then head out to lift weights.

The gym I go to only costs $20 per month and since there are so many around it makes it convenient from a location perspective. I used to lift free weights at home and I find the gym makes it easy to isolate muscle groups that would be a challenge without all of the machines and cable pulleys. The separate location also makes it mentally easier to push through a session.

I bring running shoes and plain shorts and t-shirt. I have tried exercise breathing clothing before but I usually don’t like the way they fit and they are more expensive anyway.

Cardio. 

I used to compete on a cycling team and prefer the stationary bike over a treadmill. Hopping on a bike and riding outside is by far a better experience but it also requires maintaining a mike and changing with breathing cloths, shoes, helmet does take extra time. I will usually do ten minutes of cardio at the beginning of a session. I do walk about an hour a day in addition to the gym. This means that my level of cardio ability is very low but that is by choice right now.

Stretching

It is a good idea to stretch daily and it helps with mobility, circulation and reducing risk of injury. It is the unexpected fall or collision that can cause injury if your body can’t move or have the strength to dampen the impact.

I have plans for new goals in the next year so I will post more as I get started and see how it goes.