I've been really sporadic with my blogging and it's showing!
I'm just writing a quick note to let you know I'm taking a couple weeks off blogging on here. Though I am not in Christchurch, my life (including some of my regular income streams) has been affected, and if I want to support my family, work, and still have the energy to fit in exercise and looking after me, I have to pull back on some of the extra things I do (including this blog).
Every fortnight the boyfriend and I drop into our favourite quiz night. When I say "drop into", what I really mean is drive for an hour or so south to Kaos, a cafe in Tuakau, south of Pukekohe.
It's not your average quiz night. Sure there are teams, regulars, wines and beers. But the hosts, Elton and Stuart, add a huge amount of vibrancy and humour to the evening. It is a part of our calendar we make time for, no matter how tired we are. I had been longing to go this week, as I knew it would give us both some time out from earthquakes, cries for help, and helping people rebuild.
Elton is incredible. He bends the rules throughout the quiz, checking on people's answers as he wanders around, giving a little nod or shake of the head if he notices your answer. He'll act out clues for teams completely lost - and he'll make it as crude and rude as possible. He's charming, he's kind and he's rapidly become one of my favourite people.
After the quiz this week we stayed behind and got talking about his cafe, and eating places in general. There is no doubt that many businesses are finding it hard out there- and there has been a dropoff in many of the smaller centres. People are still often hanging on by a thread, managing week to week.
My BF and I have been talking about how we and others might be able to help businesses, in Christchurch and in other areas of New Zealand, find ways to rebuild and keep going after so much has been stripped away.
As I put on my dress yesterday I noticed it had become noticeably looser in the last week. Not because of any conscious change, but because until last night I've barely had anything to eat since the earthquake.
Intense stress affects us in many different ways. For me, not being able to eat or sleep have been two ways my body reacted, as I've been working a little, helping connect people with resources and information they need.
While I've had lots of friends in Christchurch and around the country say they are eating plenty of comfort foods, even calling it their "eat my feelings" binge, for me, pretty much all I've been able to stomach is fruit, with the occasional piece of cheese. Last night I managed a bread roll and a pile of vegetables so that is complete progress!
How have you reacted food-wise to the last week's stressors? Are you able to eat? Have you noticed you are drawn to particular foods? Has it affected your eating in anyway?
We all cope with stress differently. For some of us, food is an easy target - it's a change we can control or it's a luxury we can indulge in. Others find other ways of getting through. I'll admit, I've never been a big drinker but if it wasn't for a dear friend sitting there, getting me to drink a couple of glasses of wine a couple of nights this week, I'd have not slept those nights at all. That's obviously not a long-term solution, but I certainly appreciated it at the time!
The comments of John Key last week regarding benefits, and the need for food parcels being a lifestyle choice, brought back memories of some of the lower points of my life over the last 11 or so years.
I came from a middle class family, and though my mum and dad may have struggled when we were kids, they always made sure we had good, nourishing, healthy food. I'm certain we had tuna casserole and spaghetti bolognese on a regular basis in part because they are relatively cheap to make, but they were also nutritious, and there were always vegetables or salad on the side. (Long live the coleslaw!)
The fruit was counted out in pieces (you know, three apples, one nectarine and two bananas each for the week) and we drank mainly water if we were thirsty, though Raro made a ready appearance as children.
When I married, my husband was a student. I worked, he was studying. In Australia we could afford to live to a reasonable standard even with me working in retail. We decided to move back to New Zealand (from Sydney) so I could return to teaching, hoping it would be a move up for us. We came with some savings, and a container including our car, and belongings.
All was well. Then our car got assessed for driving on New Zealand roads and we discovered that there was some dangerous structural rust that needed fixing (costing thousands). We misjudged the costs of setting up a new home in Christchurch, and then both found it a lot harder to find a job. I had few options - and went to work for minimum wage as a nanny part-time, just to take something.
If you were to place me on a scale of how I cope with sickness, with 1 being the "stoic perfect mother who will battle on til the end" and 10 being the "man who is bedbound for 15 years the moment his nose begins to run", I would most definitely be an eight.
I used to soldier on no matter what. However, experiencing several high-stress events over the last 10 years has eroded that ability a little. I suspect having three wee souls to care for has too - with years of interrupted sleep (though of course they are fantastic, and are all well and truly "sleeping through" now).
I think that "man flu" and all that it conjures up isn't about gender at all, but more the knowledge that if you're sick and also responsible for "bringing home the bacon", one day (or two if needed) doing nothing but wallow in your own exhaustion, snot and racking coughs is better than spending three weeks soldiering on because you're too busy to stop.
My initial bootcamp time is over today, and you and I are both as much in the dark about whether I actually ran this morning. Me because I'm writing this in the past - at five to five on Thursday night - and you, dear reader, because if I am in the dark about my whereabouts, so will you be (unless of course you are my stalker and then I must say...HELLO).
I'm not currently feeling well enough to do more than walk to the fridge, pour myself another glass of water, then walk back to the bed. So to think of running in just over 12 hours? It's possibly not going to happen.
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