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In July the lockdown laws were slightly eased in Singapore. We can now gather in groups of up to five, although social distancing and mask wearing are still enforced. What this meant was that I could finally work at cafés again, which is one thing that lifts my mood and increases my productivity. Although, I kind of overdid it in July as I was out nearly every day, in a bid to escape the tension at home. It’s not that I don’t love my family, but we’ve been literally sitting within visible distance from each other for the past few months all day, working and whatnot.
I needed a breather (lots of it), and I paid the price for it. I haven’t had pain flares this bad (though not the worst ever) in a while, but I don’t regret anything. It’s a trade off between physical strain working outside, or mental and emotional strain staying indoors, and I chose and choose the former (for now at least!).
August seems to be a little quieter on the work front, which is perfect as my body has reached a maximum stress level, which is something like half of a healthy person’s threshold or even less. That’s good enough in my book; I’ve long learned to accept my limitations when it comes to work stress, and how much I can achieve to that end.
I also suffered a pleurisy in July (some inflammation and small blood clots around my chest bone area), which made it hard to breathe, walk and lie down to sleep. To illustrate it in Mayo Clinic’s words:
“If you have pleurisy, these tissues swell and become inflamed. As a result, the two layers of the pleural membrane rub against each other like two pieces of sandpaper, producing pain when you inhale and exhale. The pleuritic pain lessens or stops when you hold your breath.”
It probably is a cause and effect in terms of the pain flares I experienced together with the work stress and commute. Although, the blood clots are probably a separate issue in itself from the Antiphospholipid Syndrome. Who knows what I accidentally ate or which vegetables I miscalculated in my diet to clot my blood a little more than usual. Might have been that soy milk latte I had instead of regular milk. I thought it tasted diluted but who knows.
I also signed up for a Digital Marketing Strategist course a while back, which begins in August, so that’s good timing as well. I’m not one who multitasks well, so I’m glad that I can just focus mainly on the course itself in August. I was only interested in the SEO module, and maybe the Analytics bit, but I can become a certified Digital Marketing Strategist if I complete all the modules. Since there are subsidies, that’s a perfect opportunity to learn things that will be extremely relevant to blogging, and my upcoming business plans related to it! So far the teacher has been great over Zoom, and I’ve learned some practical new things. Mornings aren’t quite my forté in terms of brain fog, pain and comprehension levels, but I’ve managed to survive week one!
I also attended my first ever Qigong class in support of an ex-client, but it turned out to be very interesting. As there were only two of us students on Zoom, we had plenty of time to chat and ask questions. It was fascinating as a lot of the terms are familiar from childhood kungfu films, but only this is real life. Whilst I can’t afford the private class rates for now and there are no course series coming up, we might work something out in exchange for blog reviews. We’ll see if that happens and where that goes!
Watching: The Baby Cockatiels Grow Into Their Own Personalities
The baby cockatiels are growing up fast; I suppose they must in nature; make it fast or go back to the food cycle. I should really separate them from their parents so that they can become more independent and bond more intimately, but I’m a little lazy with the feeding duties. There have been a few enquiries, mainly from people who are looking for wives for their own cockatiels. All I pray for is that they go to kind, caring homes.
As always, the white and yellow pearl coloured ones are more popular due to their uniqueness. But personality wise, the original ugly ducklings are the cutest hands down. I’m suspecting that Ardbeg (the white pearl) is female, due to her frosty attitude and gentle instincts (Stella’s already laid a few more eggs and she’s sitting on them, too!). Here she is, the ice queen up high. The song playing in the background by chance is fitting and shall be her theme song – ‘Sitting in an Angry Chair’ by Alice in Chains. (*Trigger Warning: Video has flashing lights)
Watching: Art Films from The Projector
I also found some art films on The Projector (the ‘art cinema’ of Singapore), which we can rent for SGD12 online for 48 hours. We’ve watched a Chinese one directed by Zhang Yimou featuring Gong Li called ‘To Live’. It’s about life during the communist era, which was poignant if slow. I wouldn’t say it was my favourite film ever, but I think it’s possible to like a film in a different way. I appreciated the insight I gained, a bit of history in visual form where I can actually see how the communal kitchens and people were like back then.
Then I watched a French film, ‘Fanny’s Journey’, the following weekend. It’s based on a real-life story of how some Jewish children in France travel to safety in Switzerland on their own, and the troubles they encountered along the way. I found the young children really cute, and the film was light if the background behind it heavy. Once again, I appreciated the insight I gained from watching the environments, dressings, landscapes and more.
This is impossible to imagine and invoke whilst studying history back in school, especially from a climate or culture we’ve never seen or experienced. I think films like these should be incorporated into the education system as they do help to pique interest and help students to form connections and make sense of what they’re actually studying. (The same goes for how math is useful, where I struggled to comprehend the ‘why’ and ‘how’ behind it as a student.)
I hope that August will be a restful month for me, where I return to being a student and blogger. I will try to launch that business site soon, and am reading some books to help me understand my target audience better, as it’s a little undefined at the moment. Life as a freelancer suits me well, but the unfixed income can be a worry. I would say even more so when you’re chronically ill, because freelance jobs often come in a flow. Yet with chronic illness you need to dam that river on your own accord every few months or so, before trying to kickstart your business again.
But once again, as I’ve already uttered a few times in this post, that’s okay. It is what it is. I can only do what I can, and flow in a different sort of way. Not a rushing mainstream river, but more of a lazy swirl down a mystical one. Often I’ll run into muddy bogs and move at a crawl, sometimes it’ll be like whitewater rafting, and sometimes it will seem magical around me. I’m sure in for a ride, aren’t I? 😉
Finally, I would like to pay more attention to my diet in August, as it certainly isn’t the most optimal. Whilst I’ve been drinking earl grey and peppermint tea with honey, honey is still sugar. I’ll also need to cut back on the snacking.
I’m not saying I’ll be focussing 100% effort into transforming my life into a healthy one, because I find that miserable. I need to live and enjoy the ‘bad stuff’, too. But every bit counts towards healing and my wellbeing. So eating, moving and sleeping just that wee bit more will be helpful, too. Santé!
*Note: This article is meant for educational purposes and is based on the author’s personal experiences. It is not to be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your own doctor before changing or adding any new treatment protocols.
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