When Your Stress & Fatigue Thresholds Suck (Also on Cute Cockatiels, Education via Zoom & Art Films for Rent)

When Your Stress & Fatigue Thresholds Suck (Also on Cute Cockatiels, Education via Zoom & Art Films for Rent) | A Chronic Voice


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.

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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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When Your Stress & Fatigue Thresholds Suck (Also on Cute Cockatiels, Education via Zoom & Art Films for Rent)

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August 29, 2020 19:30

Hello again for another month Sheryl, and thank you once again for the thought-provoking and inspiring prompts! I hope you are doing as well as can be and are recovering from pleurisy. Your cockatiels are certainly adorable and sound very entertaining, I am sure they are helping to put a smile on your face and are a wonderful distraction from the pain and other difficulties you continually face.

Sheryl Chan
September 4, 2020 01:21
Reply to  Rhiann

Thank you Rhiann! It’s all better now but other issues are popping up. You know how it goes from a flare recovery…except it’s taking longer than the month I expected! I clearly forgot what ‘full time’ work is like :p Yes they do…in fact I just fed this new batch and kissed them goodnight. It’s amazing how they grow from a little egg!

August 23, 2020 11:24

Your baby cockatiels are adorable!!! My fatigue level has hit an all-new level leaving me to also let accept that I can’t currently follow the schedule I have been keeping thus far. It’s frustrating, but fighting it just makes it worse. I hope this month has been a time of physical rest. Hugs!

Sheryl Chan
September 12, 2020 20:13
Reply to  Cynthia

Thanks Cynthia! They really make me smile 🙂 I understand about the fatigue as mine is also at an all time low, though slowly improving through doing absolutely nothing and sleeping like a log! I hope yours heals up soon! xxx

Catherine Green
August 19, 2020 23:34

Hi Sheryl, I hope you are resting and recovering well alongside your studies. I have had pleurisy in the past and it was really painful. I thought that was what I had in June when I attended the hospital emergency department but instead they found a nodule on my lung! I find that my reiki practice and meditation help ease chest pain, lots of gentle deep breathing and relaxation.

Sheryl Chan
August 20, 2020 12:25

Hi Catherine, I’m glad that you found something that works for your chest pain! I get it a lot from a combo of poor posture, blood clots, inflammation, and my lung is partially dead from a previous pulmonary embolism which took months to recover from. Sending love and thanks for joining us in this month’s linkup once again!

Katie Clark
August 13, 2020 01:28

I’m glad your taking some time for yourself. I, too, am a student and I love to learn, so I hope that is a rejuvenating time for you rather than more stress and draining. I appreciate how you have already shared your workflow and tips for Twitter and Pintrest. I look forward to learning more from you, but only after you are rested and recharged. Your FB Groups: Chronic Bloggers and Chronic Bloggers Social Pods are so helpful in learning more about blogging. I’ve learned from you and the people you have gathered there!

Sheryl Chan
August 16, 2020 22:30
Reply to  Katie Clark

Aww…you’re really such a sweetheart, Katie. I really love that you’re constantly self-educating despite your age (not to say you’re old but you know what I mean!!). Education really is important. I am trying my best to ‘force’ myself to rest haha…difficult for me to sit still. Not in the sense of meeting people, but doing stuff. But I really do need to just be still and quiet and peaceful for now 🙂

Shruti Chopra
August 11, 2020 23:59

Hi Sheryl… I really hope the pleurisy has healed and your breathing isn’t painful.
I’m so excited to hear that you’re working on your new business! Good luck with that. Also the course sounds exciting – it’s really nice to get some focussed time on one thing. Sometimes we’re doing too many things inconsistently and not really getting anything substantial done.
Wishing you a beautiful August 🙂

Sheryl Chan
August 16, 2020 22:28
Reply to  Shruti Chopra

Hi Shruti, it’s better now thank you so much 🙂 Haha it’s been tiring for me even though it’s just 4 hours a day for 4 days at a go…I guess mornings aren’t the best for me! 😉 Thank you and wishing you one, too! x

Nikki Albert
Nikki Albert
August 11, 2020 06:05

I’ve been studying too… to see if I can with the way my health has been. And maybe I will be able to functionally use it… that is the Main goal but we shall see what the future holds. Sometimes limits do not let us, but sometimes they can be nudged a wee bit

Sheryl Chan
August 16, 2020 22:27
Reply to  Nikki Albert

That’s the biggest study of all time, isn’t it? 🙂 I hope you find answers to your symptoms and pain and discomfort, and get solutions to them soon. Sending love.

August 10, 2020 20:24

So agree that being a freelancer is stressful and unpredictable. I hope the new biz site gives you a little more stability – sounds so exciting. And the cockatiels are so cute! They must make you smile so much 🙂

Sheryl Chan
August 16, 2020 22:27
Reply to  Claire

Haha my biz site is sitting there…revamping forever :p I think you know how that goes…. though my Digital Marketing instructors are giving me a hand direction wise, free of charge, so that’s real nice of them! So I’ll try and get it out soon…again haha!