Sunday, April 29, 2007


For the past few months, I've been experiencing serious fatigue. Besides having to endure what has seemed like the longest winter of my life, there are some very real causes that all have very manageable solutions. Here's what I need to do:

(1) Establish a regular sleep routine. Since I have to leave for school early twice a week, it means getting up at 6 a.m. I try but often fail to get to bed by 10 p.m. those evenings. (Too many books to read and movies to watch, which can't wait until I'm retired.) This morning I forced myself to get up for 6:30 a.m. "radio exercises," even though I didn't get to bed until after midnight and to sleep until around 1 a.m. Going to bed at a decent hour is much easier when I have the whole evening free, but that's almost never. Two or three times a week I have rehearsals until 9 p.m. and, well, by the time I get into bed, it's time for lights out when I want to read! It doesn't help that my cats often decide that 10 or 11 p.m. is a perfect time to start playing, including charging around the apartment making sounds that would easily provide competition with that of a couple of elephants.

(2) Stop eating chocolate and other sweets. I cut out caffeine years ago, since a hyperactive person like myself doesn't need that extra boost. In fact, when I drink caffeine, I end up making circles around my friends with both my mouth and everything else. Sugar and caffeine have a similar effect, resulting in my taking on (and sometimes even accomplishing) endless projects. Get me started on a slideshow of my cats or a Keynote (similar to but better than PowerPoint for those who are Apple-challenged) presentation, and I end up working on it half the night. (See point #1.) Then I wake up tired and use cacao as a way to energize myself for getting through classes - well, it becomes a vicious cycle which can only be solved by refraining from sweets altogether. (sob)

(3) Get more exercise. Another vicious cycle I've been caught up in is feeling too tired (or too lazy) to exercise, and then sleeping poorly because I haven't exercised, and then not having the energy to exercise the next day. This gets aggravated by the winters in Sapporo where fear of walking on icy sidewalks keeps me imprisoned in my apartment. Of course, I could always exercise in my apartment - in fact, have a number of yoga and other exercise videotapes. It's much easier, though, now that spring and classes have started because I get a lot of "natural" exercise just going to and from school, including climbing at least 8 flights of stairs (at subway stations and schools) most days. From where I live, in fact, I can walk to a number of places, including my hairdresser's (half an hour each way), downtown (about half an hour, depending on the stoplights), and a couple of friends' houses (about an hour away).

It's when I take a trip somewhere that I get a great deal of exercise because of all the walking that I do. I've walked all over Paris and, when in Singapore last September, my friends and I spent more time walking than riding (in taxis and on the subway) - around the botanical garden, the bird park, Chinatown, Little India, and numerous places every day. The walking I do in Sapporo is more to appointments, meetings, and the like, rather than for "entertainment." Nevertheless, my overall condition, particularly the fatigue, will improve enormously this spring/summer if I make a policy of walking rather than taking public transportation when I have the time.

Meanwhile, I miss my ballroom dance lessons. Since they fall on the same evening as rehearsals for Sapporo Symphony Chorus, I've had to quit since I got into the chorus after auditioning last summer. The rehearsals provide a great workout for my lungs, but the dancing stretched all sorts of muscles. I had wanted to take private lessons in February and March but, in addition to my fear of navigating treacherous sidewalks to get to the studio, I was spending hours getting used to all my new toys (DVD recorder, iPod, iMac - and all the software that comes with it) that are ironically keeping more sedentary.

With a holiday week beginning as of yesterday, I have made a renewed commitment to Spark People - at least for the week. Even though I eat fairly well (not counting the chocolate), I find that when I record my food intake and exercise regularly on the site, which calculates all the calories, etc., for me, I eat much more consciously. The same goes for exercise. It helps to get all those Spark points. My goal: 1000 for the month of May!

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