Take Care Of Yourself

Stephen Yagielowicz

Yesterday, I shoveled 3 metric tons of heavy wet snow; and although 20 years ago I wouldn't have even broken a sweat in the process, this morning, I feel as if Rosie O'Donnell had been sitting her fat ass on my lower back all night long. This has me thinking today about one's need to take better care of one's self:

It's the Holiday Season, which also means the cold and flu season. It is also historically one of the busiest times of year for Adult Webmasters. Couple these factors with the added stresses of excessive food, drink, and merriment, crowded shopping malls, hysterical in-laws, and for many of us a lack of sunshine, fresh air, and outdoor activities due to the ever increasing cold, and you have a recipe for disaster. This can be especially true when you consider that shortly after the New Year (2002!) rolls around, the final assault on our weakened immune systems occurs with that sleepless period of total excitement known as InterNext.

Traveling by air to 'Vegas entails hours in a confined metal tube with hundreds of strangers coughing and hacking their own special viral blends into the cabin, creating an inescapable cloud of germs and bacteria that we are woefully at the mercy of. Add to this panoply of ailments the snapper-head who would like to toss some anthrax spores on your breakfast bagel or give you a little small pox stew, and you'll think that a good dose of the clap from a drunken night in 'Vegas is the least of your worries: Oh, and did I mention that I just love this time of year? Despite all of the hazards, I wouldn't change my schedule or avoid going to the show even if it meant a couple week's of recovering from the "'Vegas crud."

I'm not trying to scare you, or make anyone run out of the room, screaming like a little schoolgirl all the way to their pharmacists, but I do want you to consider just how vulnerable we all are, especially at this time of the year. I'm also notoriously bad at taking care of myself, and since anything I could offer about "what" to do to avoid these health problems would be basic, common sense, I'll tell you some of the many ways in which I abuse myself, and let you draw your own conclusions. Like some of XBiz' "Webmaster Rocco" cartoons, some of these things might hit a little too close to home:

A Grinding Routine
We all know that a proper diet, exercise, and plenty of sleep are the keys to a long, healthy life. Great. My day typically starts by 7am. I fall out of bed, and spend a moment inventorying my bodily parts with a stretch here and a scratch there, making sure that everything is still attached and functional. A soft kiss on Dawn Elizabeth's forehead, and I gently tuck the blanket up under her chin, making sure that she's warm and comfy.

Then I shut off the giant fan that I keep constantly blowing in my face all night long, and shut the window behind it. Yep, even in the middle of winter, I sleep this way, and have more than once awoken covered in snow or ice. I then turn the heat up to about 90 degrees, "boot the box" and make my first pot of coffee. I don't tend to eat breakfast, instead devouring a gigantic handful of pills that Dawn claims will keep me healthy and able to function. I get re-dosed throughout the day: some to make me speed up, some to slow me down, some to make me happy, some when I get a little too happy:

I sit in my big leather chair, C-Span and CNN drone on endlessly punctuated by the occasional replay of "Law & Order" or "NYPD Blue." Sometimes I'm lucky enough to catch John Wayne on AMC. At lunch I'll have a can of low-sodium V-8 juice or perhaps some Breyer's Yogurt. My "Kitten" (Dawn Elizabeth) makes sure that I have a good dinner, happily presented in her best Martha Stewart fashion.

An evening constitutional on the beach, and a stop at the corner market for an enormous vat of beer (Sam Adam's Winter Lager this time of year), and then I'm basically at work again in my big damn chair until I pass out around midnight (or later). By far the only real exercise I get is from vigorously tossing it to the wife 3 or 4 times every day. Newlyweds:

I maintain this monotonous pace, occasionally punctuated by an overwhelming desire for pork and cheese or drunken frolicking (I love hot sake') at the local Asian restaurant; one of the few places open year 'round where I live. I do this seven days a week, and have gotten old and fat over the years from it. I have an RSI (Repetitive Stress Injury) from excessive mousing, and by the end of the night my big nose is pressed against the monitor screen as my stressed and bloodshot eyes try to make sense of the gibberish that appears there. I'll need to wear glasses soon if this keeps up.

And I Have it Easy!
I'm not sharing all of this with you to have some "poor me" pity party. I have it easy, and I thank God every day for my life and family. Many of you do much more, face much more, and receive less reward for your efforts, and I'm well aware of that too. You're not taking care of yourselves either. Many times this is because we get caught up in our own little routines, and do not realize the damage that we are doing to our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. I do not know what changes I'll make in my own life over this coming year, but changes are needed, and coming...

And that's why I wrote this article: because I hoped that some of you would identify with some of my self-abusive actions, and decide that it was time that you made changes to improve your quality of life as well. After all, what's the point of working the way we do if you aren't around to, or capable of, enjoying it?

If you can identify with anything that I've written here, and have some tips to offer that might help others to take better care of themselves, then click the link below, and share your thoughts. And in the meantime, take care of yourselves, and each other. Enjoy! ~ Stephen

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