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Wellness Wednesday for May 8, 2024

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

  • Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

  • Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

  • Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

  • Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).

Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

What product/service has had significant impact on your quality of life? For me, it's was a nice standing desk and a nice office chair (Herman Miller Embody). I don't even stand much at my desk, but being able to make minor adjustments to its height has been very useful since most desks are too short for me.

Do I have an unrealistic expectation in the sense that to be able to do well in exams I can just read and "understand" text but not solve as many problems? The answer is of course, yes, I bombed the exam I prepared for by mostly just reading. (microecon and math)

I just need some feedback on how you guys might study for tests, I can ask my friends but I might embarass myself. This was a competitive exam, so solving lots of questions is the standard way to prepare.

Edit: More broadly, how do you feel smart? In this context I started fairly late knowing little to no econ, I only could make myself study a month and a half before the test. I honestly I thought if I could pull it off it'd feel nice. But ofc, I now feel the very opposite. Besides overestimating my ability to study under pressure - where else have I gone wrong? I feel a third person, even with limited context, would be able to point out some obvious flaws I'm not willing to accept.

but not solve as many problems

This is a common issue, solving problems tends to be effortful, and people tend to avoid it when they don't "have to" do it for homework.

If you can't solve problems you have a child's understanding. Children understand things fall down under gravity, that doesn't make them experts on general relativity.

I don't think I have ever met someone in a technical field that is both good and hasn't taken the time to do a bunch of calculation, even bona fide geniuses (like Putnam Fellow level).

From Grant Sanderson on self teaching:

I think where a lot of self learners shoot themselves in the foot is by skipping calculations by thinking that that's incidental to the core understanding. But actually, I do think you build a lot of intuition just by putting in the reps of certain calculations. Some of them maybe turn out not to be all that important and in that case, so be it, but sometimes that's what maybe shapes your sense of where the substance of a result really came from.

If you want to feel smart join Mensa. If you want to get something out of being smart, you have to put in the work.

Why not just solve the related problems? Do practice exercises until you perform well consistently.

Hi everyone, I recently joined the forum upon a good friend's recommendation. I have been told I will find people with overlapping interests here. So here I go with a fitness and lifestyle related question. I am a 19, and a type 1 diabetic. I have never followed a serious fitness program in my life, and the summer is around the corner so I want to plan something and stick to it this time. My goals might sound a little too ambitious, or maybe not. I want to get consistent at gym, having a steady progress and also prepare myself for running a marathon. With the added complexity of me being a T1D, as the doctors around do not acknowledge my personal goals and just do the bare minimum to get my sugar levels right. But usually when I am on a diet, and workout actively, it becomes easy to deal with. As I have very little experience, I can't ask specific questions yet. But I shall keep this forum posted on my progress. To start with, what is your advice to approach this most efficiently? While also managing my work (I have a remote software engineering job and run a startup on the side).

Three things to achieve the goals you've listed: Exercise, sleep, diet. For a beginner like you, consistency is the most important thing when it comes to working out. For example, tell yourself you will hit the gym 3 times a week and stick to it no matter what. Even if you half ass at the gym (but hopefully you won't), you will still see progress simply from staying consistent (especially with those beginner gains). After around 1 month, it will be second nature for you to hit the gym so it won't be as difficult. In terms of sleep, just make sure you get 7+ hrs every day and you will be golden. I've had lots of issues with this, I'd go to sleep late then sleep through my alarms, wake up at random times, etc. Only way I could fix this was make it so I wanna take a shit in the morning. Now I'm awake at 8-10am without any alarms no matter what because my body gotta do its thing. Maybe you won't have that issue since you got a job that probably makes you wake up at the same time every day. For diet, this is my weakest part. I don't have the willpower to track what I eat nor actually eat as much I need, so it's hurting my progress a lot. At my age/weight/height, I have to eat 2.7k calories a day minimum, but I'm probably eating around 2.2k at most and it already feels like I'm stuffing my face. If you think you're like me and foresee having same issues with diet, I suggest taking it slow and just focusing on your protein intake only.

Oh, and last suggestion, take well lit body pics for reference, you will want to see how much you've progressed in the future.

Has anyone here started a substack? I've been thinking of doing one, but having trouble getting started. I have a lot of ideas, but they're all over the place- I have no real niche where I can call myself an expert. And I don't have any following from twitter or whatever, this would be starting from scratch. I don't care about making money, but I would like people to actually read it and take me seriously.

Also my opinions are um... all over the place- both liberals and and alt-right would find something to get mad about. Is this even worth it? Or should I just write a diary?

You should make one if you want people to read it. They might not, but they certainly can't if it doesn’t exist. You probably shouldn’t go into it with the expectation that it will be popular, but if you’re going to write things anyway, why not?

opportunity cost is a thing. also, was hoping for some more specific tips or advice instead of bland platitudes of encouragement. thanks though.

You do you. I don't see the cost. If you want to write, write. Make it public if you want the chance for people to read it.

Is there reason to think that all Boeing planes are potentially dodgy now?

I know I saw a chart of incident frequency on airlines and it hasn't increased. Boeing planes having problems has become newsworthy, so now everything is being reported on - but this kind of thing has basically always been happening.

The long tail of consequences from the McDonnel-Douglas merger.

Why don't travel vlogggers add an overlay on their videos with information such as: Timestamp, GPS coordinates, temperature, Local name of destination, random factoids, etc?

That would be a good niche to fill. Remember pop up videos on MTV or VH1? Those were great. This is a good idea.

Seeing @Skulldrinker's dilemma and also seeing some people I know expressing dissatisfaction with their committed relationships with women (in the case I am thinking of, this guy's fiancee apparently ruined his creative and pleasurable endeavors when she moved in with him because she requires constant attention, so he says) - are there any happy bachelors here? Got any tips for staying sane while single? Because there's no way it can be all bad, judging from all these bad relationships I hear about. What do you do for fun? Do you have friends to watch TV shows with you and play video games with you or what?

This is a weird question, simply because my default state has been single and happy for the past 10 years. This is mainly because I delt with fairly time intensive nightly health treatments (dialysis) for 5 of those years, which made it difficult for me to date. Now I am almost too comfortable single to think I could date successfully.

It really amounts to two things: be happy with who you are (or be working toward someone you would be happy being), and have fulling hobbies and/or career. Of course, this same advice roughly applies when you have an SO as well.

As for myself: I regularly travel, either to explore a city or an outdoor area (I'm visiting NW Georgia right now for backpacking), hike, and have/had a fulfilling job.

You were able to stop dialysis treatment?

Fortunately, got a cadaveric kidney transplant. Technically my second transplant, after losing the first after 10 years. The waitlist where I live is one of the shortest in the country, so it "only" took about 5 years after getting on dialysis.

Endurance sports, travel (usually involving a modestly challenging journey by bike/moto/car rather than flying to a city and doing something there), reading, wrenching on and occasionally riding/driving motos/cars respectively, working interesting jobs that tend to be rough on relationships anyway, a few very close male friends that I talk to regularly and see a few times a year, the occasional hooker.

I'm not saying it's perfect, or that most people should do what I do, but all things considered I have it pretty good.

This is the equivalent of saying "I hear people complain about their work quite a bit..... therefore I conclude being unemployed is preferable". Depends on the work and depends on your bank account doesn't it ?

I don't at all think all relationships suck and that you should remain single. But if you're not in one, and not likely to be in one any time soon, then finding some coping strategy is good.

I was single until I was 30 and very happy.

The biggest thing that kept me sane and happy was having a career that I love. When you're single you can put as much time and effort into whatever you want, without considering other people. A career is great for that, and I was able to significantly advance mine. That was also the biggest source of socialization and local friendships for me. It really covered most of my bases outside of longterm friends I would talk to every so often.

Personally, I find the only way TV is bearable is watching it with a partner because it's basically an excuse to lie around together on the couch. I never watched TV single. You should try to find hobbies that you are interested in and provide a sense of improvement. I like weight training, but anything between ultramarathons and Warhammer 40k is good. Pick something you really want to do and go full in. You don't have to consider anyone's taste but your own.

Speaking of taste, treat yourself to going out to concerts or restaurants. Solo diners often get extra attention at higher end restaurants. Try some new wines (if you drink), taste some new foods, ask the server for recommendations and pick whatever strikes your fancy. One of the worst things about a bad relationship is having to accomodate someone else's bad taste in food or music, or anything else. Bring a book and sit at the bar if you feel weird.

Activities that are both fun and cheap:

  • Playing video games

  • Reading

  • Converting texts from print or PDF to HTML

  • Watching video games on YouTube

t. zero friends and zero romantic partners

Converting texts from print or PDF to HTML

What in the world? I’ve only converted from HTML to print or PDF. What are you doing?

See Distributed Proofreaders and the Text Encoding Initiative for examples of people who do stuff of this kind collaboratively, as a volunteering project. I just do it for fun.

Example (incomplete) files that I have produced: 1 2 3

Converting texts from print or PDF to HTML

Sounds like a real hoot! :D

Good relationships also exist.

Got any tips for staying sane while single?

What's your life ordered around? Is there anything you care about? How best can you make the world better for your having been here?

Living for something is significantly better than living hedonistically.

(I submit as an option, Pascal's wager, for your consideration.)

What do you do for fun?

Have friends whom I can talk to about the things I care about or take interest in. Play board games. Spend way too much time on the internet.

I presume that casually dating doesn't count? I'm in between committed relationships right now, especially since I'm leaving the country in 3 months. But it's a refreshing experience after being in committed relationships for 7 years.

I don't think I'd be happy single, or at least celibate. Like any red blooded young man, I do enjoy getting laid, and while seeing several new people every week might be novel, my friends, and internet strangers, assure me that it gets stale eventually. So if I meet the right person, ideally in about 3 to 5 years, I'd strongly prefer to settle down and start a family. Friends and side activities, while something I enjoy, aren't enough.

Ah, women. Can't live with them. Can't live without them. If there was a pill that could harmlessly switch off just libido, I think I'd be happy enough, but it doesn't exist and is have qualms about taking it in the first place.

Previously I would maybe catch 0-2 colds a winter, never get too ill due to it and recover quickly, but in the past year I have gotten a cold/flu maybe like 4 or 5 times and I think I am getting worse symptoms (e.g. having a mild fever one or two days when I catch a cold, which I never used to) and taking longer to recover than I would previously. This has led me to wonder whether something might be affecting my immune system, but I am pretty sure that I did not make any significant changes in obvious factors like sleep, diet, activity level, stress, etc. Does theMotte have any other ideas what might cause one to get ill more often and more severely and what can be done about it?

Your description, plus the replies below, plus my personal experiences leads me to suggest an annoying hypothesis - there's just a lot of variance and any individual is going to have too small of a sample size to draw meaningful conclusions. It's true that post-viral symptoms are pretty significant in a non-trivial number of cases and can linger for a long time; it would be pretty unsurprising if Covid was worse than typical on this front simply because it's a much nastier bug than the typically circulating viruses.

But really, look how all over the map everyone is in the comments. For my part, I have gotten absolutely flattened by viruses in a couple times in the last few years and tested negative for Covid. Even after I felt better, my running performance was measurably worse for a couple months in both cases. In stark contrast, I just got a cold and it resolved quickly from a symptomatic perspective, my heart rate and HRV returned to normal quickly, and there was no measurable impact on running. Why? I don't know, shit happens. When we try to draw lessons about what's going on from like a half dozen data points, they're just not going to be very reliable lessons.

Semi-related - I got hand, foot, and mouth disease as an adult about ten years ago, and WOW is that an unpleasant virus. Do not recommend, 2/10, would not try again.

I haven't had more, but that one I got a few weeks ago knocked me flat on my back.

It's not just me aging either, because a few elderly guys who got it did much better. Suspect there's something going around they were once exposed to that we've never had before.

I think this year's viruses may just be like that. The same thing is happening to a decent number of kids as well, of varying health and activity levels.

Last year or so I've it seems like I've had more bronchitis than I've ever had in my life combined, but I also know I'm not alone among my friends, family, and coworkers on this, so I think it's just something going around. And around and around.

If you’re 30+, that’s just a natural part of getting older, unfortunately.

I had covid, which really knocked me on my ass, and then my next cold after that a few months later was notably more severe than other colds I had had in the past. I wouldn’t be surprised if covid does have longterm impacts on the immune system.

My understanding is that it's a risk with all major infections. Your body or immune system might be damaged in a more or less long-term way. People just don't like to think or talk about things like this.

Kind of similar to how people don't really talk about how pregnancy can trigger various chronic health conditions.

Or that general anesthesia itself carries real risks.

Or even how people regularly get permanent injuries from doing youth sports (especially women).

We just like to pretend that we're safe as long as we don't do something stupid or get cancer or something, then someone you know's life was changed, destroyed or even ended by seemingly nothing.

My kids and I have all had the same colds and flus this year, and their's are about equal severity, but we are at three separate elementary schools and daycares this year, and I hear it's very normal for that situation. We are the vectors that allow the viruses to travel between otherwise unrelated communities.

This does not align with my experience at all -- all of the old dudes I've ever know are proud of their 'zero sick days since 2005 (or whatever)' and as I stack up the years I find that frequency and severity of respiratory illness gets less and less. (including my covid experience FWIW)

I always chalked this up to increased immune system experience with various circulating viruses; ie. previous exposure to similar things to whatever's going around.

Recent example: My kid returned from a trip and was totally knocked on his ass for a week upon his return -- not covid, but hit him worse than when he had that. Around when he recovered, my wife got it almost as bad for about another week. Me? Nada. I just assumed it was something I'd already picked up in my travels -- which just accumulates with age.

I have recently passed 30 so it might be ageing is a part of it, but I guess I hoped significant deterioration of my immune system to start later than my early thirties. I did also get covid for sure once but probably twice. If it does have a longterm impact on the immune system that could very well be it.

I know I might just be responding with an n=1 outlier, but if my 85-year-old grandma has a cold in the morning she is alright again by evening. So while you might be right on average, I don't think you need to resign yourself to average health. The question is, how healthy do you want to be and is it worth the investment?

I wouldn't worry too much about it. I've had covid at least once and have noticed no change in my immunity or life otherwise. Don't read too much into one severe cold.

Are you getting enough D vitamin (gotta supplement)? Sleep? Limiting alcohol? Are you more stressed than before? Have you had covid?

As for vitamin D, sleep, alcohol consumption and stress, I don't think there is a significant change in between the earlier period where I barely got ill and the past year where I caught colds/flu multiple times.

I'd blame the 'rona then.

Really? No posts on Wellness Wednesday? Any wellers in chat?

I still can't get a woman to turn up for a date. This happens with women I meet in real life, who flirt back, and hug me unprompted.

Not long ago someone tried to aggressively hook me, but rodeos, fool me twenty times, et cetera.

Wellness Wednesday aint gonna do much for that.

Is this or are these interactions where it's all been online in the set-up phase?

Both, otherwise I wouldn't be being hugged.

I got my heart broken back in 2019 and it never healed right. I just want to go on dates with people and feel like I'm being given a chance to present myself before being rejected.

I'm not totally clear on hugged here, that doesn't or does mean a physical hugging? I probably sound obtuse here but I am woefully ignorant of how the online courtship scene currently functions.

Actual physical hugging with no dating apps involved. This is a woman who I met at a show, she turned up to one date, we had a great time, then every single date since then she bailed on until I got the message and stopped asking. Then I bump into her again and she runs over and hugs me. I asked her out again, she said yes, then bailed. Three months later, I run into her yet again, get that same reaction, ask her out again, she says yes, she bails, I stop going places where I might run into her.

And the online courtship scene doesn't function.

I am old and out of touch, so take this with the proper skepticism. Clearly you need to just not ask her out. If you run into her, get your hug, have a pleasant conversation, and let that be the end of it. Presumably she has your number etc.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me three times, I won't get fooled again. (/bush2)

Maybe people are feeling well?

Was wondering the same when I checked this morning, and actually checked the news to see if some grand event was taking up people's time in the wide world. Nothing beyond the usual wars and lawsuits.