Tech Tools for Life with a Chronic Illness

Technology is a tool people use to improve their lives.

Let’s face it. We’re lucky to get out of bed, get our hair done, and make it to work on time with the same color socks some days. Life with a chronic condition is challenging every single day. I fight fibromyalgia, what’s your superpower? So anything I can do to make my day/week more productive is alright by me.

“There was a time when a nail was high tech. There was a time when people had to be told how to use a telephone. Technology is just a tool. People use tools to improve their lives.” ~Tom Clancy

Continue reading “Tech Tools for Life with a Chronic Illness”

Why We Need Dirt Therapy

“I grow plants for many reasons…but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow.”

There’s something to be said for getting outside and having your face in the sunshine, and your feet and hands touch the grass and the earth. It grounds us to Mother Earth and connects us to all of her energies. Tending to our flower gardens or vegetable gardens also has so many benefits that will enrich our mental and physical health.

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.”

— Alfred Austin

Continue reading “Why We Need Dirt Therapy”

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

This year’s theme “Helping yourself…while helping others” reminds us that you feel better when you help others living with FMS.

May 12th each year has been designated as Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. This year’s theme “Helping yourself…while helping others” reminds us that you feel better when you help others living with FMS. Although I was diagnosed with it in 2000, I have just in the last few years started sharing my journey. I started my blog to share my strategies for life with fibromyalgia and to inspire others to seek healthy lifestyle changes and find joy in their lives, despite those challenges they might be facing.

As a result of my efforts, I was recently added to the FibroBloggers Directory and now am honored to be featured in Lee Good’s video for Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. She did a fabulous job! Please take a few minutes to watch the YouTube video link below, and help us “shine a light” and raise awareness on this chronic, painful condition.

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

10 Things to Inspire – Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

I have fibromyalgia. It does not have me.

May 12th each year has been designated as Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. For most of us suffering with Fibromyalgia Syndrome every day is really awareness day, as explaining this condition to others is part of the game. It is a “silent condition” that it is ill-understood. We don’t always look sick, but we may be exhausted, in pain, and suffering silently from one of the hundreds of symptoms associated with this. Fibrowarriors many of us call ourselves, as we just keep on keeping on. People may have heard the term from a drug commercial on TV or from the news of Lady Gaga cancelling part of her tour, but do they really understand it?

My Mantra is: “I have fibromyalgia. It does not have me.”

Continue reading “10 Things to Inspire – Fibromyalgia Awareness Day”

Business Travel with a Chronic Condition

The days are usually long. The rooms are usually cold. The food options aren’t the best. And sleeping in a strange bed without your pillow is never very fun.

Traveling for business requires different strategies than traveling for pleasure, because you can’t always modify your schedule and you don’t have a built-in support network of family to help lug your bags around. The days are usually long. The rooms are usually cold. The food options aren’t the best. And sleeping in a strange bed without your pillow is never very fun.

For many of my work trips I am traveling with some of my employees or co-workers and have vendors to meet. Not showing up to a session doesn’t always work for me, unless I am calling in dead. So I have crafted a few strategies that help me survive business travel while dealing with the chronic pain and fatigue I experience.

“Learning is experience. Everything else is just information.” ~ Albert Einstein

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Six Tips for Relieving Pain Naturally

I have adopted many lifestyle changes over the years that I truly believe have lessened the impact fibromyalgia has on my life.

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a condition thought to affect up to 400 million people worldwide, or 5% of the population, according to the National Fibromyalgia Association. It is characterized by widespread pain and fatigue, with 18 key trigger points in the body. There are also a myriad of other symptoms, and I would venture to guess that none of us have the same symptoms, the same level of pain, or achieve pain relief from the same things. Fibromyalgia is still somewhat of a medical mystery with no silver bullets or miracle cures on the horizon.

For years I have considered myself a “high-functioning fibrowarrior” because despite my flares, I somehow manage to push on. I have my share of pain, flares, and exhaustion. Let’s just say there is much less jumping and much more creaking when I get out of bed in the morning. And yes, I spend time in bed curled up with a heating pad. My flares seem to last longer the older I get. But the flares are fewer and far between. Continue reading “Six Tips for Relieving Pain Naturally”

30 Day Challenge – Week 4 – Final Results

We shouldn’t put off until tomorrow that which we can start today.

This is the final post in a series. Read the initial post, Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3.

30 day challenge - week 2 results (2)

It is said to take anywhere from  21 – 66 days to build a new habit, with the time really varying from person to person. I started this 30 day journey as a way to get back on track with some of my daily habits that had slipped lately and refocus my priorities. I wanted to concentrate on the following:

  • Gratitude: I had lapsed from writing daily gratitudes
  • Mindful eating: I wasn’t logging my food
  • Fitness: I had added some extra pounds I wanted to lose
  • Mindset: I wanted to see if yoga would be more beneficial for all of my ailments than my typical mindless treadmill walking
  • Rest: I wanted to get my sleep habits back on track

So here is my final check-in of my 30 day personal challenge for the month of April.

Positive Action

“Your positive action combined with positive thinking results in success.” ~Shiv Khera

This post contains an affiliate link, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may receive small compensation, if you click through and make a purchase.

What I Learned

  • I showed up for myself. There was no contest, no prize at the end, and no one but me really knew whether I stayed on track or not. I committed 30 days to me to see what results I could achieve. Call it self-love or self-care, but we should all be making our personal wellness – mental and physical – a priority. We cannot do anyone else any good if we don’t take care of ourselves first. Mother’s often have a hard time doing that, and it’s taken me a lot of years to come to these conclusions, but you can’t drink from an empty cup so take care of yourself first!
  • I really like yoga. There are so many benefits of yoga, but these are the ones I enjoy the most: it helps build strength and flexibility, it helps my back and osteoporosis (weight-bearing exercises improve bone health), it helps my lymphatic system fight infection (I had a relatively quick recovery from strep), and it gives me a sense of inner strength and inner peace. Yoga has far more gentle movements and flows, which I believe is beneficial for fibrmyalgia, and it’s also approved by my physical therapist as a better alternative to walking on the treadmill. 🙂 I had to visit the doctor last week to get my hip adjusted, and many of the PT exercises I have to do at home have some foundation in yoga (bridge, pigeon pose, hip flexor stretches).
  • I need to log what I eat to maintain my weight. Over the years I have always achieved better results when either “dieting” or “maintaining” if I log what I eat. I know I eat a relatively clean diet, but I had gotten out of the habit of logging my food. I absolutely love the MyFitnessPal app: it sync’s with my AppleWatch (affiliate link), you can adjust the macros to suit your individual dietary needs, it adjusts your calories for your workout, and it has a huge inventory of foods to select or you can scan the bar code of your food.
  • I enjoy starting the day with a positive mindset. Beginning each day with gratitude sets the tone for your day. You can say your daily intentions when you wake up, write them down in a journal, or, if you prefer, save them for the end of the day. But research shows there are many benefits of practicing daily gratitude. People have: “positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.”
  • I can miss a day or two of working out. I had a few flare ups of my back/hip and a bout with strep this past month, so I didn’t work out every day. And I didn’t work out my hardest on those days I did work out. Your body needs time to heal and recover, to prevent further damage or illness. Setbacks are temporary. 
  • I like seeing results. You cannot improve what you do not measure. Long before Carrie Underwood was doing it, I logged my food using the Weight Watchers plan. Logging my workouts, weight and food allows me to see my progress, know if I am eating too little or too much, and motivates me to continue.

Final Results

  • Workouts: I finished the Yoga with Adriene 30 Day Journey “True”, which I highly recommend if you are new to yoga. It builds up gradually and there are adjustments for the level of practice you are in. I took two days off while recovering from strep, and a few days I only did very gentle yoga – not a lot of calorie burning going on. I noticed today on day 30 that I was able to hold myself up longer, and not collapse into the floor or, even though I still wobble a little, I can stand on one leg longer without falling!
  • Weight: I lost 4.4 lbs. or 3.4% of my body weight. I was aiming for 5-7, so I still have a little bit to go, but I am pleased with that since I was sick and injured part of the month.
  • Food: I logged 30 out of 30 days in MyFitnessPal.
  • Gratitude: I wrote 30 out of 30 days in my gratitude journal.
  • Sleep: This is an area that has been problematic for years and I will be continue to work on to improve. Six hours a night (if I am lucky) and waking up several times at that, just doesn’t provide enough rest and recovery. This last week I thought maybe it was hot flashes waking me up, so I incorporated some Clary Sage essential oil with my normal Lavender essential oil at bed time. That helped me sleep three nights in a row and then Sunday night I didn’t sleep at all. Not one wink. Sigh… The struggle is real.

Although I am not one to typically take selfies or share personal information such as my weight, I am hoping to inspire others to make small changes that can lead to big results. So here goes… I wore the same shirt to try to see results from day 1 to day 30 (why did I wear stripes?!?!). The biggest thing I notice is that I have some definition in my arm muscles,

thanks to yoga using my own body weight, and my belly has gone down a bit, although not as much as I would like. My pants are more comfortable, so I am headed in the right direction.

What’s Next

I will continue to focus on getting sleep and better quality sleep. And I plan to continue the practice of yoga to work on my overall health, peace, and well-being. I can’t wait to see how strong I can become!

I hope you have inspired you to begin some new habits or consider your own personal journey, whether it be writing your gratitudes, logging your food, or starting a workout program. We shouldn’t put off until tomorrow that which we can start today.

Whoyouaretomorrow“Who you are tomorrow begins with what you do today.” ~Tim Fargo

Do you have some habits or issues you would like to work on? I would love to hear about your personal challenge. Consider challenging yourself for 7, 14, or even 30 days! Your tomorrow begins with TODAY!