Archive for the ‘Self-Care’ Category

Waiting On Councilling

December 16, 2022

So I have been waiting quite some time for counseling services in my area. Almost 2 weeks ago I called Durham Family services to inquire as to my position on the waitlist. I received a call last Monday from Jason and the intake of Durham Family Services. But apparently there was a bit of a miscommunication. He wasn’t calling to let me know where I stood on the waitlist as per my request, he called to let me know I was at the top of the wait list and to get me set up with counseling.

Yay!

Finally getting a councillor with DFS!

So he was going to set me up with a counselor and I mentioned I would appreciate seeing the counselor I saw a previously. Unfortunately she had a full case load and to add to her caseload they have to get consent specifically from her. Unfortunately she was on vacation all last week so they couldn’t reach her until early this week.

I was called on Wednesday and was advised that the counselor I wanted to see had agreed to add me to her caseload..

Yay!

So, after 13 months of waiting I now have my first appointment set up for late January – only 14 months after first requesting counseling. Oi.

Better late than never

I’m just glad I have an appointment scheduled and it’s with a counselor that I’ve already built a connection with..

Then I have to wait for Catholic Family Services and Carea.. Hopefully they are timed to fit from one to the next to the next! I’d like to get my issues completely dealt with.

Christmas Is Busy For Me

December 15, 2022

Personally, for me, Christmas is probably the busiest time of year. Plus with personal issues that I’ve been having with different relationships, I haven’t been able to focus here very much.. so my apologies for not posting… Again…

Tis the season to be busy

Just to give you an idea. Monday was dinner out with a friend I haven’t seen in a coons ahe. Tuesday I have errands all afternoon & a cub planning meeting in the evening.. Wednesday is the Cub year end meeting, a social gathering & baking both before & after those. Thutsday I have to organize the baking, getting some ready for me to post as well as for friends this weekend. In the evening, I’m off to my sister’s for hair & a walk with the dogs. Friday, weather permitting, I’m getting the headlight fixed then I’m heading out for a social event with out-of-town friends I have not seen since Labour Day. Saturday is a coffee date (Whoo hoo!!) Sunday is soccer.. I still need to do groceries: normal groceries, Christmas dinner groceries, cookie baking groceries.. then, more baking as our family Christmas is on the 23rd.. plus wrapping presents for Mom, Dad, Sister & her family & a friend who I exchange with for more than just cookies..

So, yeah . Busy….

Christmas is like College Final Exam Week

And I’m probably missing stuff in the schedule..

Plus I need to fit in exercise, a hot tub or two or 6, plus other personal self care & put up my second tree.. & make some ornaments..

Keep calm, it's only Christmas

So, ALOT goes on a Christmas..

Holiday Burnout When Living With Chronic Illness

December 6, 2022

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but pain. And fatigue. And holiday burnout. Follow these tips to celebrate the holidays the way that feels best for you.

Based on an original article posted Here, written by Courtney Smith

Does the Christmas season tend to leave you feeling overwhelmed and both physically or emotionally exhausted? There’s a word for that, and it’s called holiday burnout.

The holidays are supposed to be a time for joy, celebration, and reconnecting with loved ones. For others, it can evoke a range of uncomfortable feelings. And sometimes even if you are a Christmas person it can sometimes be too much.

What Is Holiday Burnout?

Holiday burnout is a term referring to the overwhelming emotional feeling one feels from expectations and pressures during the holiday season. It can be influenced by multiple factors – from adjustments in daily schedules, family or interpersonal conflicts, familiar and friendship expectations, even mental health concerns and more.. For those living with chronic illnesses such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, HIV/AIDS, & MS, the pressure to keep up can feel even more overwhelming.

In an attempt to create memories and maintain traditions and customs, one may ignore their mental health or one may even feel their mental well-being is ignored by others during this time of year. This can cause the holiday season to be more stressful than joyful.

Common Symptoms

You could be exhibiting signs of holiday burnout if you feel any of the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Feeling overwhelmed or anxious
  • Prolonged stress
  • Losing interest in things
  • Lack of motivation to do even the fun things
  • Feeling drained after socializing
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Procrastination of Christmas traditions one usually gets joy from
  • A disrupted digestive system
  • Frustration due to the holiday chores or activities

Manage Holiday Burnout When Living With Chronic Illness

1. Make plans in advance

Before committing to any social events or responsibilities during the holidays, be sure to plan ahead and make sure you want to attend the event. Don’t overbook. Whether it’s a party, cooking a large meal, or preparing gifts for family and friends, check to see what feels best for you and your body and plan accordingly. Consider creating a schedule with small and large tasks spaced out to prevent being overwhelmed, exhausted and other detrimental feelings.

Remember, what sounds fun in the moment may not feel manageable in a few weeks’ time.

2. Prioritize self-care

Self-care is essential for all aspects of ones mental and physical well-being, but with all the holiday hoopla, I can gets lost. In the midst of familial obligations, gift-buying, and holiday traveling, it can be easy to lose your sense of well-being resulting in feeling of burnout.

Prioritizing self-care during the holiday season doesn’t have to be glamorous or expensive. It’s all about maintaining your healthy routine with respect to your chronic health condition.

Practicing self-care can be as simple as:

  • Light physical activity like yoga or walking
  • Stay hydrated
  • Listen to your body.
  • Read a book
  • Talk with a friend
  • Colour, paint, draw, crafting
  • Write in your journal
  • Listen to music
  • Brush your teeth
  • Shower
  • Eat healthy, nutrient-dense meals
  • Maintain your sleep schedule
  • Pace yourself & take breaks

3. Set boundaries

With expectations from gift-giving to expected attendance at events with travel time, it can feel uncomfortable to say no to friends & family.

If saying yes makes you feel anxious or overwhelmed, or puts your health at risk, you can say no. Setting and enforcing personal boundaries is a health form of self care. Give yourself permission to say no is empowering. Being mindful of your mental and physical capabilities safeguards your health, avoids feelings of holiday burnout, and allows you to choose to spend the holidays in the way that feels best for you. Rather than pleasing everyone and overcommitting yourself, learn to say a polite no this holiday season.

4. Keep track of your medications

With everything that could be on your plate, it could be very easy to lose track of time and stay on top of the medications you take to manage your chronic illness. To avoid any lapses in care, and ward off feelings of holiday burnout, try setting medication reminders on your digital devices (phone / smartwatch).

Pill organizers can be very helpful as it sets out your medications for each day so they won’t be forgotten. Some pharmacies will provide this service free of charge.

5. Enjoy yourself!!!

With all this talk of burnout and all that could go wrong, remember that the holidays are supposed to be a time of fun for everyone. Don’t forget to have some! 

Whether it’s watching your favourite holiday film, cooking a nostalgic dish, or driving around to look at lights, choose to celebrate the holidays with special activities that are just for you and give yourself a break from all other distractions and pressures.

How Do I Avoid Christmas Burn Out?

  1. Try to start shopping early. On year I started on Boxing day.
  2. Cheat with my baking. I make several different types of cookies each year, but mixing up that many different types can be a little much. Some of my dough is premade. Some of my dough, I will premake & freeze.
  3. Organize gifts. But either the same item or purchase from the same store. One year I bought hoodies for my sister’s family all from the same animal rescue. This year I’m going to an outlet store with the plan to get everyone’s gifts.
  4. Drop certain activities. Sometimes doing Christmas cards just feels too much, so I will either limit cards to a special few or even drop them completely..
  5. Go to the gym. Not necessarily to workout. Sometimes I just got for a hot tub to relax.
  6. Extra self care. Despite how much I enjoy the holiday season, I do tend to stress out. So I make sure I get some extra self-care in and keep an eye on my mental health.

Camping 2023

September 20, 2022

I didnt get to go away and camp much this summer & enjoy it this year. I had my cub camp, I had Canada Day at the former BFF’s, and this recent explosion Didn’t even get a weekend away with the FWB independent on other people..

So next year, I’m saying “Fuck It!” Beyond my cub camp & my scheduled week at the cottage, I’m gonna book my own time away if people want to join, great! It’d not, Lilly & I can bond instead. I think I’m likely gonna be at conversation areas cuz I like the coverage better there & they tend to be cheaper.

My Campfire

Other than my own appointments & commitments (some may still be virtual), I don’t really have to answer to anyone.

I will have to contribute to the car maintenance & stuff more, but I’ll have to figure it out. The car, by mileage is due for an oil change, but not by the time frame, so I’ll have to do that early for them Actually shoulda had them do it yesterday while it was in the shop. **Shrug**

But that’s what I’m gonna do. You wanna join, give me a heads up, but beware there is limited space in my car, given equipment, food, clothing and the pup. ..

i still might be heading to Winnipeg, but if that’s gonna happen it’s soon, or next year. .

Current Mental Health Issues – Updated

August 19, 2022

I’ve been dealing with some personal mental health issues for the last week or so, which is causing an larger difficulty to focus and concentrate on stuff with working on the stuff with my sister it’s been taking my all

Fortunately, I’m up to the cottage for the next week & hopefully can regenerate some and maybe finish off topics I’ve started here & left hanging.

if you’re wondering why…please see my previous mental health post here The issues discussed are still pretty much ongoing..

Crash & Burn

August 12, 2022

The August long weekend was spent at home, the first time in several years, even doing covid. Typically I would be up at bff’s cottage, but she wanted the weekend starting her vacation to just be her & hubby..

Instead, I spent it in the GTA. Thursday night I went walking with my friend Tracy as my sister was at the cottage on vacation. We went 5.18 km according to my fitbit. Pace was 7.8 km/hr which is pretty good. Average speed for someone our age is about 4.5km/hr. So a good clip.

Friday was a quiet day, but Saturday started with my mom having a hissy fit about all my stuff in their space, so I spent the afternoon hauling any of my personal belongings & any cub supplies I had from the garage and into the backyard , either to my indoor space or my father’s shed. Between 2 & 6:30, my fit bit recognized three instance of exercise. 2 were classified as walks, but one was registered as sport. This tells you how hard I was working. That evening I went out to a bar with friends. Some were new to our group, so we had some ice breaker activities & lots of chat, getting to know new people. Then off to the dance floor until I left shortly before 1am.

Sunday registered a walk on my fit bit at 12 and I don’t remember what I was doing.. likely at noon I’m still dragging my ass outta bed,, esp when I wasn’t home until 2.. ( I realized layer it was 12 midnight & I was dancing).. I then took the pup to the dog park and we took the longer path. I did yoga for about a half hour & change. *Then* I went to soccer & I was exhausted by the end.

I woke Monday morning, thinking “Hmm.. I’m not too bad.” Then I moved. Boy was I wrong! 8/10, easy, & pure fibro pain. Not alot anyone can do anything for that.. Plus ongoing muscle cramps in my legs on & off until I got some magnesium on Wednesday, which helped..

So I spent the holiday Monday in bed, same with Tuesday & Wednesday other than a painfully slow walk, barely 1km/hr. I was however feeling a bit better each day..

Thursday was spent at my sister’s hanging out at her pool & started working on a project she wanted to do this month. Got in a couple of short walks, minimally faster than the days before.

Saturday & Sunday we also spent working on the project with multiple pool breaks .. I did go out with friends on Saturday which was nice. Then I again went to soccer on Sunday – am I a glutton for punishment or what?

So now we are one week later, pain levels still jumping at a 4-6/10.. depending on the time of day.. Sunday afternoon I was at a 4.. Probably why I went to soccer.

Monday was about the same, pain-wise & still working on my sister’s project, but finally got a decent amount of work done on with this project.

to be continued…

Tips – Avoid Negativity

August 9, 2022

Always try to avoid as much negativity as possible in your life. Most of all, whatever makes you laugh or feel happy, do that.

So there are people in your life who put you down, disregard you, ignore you, are demeaning to you or don’t believe you These are the people you cut out or limit, if possible, from you life.

Activities that you can’t do, don’t want to do but are pushed o you, are having extreme difficulty doing. These are activities you cut out or limit to the best of your ability Unfortunately, single people can not just stop doing dishes or laundry unfortunately. 😅

Hang out with people who truely care and support you. My sister is one of those people. I see her usually twice a week. We go for a walk (yes I enjoy walking) and chat about her, about me, about family, about mutual interests, about friends, Just life.

Do things you enjoy. Sometimes they maybe hard, but if they are worth the effort, do them to the best of your ability. I like to read, so I will grab a book and sit outside (sometimes in the sun, sometime the shade) for an hour or two and loose myself. Something that can be difficult, but worthwhile, is my Cub pack. I admit I do tend to overdo it sometimes, but it brings me & it brings the kids (well 99% of them) joy, fun, exercise, learning and an appreciation or nature & each other.

A Time Out

December 10, 2021

Alot has been going on personally which is severely impacting my health. I have to cut back, temporarily on some things.

Temporarily M I A

In addition to my blog which is already behind anyways, most of my social media will be going darkish, or at least not active. I’m hoping this only will last a few days. If not I will at least be checking in.

Until then, are there any topics you would like me to touch on?

Stress Impacts the Body

November 5, 2021

You all know stress impacts the human body. No one knows this more than people with Fibromyalgia. Part of our issue is that our muscles cannot relax because of the pain signals we are receiving at all times. Add stress to that, with most common physical reaction to stress is muscle tension. So adding tension to an already agitated muscle makes for a disaster.

No one knows yet 100% of the cause of Fibro. If it’s actually a physiological issue or if it’s a neurological reaction? Either way, the addition of the tension to the already agitated muscle, skyrockets the pain, with definite real pain.. Not just a neurological misfire that we could potentially be having.

And before anyone says I’m minimizing pain, I am not. People with fibromyalgia feel pain every single day. – it’s the cause we don’t know. We don’t know if the cause is something physical in the muscles, we don’t know if it’s part of the nerve chain or even something in the brain. We.just don’t know And as many of you know, I’m in a remission with my Fibro. I still feel pain, but I’m better managed and had made alot of changes a few years back. As a result, my pain levels rarely rate over a 5 – right now. I have, in the past, been bed bound. So I’ve been at both ends of the spectrum. I am the last person to downplay anyone’s pain let alone someone with Fibromyalgia.

But back to stress… I’ve been dealing with some pretty intense issues lately.. The big 2: 1. Problems with my Mom & our relationship.. 2. Issues with the guy I’m seeing – relationship may be ending. And I don’t think either one reads this blog. Those are the big ones but there is always in additional normal day to day stresses..

So….. On Monday night I had a breakdown. A complete emotional & mental breakdown (this does not include the meltdown I had earlier that day). I was in such hysterics that at times I could barely breathe.. You also don’t want to see what my kitchen looks like, cuz it all hit me as I was cooking stir-fry, which means three pots on the stove, each carefully times so everything finished hot at the same time. Interestingly enough I could feel myself deteriorating and the rice was pretty much done, the meat was pretty much done and the vegetables were almost done so I took the presence of mind to grab storage containers and just put everything in the fridge because there was no way I was going to be able to eat it and I have no family to feed. But I didn’t give myself enough leeway and ended up destroying the contents of the shelves with the storage containers.. Apparently I have a decent arm because I found, after the fact, empty storage containers or lids in my dining area, my office area, one almost in the living room and also my bedroom.

I ended up calling the local mental health line & spoke with a gentleman named Craig who listened & offered support..Initially, my mind had been racing with a lot of dark negative thoughts.. But I finally got calmed down enough after over an hour of venting. & I was no longer in that dark and twisted headspace.

I woke up Tuesday morning physically & emotionally wiped. Unfortunately this was one of the days that I just can’t say no. I had to drop my mom off at her doctor’s appointments because she no longer drives. I still also had to finish prepping my Cub Scout meeting.. Which meant I also had to run my Cub Scout meeting because this week got dropped in my lap on Sunday. The meeting went well and I was able to get out of my head for almost 2 hours not thinking about those big two issues. By the time I got home in the evening after my meeting, I stripped down, showered, got extra medicated and watched some mindless TV. That’s all my body would let me do – I pretty much hit the wall. Oh & eat some of the stir fry from the night before – lol.

And this excessive physical reaction is 100% due to stress exasperating the Fibromyalgia and some of my ppother chronic pain issues.

Hairdresser Appointment

July 30, 2021

So, I had my first hairdresser appointment in months on Wednesday. I’ve not been to see her because of restrictions here in Ontario due to the pandemic.

No, I didn’t go wild & change anything, just a trim & tidy.

While many fibromite women find this to be a chore, I enjoy these visits.

Monique washes my hair & gives it a good scrub, which I can not do very well for myself. As a result I get a really nice head massage.

She then starts ‘playing ‘ with my hair, combing, brushing, cutting. I actually really enjoy the sensation of someone playing with my hair, even if it’s just to brush it. I find it totally relaxing .. I trust Monique not the screw up my hair, so sometimes I’ll just wait there with my eyes closed.

Afterwards, my hair, while still long is so much more thinner. Between cleaning the layers up & the thinning, I loose quite a bit of hair and the difference in the weight is significant. My hair then looks, feels & just is healthier. It also just plain ole looks better!

After the hairdresser June 2020