The Benefits of a Spa Day for Those With Chronic Illness

After Mum and I enjoyed a luxurious spa break for my 30th birthday two years ago, we decided that every few months, or whenever we had some spare time we would book a spa day for the both of us to enjoy together.  Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, we have been unable to enjoy a spa day together for almost a year, but with Mum having some time off work and my impending birthday we thought that it was time for both of us to enjoy some much-needed R and R.

Excitement and anticipation soon start after phoning our local spa, for a day pass which includes one of their luxurious treatments and a heap of other benefits including full use of the spa and leisure facilities, two-course lunch buffet and complimentary towel, robe and slippers.

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A relaxing spa day is a sublime treat for both myself and the person with whom I’m going, something to look forward to beyond the daily life of managing unpleasant symptoms like chronic pain.

However, not only is a spa day something lovely to look forward to but as someone living with chronic illness, I have found that I benefit immensely from it.

And I think a spa day would be beneficial for those living with chronic illness; and here are some of the reasons why:

ALLOWS YOU TO SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH LOVED ONES

Before my symptoms became disabling, my Mum and I loved nothing better than to travel to Cardiff and spend the day together for some retail therapy, and perhaps even take the opportunity to eat out.

However, now as my mobility has worsened, my legs so weak that I am unable to stand or walk for very long without them giving way.  These days out together are no longer possible, not only because of the debilitating physical symptoms but also due to energy limitations.  I just don’t have the energy to do these type of high-energy activities anymore.  Not without paying a hefty price afterward, such as a significant increase in the severity of the symptoms I already have to endure.

Like many of us living with chronic illness, it means that I have to miss out on social gatherings with friends or family which is something that is one of the most upsetting and frustrating things about living with a long-term health condition.  However, a spa day allows you to spend quality time with a friend or loved one that is thoroughly relaxing and low-energy, perfect for those of us with chronic illness.

BEING ABLE TO UNWIND, DESTRESS AND INDULGE IN SELF-CARE

Like many others living with chronic illness, the condition and its constant and unrelenting symptoms cause me stress.  And never more so when I am experiencing a severe flare, much as I have done recently.  By going on a spa day, however, gave me the opportunity to escape this day-to-day stresses of living with chronic illness, and to unwind and relax.  As all of us are aware, stress can often exacerbate our symptoms; by going on a spa day, it allows you the opportunity to focus on you and your needs.

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Like osmosis, the calm and relaxing atmosphere of the spa itself seeps into my body making me calm and relaxed also despite any pain or discomfort I’m experiencing.  Hell, I become so relaxed that I end up catching on any missed sleep in one of the Relaxation Zones. Bliss!

THE TREATMENTS ON OFFER CAN HELP REDUCE CHRONIC PAIN 

There are a variety of treatments and massages on offer in spas like the one I frequent.  For those who can tolerate touch, as some suffering from allodynia would not benefit from such treatments.  One of my favourite treatments is the aromatherapy massage, but the hot stone massage may also be beneficial for those suffering from chronic pain as research has found that the therapy eases muscle stiffness, increases circulation and metabolism and also increases blood flow throughout the body as the hot stones help to expand blood vessels.

Furthermore, massages have also been found to release the same ‘feel-good’ endorphins that you get from working out.  The release of endorphins acts as a natural pain reliever.  The more your body produces these endorphins, the quicker it learns how to release them.  Therefore, regular massage therapy helps to stop the buildup of toxic blockages that hinder the flow of oxygen around the body causing pain and inflammation and to also help the body’s response to it.

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Aromatherapy as well as having the same benefits as listed above is also said to ease headaches, improve sleeping problems, lowers feeling of anxiety and improves mood.  The practitioner can tailor the aromatherapy oils depending on you and your symptoms.  During a previous massage, peppermint oil was used on my body, including my stomach and really helped ease nausea I experience as a side effect of the medications that I take.

I also love having a facial, which is just as relaxing as any of the other treatments already mentioned, and afterward, my skin is glowing making me look healthy and radiant, and when I look good, I also feel good.

THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE OTHER FACILITIES ON OFFER 

As well as delivering ultimate pampering treatment, most spas also have jacuzzis, saunas, and steam rooms to use during your day.  Jacuzzi’s are excellent for those like myself who suffer from neurological conditions as the warm water decreases joint stiffness, normalises muscle tone, as well as promoting muscle relaxation all helping to relieve pain. I love spending time in the spa’s jacuzzi, and feel relaxed and rejuvenated doing so, as well as experiencing a reduction in the amount of pain I am experiencing.  I find it so beneficial that it’s difficult getting me out of there!

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There are also many benefits of using saunas and steam rooms.  Saunas, for example, are great for detox, as sweating is one of the best ways to remove toxins from the body.

Saunas and steam rooms are although not suitable if suffering from heat intolerance which many suffering from neurological conditions do.  However, even a few minutes in the steam room or sauna can be beneficial as in addition to detoxing, they may also help to reduce inflammation and pain.

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Furthermore, it’s important to reiterate that spending time in hot water and facilities such and saunas and steam rooms can be as good as exercise.  Great news for those who find exercise difficult because of their condition, but is still important to pace yourself especially for those who struggle with fatigue.  Also, if you have high blood pressure than you need to consult a medical professional before using such facilities as it may be unsuitable.

A DAY WITH NO PRESSURES. A DAY OF NORMALITY 

We all have pressures in our lives whether it comes from work, family, or friends.  When living with chronic illness, we may often feel pressure to do things that we might not feel physically able to do, others not understanding why we can’t because we look healthy on the outside.  Them not understanding how we can still be in pain, or feel so fatigued.

A significant advantage of a spa day is that there are no pressures from others or any need to places any burden on ourselves to do this or that because we feel we should be doing something than resting and looking ourselves. On these days, there is nothing to do but care for ourselves, listen to our bodies and instead do what we need to for us.  A day not continually checking social media, and worrying about what is going on around us.  A day just for us.

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At the spa, I feel completely safe and at ease in the environment, which is not always the case because of my neurological condition.  But there, I can take everything at my own pace, even being left alone in one of the relaxation areas while my companion goes to another part to do what they want. It’s, in fact, a spa day is one in which I almost feel ‘normal,’ a day which I am not defined by the limitations of my condition. A day with no ‘I can’t’ and being stopped by the symptoms that I endure because of said condition.  All there is to do is lie back, relax and enjoy!

There are just a few of the many reasons why a spa day can benefit for those living with chronic illness.  I always come away feeling tired, but still incredibly relaxed, happy and even in less pain.

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I definitely feel and enjoy the benefits of a spa day and would recommend it to anyone.  Plus, it provides a fun and relaxed day out, that I can actually enjoy and feel comfortable in my surroundings, and allows me time to spend with Mum away from home. I cannot wait until our next day whenever that will be!

Have you tried a spa day?  What did you think?

Let me know in the comment box below or let me know via social media!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-Care & Happy Distractions

Living with a long-term health condition is hard.  Every day seems the same with juggling the ordinary daily tasks of life with the many symptoms and other effects that chronic illness imposes on our body.  There are so many demands on our bodies, which is why self-care is so critical to our overall well-being.

Self -care can take many forms.  Relaxing, participating in a favourite activity or hobby or just taking time out to enjoy a luxurious bubble bath are some ways which we can take time for ourselves to rest and unwind from the stresses of life with chronic illness.  And self-care is also important to help elevate your mood and provide a little light and happiness from the darkness that chronic illness can sometimes create.

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I’m writing about a special brand collaboration, which I thought would be beneficial for those like me, living with a chronic illness and finding that it has an adverse impact on their mental health, suffering from stress, anxiety or depression alongside their physical health problems.

The brand in question is called The Distraction Box, started by the lovely Rachael and Samantha.  I did a little Q and A with Rachael, one of the founders behind The Distraction Box about the inspiration behind the company and about self-care.

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  1. Hi Rachael, Why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about yourselves and your business The Distraction Box
    Distraction Box was founded by two female business women, Rachael and Sam.  Rachael was forced to leave her high-flying career in Marketing due to health challenges.  After major spinal surgery, serious complications and a subsequent diagnosis of a further two nasty chronic illnesses, Rachael’s life changed dramatically overnight.  Rachael has to work really hard on her health to participate in life – including her emotional health.  That’s where the business idea came from – passion and personal learnings.
    Sam is a Dr of Physiology who has a particular interest in the effects of stress on our physical health.  Sam has also had to live with depression since the age of 17 so also had to work hard on her emotional health. Both founders share a passion for emotional well-being so we thought we’d make a great team!We launched the business in October 2016 and position ourselves as a well-being subscription box for the mind.  We also have one-off boxes which are great for gifts for loved ones going through hard times.   Our subscription packages are available for those who want to invest in their emotional well-being on a regular basis.  We encourage people to invest in their emotional health and not just their physical health.  We have a monthly, 3 monthly and 6 monthly subscription packages and each can be cancelled at any time and very easily.
  2. Where did the inspiration for The Distraction Box come from?  It’s a great name!  How did you decide upon it?
    I used to be an athlete and had the belief that you could do anything in life, as long as you were prepared to work hard enough, and if your heart desired it.  Then, 6 years ago I had a major health challenge that changed my life.  In a nutshell, I suddenly had physical limitations that meant I had to change my life completely and found myself not being able to do ‘what I wanted when I wanted.’This affected my emotional well-being, and I was struggling to cope with grieving my old self, and the frustrations with my new life.  Thankfully I was offered counselling to help me with my emotions – and I found the courage to embrace it.  This was the start of my journey with coming to terms and accepting what life has thrown at me, and even changing my mindset to help.  During that journey, I joined a health group which focused around teaching people how to live with chronic illness.One of the tools I was taught was how to create distractions from physical pain and/or the emotions that come with living with an illness that affects your everyday.  I created my own Distraction Box filled with items that comforted me, helped ease physical symptoms, or simply cheered me up when I was struggling to remain positive.  I love creating my own Happy Distractions and felt that more of us should create them in our everyday lives.  We all face stress and pressure, but not enough of us take the time to ‘switch off’ or manage overwhelming emotions in a positive way.
  3. How do you decide on the products you select for the boxes?  What are your favourite products that have been inside your lovely boxes?
    Both of the founders spend a lot of time researching the right products that we feel would create happy distractions.  We can’t pick many favourites as we love them all (or they wouldn’t be in the box).  However, we love JustBe Botanicals, Re-Mind notepads and the slate heart of self-love which was featured in our February box.
  4. Self-care is a big deal within the chronic illness community.  What are your favourite ways to relax and unwind?
    I have too many ways! I can’t say a specific favourite, but I do love water.  I’d say visiting the pool – even if it’s for a float to take the edge off my pain, or to go for a swim and build strength, I love it.  I have regular hot baths too and have different bath bombs and oils depending on what mood I’m in.  I also meditate once a day if I can – I love finding out where my mind will take me that day!
  5. What do you hope to achieve with The Distraction Box? We hope to spread a little happiness across the UK and beyond, but with an important message; emotional well-being is just as important as physical health.  Working on the mind is a strength and not a weakness – we are so passionate about that.On a practical note, we are hoping the boxes will raise enough money to set up ‘talkitout’ which will change the way the UK view talking therapy.  Watch this space…

I was sent a box for myself to unveil and review for the blog.

The Distraction Box for March was based on the theme ‘Hibernation to Happiness’ which was essentially all about stepping out of the hibernation period of winter and into the lighter, brighter days of spring. 

The box arrived after a long night of insomnia as a result of chronic pain, so just receiving the box was enough to cheer me up.  Upon opening the box, I was greeted with a little green parcel which contained all of the month’s goodies.  It was beautifully packaged and wrapped with care which made me appreciate receiving it even more.  It felt special like having received a special gift for Christmas or a birthday.  With the goodies was also a little booklet which outlined the theme for the month and a description of all the goodies contained in the month’s subscription box.

One of the first things that I noticed after opening the box was a gorgeous citrus scent from the Beefayre ‘Bee Happy’ Tea Lights that are scented with orange and jasmine essential oils.  It immediately lifted my mood and helped me to relax despite feeling uptight after a night dealing with pain.  One of my favourite ways to relax and unwind in the nights is to read or watch something on my iPad while I light a scented candle and so I really loved receiving these.  And they are natural which is a bonus!

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I have previously mentioned that the recent popular craze of adult colouring is also becoming a favourite form of self-care for me when I am feeling anxious or just need to distract my mind from the all-consuming symptoms.  So, I was ecstatic to receive a mini Mindful Colouring Pad with colouring pencils! They are sweet, and the best thing is that both the colouring pad and pencils are pocket sized – perfect for slipping into a coat pocket or handbag to take out on trips, such as hospital appointments so you can take a little time out from your thoughts or anxiety.

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Also, in the box was Birchall’s Green Tea and Peach Infusion Tea Bags and the BakedIn Gluten-Free Mug Brownie Mix, both ideal for those who are health conscious and want to look after their physical well-being as well as their emotional health.  I’m not gluten intolerant myself, but again the thought of Rachael and Sam for those who may have such intolerances really shows their understanding of such concerns within the chronic illness community.

I love writing handwritten letters to friends or other special people in my life.  And I also love to receive handwritten letters, in my opinion there is nothing better than to receive a thoughtful handwritten letter in the mail and which feel a lot more personal than an email or text message.  Which is one of the reasons why I participate in a project called Spoonie Post whereby every month you send a letter or card to a fellow chronic illness warrior to say hello or to cheer them up during difficult times.  In this month’s box was two cards with envelopes which I will be able to use for this project and brighten someone’s day!

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And finally, and probably my favourite item from this gorgeous and positive box was the Happy Mug (perfect to enjoy the green tea and peach in).  With simple colours, and finished with a rose gold detail it has a beautifully inspiring and positive quote that we should all aspire to every day.  I’m not a big hot drink fan, but I am sure that I will enjoy using this mug during times of self-care in the future.

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I loved this subscription box, and all the little goodies were perfect for taking the time to invest in my emotional well-being and for anyone else also living with the effects of a long-term health condition.  I know in the US and Canada various companies have subscription boxes specifically for those with chronic illnesses, but nothing similar here in the UK  (although The Distraction Box does ship worldwide).  However, I think The Distraction Box has this niche market in the bag and would definitely invest in a box in the future during a bad flare or maybe even buying it as a gift for someone going through a difficult time.

If you would like to try out a one-off Distraction Box or are willing to invest in your emotional well-being and sign up for a monthly subscription for a Distraction Box, then go and visit their website and use my code ‘brainlesionandme’ for a 10% off your first box/subscription and enjoy the benefits of their take on self-care for yourself.

And let us take a look at your enjoyment of your own Distraction Box by using the tag #HappyDistractions!

HAWMC Day 19: Defeating Stress

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Welcome to the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge brought together by WEGO Health – a social network for all health activists.  Again, I am participating in the annual Writer’s Month Challenge in which I will be writing about my health activism and health condition based upon given prompts.

Sunday 19th April: Stress Awareness Month 

What’s the best way you deal with stress?  How do you like to let loose to escape common stressors?  Share with us your favourite ways to shake off the stress

Stress is defined as “the physical, mental or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension”.  Stresses can be external (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal (illness, or from a medical procedure for example).   When these stresses are triggered, it initiates a complex reaction of  our neurologic and endrocrinologic systems also known as the ‘fight or flight’ response, in other words, our body prepares us to either fight the cause of our stress or run away from it.

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Everyone is susceptible to stress, and is something that everyone will experience many times during the course of a lifetime.  It can be caused by anxiety over exams, financial problems, family arguments to name but a few examples.

Chronic Illness Cat understands that stress levels can increase when living with a chronic illness
Chronic Illness Cat understands that stress levels can increase when living with a chronic illness

Furthermore, everyone is susceptible to the effects of stress.  However, living with a long-term health condition, makes you particularly vulnerable.  In addition, to challenges that are normally faced, chronic illness can provide new stressors, including:

  • pain or discomfort from symptoms
  • managing the condition and coping with the treatments
  • adjusting to the new limitations that are caused by the condition
  • feelings of frustration loneliness and isolation

There are several strategies that they suggest to increase the quality of life for those living with chronic conditions and to minimise the challenges that goes with living with a long-term illness, such as:

  • Self-Management: Making positive conscious decisions to help ease the symptoms experienced and to improve quality of life.  These include the choice to eating nutritious foods, getting plenty of sleep and exercise, all of which can help improve mobility and ease symptoms as well improving mood and lessening the effects of stress
  • Developing adaptability: By accepting your condition and the limitations that arise as a result can allow you to take control of the condition as well as allowing you to develop coping strategies that works for you.  And by doing so also allows you to better manage any new challenges as they arise
  • Understanding the condition: It’s always helpful to learn everything about symptoms and treatment options.  It’s also helpful to observe your body and learn any triggers that exacerbate the symptoms as well as those which ease the symptoms as they will not be the same for every patient.  Use a journal to record the insights that may help you manage the symptoms.
  • Managing emotions: Experiment with different strategies to manage stress and other negative emotions.  Find the strategies that works well for you can incorporate these into your daily, or weekly routines.

What has worked for me? These are some of the strategies that I have found particularly helpful, and not only for stress management but distracting me from symptoms such as chronic pain:

  • Listening to music: When I am stressed or experiencing excruciating pain then I like to press play on a playlist of my favourite songs and listen to them whilst lying down on my bed with my eyes closed and focusing on the positive, inspiring and uplifting lyrics482887415
  • Breathing and relaxation exercises: As someone who experiences anxiety as part of my condition, or when I am experiencing insomnia I find breathing and other relaxation techniques very useful to help.  It is important to regularly practice these types of techniques, as they are much like muscles which need to be worked on to be effective.  And after practicing these techniques I usually feel so relaxed that sleep comes very naturally!Word Relax on beach
  • Colouring-in: A new technique that I have discovered, yes, it’s no surprise children are so relaxed as colouring books really help with switching off the brain and helping us to unwind from the stresses in our lives.  Although, I have been using it as a distraction technique to manage the pain I have been experiencing, which is helping and is an activity I am very much enjoying!20150418_110552
  • Puzzle Books: These are another great distraction technique from stress, anxiety and pain.  The concentration needed to complete them is a welcome break from worrying about the little stresses in life, or about the troubling symptoms.  My recent favourite puzzle has been the codebreaker – what is yours?
  • Painting Nails: If  am feeling low or particularly unwell, painting my nails with a bright, bold colour always cheers me up, and as someone who suffers with shaky hands I also need a lot of concentration to do a good job and in doing so any pain or stress that I may be experiencing is forgotten!

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HAWMC Day 12: When in Need of Self-Care…

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Welcome to the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge brought together by WEGO Health – a social network for all health activists.  Again, I am participating in the annual Writer’s Month Challenge in which I will be writing about my health activism and health condition based upon given prompts.

Sunday 12th April: Day of Rest

Kick your feet up!  What is your ideal day in?  When you’re having a bad day, or a long week – how do you relax, recharge, and reset yourself?

Self-care can be defined as the process of maintaining health and managing chronic illness through health promoting practices and self-management.  It could also be defined as coping strategies during relapses or flares of symptoms.  Self-management are behaviours that are performed in response to signs and symptoms of illness.

When living with a chronic illness, therefore it is important to embed self-care and self-management practices into one’s routine.  Perhaps one important aspect of self-care is having a day of rest on days in which symptoms are particularly bad, or even days following a relapse to allow the body rest and recuperation, and a chance to regain depleted energy levels.

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Recently, the symptoms associated with my neurological condition such as pain, dizziness and the trembling and weakness in the legs have been debilitating; often finding they become worse days after trips out with my carer.  As a result, I have been in need of days of rest myself, so this post should come easy!

These are some of my top tips for activities to put into place on those bad days, or just for when you need to relax, recharge or recuperate from life with chronic illness:

  • Date with Netflix (other streaming service are available!) or DVD: When I am having a bad day, or in need of a quiet or relaxing day, then watching a film is one of my favourite ways to spend my time, especially for someone who is somewhat of a film buff.  In particularly I love romantic dramas or even a good romantic  comedy.  Nicholas Sparks adaptations, such as Safe Haven, The Best of Me and The Notebook are amongst my favourite films to watch when having a bad day.  Or, the need of a quiet and relaxing day is a perfect opportunity to discover new films to enjoy20150411_183711
  • Art Therapy: The pain that I experience in my legs has been really bad of late.  So bad that it is hard to concentrate or think about anything else.  A while back, however I remembered an article that I read that discussed the new craze and resurgence of colouring books for adults.  In the article it suggested that the art of colouring-in is very beneficial for relaxing and beating stress and anxiety.  Colouring allows a person to concentrate and escape from their thoughts and daily life in a similar way that mindfulness does.  At the same time, I seen advertising for a new magazine called Art Therapy, which has pages of different patterns and designs for users to colour-in, also including pages dedicated to insights  regarding to mindfulness and relaxation.  Basically the magazine allows for quality time with yourself.  I subscribed almost straight away and after receiving the first issue, I have been colouring during my days of rest and has found it has been a great technique to distract myself from the pain.  It’s also really fun!20150404_182614
  • Pampering!: Nothing like a bit of pampering to relax and give yourself some self-love.  If I am feeling down or had a bad week, then I love nothing better than to use one of my luxurious nail kits and paint my nails.  Whilst Mum and I were in Bath, and my pain was bad, she went into the local Lush store and bought me a Massage Bar which includes an oil which has been shown to increase serotonin levels in the brain.  A great way to give yourself a little pampering and lift your mood at the same time!20140920_165005
  • Create a happy and relaxing playlist: Music has been shown to have a positive effect on mood and well-being.  And I love music and have songs on my iPod that triggers a special memory or instantly makes me smile.  So, why not create a playlist of happy and uplifting songs to put on your MP3 player for when you need a pick me-up, or relaxing and chilled music for the times you need to unwind and recharge.
  • Create a Comfort Box: I have written about the concept of a comfort box in previous posts.  But simply, a comfort box is a box that you can fill with things that brings you comfort, joy and relaxation.  Ideas to put in a comfort box include craft kits, pictures of happy times, favourite books, films or television boxsets.  Other examples include scented candles, favourite snacks or even a journal.  The comfort box can even be placed under or near your bed so that it can even be of use when stuck in bed due to chronic illness.

    Inside view of Comfort Box
    Example of a Comfort Box
  • Spend time stroking your pet: Take time stroking a pet (if you have one) as research has found that doing so can lower your blood pressure, helps the body release a relaxation hormone, and even helps cut down levels of a stress hormone.  And it has beneficial effects for the animal too!

A Bad Day Does Not Mean The End of the Day…

Regular readers of my blog, and especially those who follow me on social media will know that life recently has been very tough due to the symptoms that are caused by the neurological condition that I am now forced to live with.  The symptoms associated with my neurological condition such as dizziness, fatigue, pain as well as the severe weakness and trembling in the legs have all deteriorated.  And as a  result of this deterioration, it has resulted in the loss in the ability to do a lot of the things that once came so easily, or those activities that I enjoy participating in.  One example, is the great difficulties that I have experienced in visiting our local high street.  Before this sudden deterioration, I found it so easy to be able to park in the town’s car park and walk the moderate distance towards the top end of the town to visit the shops that I like to browse and buy everything that I need.  However, recently due to the deterioration in the symptoms in my legs (the pain, trembling and weakness) even the short walk from the car park to the shops have felt more like the prospect of walking Mount Everest.

Dealing with symptoms can often feel like an uphill battle...
Dealing with symptoms can often feel like an uphill battle…

As a result, my carer has instead had to use the disabled parking bays in the town centre itself, so that I am able to use the amenities that I need to use, and still be able to go to the shops that I like to visit.  This arrangement has been far easier as they are extremely close to all the shops that I regularly shop at, but in all honesty, some days it is still a struggle to go shopping because of the severe weakness and trembling in the legs.  The dizziness, has also caused a very big obstacle in going out because it has become so intense, and has resulted in me having to wear a hat when visiting places (wearing a hat helps to limit the exposure to triggers that can cause vertigo, double vision or make the dizziness worse).

Last week was a particularly bad week, and a trip to town was cancelled after my legs almost gave way in the middle of town.  Instead, because the pain and weakness was so bad, my carer and I returned to the house and watched a film.  It is bad mornings with chronic illness like these which can be difficult for our morale and self-confidence; and very often it can feel that our day is already over thanks to chronic illness, unable to accomplish anything because of debilitating symptoms and so instead we find ourselves spending the rest of a ‘bad day’ spent in bed or lying on the sofa watching a marathon of our favourite TV series (my guilty pleasure of the moment is One Tree Hill).

However, I recently learnt that it does not have to be this way.  I found a blog post that read:

Today is not over yet.

And it is true.  At the time, I wrote off the day that my legs decided not to work properly and had to spend the morning watching a DVD instead of the shopping trip I had planned.  But that was not the end of the day.  After the film, and after I regained enough strength in my legs, my carer and I took a short drive to a nearby coffee shop and had lunch.  It actually turned out to be a lovely trip out and exactly what I needed to take care of myself and my body against the effects that my condition has had on my life.  And perhaps ‘Today is not over yet’ is a mantra that we spoonies need to remember.  Just because a day has started off bad because of the effects of chronic illness does not mean the day will be bad.  It does not even mean that the day is over.

Finding joy can often be like seeing a rainbow appearing behind clouds...
Finding joy can often be like seeing a rainbow appearing behind clouds…

We can find joy in the little things on the bad days – a letter or card from a dear friend landing on the doorstep, a cuddle from a furry friend, a favourite song on the radio, someone making our favourite meal. Our silver linings can come from the smallest of things.

So, our chronic illness may have meant that we have frittered away our time doing as little as possible, however as the quote suggests it does not mean that our day is over.  We are still here and we are still very much alive and as long as we are it is not to late to do something, to do anything.  It can provide the perfect opportunity to pursue some self-care practices in order to take care of not just our physical health but also our psychological health.  A few self-care activities may include:

  • having a soothing bath
  • meditating
  • reading
  • pampering yourself, e.g. getting hair done or even a manicure
  • crafting
  • can even be as simple as setting limits for yourself

Even if you do end up doing something, it may be something that we hadn’t planned on doing or even wanted to do.  However, it might just end up being something we needed or better than originally planned.  Just like my impromptu visit to a local coffee shop.

So next time, you have had a bad start (or at any point of the day, really) to the day and your thought is navigating towards writing the entire day off as a bad one, just remember:

Today is not over yet.