Tuesday 26 January 2021

6 Tips for Coping with Pain

Living with being in a permanent state of pain can be really difficult to cope with, not just physically but emotionally too. It can also be very limiting at times but I have found ways of living with both chronic and acute pain and here are a few tips I would like to share with you on what help me cope with my pain...

1. Distraction

A caucasian woman with brown wavy hair wearing white headphones holding a cup with and open book in form of her

I find distraction one of the most helpful tips to cope with pain. Depending on my level of pain and how limiting it is on my body varies.

Sometimes distractions can include listening to something such as music, a podcast, mindfulness meditation or an audiobook. Or if I'm able to I'll read a book or magazine or my Happy Newspaper - whatever you find myself getting lost in.  Other times I find just simple games on my phone are a good distraction. - I particularly like 1010!, 2048, Angry Birds Friends, card games, Sneezies, Sneezies Match and Two Dots. When I'm more able I enjoy colouring and word puzzle books or doing a jigsaw puzzle.

Try to find what works for you as everyone has their own things that they find helps to distract them so don't feel discouraged if you try something and it doesn't help. Keep trying until you have your own distraction toolkit which you ca extend and use in different situations alongside times when you are experiencing pain.

2. Rest

A caucasian woman with brown hair laid in bed with green bedding

I find taking time out of the day to rest or having a restful day helps when I'm in pain, especially on bad pain days It's okay to have a PJ day in bed or on the sofa if that is what your body is telling you that is what you are in need of.

If I can I usually cancel plans and if possible I'll also cancel plans and medical appointments to allow me to have a rest day. 

Rest is a form of self-care and part of self-care is listening to your body in what it's telling you what it needs and quite often for me that is taking time-out to rest to allow my body to recover.. 

My friend has this saying "just keep swimming, but if you can't swim just float". When I'm in pain I know that in that moment it's okay to just float and rest and do little as possible. It's about giving my body time to heal. Sometimes I find I need to have a nap so don't fight having a nap if you feel you need to have a sleep. 

When I talk about 'rest' some people think that resting is doing something like watching TV, but this is still a stimulating activity. To properly rest you need to switch of your mid and your body. Personally I find laying any listening to relaxation soundscapes help my mind and body feel more rested.

3. Mindfulness

This one goes sort-of goes along with the theme of rest. I find mindfulness really helpful for my pain. Within mindfulness there is a selection of varieties. I personally prefer visualisation such as around a secret garden or going through the colours of the rainbow or breathing exercises but I personally find that things like progressive muscle relation aggravates my pain but it might work for you. There are a variety of mindfulness apps most have a selection of free versions but you can upgrade if you wish. YouTube also has a selection of mindfulness videos too.

Two caucasian women both wearing striped topped giving each other a hug
4. Friends

I've found that friends who understand (a) are the really good friends in life and (b) they can help you through difficult times. Such as when you're going through a pain flare. 

A good friend is someone you can sound off to about your health difficulties or to talk to about non-health related things to help you take you mind off your pain. 

Friends really helps as when you live with chronic pain, (often accompanied by other health problems) as they let you know that you are not alone, This is especially the case if they too have chronic health problems but even really good friends who don't have health problems can still be as equally supportive.

5. Pinterest

I find getting lost on Pinterest searching for new crafts or hand lettering to try, envelope art,  blog post ideas or building my own dream house really good for taking my mind off my pain and it's a fairly low-key activity. I find Pinterest a fairly easy things to do that doesn't require too much mental exertion but it's still stimulating enough to keep me occupied for a while. when I'm needing to take my mind off my pain.

6. Heat

A women wear a pink dress holding a hot water bottle to her stomach. The hot water bottle is blue cover with a cloud design on it.

My last tip that I find helps me cope with pain is heat. This could be an electric heat pad, a hot water bottle or wheat heatie. I find heat really soothing when I'm in pain and medically they do advise to apply heat to the area in which you are experiencing pain. You can get some really nice hot water bottle covers, or you could even make your own if you really wanted! 

* Always use hat water bottles with caution *

If hot water bottles aren't suitable for you for whatever reason, (like for me I cannot make up a hot water bottle myself due to my seizures) there are plenty of alternatives to hot water bottles. I have some lovely cuddly microwave heat packs for example I have a dinosaur heatie and I have an electric heat pad too.

Tuesday 19 January 2021

What I've been loving lately

Let's say that things aren't so great at the moment and we're also in our third lockdown but aside from the negativity that's going on in my life and further afield there have been things that I have been loving lately...

Letters from Pen Pals & Friends

Receiving mail never fails to cheer me up and equally I love sending mail too. It's equally as lovely to her from the people I'm in regular touch with as well as people that I here from every so often. Once again my notice board as big as it is if filling up fast again with the things I received in the mail. Aside from the letters are the messages I get from friends over text, WhatsApp or Instagram and I now feel that the people who are in my life now are a really good

Jigsaw Puzzles

With a little help from my Dad and stepmum I've completed a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. I love doing jigsaw puzzles but they can be a challenge to do but when I in the midst of doing a jigsaw puzzle  always remember how much I love them so I've set myself the challenge to do another.

My Apple Watch has Arrived!

For Christmas I asked for some money towards an Apple Watch. I was needing a new watch as my medi watch died and I thought that a smart watch would be a good up upgrade as it would help me through it's reminders and alarms and timers and having access to my calendar etc. I've only had it a short while but so far I'm in love and I'm glad that changed my mind on what watch I was going for; instead I've gone for a silver case which I now see as being more universal in terms of matching outfits and I've going for a fabric stretchy 'solo loop' strap and it's really comfortable and I don't have a buckle in the way.

Organising my Blog and YouTube Channel for the Year Ahead

I've already started planning posts and what videos I might be doing and researching some new ideas and taking inspiration from Pinterest as well as other bloggers and YouTubers. I got a bullet journal kit for Christmas so I'm using that as my planning book.

Positive Appointments

For the professionals that I am in touch with at the moment I feel so grateful for their support. The appointments/contact I've been having recently whether they're consultant/nurse appointments I have every 6/12 months, more regular appointments or just contact from a clinician these appointments and contacts have been going well and I feel supported and like we're heading in a good direction despite the fact that the majority of my care is on hold because of the coronavirus situation.

Cuddles with Flop

Cuddles with my guinea pig Flop is always something that I love especially when he gets really talkative and nestles into my arm.

Wire Headbands and Braids

I came across wire headbands as a disability hack so I bought one to try them out and I am loving them. They are so easy to put on and they look super stylish and there are so many online to choose from that I may have to order myself some more.

I'm also loving braiding my hair at the moment and I've learnt a few new hair styles some from my friend Bex's YouTube channel. Braiding my hair help keep it out of the way and from getting knotty especially as I desperately need to go to the hairdressers and haven't had it cut for nearly 18 months! But also because it only gets washed once a week as I rely upon my Dad to wash my hair at the moment.

Three images. To the left is a black, white and tan guinea pig being held in someone's arm, on the middle is a completed jigsaw puzzle showing illustrated images of Moomin characters, the image on the right is an open plain canvas bag with stationary items and coming out of the canvas bag is a book.

Tuesday 12 January 2021

A big thank you to Smile for M.E

Last Friday I received a surprise in the post... A parcel from the charity Smile for M.E.

Smile for M.E began in 2012 with Alice (who has M.E herself) her friend Grace and the support of their families. Their aim is to bring a smile to people of all ages affected by M.E as well as carers and family.

In my parcel from Smile for M.E I received a lavender microwave heatie zebra, a pair of very cosy fluffy socks, a Moomin colouring book and some felt tip pens. 

What was chosen for me couldn't have been any more perfect and I am so so so grateful for my parcel. I've been wearing my socks every day and my heatie zebra has been helping me with my pain as well as providing me with lots of cuddles and I hope when I'm able to to do come colouring.

For me living with M.E is very isolating; not just feely physically or socially isolated because I'm housebound but I often feel forgotten about. I am hidden away from the world and most professionals don't know how to help me or the care/support that I need isn't available (only made worse by the coronavirus situation).

Letters from pen pals and friends go a long way and projects like Smile for M.E help me feel remembered; like I do exist and I am thought about and that I am cared about and that I do matter in this world.

To find out more about Smile for M.E click their logo above. On their website you can also find the nomination for if you know someone with M.E who would befit from a Smile.

Tuesday 5 January 2021

My One Second Every Day 2020 Video

Below you can find my 1SE 2020 video this is my second year (I think) in which I've done a full year of 1SE. 

I enjoy the challenge of 1SE to find things to video/photograph and to capture a small snippet of each and every day of the year. I love looking back on my 1SE, especially at the end of the year and seeing what I'd chosen to do as a video or photograph for that day.

This year has seen a lot... then end to a long hospital stay and adjusting to being back home, a global pandemic, the ups and downs of life with chronic health problems and all that entails. I've had my fair share of difficulties on a persona level but this year I've really tried to focus on all aspects of who I am; not just the one health portion and I feel that is reflected in the snippets I've captured this year. By no means is my life at all exiting, I've spent the vast majority of 2020 in hospital or being stuck inside. However there have been happy moments. I love keeping my blog and all he letters that I've received from friends through the year; laughing at how my brother couldn't ride and electric bike when me with my poor core stability managed much better at it than him, a socially distanced cake party on the front lawn for my birthday, the awareness raising work I've done for M.E including published articles and a video and much more. Despite all the challenges I do feel so so grateful for the people I have in my life and the treasured memories they give me.

Friday 1 January 2021

January's Monthly Make - Origami Butterfly

This month's make is an origami butterfly which you can either use as a decoration or as a bookmark.

Difficulty Rating ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ - Beginner

What you'll need

  • Double sided origami paper
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors