Tag Archives: wellness

reclaiming health where to start

Welcome! Today is the first installment of a 5 part series entitled "Reclaiming Your Health: Where To Start."  Besides my own journey, I find myself in the path of so many others who are suffering from chronic illness or pain. It is a frustrating road and at times can feel so isolating but there is a wide community of people who are making their way through illness, learning together, supporting each other.  I want to welcome you to that community and encourage you to keep seeking wisdom.  Don't give up, help will find you!

Let's journey on together, shall we?

1deepbreathin

 Reclaiming Your Health: 1- Deep Breath In, Let It Out Slowly

Some of you will find this first step incredibly freeing.  Calming.  Peace in the storm.  Others of you are secretly yelling at me, "I want answers now!"  I've been on both sides of that coin.  I've been on the side that wants to curl up in fetal position with my blankie and have someone tell me that everything is going to be ok.  I've also been on the side that is angry, sick & tired of being sick & tired and just wants the magic pill or magic blood test that will finally fix everything.

Either way, you need to stop and take a deep breath.

If you can I would like you to physically do this, but at the very least, in your imagination I want to you to close your eyes, take a deep breath in through your nose and then let it out slowly through your mouth.  Do it a few times.  Let your shoulders relax, rest your heart and your mind.  Feel the hope and encouragement sink into your soul like a healing balm.

This journey is not a sprint.  I wouldn't really call it a marathon either, although it can feel that way, for sure.  It's more like a wandering, maze of an adventure that you didn't sign up for but are now trying to find a way out of.  At times it's a walk down a well laid path with lots of water and food along the way to refresh you.  Other times its a hike through the wilderness where water is scarce and you are a little scared you might not make it over the next hill.  At times the way to go will be clear and other times you will feel a little lost.

You've been through so much already, it's ok to recognize that.  It's important to recognize it.  Some of you need to give yourself permission to have a good cry over the unfairness of it all.  You were used to "doing it all" and now you're reduced to doing the bare minimum.  You may have to learn a new "normal."  Your old life is just that, old.  Wave goodbye to it as you set out on this new journey.  Blow it some kisses and say thank you for the years it got you through.  Then embrace the new season that you are in today.  It may not be what you had planned, but I promise it can teach you so many wonderful things and bring so many amazing people your way.

Attention perfectionists and control freaks: let it go. You will not be able to control this journey.  If you could, you would have healed yourself by now.  Your dedicated, persistent nature will serve you well on this long journey, but now you need to adopt patience and the ability to accept the things you cannot change. You might get off course and that's ok.  When you're ready, just get back on the trail. If you find yourself up against a road block, instead of fighting it stop and reflect what you can learn from it.  Take it as a signal to stop and rest.  Refuel.  Deep breath in, deep breath out.

Make a pact with yourself right now that you will pace yourself on this journey.  There will be times of fast and furious learning, researching, testing and seeking.  But there will also be times of rest, healing, listening and community. They are both important but our tendency is to want to push, push, push towards the goal.  That's a shortcut to disaster.  Your body will give you cues when it's time to trudge forward in search of the answers.  It will also alert you to when you need to rest and it will not be put off.  Rest is not weakness.

Rest is not weakness.

Lastly, I want to caution you from going into a deprivation mindset.  You will be making some changes along the way: dietary, medical, relationship-wise, etc.  You may have to stop eating things you enjoy in order to give your body a chance to heal.  Or maybe you will have to limit your social calendar to allow for quiet rest at home.  Instead of focusing on these as deprivations, see them as opportunities to thrive in other ways.  Just because you are sick or in pain does not mean that you can't still have a full life.  A life that is full of joy.  A life that thrives in the wilderness just like an oasis in the desert.

Seek out the things that bring restoration, hope and love into your life.  Open your heart up to new ways to grow.  When you set your mind towards an attitude thriving, you might be amazed at the adventures you can have.  You might still be sick or in pain, but that doesn't mean you can't still find beauty all around you.  That beauty will refresh you.  Drink it in and thrive.

Are you ready?  Deep breath in...


Thanks so much for stopping by and following with me on this series.  Part 2 will be available soon!  Oh, and if you know someone who is suffering with chronic illness that needs some encouragement, please share this series with them.

1deepbreathin

reclaiming health where to startIn the fall of 2013 many of you joined me for a 30 day writing series called "30 Days To Surviving Chronic Illness."  I shared some of my own health struggles from the past 15+ years and some of the tips/tools I've found helpful.  I was also blessed with some guest writing by acquaintances of mine who have been on their own health journeys.  That 30 Day series is still available as a PDF, totally free.  Or you can read the whole series online here. I update it occasionally and also set up a wellness page that you can access above.

During the writing of that 30 day series I got really sick again.  Sicker than I was before; I didn't even think that was possible.  I found myself re-reading my own 30 day series for advise and encouragement.  I had to remind myself of what steps to take, what not to do, and mostly  just hang on tight because although I have lived with chronic illness for a long time, I also believe in healing.  I believe in answers.  I believe in hope.

Am I still sick?  Yep.  But I'm also a little better.  I've also learned a few new things about my body and what it requires.  I've talked to countless others on this chronic illness journey and gained wisdom from them.  And I fight on.

So a few weeks ago I decided it's time for a new series.  Not just for other people to read but because I need to be reminded constantly of how to get on and stay on the path to wellness.

This will not be a 30 day series. Heavens, I cannot put myself through that again!

This new series will be called "Reclaiming Your Health: Where To Start." There will be 5 parts and I will release them as soon as they are completed but since one of my main triggers is stress, I'm not holding myself to any schedule.  The goal is one part per week, we shall see.

I am also toying with the idea of creating an audio version of each week's points that will go into a little more detail and possibly interview some super smart people.  There is A LOT of information to share, but let's face it, attention spans are short these days and that means articles need to be short and to the point.  If you are interested in an audio version of this series please let me know!

Thanks to all of you who have shared your stories with me, cheered me on my journey and passed on the last series with those who desperately needed a shot of hope.  You bless my life every day.

More to come soon!
~Carey

PS:  As luck would have it, this week Melody Ross of Brave Girls Club  has released Part One of her own health journey.  Melody has also dealt with chronic illness in recent years and is sharing the deep wisdom she has learned along the way.  If you are a woman I highly recommend jumping over to Brave Girls Club and catching up on what Melody has to say, your soul will be forever changed.

reclaiming your health where to start

3 Comments

skeleton2

I have dealt with chronic illness for about 15 years now and after all this time, I have come to understand this truth...

The problem with chronic illness is that you get sick.

Profound, right? Ok, let me narrow it down a little more:

  • symptoms you thought you conquered ten years ago suddenly come back with a vengeance.
  • just when you think you have experienced every symptom in the book, a new one pops up.
  • one day you feel great, the next day you wake up feeling like you were run over by a rice harvester.  For you city-folk, a rice harvester looks like this:
  • even "fun" events can trigger illness.
  • your previous diagnosis suddenly doesn't fit anymore.
  • your best laid plans are pointless because you have no idea how your body is going to feel next Tuesday.
  • medicines or treatments that used to work suddenly do not work any more.
  • you want to go out and do fun things with fun people BUT INSTEAD your body will only allow you enough energy to drive home from work, plop down on the couch and cry.
  • your. brain. is. dead.

Last fall I was feeling better than I had felt in a long time.  Not perfect, but much better.  Then right in the middle of my 31 Day series, it all slammed back at me again.  I knew this might happen, after all, pushing myself physically or mentally wears me out and always makes me "flare up."  But this was more than a few days of tired.  It was a complete resurgence of every bad symptom that started 15 years ago.

I thought I could just take a few weeks and rest then things would settle down.  They didn't.  So more tests, more meds, more protocols.  More research, lots more reading.  Lots more rest.  And I re-read my own advice from the 31 Days.  It was such a great reminder of what I needed to do, or not do, to survive the storm.

Today I'm a little better than I was over the winter.  I think the warmer weather and longer days help. I'm also figuring out which foods cause which symptoms so I've been playing with my diet a lot (If you were wondering what happened to the Friday Recipes, I'm not doing much cooking right now).  Although I'm still not able to work out much, I have a new physical therapist and saw significant improvements in my knee from the very first week.

basil pots

And my garden... my beloved garden.  The garden is so therapeutic for me, perhaps because my mother and I spent a lot of time in it, but I do so much love puttering around out there, watching things grow. BTW: you can catch the play-by-play garden fun over on Instagram.

I did manage to get the 31 Day guide edited (mostly) and set up a whole page just for Wellness resources.  You can download the guide for free or scroll through the ever growing resource list here.

Happy weekend everyone, do something that makes you happy!

1 Comment

fruits

Today is Day 9 of 31 Day of Surviving Chronic Illness.  You can catch up on Day 1 here.

When dealing with chronic illness there are a lot of things you have no control over: inconsiderate medical staff, painful days, insurance wars, to name a few. So rather than fretting over the things we can't control, we need to formulate a game plan to begin taking charge of the things we do have a say in. We have spent the past week talking about the whole medical maze, doctors, etc..  We might go back and revisit that subject later on in the month but for now let's move on to another piece of the chronic illness puzzle: feeding your body.

If you are suffering from chronic pain or sickness your body is already broken.  Getting it back to a state of wellness (even if only for a season) may involve more than just finding the right doctor or taking the right medications.  I believe strongly that one of the best things we can do, whether you suffer from illness or not, is to take care of our physical body.  We have a duty to be a good steward over this one body we've been given.  Treating your body with care can be a preemptive strike and an avenue of healing if it's already suffering.

The human body is such an amazing creation.  It has been designed to protect and heal itself by extracting health from the foods we put into it.  It also will respond with life-sustaining protection when we treat it kindly with exercise and rest.

For the next several days we are going to explore some of the options you have when it comes to eating, supplementation, exercise and relaxation for your physical body.  Depending on your particular illness you may not be able to do everything, but everyone can do something.

I hope you have some ideas to share as well! Feel free to comment here or on the Facebook Page about what works for you or any questions you might have.