So January is done where did it go?? Blimey that just flew by! But I did try some new things and really started to get out of my comfort zone and tried to look after my body and my health a bit better. This is a learning curve and something I want to grow in but I did not do too badly so here are my January favourites!
The Book of Hygge – Now I realise this is a bit of a ‘thing’ at the moment but I bought this on a whim while browsing in Waterstones. I have to be honest and say I am really enjoying it, it is definitely changing the way I look at things. I am starting to wear clothes that I usually save for going out or for best if I go somewhere and I am taking more time over the small things and trying harder to be present when I am with people. It is certainly inspiring me to get off my ipad or phone and just relaxing with the people I love more!
Craft Club Box – I got a sewing machine of my own for Christmas, this is part of me trying to get more into crafting and to learn new skills. So the problem was I had no idea what to make or how to learn…then I stumbled across this subscription box, you pay a certain amount a month and they send you everything you need to make a new project every month! I just got my first box and I am so excited to learn how to use my machine and to learn some new skills.
Lush – I think anyone with a chronic illness will find they get tired of it and there are times when nothing can help the pain or relax the muscles…you know what I mean…so I thought I would try baths again! It is hard to get in and out of a bath and without my husband to help it would be impossible! However, Lush bath melts and bath bombs make the whole thing feel like I am at a spa and so relaxed, they smell yummy and I just cannot get enough!!
Funky Soap Shop – This shop makes handmade soaps, shaving foam, shampoo bars, dog shampoo and tons of other things too! Their bars are so lovely to use, my hair is thicker using their shampoo bars and my dog is not scratching as much since using their shampoo! I wrote a review in a past post and I stand by it their stuff is a definite favourite!
Aloe caring roll on deodorant – This Body Shop product has been essential to me since I bought it late December! I do not wear deodorant if I am just around the house, but when I go out I do and I was finding that my armpits were often dry, and sore, they were itchy and had rashes. I tried a few different products including Hippy Paste but nothing helped…then I went to the Body Shop and asked if they had any soothing deodorant and the lady working there suggested this. It smells lovely, it has caused no irritation and all of the symptoms I was having have gone, if you suffer like I did definitely give this a try!
Engevita nutritional yeast – I have wanted to try this yeast for a while, it is something vegans use to get their B12, it can be sprinkled on salads and pasta as well as used to make vegan cheese sauce because it has a cheese taste. I was sceptical but I bought some to make a recipe by one of my favourite You Tubers Simply Quinoa and I just loved it, I even sprinkled it on my pasta the other day instead of using cheese!
Oruvail Gel – My doctor prescribed this gel to put on my thumb until I can get an appointment with the physiotherapists, it has been a God send honestly my thumb is so painful at times and stops me gripping things, opening packets urgh just lots of things even dressing myself is difficult! This gel is great and I would be lost without it this month as I wait for an appointment.
Graze – Like most people I love to snack, I often find I need to have something sweet with my tablets and Graze along with the next items really hit the spot!
Naked Bars – I need to take something with my tablets and I want something that is still healthy both of these products are yummy and do not contain chemicals and false flavours, they are not processed and yes if you want to be healthy but still eat nice things these are the way to go!
BH Cosmetics galaxy chic – I love watching beauty You Tubers, I love make up, but I have never bought expensive proper make up because I have never been able to afford it. However this year in the sales I got this palette and it is stunning! I have created some really pretty looks using it (check my Instagram) the colours are so vivid and yes I just love it!
And there we have it the things I have needed, treated myself with or just discovered this last month, all items are linked apart from the one I got prescribed by my doctor. Nothing here was sponsored it is all just things I personally liked and thought maybe you would too. If you use anything let me know what you think and also what were your favourites of January?
Today I wanted to talk about bad days, and not the random ones that seem to come from nowhere and knock you off your feet! No I am talking about the ones you have to plan for because you are going out with friends or going to a concert things like that.
Yesterday I had an invite to a party in the afternoon, it was my next door neighbors house and something that is rare. It was a party for the skincare range Tropic and I loved the idea of going to see the range and learn more about that. I also really wanted to go because I do not have many friends and I struggle to make new ones, something a lot of people with chronic illnesses will be all too familiar with!
I also had an invite for a party in the evening for my cousin’s 40th birthday and because it was such a fun idea because it was fancy dress and I love that. I also rarely see anyone from that side of the family and I love a chance to see everyone so I did not want to miss celebrating with everyone.
So because they were both on the same day I knew I would have a struggle the next few days. Now anyone with chronic illness knows this, but you have to plan not only the fun thing you want to do but also the run up to it and the aftermath!
So this week I did not do yoga, usually I do alternate days but I did not want to be doing yoga and having to deal with the fatigue from that if I did not have to. I also took more time doing my housework and just rested as much as I could, I did not do anything that usually takes up energy because I knew I needed to save as much as I could.
Yesterday morning I had a lie in and I made sure I took my time getting ready to go to my next door neighbors. I also found myself having a few minor panic attacks at the thought of being around people I did not know and thankfully my friend came to get me which I really appreciated because I was struggling to get the nerve to go.
After the afternoon event I was going to cook, but after their suggestion we had a take away pizza delivered instead so that saved me I think because the look I wanted to get was tricky. I needed the energy I saved to do my hair and make up, as well I layered patterned tights, ripped leggings and a skirt to get that punk look I wanted and that took a lot of energy too! By the time we had been at the evening party about an hour I was in a lot of pain and I was struggling, a little alcohol did help me at this point (full disclosure)! We left about 10:30 and by that point I was struggling to walk and my pain was bad. I had just enough energy left to have a cup of tea, my meds and get out of my outfit!
The aftermath is the hardest part, I slept in bed until about 3pm today! I then took a very quick shower and got into my PJs and I came here to update this blog. This is hard though because my legs are very painful and I find myself struggling to type right, to find the right word I want and to spell (thank goodness for the red squiggly line)! Tonight I will be getting into bed early and probably will find my body will need a few days to recover enough to be able to even think about yoga and getting back to my normal routine.
It can be hard to rest, to not feel lazy or useless when your body just needs to rest, it is hard to give yourself a break especially when those negative thoughts start to creep in. I think it is important however to remember that life is nothing if we do not live it, friends and family are important and so what if these things require planning and time to recover? I have memories of my cousin dressed as Meleficent looking fabulous at 40 and I have the achievement of coming out my shell and meeting new people! I feel proud of myself and a few days resting are worth it to me!
So anyone with Fibromyalgia, and some other chronic health conditions, will know itching and rashes can be a problem. I started out trying shower gels with moisturiser built in and had no luck, in fact the more I used these sort of products the drier and itchier my skin became!
Then just over a year ago I decided that I was sick of so many chemicals in my life, I started to make my own cleaning products and body butters. I was beginning to think chemicals and plastics might be why there is so much chronic illness about and I wanted to stop spraying it around my house and rubbing it into my body.
I came across Funky Soap on Amazon a couple of months ago because I was tired of shower gels and though over the last year I had wanted to learn to make my own soap I realised my illness would hold me back. I did a simple search for handmade soap and found them, since then I have bought more products including dog shampoo and my husband a shaving foam soap bar. Today however I will be concentrating on their handmade soap and the shampoo bar because these are what I use daily now.
The first thing I tried by them was their Sweet Rose Conditioning Soap I had wanted to start taking baths again and I wanted a soap that would be a little bit luxurious feeling and be a bit of a treat. The main thing I love about this soap is that the whole bathroom smells so nice all the time now and I do not use any chemical room fresheners so it is so nice to have a sweet smelling bathroom without that. I love that it has real, dried rose petals in the top so when I use it in the bath some comes out and it is so nice to see them floating in the water! This soap is not drying on the skin and all and the scent remains on the skin for hours which is so nice! I often catch myself sniffing my arm long after a soak in the bath!
The second soap I bought was Banana and Honey Soap this is used by me and my husband daily in the shower it is so nice smelling and again it is not so strong but it does leave a sweet scent in the bathroom. I love this soap because it is really moisturising and I have found my skin is so soft with it, noticeably so even after using moisturising shower gels for so long. I have found my skin is a lot less itchy and much less prone to rashes since using this along with the body butter I make. I love also that if I am having a bad day I can use this soap and I do not need to moisturise afterwards which is so nice because some days just taking a shower is too much and I need a nap!
Lastly I tried a solid shampoo for the first time Nettle and Marshmallow Root I was apprehensive to try this but after years of problems with shampoos, thin hair that falls out a lot with my medications as well as itchy and sometimes painful scalp I was literally just thinking well let’s try this! I must admit since using this I have found my scalp to be a little more itchy than it used to be and I might try one of the other bars next time. However, I realise that using this type of natural shampoo bar instead of my usual chemical heavy shampoo I get from the supermarket would need a transition time to get used to. The bar came with a sheet explaining that you need to give your hair and scalp time to get used to it sometimes and the itching almost feels like when something is healing if that makes sense?
I do have very greasy hair that needs to be washed daily and I have always hated this, however since using this soap I have noticed my hair is not as greasy as with shop bought shampoos and I am so thankful for this! It means that on days when I am not well enough I do not have to force myself in the shower I can give it a day off and it will not look too bad which is a god send to the chronically sick!
Overall Funky Soap Shop has a lot of choice, there is more than just handmade soap, they have scents that are not too male or feminine for if you are sharing the soap like I do. I also found the website to be easy to navigate and the information sheets to be informative. I have not needed to use their customer service, so I cannot comment on this, but my orders were delivered quickly and I have been nothing but impressed. I love their products and would recommend to anyone especially those of us with a chronic illness wanting to look after our skin and hair without a ton of chemicals and harsh, man-made scents.
If you use their products comment below what you think and if there are any you think I should try?
PS nothing here was sponsored or given to me I paid and these are all my own, unbiased opinions.
So after the events of the last few days I knew I had to mention it and deal with it and talk about how I am dealing with it and then we can just move on okay?
So America has a new president, its clear from the turn out for his inauguration that he is not popular not matter what he says. Now I am in England so why do I care? Well mainly because I cannot even think about things here, and also because this man has the ability to make things harder for a lot of my friends and people I know and he could send us hurtling into a war!
On top of this the other day I was scrolling through facebook and came across two petitions about animal cruelty. I actually care more about animals than people because people are not nice…and this is what I want to talk about today!
My anxiety is something I have had my whole life, I did not go to nursery (kindergarden) as a child because I was too scared, I struggled at school and I hated university. All the jobs I have had I have struggled a lot and now it is all coming on me as I am an adult who does not leave the house much because this lifelong fear is because of people.
I do not watch the news because it is all murder, wars, nasty people doing bad things and we watch it like entertainment! In fact I have asked why we never hear good and positive news and I have been told it does not get high ratings!!! People literally prefer to hear the bad and watch it for entertainment, if it wasn’t surely they would enjoy hearing good news just as much if not more! I love hearing about good people, normal people saving animals or saving someone from a disaster, I love to see the good in the world but I am the exception!
People like Trump get into power because people care more about money and power than the right thing, and that is the same reason that animals are treated badly or people are raped. Power means more to people and this gives me so much anxiety and fear I want to hide away with my dog and just try to be small so nobody notices me. This world feels almost too scary and harsh for me to cope with and it feels a lot like I am the strange one, because when I question things I am told it is just the way people are, or that people are not nice toughen up and deal with it.
But I will tell you one thing that helped? Yesterday a record number of people went to the streets for peaceful protests and I felt my heart swell hoping they would be heard. I know Trump is not a good person, but I do hope the people around him can help keep America great by listening to those people all over the world who want equality and healthcare and minimum wage and all the good things that give people a chance to be the best they can be!
My anxiety is so high right now and it is making my fibromyalgia and fatigue worse but I wanted to make this post because my mental health is just as important as my physical problems. I am proud that I am a fighter and I will battle through so I can take my dog on small walks by myself again and I will try to trust in people…all I ask is to stop thinking it is okay to be hard and uncaring keep your eyes peeled and stand up to the bad people do not harden up like them.
Right now I am listening to spotify, my music loud and I am singing along so I cannot think too deep, at night I listen to podcasts so I do not listen to the negative thoughts in my head. I am doing yoga and learning to meditate…I am trying to keep pushing through but I do need some ideas? How do you cope when the world is too harsh? What essential oils help? Is there anything you turn to that relax and take your mind off it all?
So today I took a 3 hour nap!
I woke up after not a great nights sleep and was tired, I knew I was tired but I was excited because I was going to Amanda’s treatment room to have a pedicure and nail art done (Picture is on my instagram). I always love going to see her because she has become a very treasured friend and one of the few people I can be myself with and chat to. I love having stuff done there because I feel relaxed and I get out of the house, which is rare, to just have some girlie time.
After the talking and the anxiety of going out the house etc I got home feeling like I had been hit by a truck and so so tired! My hubby’s parents were round and I was excited to tell them I have signed up for a monthly crafting subscription box so I can use my new sewing machine and get better at sewing!
However by the time I had spoken to them and had a cup of tea I fell asleep sitting up on the sofa and missed them leaving! I felt awful because I like seeing them, thankfully they understand I cannot help my illness and passed on their goodbyes before leaving. Hubby then made me go to bed, he wanted to watch some TV so decided to get into bed to watch it with our dog Gizmo cuddled up between us. It was so nice and I was soon curled up and fast asleep.
When I woke up it was dark and the day was gone, I felt a bit useless. I still had this blog post to make and I had not drunk my daily water amount I try to drink 2 litres a day…all in all I just felt awful!
It was only when I came to write this post that I realised I am not well, I have an illness and if I was my own best friend I would be so much kinder to myself. I would tell myself that I did not sleep well last night, and that going out this morning must have affected me much more than I had realised on top of that. I have Buddhism and mindfulness to thank for this because they teach that we have to be careful the thoughts we have, in the past I would have let my negative thoughts consume me I probably would have not even opened my laptop and I would have let myself down because of it.
“I needed a nap today, I was not well and my body needed to rest and Beverley that is ok. I am proud of you for not giving in and still doing this blog post, and for the litre bottle of water you are trying to drink.”
If I was my best friend that is what I would say to her so I am going to try and be kinder to myself and not compare myself to able bodied people who can do so much more than me without naps.
I have been hit full in the face with this over the last couple of weeks and it is something most people can identify with. I love my celebrities however my favourite actress is Nina Dobrev who somehow manages to be skinny, toned and have curves! I love my muscular men like Jamie Dornan, but I know my hubby sees them and wishes he could look like them!
Every TV show, film, magazine etc tells us we need to be muscular to be a sexy male and skinny and toned to be a sexy woman…though boobs and a big bum are a must! I have seen things about women with dark skin using lightening creams and even Korean people having eye surgery so they have different shaped eyelids!
So here I am saying that I am struggling because in the past I was thin, I was toned! Before I got sick I was a size 6 and I walked everywhere and did yoga, I went to dance classes and had a very physical job I was a nurse. Then I got sick and I went up to a UK size 12 I met my husband and then not too long after we got together I had a relapse of what they then thought was Multiple Sclerosis and I went into hospital for 3 days for high dose IV steroids…I then ballooned to a size UK20!!!
It has taken me a long time to get onto meds that allowed me to lose that weight, and thanks to Slimming World I got back down to a size UK10 and almost my goal of 91/2 stone….Then last year my Grandad passed away and I fell into a depression. I stopped watching what I ate and I stopped doing yoga every day and I got a little lost and in that year I put on a stone in weight and I went up a dress size which considering everything over a year is not that much. However, when I look at myself now I feel ugly, I have stretch marks from when I went from a 12 to a 20 in a short time, my body is no longer as toned and I feel very not sexy. In fact when I look at pictures of myself from last year I think I look ginormous!
So this year I promised myself I would get my diet sorted and get back to working out every day with the hopes that by the summer I will be doing yoga and taking my dog on short walks most days. One of my favourite You Tubers Helen Anderson is doing something similar and she is vlogging herself in the gym and instead of making me feel better it is making me feel worse! She works out to the point where she is sweaty and worn out and well I cannot do that! My body struggles with a 10minute walk and my short yoga sessions! By the evening I am in a ton of pain and struggling to stay awake on just that I just cannot keep up!
So I am trying to keep positive and please if you have a Chronic Illness and feel the same leave a comment below, but how am I meant to have a body that makes me feel sexy and good to myself when I cannot work out? How am I meant to get that sexy body when I spend most of my time sitting on the couch resting between tasks?
I follow a woman on instagram who gives me so much inspiration to try and love the body I have and not compare myself, Dana Falsetti she talks almost daily about body positivity and self love and sometimes the comments she gets make me want to cry no matter how they must make her feel!
So here I am asking you how do you keep from body shaming yourself when society sets such high and unreachable goals for able bodied people no matter we who are trapped in bodies that hold us back?
Picture source: totalbeauty.com
So this week has been tiring, I do not know why but my fatigue seems the worst it has been in so long and I am struggling to keep up. Naps and lots of sitting down between tasks is the only way to go I just wish I could have more days up on my feet so I could get things done and do my hobbies!
Monday I had an appointment at Stafford hospital it was a follow up after my drop to anaemia happened so suddenly at the start of last year. In the summer I had cameras to investigate for things like tumours and ulcers that could account for it but thankfully those tests were all clear. So they took more blood and hopefully I will hear back soon as to whether my anaemia is sorted or if it is something that needs further investigation.
When I got home it was still early because my appointment had been moved to 8:30am so I planned to take a short nap and then get on with my day…I woke up at 1pm!!! I felt awful so that day turned into me resting because of walking around the hospital and the early start etc. The consultant explained however that I do not look anaemic anymore which would suggest it is not my diet as I have not changed anything, and that it might be heavy periods or just a blip that they cannot explain.
I did manage to go to the first yoga class of the year that night though, and I have been doing yoga daily since which I hope I can keep up with. I also cleaned the living room today and had a little pamper to cheer myself up. I have definitely learned to look for happiness in the small things so yeah I am doing all I can to treat myself well and to keep up on the small things like getting my nails done or eyebrows waxed or just moisturizing my skin after a shower to keep myself smiling.
Chronic fatigue and Fibromyalgia are hard for people to understand because it is not a ‘buzz’ word, or a trendy illness that is everywhere on TV, nor is it something they can see. I just wish sometimes people close to me would make the effort to learn about them and to think before they speak.
I have had people, including close family say I am lazy, or I do not eat enough protein because I am vegetarian…it really upsets me and I am not sure how to get them to understand I rest a lot because I have these illnesses that make everything I do tiring? So please comment below if you have any ideas or tips as to how you explain things?
If you would like to learn more about protein intake and why it is important to get enough, check this post on Fitnessjockey.com
So how are those resolutions doing? It is the 7th so a week into January and I have broken some of my resolutions and in the past this has led me to giving up throwing in the towel and declaring resolutions to be a waste of time.
However this year I have come to realise that when you have chronic pain and chronic fatigue it is incredibly difficult if not impossible to determine how you will feel from day to day. Yesterday I was feeling pretty good I got up I did yoga, then I meditated, read my bible, and then I cleaned the living room. My dad then came for the afternoon we had a take away watched some TV had a good chat then I went to bed early because I was exhausted.
This morning however I woke up at almost 11am, I felt like I was hungover and my back was incredibly painful. I had a bath when I finally could get up and then smothered myself in aloe vera warming lotion to help my muscles. Now I am writing this in my pyjamas and hoping my headache stays on the peripheries and does not come thundering in!
I want to do everything, I want to be fit, to eat well, to cook from scratch and learn new hobbies but sometimes my body has to remind me to just slow down a little. It is okay to not keep up with the 30 days of yoga challenge, so long as I finish it does it really matter how long it takes me to complete?
Resolutions are great, it is wonderful to start fresh and have goals, however it is important to always remember that if you have a chronic illness to be patient and listen to your body. It is much better to rest for a day and pick up your goals the next day than to push yourself to breaking point.
Hope you all had a good few days? How are the resolutions going?
Mine are doing well I have managed to do the yoga 30 day challenge every day but today and I am so proud of myself for that. I knew that with my fatigue and pain levels doing it every day would not be possible, but I will do my best and that is all I can ask of myself.
Yesterday I did yoga, but then I started to feel so so tired and my pain spiked, I had a very nice dinner and then I had a bath in one of my Lush bath melts (I love them). It really helped my muscles to relax and I slept so well which is something I do struggle with…in fact I did not wake up until almost 11am! I hate having fatigue problems but I must have needed the rest so I cut myself some slack most days I am up doing yoga or cleaning so yeah now and then I need to rest a bit longer.
I did go for a short walk with my friend Jess and Gizmo though, the walk we did was just enough and it was nice to get some fresh air and a chat. Now I am doing my best to stay awake as I update this, but I think I will be in bed early tonight, I do tend to get into bed about 7-8pm because we have an electric blanket and it helps my leg and back pain. I often feel guilty about this, like I need to do more but my body is not up to it and though that is difficult I have to be kind to myself.
I try to imagine how I would talk to my best friend when I get these doubts and fears and I try to imagine what I would say then? That helps me to remember that though I try to keep up with people who are well, and though they often do not understand at all, I do my best. So keep trying to achieve your dreams no matter what because it is the trying that keeps our dreams and hopes alive.
Happy New Year everybody!!
So today I want to talk about moving forwards instead of what I have been up to over the last few days! Today is the 1st day of 2017 and I want to wipe everything away from 2016 and just look ahead and make some plans and promises to myself for the year ahead…
- I want to grow this blog: I have recently joined the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network and the Fibro Blogger Directory and these are just the first steps. I have a ton of articles saved at my Pinterest that I am going to actually read and implement. It can be hard to talk about myself, but I started blogging about my illnesses back on Livejournal and when I look back it was all very negative and I am glad this time it is not like that. I want to carry on trying to get my life where it needs to be despite having health problems and I want this blog to reflect that.
- Be less materialistic: I have suffered with depression for years, but when I first got sick and had to give up work etc I started to collect things…I always saw buying things as cheering myself up and that is very much how society is. I went back to this last year but now I want to not do that. It is empty and wasteful, I have everything I need and apart from things I need to eat there is not really anything I need to be buying!
- Clear out the rubbish: This is very much related to number two in that I want to stop holding on to the things that do not serve me! I do not need lots of DVDs because I now have Amazon Prime, or old CDs because I have a Spotify account, or ornaments that are not given to me or sentimental for some reason. So I am going to start when hubby get’s his licence back in April (He had it taken for a year after a seizure he has Epilepsy) and clear out the things that I do not need!
- Daily Yoga: I used to practice yoga every day, and then my Grandad passed away and depression came and I just struggled to get back to it. However Yoga with Adriene my you tube teacher has started a 31 day challenge today called Revolution and I am going to do my very best to hit the mat every day for that and then hopefully that will continue throughout the year.
- Daily Meditation/Bible Study: Meditation gives me peace and it quiets my mind, it helps me to stop living in the past (depression) or worrying about the future. Studying the bible keeps my heart open and keeps my eyes on God, I also want to read more Buddhist books and get back to God.
- Read more books: I am going to carry on posting my reading to my Goodreads and have set a goal of reading 20 books this year though I want to read more than that this feels like a manageable goal.
- Craft more: I want to learn to sew, I have started a class to learn the basics of digital photography and I want to open an Etsy store selling plush toys…
Now I know what you are thinking, but Beverley what about naps and what about your illnesses? And to this I say I can only do my best! I am determined to be the best I can and no matter what this year presents me with I am going to keep my eyes on these goals and do all I can to achieve them. If they do not happen then that will be alright, I will simply try again next year!
It is harder with chronic fatigue and in constant pain, but we can either give into these things or fight through? I for one am going to pull on my boxing gloves and do all I can to keep fighting!
Happy New Year! Comment below with what your new years resolutions or goals are I would love to know?