Travelling with illnesses: be a pro jetsetter

Help for sufferers, Posts, Travel, Travelling with illnesses series

So obviously travelling is a nightmare, but it gets so much worse when you’re ill. Here are a few bits of advice for next time you hop on a plane.

1. Be organised.

Before you go, gather up all your documents and get them in order, and then write out an itinerary for your travel. Give yourself plenty of time and plan out any rest breaks or emergency stops in advance.

2. Get comfortable.

Pack a snuggly jumper, fluffy socks, and whatever else you need to get cosy. I like to bring a soft, lightweight scarf, so that I can use it as a blanket when it gets chilly. Wear comfy clothes and consider taking an extra pair of shoes that slip on and off. If you’re spending a good few hours on the plane, you need to do it in comfort, otherwise you’ll regret it later.

3. Pack your pills properly.

Make sure you have everything you need in your hand luggage (just in case), and bring all of your appropriate prescriptions as proof. Remeber to pack extra in case you run out or lose some. All of this means that can you can guarantee that you won’t lose them in the hold, and you have them in case of an emergency.

4. Stay hydrated.

One of the worst things about flying is that you get reeeaaallly dehydrated. Not only does this give you a headache, but it can severely effect your body, and make chronic illnesses feel ten times worse. Make sure you pick up a bottle of water in duty free, and make the most of any free drinks you’re offered in-flight. If you’re prone to dry skin or eczema, it’s also a good idea to pack a small, travel-sized moisturiser or emollient. Furthermore, rehydration sachets are brill as a pick-me-up if you feel worse for wear, and come in handy for hot weather as well.

5. Upgrade your seat.

It’s worth thinking about paying extra for more leg room, but as a last resort, you can always ask to upgrade to an empty seat once everyone has boarded. This is usually free, as no one is going to be using the seat anyway. This is especially useful if you have joint problems, chronic pain, a weak bladder, or any physical disability, because it means you get more room for movement and easier access to the aisle and toilets.

Hopefully, this will help the next time you travel. I’d love to hear if you have any suggestions, so don’t forget to like and comment. I’ll write a few more travel posts soon, so remember to stay updated! Thanks guys x

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What is ‘pacing’ and how can it help my fibro?

Help for sufferers, Posts, Work

Plenty of people with chronic illnesses like to talk about pacing, but if you’re newly diagnosed or have only recently started looking for advice, then you might not know what this is.

Pacing is a method of coping with the fatigue-like symptoms often associated with chronic conditions such as fibro. It involves creating a broken down or spread out routine, so that tasks can be separated into smaller, more manageable chunks. This ensures that you can concentrate longer on tasks by giving yourself small rest breaks in between.

For example, I like to split up my daily chores, study sessions, and various errands by having at least five to ten minutes of nothing for every hour or so. After a while, I have a larger break, and if I’m struggling, I will increase the frequency of my breaks. If you don’t like to sit and do nothing, try doing something easy that takes little energy (mental, physical, or otherwise) and is a distraction from your task.

(N.B: From here on it gets complicated, so you might want to skip the next paragraph if you dont fancy the heavy reading!)

The next question is this; how do you figure out your rest to work ratio? Well first of all, you need to spend some time figuring out how long you can go before you lose the will to live. This is how long you can go before you need a big break. Then, try and count how many times within this you get distracted; this is how many mini breaks you need. Spread them evenly within the time frame, and aim for between five and fifteen minutes for each break. you can alter this to your taste later, if necessary.

If all of this sounds too complicated, just remember to aim for 3:9:10 (for every 3 hours, have 9 equally spaced lots of 10 minute breaks, so every 20 minutes have a break). Or, have a 10 minute break every so often if you can’t keep count. Don’t forget as well that you can mix up the same ratio for smaller or larger amounts of time, and for every 3 hours, have at least half an hour or more to recuperate.

Most importantly, though, is to remember that you aren’t aiming to get loooaaaddss done, but to work at an efficient pace that keeps you healthy and happy. If you can’t do as much as you thought, that’s okay. Just stop for the day and adjust accordingly tomorrow.

If you like my pacing method or think you have something to input, please help us all out and let us know in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

I tried out psychic surgery?!?!

Posts, Uncategorized

So before I start, let me just clarify that I am agnostic. I would love something to believe in, but I need proof first. I am, however, very open minded, and I will try anything once. That’s why I went along with my mum and a friend of ours to see a healing medium. This is what happened…

To start off the night, we were all given some purple rice ‘stuff’. It was mixed with cold water (they didn’t have hot) and smelled a bit murky. Unsurprisingly, it was as purple as a very purple thing. Also unsurprisingly, it tasted like rice. Cold rice.

Anyway, the purple rice was intended to help boost energy levels and, although I couldn’t feel any effects myself, the medium gave us some surprisingly strong evidence to prove that it worked (she looked ten years younger for a start). It seemed to do the trick for her, so it could be worth a look.

Second on our agenda was physical healing. She chose a handful of people from the audience who felt that they had an issue that needed sorting. Unfortunately, she wanted illnesses that were visible, so I didn’t get picked. Fair does, I guess.

The healing went surprisingly well, with everyone feeling a change and a handful feeling considerably better.

After this, we had an interval in which she demonstrated three different things. Firstly, glasses with holes in to help you improve your sight (not as weird as it sounds). Secondly, a necklace which aims to make your chakras ‘spin’. I didn’t expect this one to work but, being her wonderful and miraculous assistant (haha), I experienced this one first-hand. The exercise worked as it was supposed to, improving my balance immensely. The third promotion was for a small device used to prevent the microwaves emmited by your mobile phone from having an effect on your body. Again, this worked surprisingly well when demonstrated.

After a brief break, we were supposed to have more healings, this time for invisible problems (I was excited for this!). However, as we were running out of time, we didn’t get to do this and, instead, created a healing circle.

Sitting in a large circle, we had to concentrate on our bodies and hum various different notes, so as to ‘self- heal’. It was surprisingly relaxing, and my mind felt very eased, despite the fact that I sounded (and probably looked) like an idiot. Unfortunately, rather than making my pain feel better, as I hoped it would, it actually seemed to increase the tension in my body and made the pain worse. I wouldn’t like to rule this out, however, but instead suggest that I needed more time, more effort, and more energy, if I hoped to see results.

On the plus side, the friend that accompanied us to the evening also practices spiritual healing, and her own simple technique that she tried on my hand had an instant effect. Because of this, I’m almost certain that a revisit with spiritual healing will have some benefit, but I think we would need to put a lot more time and energy into it if we did.

So, what have I learnt from my experience this evening? Energy can be manipulated through us and, regardless of religion, anyone can use it for their benefit.

Ten pain- busting tips to try TODAY

Pain, Posts

Now one of the things you should most definitely know about me is this: I am a sucker for a good life- hack. Dont get me wrong, there’s a few things where nothing but the ‘original recipe’ will do. When it comes to chronic pain, however, I think we can all say that we would try anything. Below I will be sharing my list of chronic pain hacks. Short disclaimer: little old me thinks these work brill, but not everyone has the same opinion. Remember to keep your mind open, but please don’t take my word as gospel. That being said, It won’t hurt to try, so go ahead and take a peek at my list…

1. Drink more water.
It sounds pretty obvious, but drinking more water helps avoid dehydration, one of the main causes of your day-to-day headache. I don’t know about you, but my day tends to go significantly better if I ditch the headache, as it gives me more of a chance to manage the rest of my pains. Plus, drinking more fluids helps flush out the toxins in your body, increases your metabolism, and helps you to think more clearly. Sounds pretty good to me.

2. Cut back on caffeine.
I’m not sure on the exact science behind this (although I reckon a little Google-ing here or there could sort that one), however, I’ve been given plenty of advice on this and, as far as I’m concerned, it seems to have done the trick for me. Cut down on coffee, sugary drinks and – the source of all evil – energy drinks. Not only will this help beat those shakes and sweats you’ve no doubt complained about, but it also appears to do some good for your pain. Remember, check out what your consuming, because you would be surprised by the amount of caffeine in some of your usual ‘not-very-caffeine-ey stuff’. Better to be safe than sorry, eh?

3. Swap those cheeky treats for some tasty, guilt-free alternatives.
Like I said before, consuming healthier things just makes you feel better, but it also has another benefit. Getting the vitamins and minerals you need, plus ditching those pesky calories, means that your body can function better. This means that your body has more energy to spare, helping you deal with pain. Furthermore, you’ve probably noticed that your fibro leaves you feeling low on energy, and that reaching for those calories is your first move. The weight that most fibro sufferers gain through this is one of the biggest contributors in making them feel naff, because it means carrying around extra baggage. Not only does this increase the amount of pain you may feel, but it also wears down your energy levels even quicker. It’s a never ending cycle. Cut out the rubbish in your diet and you’ll find that you cut this issue too. Lower calories = lower weight = less pain + more energy. It’s a simple equation. Similarly, those of you who find yourselves losing weight and muscle mass (thus making you weaker and in need of more energy) can plan your diet around this too, building on healthy fats, proteins, and wholegrains in order to build your body mass in a healthy way.

4. Exercise.
I have three things to say about this. Firstly; yes, I know it’s a pain in the you-know-what. I hate exercise too. Secondly, yes, this is the fourth tip I’ve given in what seems like an obvious list, but trust me, it gets better. Thirdly, well, this is where you need to pay attention. Pain makes exercise hard, and so does fatigue, but trust me on this, it pays off in the end. By building muscle mass and burning fat, you can help your body to cope better when it comes to the stress of fibro. Increasing your capacity for activity helps you to last longer, and you release a bunch of lovely endorphins along the way, which make you feel better emotionally too (yay!). It’s even been said that the endorphins that you release during exercise help reduce the amount of pain you may be feeling. Can’t go wrong, really.

5. CBD oil.
This is where is gets interesting. Get your learning caps on guys, were about to have a lesson in biochemistry. So, CBD oil is a plant-based substance that you can buy from your local whole foods retailer, such as Holland and Barrett. It is also known as Cannabidiol¬†oil, and (don’t freak out) is a product that’s derived from cannabis. It’s a type of cannabinoid, one of the chemicals naturally found in marijuana plants. However, there’s no need to panic, you won’t get the ‘high effect’ that you would usually expect from the plant, because this is caused by a separate cannabinoid, known as THC, which isn’t present in this case. This means that CBD is legal, and so is available on the market at low concentrations for around ¬£20 per bottle. Oh, and as far as we know, it is completely safe to use and has little to no known side effects (Woo!).

6. Massage it out.
Getting a massage, whether by a highly trained professional or by your bestie, helps to ease your achy muscles. Adding some fancy smelling aromatherapy oils can also help, giving you some mental relaxation too. Try some calming music or some candles to help set the mood if you’re at home, because a spa day is the perfect remedy for everyone. And if your pain doesn’t ease as well as you would have hoped? Well, at least you feel pampered.

7. A hot, steamy bubble bath.
Again, not only does it give you an excuse to feel pampered, but this actually can help with your pain. Soaking in warm water helps your muscles to relax, easing that annoying ache.

8. Heat pads, hot water bottles, and microwave buddies.
I have a microwaveable cat and believe me, he is my best friend. Using the same theory as above, the heat helps to relax your muscles, so bang it on your ache and hopefully you should feel some relief. Be careful though! Sometimes these can get too hot, so wrap them in a towel if you think you might get burnt.

9. Cool packs.
Put these on your aching joints to soothe and reduce any inflammation. Fibro often correlates with co-morbid diseases such as arthritis and hypermobility syndrome. If this is the case for you, you might find that achey joints can be eased by reducing their inflammation, and the cold temperature of ice packs are perfect for this.

10. Netflix and, uh… chill?
No! Not like that! Get your mind out of the gutter you filthy animal… Now, it might seem silly, but sometimes, when nothing else seems to be working, one of the best things you can do to ease your pain is snuggle up in bed with your fave movie and take your mind off it. I know, easier said than done, but it’s better than being in pain without the bed or the Netflix, right??

*** Please note that no microwaveable cats have been injured in the making of this post. ***