Tag Archives: Balance

Remembering to say NO…

30 Aug 16
Megan
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4 comments

Hello, yes I’m still here and still alive. Today I want to talk to you about remembering to Say No.

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a few weeks now but have struggled to find time when Foggy Frog isn’t being a pain!

With so much going on, writing this post has been a good reminder to me that I need to remember to pace myself and listen to my body. Although physically I’ve been able to do so much more, I’ve found mentally I’ve been struggling the last few weeks.

This means it’s time to reevaluate again and find what I can step back from to achieve balance again.

Pacing is such an important part of my management strategy for the pain and other debilitating symptoms, such as the fog and fatigue. With the changes in my medications over the last few months my pain levels have been lower and, as I said above, I’ve been able to do more than I have in over 3 years.

I’ve joined a gym and have found that doing something most days (generally a stretching based class or a swim) has been beneficial for my pain levels as well. My step count is back to an average of 7,000; a level I haven’t managed since December 2014.

I’m still working on the Australian Association of Environmental Education Biennial Conference occurring in October, and my upcoming book launch on 24 September… less than a month to go! This has meant meetings almost every day about one thing or another.

As you can probably tell there’s a lot going on at the moment. In fact, it’s a little too much so I’ve been slowly stepping back from the conference planning and trying to work out what the essential things are for me to get done for the book launch to be a success.

I want to keep up my physical activity, as I’m trying to make sure I’m as healthy and strong as possible for when we start trying for a family (something we’re seriously talking about at the moment). So that means saying No to some of the other activities in my life.

Right now I’m saying NO to:

  • taking on any more for the AAEE Conference planning
  • to other volunteer opportunities that don’t have any connection to possible paid work in the future
  • meetings I can postpone until later

I’m saying YES to:

  • time with family and friends
  • actions that will progress the book launch
  • actions that will help me be healthier and stronger (exercise, diet, rest)

What do you say No to in order to say YES to the things that matter?


I’ve joined a Gym! Exercising with Chronic Illness

26 Jul 16
Megan
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4 comments

A lot’s been happening around here lately! Preparations are underway for the Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang Book Launch and the AAEE 2016 Conference.

I’ve also added a bit more variety to my exercise routine by joining the new local gym (Council owned and operated).

The main reason I’ve joined is so that I could add swimming into my exercise routine but I’m also going to try out some of the classes they run.

Obviously, I’m going to focus on pacing and aim to not overdo it by adding too much too quickly but I’m very excited to have a bit more variety in what I’m able to do.

To date, my exercise routine has consisted of walks and riding my electric bike (or the stationary bike if it’s raining). I was doing some stretching and yoga, but this was very random (I wanted to do it but got bored of the same stretches over and over).

At the new gym I have access to an internal pool, aqua aerobic classes, body balance and mobilise (low impact stretching and weights) classes, and other gym equipment if I need it.

My plan is to use the pool twice a week, and try out the various low impact classes. In fact, I’ve already started…

After my swim on Monday...

After my swim on Monday…

I swam (8 laps of slow breast stroke) yesterday and today I tried out the Mobilise class. The class is stretching and light weights. I paced myself during the class; doing less repetitions, not using any weights and taking breaks when I felt I needed it. We’ll see tomorrow whether or not the class was too much for me but I think it was ok.

Outside of the gym, I’ll still ride at least once a week and go for walks with E (we’ve actually started playing that Pokemon Go game which has got us out of the house together more often).

The view from halfway through our walk on the weekend

The view from halfway through our walk on the weekend

Thanks to my current medication routine I’ve had less pain and slightly more energy than usual lately which has been great for allowing me to be more active.

What exercise do you do on a regular basis?

P.S. You may have noticed I didn’t post last week, because of everything going on at the moment I’m likely to be posting either once a week or fortnightly for the foreseeable future.

Challenges and Lessons from our 20 Week No Buy Challenge

19 Apr 16
Megan
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We’ve reached the end of our 20 Week No Buy Challenge and over the weekend Rach and I caught up to celebrate our successes.

In keeping with the No Buy theme, we celebrated with a homemade lunch of soup and sourdough bread with a glass of sparkling wine followed by homegrown peppermint tea and homemade peanut butter cookies.

Celebrating the end of our 20 Week No Buy Challenge with homemade soup and sourdough and a glass of bubbles...

Celebrating the end of our 20 Week No Buy Challenge with homemade soup and sourdough and a glass of bubbles…

As we ate we discussed the challenges we faced during the 20 weeks and what we felt we’d learnt.

My biggest challenge was sticking to the rule of not eating out if I was alone. There were several days where I found myself out and about longer than I had planned to be and in a position where I was contemplating takeaway food. Luckily each time this happened I either made my way to my mum’s and ate there, or someone was available for me to eat out with so I didn’t actually break the rules.

My second biggest challenge was accepting that some things that at the beginning of the challenge I classified as non-essential became essential purchases during the 20 weeks. The t-shirt I’m wearing in the photo above was purchased during the 20 week challenge but it was an essential purchase as I lost at least 3 of my t-shirts and 2 dresses to old age (they became see-through or massive holes that weren’t worth repairing were made while carrying big loads of things into the house). I also gave away a couple of t-shirts because I wasn’t wearing them (they weren’t comfortable on me or they didn’t go with enough of my other clothes). Thus the new t-shirt in the photo above…

Having said that, none of the old clothing went into landfill, I have either cut them up for rags (the see through and holey ones) or I donated them to charity or someone I knew who would get more wear out of them than I was.

Lessons Learnt

I’ve struggled a bit with identifying the lessons I’ve learnt during this challenge, mainly because I didn’t find it all that difficult to comply with and because a lot of what I ‘learnt’ I already knew (the challenge just reinforced it).

The main things it reinforced for me were:

Always prepare for the unexpected.

I could have avoided the unexpected needs for eating out by always taking at least a small snack with me when I leave the house. I did do this most times and it saved me a few times from having to buy something. I also took my zero waste eat out kit (straw, cloth napkin, bamboo spork) everywhere with me and used it on several occasions to avoid using disposables and most trips I took my keep cup as well.

If you can identify your values, it’s easier to say ‘No’ to the things that don’t fit with them but it’s also important to be aware of other people’s values as well.

The No Buy Challenge fit well with my values of being conscious of the impact my actions have on the environment and the wider community. There were several purchases we made as a family (E wasn’t participating in the challenge) that, if it was just me, I would not have made but that were made because they fit with E’s values. There were other purchases we considered that I said No to because they didn’t fit well with my values and I couldn’t see any long term benefit for anyone in the family.

Each of us are individuals and we need to make compromises at times if we are to maintain healthy relationships. We need to set our own boundaries about what is acceptable and what isn’t.

Buying is the cultural norm and it’s difficult to move away from these habits.

Although I’ve never been a big spender, participating in this challenge made me more aware of the times where, in the past, I would’ve just made a purchase without really thinking about it. Even most of my few purchases during the challenge (the earrings early on, a duplo set and a few children’s books secondhand, and the t-shirt mentioned above) were made without much thought about them before hand. It was only after I bought them that I actually considered what they meant in terms of the challenge.

Rach had a lot more trouble with this than I did, there were several times during the challenge where she contacted me because she was considering a purchase and needed to discuss the options and whether they were actually essential. She also found that she enjoys shopping and for that reason alone it was difficult to stop.

Not buying new things makes you appreciate what you have.

Both Rach and I removed things from our houses during this challenge. Rach gave several bags of clothes to charity and took the time to assess what she has in her wardrobe. I, as mentioned above, lost several items of clothing to old age and gave away a few items that I didn’t wear.

We’ve both realised that we have enough, and for some things (clothes in particular) more than enough, in our lives. We are grateful that we live in a society where we have choices for clothing, shoes, kitchen appliances and other household items. We are not living below the poverty line and don’t need to struggle to meet our basic needs.

I like making conscious choices that align with my values.

Although it takes more time, during this challenge I’ve added several more homemade items to our lives. As well as the laundry liquid, cloth napkins, peppermint and fruit we already make or grow, I’ve been trying my hand at making my own sourdough bread (so far no reactions) and other ‘old fashioned’ recipes that are better for my health and the environment.

Although there are a few purchases I now need to consider making (new underwear and sandals to start with) I’m still going to be conscious of my purchases and my allocation of my time and resources. This No Buy Challenge has helped me to progress my larger challenge of living a simple, sustainable and meaningful life.

Did you participate in the challenge?

If so, what did you learn? If not, would you consider a challenge like this in the future?

Treatment for Low Testosterone in Women…

29 Mar 16
Megan
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6 comments

I have low Testosterone levels… It’s not something you normally hear about in women.

Before I get started on today’s post, I hope everyone has had a wonderful Easter weekend.

We spent it in the bush camping helping friends set a rogaine for later this year. Most days I hung around the campsite, with a short walk with T during the day while the others were on long hikes setting check points. I did join them on Sunday when half the points were only short walks from the car, this was another big day like the rogaine the previous weekend but I did make sure that I rested a lot as well by staying at the car and meditating while the others went on longer walks.

Over the weekend I had a lot of time to think and reflect on how things have been going lately.

I’m still working on finding balance in my life but have realised that having a set routine doesn’t work for me. Instead pacing, and continually reassessing and adjusting to create balance over a longer time period instead of trying to balance activity within any given day.

I’m feeling very positive about my progress. As I mentioned last week, I’ve had a few full on days lately (think double my daily average step count without many rest breaks) but haven’t had any major crashes. I have had a few single crash days but have been back to ‘bad’ by the next day.

I’m attributing at least part of this improvement to the nortriptyline I started taking about a month ago, and I’m hopeful that the testosterone cream I started on the weekend will improve things further.

I’ve started the testosterone because my free (available) testosterone levels in my blood stream were almost non-existent. This could explain several of my symptoms including the fatigue, sleep issues and an increased risk of bone loss (I’ve been diagnosed with Osteopenia – the step before Osteoporosis and the doctors haven’t found a reason for the continued bone loss after stopping the Depo Provera over a year ago). It can also cause low libido.

There are side effects I have to be aware of including increased hair growth in the area I apply the cream, lowering of my voice, and acne. Because the side effects can take a while to appear and too much testosterone can have even greater impacts on my health, I need to have a follow up blood test in 3 weeks to check whether the dosage is correct and see if my blood levels of free testosterone are back in the mid-high normal range. The benefits of the testosterone cream (in particular increased energy) should also become visible in the next 2-3 weeks.

Have you ever had your hormone levels tested?

If you’re female, have you ever tried hormonal replacement (in particular testosterone)?

Zero Waste Purchases: No Buy Challenge Update Week 11

16 Feb 16
Megan
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I did some shopping this week…

There, I got that off my chest. I didn’t break my rules for the 20 week no buy challenge, but I did buy things I wouldn’t normally buy (they were on my to-buy list a long time.

If you’re a regular reader you’d be aware that I’ve yet again been trialling new drugs and suffering from very frustrating side effects that are impacting on my quality of life.

In particular, the brain fog (which I had got to manageable levels) has been so bad I’ve pretty much been unable to do any work for the last few weeks apart from attending meetings (listening but not contributing as much as I usually would) and writing here on the blog.

Yesterday, when I came onto the computer to do some work (I didn’t manage to actually do any work in the end)* I got completely distracted. Don’t ask me what distracted me because I honestly don’t know but somehow I ended up looking at sustainable living/baby related sites.

Our kitchen has several plastic and glass (pyrex) storage containers but as part of my journey towards zero waste I’ve been wanting to get my hands on some leak proof stainless steel containers for getting meat from the butcher. I also wanted to get my own spork to go into my zero waste eating out kit instead of transporting a cutlery set (i.e. cut my kit back to a spork, straw and napkin, along with my sandwich wrap, jar of snacks and stainless steel drink bottle for longer trips out and about.

My original zero waste eat out kit... spoon, chopsticks, straw and napkin. I want to replace the normal sized spoon and chopsticks with a reasonable sized spork (a more flexible tool with less to carry around)

My original zero waste eat out kit… spoon, chopsticks, straw and napkin. I want to replace the normal sized spoon and chopsticks with a reasonable sized spork (a more flexible tool with less to carry around)

On one of the sites I ended up on I found a good special on both of these items so jumped in and bought myself 2 stainless steel containers (with BPA free lids that seal and a removable divider inside) and a bamboo spork.

My zero waste purchases

My zero waste purchases

I also bought my supplements online for the first time (calcium and folate), so now I’m waiting excitedly for my packages to arrive!

I’ve also started a list of things that I will need to consider buying in the near future. Because my wardrobe is now so minimal and I wear my favourite things most days, I’ve reached the point where things are starting to wear out.

Some of these things won’t be replaced, like the 2 dresses that reached the “I can see my undies through them” point in the last few weeks, because I have already decided I had more than I actually needed of these items.

I’m now down to 7 dresses. I wear dresses almost every day, all year round. Seven is probably still more than I need but as things wear out I consider whether I need to replace it or if something else I already own fills the same niche. I’m getting closer to the magical 33 Items recommended by Courtney Carver from Be More with Less in her Project 333 (I’m down to 36 items, excluding underwear, shoes, and accessories – scarves, jewellery, hats, etc).

Other things will need to be replaced, like undies. I bought 4 new pairs of undies from the local shops in July last year (bonds brand). These are already reaching the point where they’re starting to go see-through or holey. They’re also not very comfortable to wear anymore, riding up or falling down regularly.

My other 3 pairs of undies I bought online in March (2 months earlier) and they’re still going strong with no sign of being even close to worn out. They’re extremely comfy and actually function as pads (just add inserts) by themselves if you want them to. Last time I bought 3 pairs of the charcoal grey colour.

I want to keep some colour in my collection so I’m considering replacing the most uncomfortable ones I’ve got with more of the Maia Hipster Lunapanties but in other colours (one pair each of aquamarine, festival pink, and royal stripe).

The more uncomfortable ones are still ok at the moment, and the ones I want are reasonably expensive for underwear, so I’m going to hold off as long as I can (hopefully until the end of the challenge in 9 weeks).

I’m also going to need to replace my sandals at the end of summer. The inner lining tore the other week and although we have attempted to fix it the patch is already tearing as well so they’ll need to be replaced. I have worn them pretty much every hot day since October 2014 so I guess they’ve done their stint (probably equivalent to almost a year of daily wear).

I’m considering Birkenstock sandals like this or this because they’re meant to be long lasting, and sustainably and ethically made.

How do you decide when it’s time to let go of your favourite items?

*I have managed to do some work today which is great! I’ve been really stressed about how bad my ability to get things done has been, especially given I have commitments to meet.

Share Your World: Week 4

28 Jan 16
Megan
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I can’t believe it’s almost the end of January already and we’re up to week 4 of Share Your World 2016 !

So far this year I’ve been struggling to maintain my balance. If I look at it from a week or month point of view I’m doing ok but on a daily basis I’m still struggling. Some days are crashed on the couch and unable to do anything much other than listen to an audio book or the tv in the background. Other days I’m rushed off my feet trying to do appointments and out of the house activities… I haven’t worked out the balance there yet.

It’s difficult for me to work out how to do this properly because I see the benefit of not having to drive more than once or twice a week (it’s still an activity that wears me out a lot) but then it means those days I am out I don’t manage to pace my step count, I don’t get my usual rest breaks, and I just over do it in general.

I’m also struggling to get any sort of regular routine in place for work activities. I’d love to be doing at least a minimum amount of work each week but Foggy Frog seems to be my constant companion again and he’s making it very hard for me to do anything for more than 5-10 minutes at a time with any hope of having reasonable results.

How do you pace yourself with activities outside the house or with adding in any work?

Anyway, being Thursday today, it’s time for another round of Share Your World.

Share Your World – Week 4

What one thing are you really glad you did yesterday?

Yesterday was one of those super full days where I over did it. That doesn’t mean there weren’t things I achieved that I’m really glad to have done though…

I managed to make it in to town to have lunch with E and one of his work colleagues before heading to the meeting I had in the afternoon. This is something that I really enjoy doing as it doesn’t happen very often these days unless I have a medical appointment in town.

Are you generally focused on today or tomorrow?

I do have a habit of focusing on things that I feel are important or scary that might be happening in the future but these days, thanks to the uncertainties related to my health, I’ve gotten a lot better at just focusing on one day at a time. Most weeks I don’t even look at my calendar in advance unless I’m booking something in. I might check it the night before when I’m getting ready for bed or when someone asks me what I’m doing.

Would you want a guardian angel/mentor? What would they tell you right now?

A mentor (or several mentors) provides inspiration, advice and guidance to help you succeed the best in life. Yes, I’d want that in my life and look up to several people in my life now as mentors.

Right now my mentor would be telling me to remember to be gentle with myself. As you might be able to tell from the last few posts I’m feeling very frustrated about my limitations at the moment. I’m wanting to do way more than my body will actually allow and I’m struggling to accept it. If my mentor was here right this minute they’d be reminding me that my health is the most important thing, without it I can’t do anything. They’d be telling me to continue to listen to my body and rest when I need to, to accept where I am at the moment, and to not set unrealistic expectations for myself.

Would you rather live in a cave house or a dome house made out of glass? (photos of the houses found on google search)

I love the idea of both but my dream house would be a dome house that’s built into the ground with lots of glass… something like this.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for the understanding and support of the wonderful people in my life. I realised in the last few weeks that I’m not going to meet my deadline for one of my consulting jobs. When I contacted the client to let them know they’ve been very understanding and said there is no rush and to just work on it as quickly as I can.

Being able to spend time with my friends has also been very satisfying.

In the next week I’m looking forward to talking with my doctors about some test results I got in the last week and hopefully getting some guidance on how to approach the issues that have arisen (More to come in an upcoming post on this).

Share your World: Week 2

13 Jan 16
Megan
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Balance… My word for 2016… is difficult to achieve. I’ve got many ideas for posts but, in an attempt to maintain my balance, you’ll find for the next few weeks at least you will only be getting 2 posts a week from me… My No Buy Challenge update and this, my Share Your World post (although I will probably add a bit of commentary to each like this).

Although I have been keeping it in mind each day I still managed to do too much last week and crashing again on the weekend.

This week I’ve begun trialling yet another drug (Cymbalta this time) to see if it helps me with pain and fatigue. Thankfully my doctor recognises that I’m sensitive to drugs so we’re starting at a very low 10 mg a day.

Share Your World: Week 2

Do you believe in extraterrestrials or life on other planets? 

I don’t believe in extraterrestrials in the sense of the aliens you see in many movies but I do believe that the chances of life (in some form) on another planet are quite high. Given how large the universe is I don’t see how this can be the only planet on which life has grown.

How many places have you lived? You can share the number of physical residences and/or the number of cities.

I’ve only ever lived in South Australia, but given that my parent’s divorced when I was young and we moved around a bit I’d say I’ve lived in at least 8 different residences (this doesn’t count any housesitting that we’ve done.

If you given $22 million tax free dollars (any currency), what is the first thing you would do?

The first thing I would do is pay off the rest of our mortgage and any other debts we may have. After that I’d look at how to invest the remaining money so that it could provide us with an adequate annual income and we can make our own choices about where and how we live, work and play.

The Never List: What are things you’ve never done? Or things you know you never will do?

I have never been sky diving, bungee jumping or probably any other extreme activity you can think of.

I will never stop striving towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life in which I can make a difference and help others.

I have never

I will never give up on my dreams. Chronic illness may have taken away a lot of my options but I will always find a way around it.

 

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for the understanding and support of my husband when I was unable to do everything I wanted because of my health and for the opportunity to discuss options and trial new medications with one of the leading pelvic pain specialists in town.

In the next week I’m looking forward to continuing my daily meditation practice (something I’ve taken up in the new year).

Balance #OneWord2016

04 Jan 16
Megan
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Last year I chose one word to guide me through the year… Enough.

I’ve recently found out from The Bloggess that there is a #oneword2016 Challenge and seeing I was already planning to choose a single word, I’ve decided to participate. The one word you choose is meant to be something that will help you focus on your main goal for the year.

Enough did that for me last year. There were many times when I felt I needed to do more or buy more items. Most of these times I remembered my word and felt better about only doing what I could or reducing the items I had rather than adding to them.

This year, I want to keep up the focus on the benefits I’ve received from Enough but focus more strongly on being able to increase (or at least better BALANCE) my activities.

I’m going to continue focusing on moving towards a simple, sustainable and meaningful life with a strong focus on finding ways to BALANCE my needs and wants. I’ll continue to try and single-task, try to get a good BALANCE of health, work, and social activities, and relaxation into my day/week.

If you haven’t worked it out yet, my word for 2016 is BALANCE.

I haven’t planned out the whole year but I have a lot that I want/need to achieve in the next 6 months so I’m focusing on that and trying to break it down into monthly and weekly activities…

In the next 6 months I need to:

  • Complete my current consulting jobs for different local Council’s here in SA:
    • Biodiversity Trails – due end of January
    • Environment Action Plan 2016-2019 – due April/May
  • Complete my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment – due by end of May
  • Publish Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang Picture Book – we’re so close but it seems to take so long to get it all together!

On top of these tasks, I have several appointments as part of the ongoing management of my health and I want to have regular time with family and friends and build up my casual work a bit as well.

As you can see, there’s a lot going on so it’s going to be an effort to find ways to balance everything and continue to pace.

Tomorrow, I’ll give you an update on how I’ve been going with the No Buy Challenge the last few weeks. Let’s just say now that I’ve realised there were a few things that should have been on the exceptions list that I forgot, so I’ll be updating that tomorrow.

Do you have one word that’s going to guide you through 2016?

Crashes and Flares: Signs and triggers

15 Oct 15
Megan
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It’s been a while since I’ve done a post, either here or over at LiveKen, and I’ve decided it’s time I get myself back on track. So I have to consider what causes my crashes and flares!

Why haven’t I been posting?

I just haven’t had the energy or the time to do it.

Over the last few months, I’ve slowly increased the amount of paid work I’m doing from nothing, to aiming for at least 8 hours a week. This is a big deal for me as I haven’t been able to work at all for over 2 years now!

This has been great for my self esteem, but it’s had a major impact on my ability to pace and the routines I had set up for myself to cope with these illnesses. In fact, I feel like I’m starting from scratch again in setting myself a routine that works.

For at least the last 2 weeks I’ve had almost no energy and a very high level of brain fog. Thankfully, my pain is remaining fairly constant although slightly higher than what I had managed to get it stable at. I would say that at this point I’m about at the same point in my health journey as I was 12 months ago. In that time I’ve had a major crash (around Christmas last year) and have slowly built myself back up. I have no idea why I crashed then and I am worried about the same thing happening again this year. The whole thing has me thinking about what causes these crashes.

Signs I’m overdoing it – Crashes and Flares eminent!

Last night, as I lay in bed struggling to sleep due to pain and extreme fatigue (contradictory I know), I spent a lot of time thinking about how I can tell when I’ve done too much. The key signs I’ve identified are:

  • Increase in fatigue. When I have done too much I fall back into needing to sleep during the day, something which I haven’t had to do regularly for months. I end up sleeping most the morning or falling asleep on the couch in the afternoon.
  • Increased brain fog. My ability to focus, find the right words, and actually contribute to normal life goes out the window if I’ve done to much. This is usually one of the first signs and usually my husband picks it up before I do because of the brain fog.
  • Sore throat and headaches. When I overdo it my throat feels like it’s burning and very dry. My headaches (which I get daily anyway) increase to a point that I literally can’t do anything. It generally goes from a constant tightness and ache to sharp stabbing pains and throbbing.
  • Inability to sleep. Even though I become even more fatigued, my ability to sleep at night goes out the window when I’ve done too much. This is what happened to me last night. Unfortunately, lack of sleep can increase my symptoms so it becomes a vicious circle unless I somehow manage to get more sleep.
  • Increased pain. Thankfully, this seems to happen less often now days but overdoing it can cause an extreme flare up of my pain levels.

Potential Triggers

Flares and crashes lead to a lot of the symptoms above but they don’t always occur from overdoing it. As I stated above, I had a major crash just before Christmas last year (from which I’m still recovering) which doesn’t seem to be related to overdoing it. Here are the triggers I’ve noticed seem to affect me:

  • Too many steps. If I don’t maintain my step count I notice an increase in symptoms. I’m working to very slowly increase my step count. Before Christmas I was up to 7,000 steps average a day. Right now my upper limit (avoiding crashes and flares) is 5,000 steps and on bad crash days I aim for at least 3,000. This is something I’ve built up to slowly from 1,500 steps at Christmas. I’m aiming to get back to 7,000 steps average over the next few months.
  • Sensory overload. Attending events where there are lots of people, bright lights or lots of noise tend to cause an almost immediate increase in brain fog.
  • Weather changes. Hot weather seems to increase fatigue and brain fog and cold weather seems to increase pain levels.

I’m sure there are many others, but there the ones my brain is letting me come up with right now…

What are your signs and triggers?

Finding balance in the ever-changing landscape of chronic illness

14 Jul 14
Megan
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Once again I have fallen behind on my schedule for posting here. As my health has improved (ever so slightly) I’m again trying to find balance between actually doing things physically and mentally, and resting.

Over the last few weeks I have had quite a lot of very busy days (for me at least) mixed with a few days of having no energy to do anything at all. The number of crash days – days where I have no energy at all – do seem to be getting less each month according to my records, but I still haven’t hit the right balance and I’m still struggling to do a full day of anything really.

I have decided that in order to do more physical activity I’m going to have to cut back on my online activities for the next few months at least, as such I will be aiming for only one post here and one post over at LiveKen each week (only every second or so post on LiveKen will be written by me, though I am acting as editor for all other posts).

What physical activity am I wanting to increase?

  • Spending more time with family and friends – I’d like to spend at least one day a week actually out doing something with the people I care about. In the past few weeks I have managed dinner at a friends house, a trip to our local open range zoo with my sister and younger cousin, and tomorrow my sister is taking me and my mum out for a winery tour.
  • Housework – I’m slowly working up to be able to keep on top of this myself. Through de-cluttering and setting up routines I’m hoping to be able to maintain the house at a level that we only need the cleaners in once a month to keep on top of it.
  • Exercise – I’m still trying to build up my exercise levels. The housework has helped a lot with that, but I’d also like to be able to walk or ride my bike a lot more than I’m currently able to.

Other offline activities I would like to increase:

  • Drawing – I feel like although I always want to get more of the drawing done for the Foggy Frog picture book, I’m not always managing to fit in any during the week. My aim is to do two of the hand-drawn pictures a week until they are done and then work out the next steps for colouring them.
  • Study – I have an assignment due in 4 weeks for my uni course, and have not made much progress on the Training and Assessment Certificate so I’m going to be prioritising these for the next month or two when my brain is functioning. I can still only manage maybe 1-2 hours a day actually focusing and being productive in any mentally challenging activities.
  • Business Planning – I have begun working with a business advisor to work out the best way to promote the picture book and build on it with the LiveKen brand. I would like to allocate some more time to this.

Overall, I am trying to find a better balance between my online and offline life so that I’ll be better able to work towards returning to work as soon as possible. As I do this I do have to keep in mind that this illness has a mind of its own. I’m trying my hardest not to get my hopes and expectations up too high, but at the same time trying to challenge myself and not resign myself to where I’m at now.

This balancing act is a difficult one for anyone to achieve well, even without a chronic illness, so I will try to remember that rest is still my first and foremost priority and that I need to be gentle on myself. No matter how frustrating it may be my health must come first.

Have you found balance in your life?

What is or isn’t working for you?