resolutions mindful of living with chronic pain

Posted by on Jan 1, 2014 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 10 comments

Your Desire to Change Must Be Greater Than Your Desire to Stay the Same

For the record, I think resolutions are fabulous—but the middle of winter and living with chronic pain make this a challenge for me. I know I’m thinking like a Northern Hemisphere, cold climate girl here. So if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, please forgive me. I like to make resolutions in the spring, when the world is waking up from winter. It’s a time of year when I feel renewed and hopeful. I just don’t feel that kind of positive energy on January 1st. But I’ll play along since it’s on people’s minds!

Resolving to make change is a wonderful thing. Be specific about your goals. And don’t over promise because you’ll want to have the ability to actually deliver on those goals. These thoughts are nothing new. You’ve heard them before – probably many times before.

And what do people living with chronic pain do about resolutions? I would like to resolve not to have any chronic pain this year. I’d like to resolve not to make any visits to my physicians this year. Unfortunately both of these feel like they fall into the category of over promising. So what are some of the things I might resolve?

1. I resolve to keep trying to find the delicate balance between self-care and selfishness. To work on understanding how self-care isn’t selfish, but a matter of survival—even when I’m busy reaching for the stars.

2. I resolve to make thoughtful food choices that support my desire to live with less pain and inflammation. To research and try new things, as long as they seem wise and feel positive rather than restrictive.

3. I resolve to find ways to relax, to laugh and to connect with people I love and enjoy.

4. I resolve to be easy with myself while not being lazy, so that I take breaks and recovery days with less guilt than usual.

5. I resolve to find communities of people (especially those living with chronic illness and/or pain) with mutual support and respect.

And finally, I resolve to wait until the weather warms up to commit to resolutions. Winter is a great time to hibernate and percolate the “how” of these resolutions. I’ll choose whichever resolutions come naturally while honoring this darkest time of the year. Will you join me?

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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happy diagnosis anniversary to me?

Posted by on Oct 24, 2013 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 8 comments

I had every intention of sharing today about what it was like to travel with my blender last week. To show you exactly how I was able to make myself fantastically nutritious smoothies each morning. And then I looked at the calendar … and realized that this is my anniversary week. No, not one of the anniversaries I share with Cris. This Sunday is the anniversary of my rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis. It’s been four years since the rheumatologist confirmed that indeed I did have this disease. What an amazing experience it has been!

Female Doctor and PatientThat first winter I was in so much pain and discomfort. We had several 12”+ snowfalls, and I really felt every barometric pressure change of the storms. I also had to learn all about pacing myself. I couldn’t just go out and shovel snow with Cris the same way I had the year before. I learned about the price we pay when we live with chronic pain—that even when something feels doable in the moment, you can have a LOT of unexpected pain afterwards because you actually did too much.

Because the pain, swelling and stiffness that started the diagnosis process had started months before, by then I had also experienced the business consequences of RA. But you’ve heard me talk about that before!

I learned what the stiffness was REALLY like when you have RA. I remember saying to people, “I am flexible to snuggle myself into some crazy positions under that winter blanket, but then I can’t get myself out!” We would watch a movie at home and I started taking a few “intermissions” just to stand up and move around. If I didn’t, moving around again at the end of the movie was excruciating.

The winter was also my time to adjust to the medications involved in RA. I had to wrap my mind around what the doctors told me—that I would “take them for the rest of my life.” This was a completely new experience, and NOT easy. Then I had to deal with the way they made my body feel—from just a little queasy to full blown gross. Thankfully my body “settled into” the meds and side effects were minimal within a several weeks. But the meds really didn’t provide enough relief. My pain levels when down some, but medication didn’t give me my energy back. And that was what I needed MOST!

With every year that passes since that diagnosis, I take this anniversary as a reminder of how far I’ve come! RA has brought me into the world of holistic health and holistic pain relief. As a bodyworker, I was skirting around the edge before and now I sit right in the middle of that world as a Holistic Pain Relief Coach. My goal today is to serve people living with chronic pain (especially entrepreneurs)—to offer them practical tools and a lot more HOPE! I want you to have less pain and more energy—the same things I started to gain back after that first difficult winter four years ago.

If you’ve been here at ConfidentWellness.com before, you already read a lot of the things that I do to relieve the chronic pain my body wants to deliver to me. Here’s a quick recap of some essentials:

  • Going gluten free made an unbelievable difference in my pain levels.
  • I work really hard to be sure I get truly restorative sleep every night.
  • Clean eating to make a big difference in how I feel!
  • My fabulous husband cooks easy but aMAZing, anti-inflammatory meals for us.
  • And I believe that mindset—the way we think about chronic pain in our lives—can make an unbelievable difference in what we experience every day.

Four years ago, I believed that managing a chronic pain condition was all about doctors and medications. Since then I have learned that a much larger percentage of the treatment plan is up to me. I am grateful to have gained this knowledge (and the pain relief it brings), and even more thrilled to be sharing these practical, every day tools with you! Thanks for celebrating my Diagnosiversary with me this week!

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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reflections from
women in pain conference 2013

Posted by on Sep 18, 2013 in Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness, Women in Pain | 0 comments

She stands in the courtyard of the conference venue and seemed appropriate to me!

She stands in the courtyard of the conference venue and seemed appropriate to me!

I’ve been thinking about the Women in Pain conference all week. It was just one day, but I really enjoyed the information and ideas as well as the people I met. The theme was “Getting Real: Transforming Hidden Truths Into Positive Action,” with a special emphasis on forgiveness and coping.

Next week, I’ll share information from a terrific presentation by a renowned pain management specialist. It’s just too much to capture in one article!

This week I’m going to share some quotes and thoughts that I loved from the day. I hope they inspire you the way they inspired me!

“Wellness and better pain control are within reach. Making the pain experience more livable, richer and fuller.” ~ John, caregiver

“Self and integrative care are the best places to go. Grieve but don’t stay down. Self-reinvention is mandatory and can be exciting.” ~ Cynthia, woman in pain

“Being open and real about everything is the only way to better wellness. Forgiveness is where we set the stage for grace.” ~ Cynthia, woman in pain

“Bond fiercely as only sisters in pain can. Together we figure it out better.” ~ Cynthia, woman in pain

“How you cope with your pain is highly associated with overall functioning and how you live. Enter into this with compassion and forgiveness. Don’t judge yourself.” ~ Heather, health care provider

“Could I suffer less if wasn’t so attached to my previous self? Allow yourself to grieve the parts of your life that you won’t have back again.” ~ Lynne, woman in pain

“Always saying you’re fine when people ask “are you okay?” can halt your ability to cope with the pain. Sometimes it’s easier to tell people something that they understand than what’s really going on with her pain. Being more honest with everyone has helped though.” ~ Britt, woman in pain

“The ultimate act of forgiveness is about believing in yourself so much that you won’t waste any of your life energy on anyone but you. We need every part of our energy and our life force to be right here with us now.” ~ Kristina, woman in pain

“True self-love and healing comes from letting go of the story and taking care of you instead.” ~ Kristina, woman in pain

“We all deserve a better quality of life. There is hope on the other side. Being me is good enough. I’m more than my pain. Cain, walker, wheelchair – I’m still me.” ~ Simenona, woman in pain

“Hoping is reaching out to others – people who know you and love you for all you are.” ~ Radene, woman in pain

“It’s about adjusting your dreams – not giving up on them. You can do – but your path isn’t everyone else’s. My illness is like a marriage because in a marriage there’s compromise.” ~ Radene, woman in pain

Don’t forget to come back next week when I’ll share information from a terrific presentation by a renowned pain management specialist.

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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the most important detox you can do

Posted by on Sep 11, 2013 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Healthier Choices, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 2 comments

Smiley GR EmoticonPeople often ask me about whether a detox program or a cleanse is right for them. They especially wonder if it’s a good idea to help initiate some holistic pain relief. My answer is always, “It depends on you.” Sometimes a 7-14 day detox is just the thing to reset our taste buds and remind us of all the yummy things we gain by adding more vegetables and fruits into our lives. But I also often find that clients living with chronic pain discover that the detox is more stressful than it’s worth. All the restrictions and extra planning can be taxing if you are living in an exhausted, pain-filled state. On the other hand, if you’re doing pretty well … a short detox can really create a wonderful boost. It depends on you, and I’d encourage you to really be still and let you intuition tell you what’s best.

What I like to do instead is teach people how to maximize their body’s detoxification functions every day. It’s possible to make small changes over a little while really amp up the things your own body can do for you! It takes a little more patience, but it also can be a lot less stressful.

But today I wanted to talk about something other than food-related detox. What about detoxing our thoughts from the negativity of the world? I believe that how we refer to our bodies, our pain and any diseases we live with can make ALL the difference. Negativity detox is so critical to your holistic pain relief plan. This is all up to you, and not something you can pay someone to do to you or for you! This is personal philosophy, so if it doesn’t resonate with you that’s okay too.

Here’s what I mean: When I was first diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I was immediately concerned about the type of language that is used to describe autoimmune disease. This is a situation where part of your immune system is overactive towards your body. Notice I said overactive—but typical medical language is that your immune system ATTACKS your body. I decided very early on to NEVER use that phrasing when I was talking about myself. It just doesn’t seem to be productive to me since my main goal is find healing and pain relief, not WAR and FIGHTING.

It’s not that I’m dishonest about my pain or about RA when someone asks, but I always look to the most positive possible way to frame the situation. People asked, “how could you do massage with RA?” My answer, “I’ve never NOT done massage with RA, so it seems normal to me!”

If I feel limited in any given day, I choose to focus on and remember what I CAN do instead of what I can’t. Every moment I am up and moving around is a privilege, because I know people whose pain immobilizes them and makes them 100% dependent on others. So what do I GET to do today? Instead of what CAN’T I do!

Want some help with these ideas? I have two friends who are creating great programs RIGHT NOW about letting go of negativity in our lives. Of course, I can help too … but I wanted to share these great additional options because they are helping ME!

Star Staubach’s 21-Day Challenge to RECEIVE is still open … it started September 1 but I’m guessing all the content will be available even after the 21 days are over!

Jennifer Boykin’s 30-Day Negativity Cleanse is open too! You take a pledge to refrain from negativity, and Jennifer sends you a daily uplifting email for 30 days. What would happen to our world if we ALL did this?

Let me know what you sign up for okay? I’m excited for all of us to receive all this GOODNESS!

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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are you living on the edge?

Posted by on Jul 11, 2013 in Ask the Coach, Wellness | 0 comments

Can I be little bit vulnerable here, and tell you a story about my own life? I wrote this last week, and debated about whether to share it here. But I’d like you to know that I too live with pain and its struggles.

I used to always think of people who lived on the edge as those who took the greatest risks in life—skydivers, military personnel, extreme skiers … you know the people I mean.

Photo credit: Telegraph.co.uk

This morning I realized that I also live on the edge. It’s the edge between enough immune system function and another infection. It’s the edge between minimal daily pain and immune system over activity. It’s the edge between feeling my pain and pushing through it to accomplish something necessary. It’s the edge between peace and chaos.

I didn’t choose this edge, but now I’m thinking that I should actually revel in it like the extreme skiers. Is there a way to draw energy from the edge where my life exists? I think the positive side of the energy is feeling grateful that just for today (or just for this hour), I’m on the peaceful, mainly pain free side of the edge.

Today I’m fighting a sinus infection, and trying to make it to the (self-imposed) edge of six months with no antibiotics. So I’m taking an herbal supplement that uplevels my immune system a bit. And I woke up with major pain in a foot joint. (This happens with autoimmune diseases—there’s a delicate edge of immune function that has pain on one side and infection on the other.)

I wasn’t loving this edge … but still decided to go to my yoga class because that’s a place where no one judges me for what I can and can’t do. I knew half the practice was on the floor, and if I could only do half of the standing practice (on the “good foot”) I’d still get seventy-five percent of the postures. The pain in my foot was so significant that I even warned my teacher not expect a typical level of practice from me. And the miracle of the edges happened … I had one of most yummy classes I’ve had in a very long time. Being mindful of that one joint forced me to focus in a way I haven’t lately. I found the outer edge of my foot, instead of the inner edge. I concentrated on the placement of my hand as I held my foot instead of just grabbing for any old spot. I didn’t even look at anyone else in class because my balance was just tenuous enough to demand total concentration.

I may not be a skydiver, but I’m happy to say that living on the edge today is giving me energy and gratitude!

p.s. This post was written on Thursday. My edge shifted again on Friday morning, and I ended up at the doctor getting antibiotics. Not my preferred solution, but it had to be done. No matter what, I got some inspiration from the experience and hope you have too. Please let me know in the comments what edges you live with … or how this inspires you to be grateful!

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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