Who doesn’t love a care package?

In an earlier post I put together a sickness package that I wish I would have had when I and several of my family members came down with the dreaded, can’t-get-out-of-bed-for-a-week flu.  This got me thinking about just how wonderful care packages are and how much I would like to have one brought to me.  Who doesn’t love knowing that she is being thought of in such a kind way?

Letting someone with CI know you care is extra special.  Since CIs are rarely cured, we endure being ill for the duration, or, in really simple terms, forever.  In today’s world people tend to get bored and lose interest in people who never get well.  So anything you do for someone with a CI such as a card, a gift, a homemade meal, groceries, a text, or an email to let the person know you are thinking about him/her is always appreciated.

So, what if you don’t have anyone who would think to give you a pick-me-up gift?  I know this sounds a little different but, what if you purchased a care package for yourself, to keep on hand to bring out when you are having one of those horrible, terrible, no good days? O.K.,  maybe it wouldn’t be as cool if you bought if for yourself, but what is wrong with giving yourself a gift?  Absolutely NOTHING!

So, I made another trip to The Dollar Tree and put together items that I would enjoy receiving, and have listed what was purchased with a picture of the items below.  Although some of the prices may be cheaper at another store, I regularly use The Dollar Tree as I know exactly how much I am going to have to pay.  If you have ten dollars, you know you can purchase nine items.  Simple.  Plus, Dollar Tree stores are much smaller than the big box stores, making them physically easier for me to shop.

My care package includes:

Two books:  Books can be a difficult gift to choose for someone else, especially when you have such a limited choice as you do at a dollar store.  It does help if you know if they enjoy fiction or nonfiction.  I prefer nonfiction which was in an even less supply that day but I was able to find two that seemed interesting, hiding in the very back of the top shelf,  Masters of Wisdom by Edward Abdill and Apha Better Juice by Roy Blount, Jr.

Note cards –   I like to send cards to others who are having a difficult time to let them know I am thinking about them, (who doesn’t love getting real mail), or to send a thank to someone who has been helpful or kind.  Lying in bed gives me plenty of time to write out some personal notes in a card.

Stamps –  This was obviously not from the Dollar Store but if you are going to include cards, stamps are a must.  This is an extra special blessing to a person who is unable to get out of the house regularly.

Journal – I think that journaling is super important as there are many benefits to writing down your feelings, thoughts, and emotions when dealing with tough situations.  A journal could also be used as a gratitude or meditation journal, exercise or health log to keep track of your food, water, supplement and medication intake and symptom list.

Pens – A must with a journal and these pens have a comfort grip.

A snack –  Since I eat gluten free I included veggie straws, a decent tasting gluten free snack.  Make sure you check the person’s food allergies or preferences before purchasing food for a care package.

A drink –  A bottle of Martinelli’s sparkling apple juice made in the U.S.  This drink tastes amazing but it is a horrible deal at the dollar store.  It is much cheaper per ounce at Walmart and Meijer.  Because I don’t consume sugar or artificial sweeteners,there were few choices of drink at Dollar Tree.

Box of tissues –  I could have purchased a box with more sheets but instead I chose a box with a pretty picture on it.  Who doesn’t need a little more beauty in her life?

Lip balm –  I thought this was a great deal, all natural ingredients and made in the US.

Finally, I placed all the items in a small trash basket.  There were so many choices, colorful plastic containers, beautifully colored reusable bags, and mixing bowls.  Instead I picked the small white trash can because I figured most people need a small trash can by their beds (I do!) and if they have one, a new one would be a blessing to put somewhere else they spend a lot of time.

Until next time…………YOU are a superhero and superheros deserve a gift now and then!

 

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10 steps to feeling like a super model while living with CI

afterglow backlit bokeh dark

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OK…………definitely not, but when you live inside your home for days on end in pjs, it doesn’t take much to make you feel like your’re rockin’ it!

  1.  Drink the recommended amount of water during the day and eat only healthy foods.
  2.  Shower and use soap.
  3.  Wash my hair with shampoo AND use conditioner!
  4.   Brush hair vs. throwing it into a ponytail or hat without brushing it.
  5.   Put on outside clothes.  Seriously………..my daughter stated the other day, Mom, we have bought more houses than you have purchased clothes since I have been alive.  I literally spit my drink out.  So true, so funny, and so sad.
  6.   Put concealer under my eyes to help hide the dark circles.
  7.   Put on some lip gloss………..to distract from my eyes.
  8.   Put real shoes on my feet, not just in the car for in case I get pulled over.
  9.   Leave the house, hey someone needs to see me in real clothing after all that effort!
  10.   Carry a small purse!
  11.   OK…………final step………take a well deserved nap!

 

………Until next time, YOU are a superhero and all superheros look amazing in their outdoor clothes.

5 ways to reduce anxiety when dealing with chronic illness.

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It has been my experience dealing with illnesses for decades, that anxiety rears it evil, unwanted head often for those of us living with chronic illness.  We live in a world filled with a lot of unknowns.  This is a reality we don’t want, in a world that doesn’t really get it, and can appear as if it doesn’t care.  So, how do you tackle those moments (or days) when anxiety comes charging straight ahead and doesn’t take into consideration where you are or what you are doing?  I definitely don’t have answers, just a humble list of things that have worked (not always) for me.

  1.  Breathe.  I know this sounds so simple, but in times of extreme stress and anxiety sometimes we forget to truly breathe.  We need to take a slow, deep breath to tell our bodies that we are in control……….whether we feel like it, or not.
  2.   Remind yourself you have been here before and you got through it.  This is a big one, the road is bumpy and terrible and you want to take a detour but sometimes there is just no where to turn around.  You have to go down the road and it will end.  You’ve got this!  It may not feel like it, but I have confidence in you!
  3.  Magnesium.  Yep, only if it is allowed by your medical professional.  But for me, magnesium glycinate has helped take the edge off more times than I can remember.  Most people with CI are low, so getting your magnesium levels checked may be beneficial for you.
  4.  Meditate.  I pull up a YouTube relaxation video and do my best.  One minute is better than none!
  5.  Get up and move.  Sitting still appears to keep my thoughts stagnant and focused on the bad.  Moving my body seems to start my thoughts moving and can bring a new perspective.

On top of these five, I also have one thing I do NOT  do.  When I am really stressed out and filled with anxiety about my health (or lack there of) I want to search for solutions.  I want to get better, I don’t want to be like this.  Like everyone else suffering from CI, I want my life back.  But, I have found that “googling it” makes things worse.  No matter what you are researching it seems as if the first thing that pops up is the word cancer……..who the hell needs to read such a horrible word when you are already super stressed!

Until next time YOU are a superhero!  Only a true superhero could do what you do, day in and day out.

10 ways to pamper yourself if you have a little cash……

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Everyone loves a little pampering now and then, I mean who doesn’t love to be treated special?  It is my humble opinion that every person with CI is extra special and deserves  spoiling.

Here are 10 ways you can pamper yourself if you have saved enough cash to do so.  (Putting stuff on credit cards causes stress and completely undoes the benefit of the pampering!)

  1.     A professional manicure.  Once this is done, it is so much easier for you to       keep your nails looking nice.
  2.      A professional pedicure.  This is my favorite treat.  I save up money over the winter so I can afford a pedicure once sandal season is upon us.
  3.      A  massage.  Who doesn’t love to get a massage?  Super relaxing and the health benefits are undeniable.
  4.      Buy a new article of clothing.  Make sure it is something comfortable and fits now.  You don’t want to have to wait to break it in……….just in case it doesn’t.
  5.      Get your hair cut.  A fresh new look can give you a huge moral boost.
  6.      Purchase an item that will make your life easier.  It could be an appliance for the kitchen to make meal prep easier, to a rolling laundry hamper so you don’t have to carry laundry to and fro.
  7.     A new pair of shoes.  New shoes adds cushion to your walk and can make you feel more light.  Who doesn’t love to feel like your walking on air?
  8.      A night away.  Sometimes just getting out of the house and immersing yourself in another location can uplift your spirit.  A change of scenery can be good for the soul.
  9.      Go out to eat at a nice restaurant, who doesn’t love having someone else prepare a meal and take care of the clean up afterwards?
  10.       A purchase that will give you an emotional lift such as a new book, CD, DVD, makeup, lotion, a pretty throw pillow for your bed.

Don’t forget to save up for these and use a coupon if able.  No need to spend more than necessary.  And hey, maybe you will save enough to do something else nice for yourself!

Until next time, YOU are a superhero and superheros deserve to be pampered!

Pampering yourself on a budget.

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Hey superheros!  How long has it been since you have done something nice for yourself?  Living with a constant sickness is super duper hard and it is a must for our mental, physical and spiritual health to take extra special care ourselves every now and then.  Since most of us are on budgets, it is helpful to find things that can be done for little to no money and doesn’t require a lot of energy!

I have listed some activities below……….you will notice that watching movies or taking a nap are NOT included!

 

A cup of hot herbal tea or a tall glass of iced tea and a fun book (no books on medical stuff allowed!)

A facial at home……….it could be as simple as washing your face and putting cucumbers or tea bags on your eyes

A manicure and/or pedicure at home

An epsom salt bath w/a few drops of essential oil such as lavendar

A foot soak in dead sea salts

Deep condition your hair – if you don’t have deep conditioner just use regular conditioner and leave it your hair for a half hour.  Wrap your head in a towel to keep the moisture in.

Call, FaceTime, or SKYPE a supportive friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time

Create a vision board with uplifting and encouraging sayings and pictures and hang it where you will see it often

Take a walk outdoors

If you have the energy, drive to a local park and take a walk in the woods – research has shown the forest to have a healing affect on the body

Bake or cook a special healthy treat for yourself (it’s OK to share).

Grab your journal and write 25 positive things about you and your life.  I know you can do it!

Make a healthful smoothie.  My favorite combination is:  blueberries, apple, avocado, hemp seeds, celery, cucumber, greens and homemade almond milk.

Weather permitting go sit outside and meditate.

Sit outside in the sun for 15 minutes, soak up the rays to get an extra boost of vitamin D.

If you have a significant other, set-up a date night at home…….exchange massages, play a board game, enjoy a good meal at a table or in bed with candles.  If you don’t have the energy to cook, get take-out.  Don’t forget to use a coupon!

Go to the library and look for new media to bring home to enjoy.

Bring some nature inside……….buy a cheap boutique of flowers or better yet pick some wild flowers or cut some flowers from your yard.  A little beauty goes a long way for someone who spends a lot of time inside.

 

Until next time…………..YOU are a superhero and even superheros need to pamper themselves!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

quotes to inspire you to take care of yourself!

 

 

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It is important for everyone to take good care of him/herself.  But for those of us with chronic illnesses, it is vitally important.  Our days can be are filled with pain, discomfort, anxiety, loneliness, sadness, brain fog, confusion, appointments, and the fear of the unknown.  It is a lot for one person to handle and because of this, self-care is something that needs to be high on every CI persons’ list.

Please take a moment to read the quotes below.  It is my hope that they inspire you to make yourself a priority and encourage you to go do something nice for yourself!

 

“Self-care is how you take your power back.”

–  Lalah Delia

 

“Take time to do what makes your soul happy.”

–  Unknown

 

“When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.”

–  Benjamin Franklin

 

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

–  Unknown

 

“Sometimes the most important thing in the whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.”

–  Etty Hillesum

 

“If compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”

–  Jack Kornfield

 

“Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.”

–  Christopher Germer

 

“How do you define taking care of yourself?  Create a new self-care practice today.  Observe your comfort level when it comes to being good to yourself.  Discomfort is a wise teacher.”

–  Caroline Myss & Peter Occhiogrosso

 

“Love yourself enough to set boundaries.  Your time and energy are precious.  You get to choose how to use it.  You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.

–  Anna Taylor

 

“A merry heart doeth good like medicine:  but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

–  KJV Proverbs 17:22

 

“Self-care is not selfish.  You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”

–  Eleanor Brown

 

“Self-love, my liege, is not so vile as sin, as self-neglecting.”

–  William Shakespeare

 

“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority.  It’s necessary.”

–  Mandy Hale

 

“When we give ourselves compassion, we are opening our hearts in a way that can transform our lives.”

–  Kristin Neff

 

“Self love is asking yourself what you need – everyday – and then making sure you receive it.”

–  Unknown

 

“When I loved myself enough, I began leaving whatever wasn’t healthy.  This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits.”

–  Kim McMillen

 

“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”

–  Jean Shinoda Bolen

 

“Self-care is how you take your power back.”

–  Lolah Delia

 

“Get rid of the weeds and foster the flowers.”

–  Charlotte Mason

 

Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.”

–  Mahatma Gandhi

 

“Happiness is the highest form of health.”

–  Dalai Lama

 

“Self-care is taking care of yourself in a tender, loving way every single day.  Self-care is making sure you get what you need every day to thrive.”

–  Amy Kurtz

 

“You are worth every moment you spend taking care of yourself.”

–  simplywendi

 

Hopefully one of the quotes has inspired you to look for ways to be good to yourself every day!

When I find a saying that speaks to me, I like to write it down on an index card and place it in a location where I will see it often, like at my kitchen window.  Who doesn’t need daily inspiration?

……….Until next time, YOU are a superhero and superheros need to take care great of themselves!