Journaling Your Way

female journaling-865110_1280I’ve never been consistent with journaling. Sometimes I’ve journaled for a couple of years straight; other times I’ve not journaled because I’ve been too busy or my life didn’t seem especially problematic. Lately I’ve seen a couple of journaling ideas that have me determined to start a new, daily writing habit.

Past times. . .

In the past, I journaled during times of particular stress, for example: when my marriage was troubled and when I had a very ill newborn. I continued to journal for a while after the divorce, but life took over and it went by the wayside. When my son, Andrew, was so ill, he and I had been sent over 2,000 miles from home for medical care. I was away from my husband and other three children for five months. While writing certainly helped pass the long hours at the hospital I also wanted to document our time spent apart. I filled two thick journals.

Gratitude 

For several years I’ve read about writing down at least one thing you’re grateful for each night before bed. As I consider myself a thankful person I never felt the need to journal my gratitude. I now wonder why I felt I had too much gratitude to bother. I’ve recently felt that I do need to connect with all that I am blessed with. On my worst days I especially need to write down some of what I am grateful for. Otherwise I would feel hopelessness.

New Ventures

I was recently gifted a free three-month gym membership. I’ll be working with a trainer who has a lot of experience working with people who have Fibromyalgia. Journaling will keep me accountable for going to the gym as well as giving me a way to keep track of my achievements and my difficulties.

I have also reduced the amount of Lyrica I take from three capsules per day(450 mg) to one capsule per day(150 mg). I need to document how the pain and brain injury are affected by this  reduction. Just so you know- today is a toss-up. I feel ever so crappy, but it is cold, rainy and windy. Could be the weather. Could be the reduction in medication.

Stress Journaling

Last week I read an article about “stress journaling.”  The idea is to write down what you are fearful of or what is stressing you out. According to the article, studies have shown that when people write down their fears and/or stressors  the fears don’t look so big and bad.

While I’m excited to start exercising, I am also fearful. Yet when I write down, “I am going to go to the gym to work with a trainer who has lots of experience working with Fibromyalgia” it doesn’t feel so scary.  My mind settles down and I think, “The trainer knows a lot about Fibro, he’s not going to push me too much, he’ll understand when I can’t do something and he’ll understand why I sometimes must stay home.” I’m still a bit nervous, but my mind is no longer a swirl of fretfulness. As the brain injury causes me to have anxiety, this could be a very useful tool for me.

Give It a Try

I do not feel that a journal should be a taskmaster. You can write at the same time each day or you can just jot a few things down when they come to you. You could use it for documenting symptoms, writing down your blessings or saving you sanity. Whatever you want. Don’t feel you have to go out and buy a fancy journal either. I have journaled on notebook paper and spiral binders as much as in books designated as “journals.” I’ve even made my own books(fun!). For that matter, you can journal on your computer.

I’ve decided to use one book to keep track of everything-my health, exercise, gratitude, etc. I’m not sure which type of book I’ll get, but I hear there are some cool new journals that include pictures to color. Sounds good to me! (Refer to Have You Discovered. . ?)

Deb

 

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A Relaxing (kind of) Weekend

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I have a rule that I always stay in my pajamas during the weekend. My rule keeps me from leaving my apartment to do something that will increase my fatigue and staying in my pajamas keeps me in a more relaxed state of mind. Because I also have a lot of weird sensitivities from the brain injury, I often feel much better in loose fitting clothing.

So last night I got all my chores done and put on my pjs. Friday night is always the start of my weekend. Since it was after dinner I decided that I would color before bed time.

Coloring 1

This is me sitting at the table trying to color(with Niecy’s help!).

Coloring 2

Then, this is me sitting at the table 15 minutes later trying to color(with Lizzie’s help!). Anyone who has a cat knows that when they settle on your reading or coloring it’s almost impossible to remove them. I cleaned up my mess of pencils, etc. and went to lay in bed and read.

This morning I slept longer than usual and was roused by a friend who had a procedure on her back and needs daily dressing changes for the next few days. Since I was a nurse before the car accident, I was the natural choice for dressing changes. I got up and scurried around, feeding the cats, taking my morning meds, brushing my teeth and all that. Since I still had some time before my friend came over I started a project that I’ve been dying to get done.

Wall Hanging

I’ve had the rolled paper tubes attached to the backing for a couple of weeks, but finally got the flowers and birds glued on. I am so happy with the way it turned out and it looks great over my bed!

I no sooner got the wall hanging hung up when someone knocked on my door. I let my friend Riccardo in and he presented me with the nicest Easter gift.

Easter Gift

Isn’t it a fun gift?! Anyway, there was another knock on the door and it was another friend who stopped by. So the three of us chatted for a few minutes(We all live in the same apartment building) and then Riccardo left. Ann and I had a really nice visit.

Today was not a quiet, restful day, but it was such a pleasant day that I feel too happy to let the fatigue bother me. To me, sometimes the fun is worth the fatigue even though I know the fatigue could kick my butt for the next two weeks.

Anyway, that’s been my weekend so far. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. . .

A Most Satisfying “Wasted” Day

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I’m still trying to take a “time-out” from life’s whirl. Today has been the first truly successful day! No knocking, no calls and no chores were nagging at me. Oddly, it is 7 pm here and I just now realized how good it’s gone today!

Just so you know-I did feed my cats, wash my face and brush my teeth. But that’s about all. I am still in my pjs and my hair is scrappy from bedhead. What did I do all day? I played with my computer. I started out just needing to print my friend’s boarding pass for her flight to Seattle tomorrow. But first an article on CNN caught my attention. Then another and another. You know how it goes! Then I saw an ad for a hair growth shampoo and that sent me scurrying for reviews (every time chronic fatigue flares I lose a substantial amount of hair) and onto Amazon to price it and read more reviews. Then I shopped around on Amazon for a while(no buying today). I dare anyone to look at only one thing while on Amazon! In between sites I played many games of Solitaire. I didn’t get the boarding pass printed until the middle of the afternoon.

I did do some useful things-printed out an article, with illustrations, titled “The 10-minute Gentle Yoga Routine That Can Help You Lose Weight” and another called “7 Best Yoga Poses to Curb a Binge.” They both came from Prevention magazine’s website. I did pet each of my cats every time one of them became suddenly love-starved. And I did eat lunch-hot, delicious  Meals on Wheels food that my friend brought me after he got done with his meal. I usually have to walk over to the kitchen at our apartment complex to eat lunch so I didn’t count Steve’s knock as a door knock today!

My point is not to bore you with the details of my day, but rather to make a point of how a lazy, fooling-around day can sometimes be satisfying. There’s no way I could live every day like I did today, but I feel like I had a true “time-out” day. I feel gratified to have had a quiet day to myself; for once I don’t feel guilty for “wasting” my day; I feel too satisfied and relaxed for guilt to nag me.

What are my plans for the rest of the day? After dinner I’m going to do some coloring!

Deb

Have You Discovered. . . ?

Coloring Book          Flamingo

Have you discovered adult coloring books? Now hang with me a bit; I’m not being silly. They are one of the best discoveries I’m made in a long while. A friend introduced me to the concept of adult coloring books. I was puzzled and a but dubious about the idea. I mean even many kids have surpassed the “color in the lines” bit. Then another friend and I went to JoAnn and there they were with the magazines. You know-that place along the aisle you wait in line for check-out. The line was long that day so I looked through them and I ended up buying two.

These coloring books are amazing! It is so relaxing to fill in the colors. You can use colored pencils, markers, even water color pencils. The books generally have themes. I have one that is all birds, one of paisleys, a book of fanciful cats and one that is entitled “Animal Kingdom.” Besides being very relaxing, coloring books allow you to play with color which I love to do. There are no rules on how to color when you are an adult! I also find I can color even on days when I’m having a lot of pain or fatigue (or both!)

If these books interest you at all you should give them a try. I’ve seen them in the craft section at Walmart for $5.99 all the way up to $19.99 for sets at JoAnn and Michaels that include a large book and a small one you can carry around with you. And yes, I’ve seen men buying them.

Deb

 

Pajama Day

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Today was a pajama day. I slept a little later than usual, ate when I felt hungry and piddled around with a necklace I started making last night.

Making jewelry is my passion. I make a piece of jewelry almost every day. Not only do I love working with beautiful beads, but it is also an activity that I can usually do even on my worst days.

Every day I have a headache that I liken to “being hit in the back of the head with a two by four.” The headache is in addition to the muscle pain of Fibromyalgia. I have found that if my mind is engaged, I can’t think about the constant pain at the same time. Making jewelry is a perfect activity for me. And, because I am passionate about jewelry-making I imagine the joy I feel also helps release all those feel-good endorphins we have.

There are times when I feel too fatigued and/or painful to be active; for those times I read or work on a page in one of my adult coloring books. I’m not suggesting that these ideas will work for everyone. I’m just sharing the ways in which I can hold the pain at bay while feeling like a productive adult. I feel that finding appropriate activities is an important part of dealing with chronic pain and fatigue.

Do you have any ideas you’d like to share? I would like this blog to  function as a community of sharing. Please feel free to leave comments.

Deb