Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Keeping Busy

Hello Everyone!

I am sorry I have not posted lately. I have been to my nephew's wedding, and spending lots of time with my grandchildren. The twin girls! They live a little outside of Austin, in Kyle, Texas. My son had some out of town business for a week and my daughter-in-law had a wonderful opportunity mentoring teacher's, so my Hubby and I were more than happy to help out. Those two little girls are so loving and energetic.

Anyway, just checking in with everyone and wanted to say hello!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stress Management Basics and Tips

Hello Everyone,

I hope I am not repeating myself on various topics. I am all about enriching our lives and finding ways to recognize, cope, promote, and encourage strategies for remaining resilient amidst the relentless demands of life, work, unending personal responsibilities and unexpected setbacks. If stress seems to be causing such problems for you, it's a good idea to learn how to reduce these symptoms before they get worse.

Stress is a normal part of life that we can't escape and we are all well acquainted with stress. Maybe you are late for an appointment, pushing to meet a deadline, putting off reading the mail or pile of bills, or stuck in the wrong line at the bank or grocery store, it will all work out.

Sometimes we encounter a greater degree of stress, when we have to cope with emotionally fraught events like divorce, the loss of a job, chronic illness, or the death of someone dear to us. Believe it or not stress accompanies even the happiest occasions in life, like getting married or having a baby.

We experience stress as physical and emotional tension, and each of us experiences stress differently. Too much tension can be unhealthy, resulting in everything from occasional tension headaches to high blood pressure and heart disease. These symptoms are the body's way of letting us know that something needs to change.

Of course, it's impossible to eliminate stress from our lives completely. But we can find better ways to deal with it. These techniques can help minimize stress and make it more manageable:

* Planning for major changes ( I know our body and mind don't always cooperate)
* Eliminating wasted time
* Setting attainable short- and long-term goals
* Allowing yourself time to adapt to change
* Making good nutrition and regular exercise part of your daily routine

People with chronic illnesses have to find ways to deal with unexpected changes and new demands. I know that planning doesn't always work because our mind and body doesn't always want to cooperate! Therefore, it is a good idea to have some sort of release strategies that work for you. I believe in repeating a phrase or quote to assist me with relaxing. A hot bath is very soothing, listening to music, reading, or taking advantage of quiet time can make a big difference. Just know that you are in control of your emotions and can work at reducing the physical and emotional effects of stress in your life.

Mental Strategies:
Start with getting your emotions under control. Start thinking about ways to avoid stressful situations. Try to find a good time to shop or bank, during odd hours and not on a payday! What a mistake. I went to the grocery store on the 15th, bad idea. If you need assistance completing your tasks, don't be afraid to ask. Gratitude, admiration, and generously go a long way. Be honest and express your appreciation, there are many ways to reciprocate.

Try writing everything down.
I am a big advocate of writing things down. I know it takes a bit of energy and time however, the end result is great. My memory isn't what it used to be, so what? I am still enjoying life. Stimulate your brain and broaden your horizons by investing time on hobbies and even continued education. I know that sounds crazy, but taking a class in something that interest you will keep you mentally charged. Keeping a good sense of humor is a great stress reliever.

Physical Strategies: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. I have had to switch to very light weight clothes, shoes, purses. I have even changed the pots and pans I use. Meditate, try simple yoga moves, gentle stretches, and posture scans. Move, don't sit or stand for long periods of time. Rotate your head, shoulders, arms, and legs. Just be silly and wiggle around. It releases tensions, circulates the blood and ultimately improves your health.

Drink plenty of water, increase your intake of fruit, vegetables, and grains.

Did you know that physical contact with the people you care about helps to relieve stress? Soft hugs, pats on the shoulder, and if your lucky enough a massage goes a long way. A good diet, movement, and personal contact are simple ways to handle your stress.

Planning simplifies my life, making short and long-term realistic goals and forgiving myself for missing a planned task, chore, or event relieves my stress. Don't overdo, keep it simple.

The first step in dealing with stress is acceptance. Keeping a sense of humor, adapting to change, learning how to cope, and focusing on the positive promotes our overall health and well-being.

I hope and pray you have a fatigue and pain free day and continue to focus on the positive aspects of your life.

Advice & Tips on Dealing with Anxiety

Hello Everyone!

I just wanted to share a few tips on dealing with anxiety. People deal with all types of anxiety, some people do not want to admit they suffer from anxiety. Personally, I believe it relieves stress when you are able to accept and deal with any anxiety issues you may be experiencing.

Whether anxiety rarely rears its ugly head in your life or is a frequent, unwelcome visitor, you can benefit from the following suggestions for overcoming or relieving stress, anxiety and worry. Choose the strategies you think will work for you, and give them a shot! Remember, there is no one "cure" for anxiety, but the more coping skills you have, the better you will be able to eliminate its impact on your life.

Special Note from Fibro Viv:

Of course, these cannot replace the help of a qualified therapist - if you feel you are unable to deal with your anxiety on your own, take that important step and give one a call.

With Yourself

* Get to the real root of your feelings. If you feel extremely anxious about work, for example, chances are thin that your stress will simply disappear on its own. You may have to dig deep to find what is bothering you - could it be a fear of failure, unhappiness in your current position, or too much pressure? Once you find the cause of the problem, you can take constructive steps to alleviate it.

* Practice positive self-talk. Anxiety is often a vicious circle and eliminating (or at least cutting down) the negative thoughts that start the chain is sometimes enough to get you out of the trap.

* Keep things in perspective. Think back to other times that you felt this anxious - did they always warrant such a strong reaction? This is not to beat yourself up about the past, but to realize that you have and can again survive situations that you thought were too much too handle.

* Reminder: Worrying does not change anything. Only constructive action can bring about results. And there are some things we just can't control. Remember the old mantra, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference"? Whether you believe in an almighty maker or not, this little prayer carries a powerful message and a worthy goal.

* Be in tune with yourself. Know when you are beginning to feel anxious and have strategies to avoid a full-blown attack.

* Evaluate your self-confidence. Anxiety can often stem from feelings of inadequacy. If you discover you could boost your self-esteem, take active steps to do so - there are some great books on the subject.

* Forgive yourself. Anxious does not equal weak. Everyone gets stressed, and it's not your fault if you can't handle it sometimes. It is, however, your responsibility to take steps to change. Believe that things CAN get better. Because they can!

* Take small steps. If, for example, you are anxious at the mere thought of speaking in front of a group and you have to do a presentation, try practicing first in front of the mirror, then with one friend/family member, and work your way up to a larger group of friends. During the entire process, visualize yourself doing it in front of a larger group. Build your way up.Sometimes just being around a big crowd of people can be overwhelming for people that suffer from chronic illnesses. You can and will be able to improve any personal bubble you might be experiencing.

* Talk to a professional. Don't be afraid to seek help from a medical doctor or a therapist (look in your local phone book for a list of therapists in your area who may help you).

* Talk to a loved one, a close friend, and share your experience. You will find you are not alone!

* Educate yourself.

When you are with Others

* Get it out. Talk to friends, family or someone you know is a good listener. If you aren't close enough to anyone, consider joining a support group or even a hobby club to meet like-minded people.

* Give someone the squeeze. Physical affection and touch are great stress-relievers. If you don't have a partner, friend or family member that you feel comfortable touching, even a pet can do the trick.

* Learn to put your foot down. Sometimes you just have to say no, for your own sake. It may surprise people at first, but being pulled in a million directions is a major contributor to stress.

* Ask for help. That may mean asking your kids to help in the house, or a friend to support you in stressful situations.

Day-to-Day Habits

* Keep a journal. Use it to vent your feelings, but don't leave it at that - write the positive side of every experience (even if the only thing you can find is "developing inner strength"), and brainstorm ways you can work towards eliminating some of the stresses you feel.

* Shake that body! Exercise is a great stress reliever, whether it's smashing a tennis ball, bowling or doing stretching exercises at home. The body and mind are strongly connected, and neglecting either will have negative consequences. You may want to take up yoga or meditation. Listen to music, it is uplifting!

* Eat your veggies. Take a look at your diet - are you getting all the essential minerals and vitamins? Make sure you keep your blood sugar level stable and cut down on nasty habits (smoking, over-eating); you may think that they are comforting you and helping you deal with stress, but it's actually the opposite.

* Let go and laugh. When you feel stress building, seek out the things that make you laugh - a funny movie, a joke, a favorite website, a goofy friend.

* Pamper yourself - you're worth it. Make a list of things that relax you and make you feel good - a bubble bath, a movie, a magazine, playing a game, going for a walk, a certain CD, comfy clothes, watching a certain sport. Keep the list handy for the next time you feel the stress building. Don't use these activities to avoid difficult situations, but they may calm you enough to be able to handle them better.

* Connect with nature. Whether it's taking a stroll in the park and looking at the trees or going on a weekend hike in the mountains, getting out in the great outdoors can be calming and strengthening at the same time.

* Avoid anxiety triggers. If there are unhealthy people or places in your life, consider decreasing their role. If however, you are anxious about situations that are not damaging and are in fact useful/necessary (ie. talking to your boss about a new idea, or traveling in a car), you should form a solid plan to deal with these feelings.

* Create comfort zones/times. To avoid stress from building up, have scheduled times for you to unwind (before bed is a good time, so your mind is at rest and you can get a good night's sleep). The comforting activity should be something you enjoy; something you know will make you feel good. The comfort zone is a place where you can escape and unwind - it could be a corner of your living room or a spot in the park.

I hope and pray everyone has a fatigue and pain free day. God Bless

Monday, June 14, 2010

Visions and Goals, Stay Focused

Yesterday I decided to step back and clear my mind of any worries or concerns. I know my body reacts to the stress I place on myself, so I must listen to my inner voice. How? I take a deep breath, clear my mind, accept, and explore the people, world, and miracles of life.

Ultimately, I am in control of my emotions, thoughts, and actions, whether I have health issues or not, I am in control of my destiny and responsible for my actions. Once I assume responsibility for my actions, remind myself of my limitations, remain open and receptive to new ideas then I can manage and achieve reasonable goals.

The key is to know what, how, when, where, and why I desire certain goals and visions. By re-evaluating my life, I can be open to working towards attaining my goals and dreams. I can work toward figuring out different ways to manage my life and health instead of being a victim to circumstances or health challenges. Our mind-set leads the way, creates a path, and ultimately sets a pattern or direction. We can make it positive or negative, succeed, or fail depending on our attitude. I want to take time to enjoy life’s pleasures, experience new things, love, support my family, friends, and others, and remind myself that anything is possible.

Let me share an example, I have been stressing about my fatigue and my inability to get tasks, chores, and goals achieved. Who is going to take care of my family? I cannot afford to rest or get sick. I have wasted precious time and emotions worrying about my fatigue. I should have identified and w confronted the challenges that kept me going in circles or at a stand still because of my fatigue. Based on my own experience, I know it helps me to write down my thoughts and emotions’, figuring out what is stopping me from moving forward. Once I release those emotions I have been internalizing, I am able to ask questions and find logical ways of handling my challenges.

Identifying the underlying causes that hold me back, brainstorming practical solutions to specific issues, and dealing with my desires and emotions will encourage motivation. A “can-do” attitude goes a long way. Maintaining a realistic frame of mind, interacting with a diverse group of people, and setting limits creates a calm and peaceful atmosphere.

My first goal is to fight fatigue, not complete a chore or task! One day at time, one-step at a time, taking breaks and setting realistic time limits. This day forward I plan to take one day at time, take small steps, accept myself, and thank God for giving me the power to discover my inner peace. Here are thoughts on fighting fatigue:

Drink lots of liquids, no caffeinated coffee, soda, etc.
Eat a well-balanced diet, do not skip meals, and avoid junk food.
Stick to a regular sleep schedule and try resting or taking a nap during the day.
Stretch daily and complete posture scans.
Take time to meditate
Practice simple yoga move
Balance your personal time, work, family, and friends
Take a multivitamin
Do not smoke or consume alcohol
Be charitable
Listen to others, encourage, and do not judge others
Do not loose hope and keep your faith in God and people.

Thank you for reading my blog post and I hope my experience serves a purpose.

I hope and pray you have a fatigue and pain free day.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Energy....Someone Give Me a Dose

Hi Everyone!

Well, today I feel stronger but still lack energy. When I review my past blog posts I am reminded that I am getting stronger. I guess I am just a bit disappointed in my lack of energy. There are so many chores and tasks I want to complete. My body and mind are not connecting. Sounds crazy, but it is true.

The early mornings seem to be such a struggle for me. I don't want to drive anymore. Jerry can no longer drive, so it is up to me. I always wanted to do the driving and now I dread having to drive.

My daily chores are stacking up on me and I can't get motivated. My fatigue is draining me physically and mentally. Perhaps sharing this information will get me motivated. Please send some energy my way and I will try to hang in there. (Just doesn't sound like me, does it?)

I do have some good news...no more neck pain!

God Bless and I hope and pray you are having a pain and fatigue free day.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Hello Everyone

I wanted to stop by and say hello to my Internet friends. I have been busy with life in general. I am feeling much stronger and keeping my spirits up. I hope everyone is feeling great physically and emotionally.

One of my nephew's was married this past Saturday to a beautiful young lady named Grace. I attended the wedding and it was beautiful. All of my family attended and my Mother looked absolutely beautiful. Everyone looked beautiful! When people are happy and smiling they look beautiful. I was unable to attend the reception because I was worn out and these days I am unable to be around crowds. My hearing is amplified and I cannot handle too much activity.

My eyes have been giving me a bit of trouble especially when I am fatigued. I want to go get an eye exam, but I am afraid I will end up with the wrong strength. It is frustrating when your eyes start getting weaker. It could be worse, I could be blind! I am grateful for my sight even though I am having some difficulty reading at times.

Otherwise, I am busy trying to keep Jerry out of the hospital, visiting my family, and spending as much time as I can with my twin Grand-daughters. I feel so blessed. It is truly amazing how children can make your pain and troubles slip away, if only for a few hours.

I hope and pray everyone is feeling better and enjoying life to the fullest.

God Bless,

Fibro Viv