October 30, 2010

Tricks and Treats!

Ok everyone, I know this title is a bit cheesy but it’s just about Halloween so I decided to have a little fun.  The following is a list of tricks and treats I’ve discovered for making living with a chronic illness a bit more tolerable:


Pacing and Routine: To avoid overdoing it on your good days and subsequently crashing, try to establish a routine (with flexibility) that keeps you going at an even pace.  Work on establishing a steady wake up time and bedtime so that your body follows a natural rhythm.  Know your peak hours of the day and schedule activities for then.  Also, realize your limitations and allow yourself to take naps when needed.

Don’t feel guilty: This is a hard one but try not to beat yourself up about having to cancel plans, takes naps, or take days off of work, school, etc.  You didn’t choose to have a chronic illness but you do have a choice whether or not you are going to make your self feel guilty about it. 

Listen to your body: Be in tune with your abilities and needs.  When you feel you are able to push a bit, go for it.  When you need a break, take it.

Keep prescriptions up-to-date: Many pharmacies have online applications that help save on time and allow you to see when your next refills are available.  I use walgreens.com. 

Have an arsenal of over the counter medications on hand: These things include pain relievers (Tylenol, Ibupropen, Aleve etc.), stomach soothing agents (TUMS and Pepto Bismol are my personal favorites), allergy medications (for me that means Benadryl for allergic reactions and Zyrtec for seasonal allergies), and cold medications (I have found that the winning combination is Sudafed during the day and Nyquil at night).  The last thing you want to do when you feel sick is have to run to the pharmacy or have to deal with getting someone to do it for you. 


Take a warm bath:
Pour in 2 cups of Epsom salt (aka: magnesium sulfate) which helps to draw toxins from the body, sedate the nervous system, and relax muscles
Light a candle (scentless if you have sensitivities)
Sit back and relax!

Use a heated should wrap: I bought mine at Whole Foods (link is "My Favorite Things" section) and it is my new best friend.  I place it in the microwave for 2 minutes (might vary with different microwaves) and use it to soothe neck and shoulder pain.  Also, I sometimes just place it on my stomach for a warm relaxing feeling.  The fact that it doesn’t plug in means you don’t have to worry about falling asleep with it.

Wear slippers: I don’t know what it is about slippers but they are super comfy and help to regulate my body temperature, which is constantly all over the place.
Drink herbal tea: Sipping on something warm with potential benefits of antioxidants, relaxation, or weight loss (depending on the type) always seems to make my day a little better. 

Keep good movies and reading material on hand: On bad days a hilarious movie always perks me up or a good book helps take me to another world. 

After writing this list I think that all people, chronically ill or not, could benefit from these ideas. 

Question to consider:

What tricks or treats would you add to the list? 


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