Tag Archives: exercise

A Human Barometer

Why yes, I am a human barometer. What would you like to know? I can give you an accurate forecast of the next 12-24 hours. I might add that most of the time I’m more accurate than the weatherman (oh yeah!) If I’m not on the ball weather-wise, then either I’ve been cured (Hallelujah!) or the weatherman is dead wrong with the forecast, which in Michigan is quite often (lol!)

I think one of the most ridiculous side effects of chronic pain is the higher pain levels & other symptoms that are directly connected to weather changes. It is so frustrating, especially because it is out of our control. All you can do is prepare yourself and do activities that lessen your pain. Lighten your schedule, do easy & less stressful tasks, drink peppermint tea, turn your space heater, and remember to give yourself a “daffodil.” Or I guess we all could move to Arizona or California, but most of us don’t have that luxury. Hey, if I could, I would pack my bags and live the rest of my life in the Mediterranean (btw, if you didn’t know, the Greek Diet, i.e. lifestyle, is one of the best, especially for those with chronic pain). But for now, that isn’t an option. So, what can we do to relieve our weather-related symptoms? Well, I think it’s a matter of personal needs & comforts. Pamper yourself on those ill-weather days. I love being in the kitchen any day, but I’ve found that on those days I enjoy being there even more. Yes, I’m baking or making soup, but it’s more about being by a hot stove & oven. Make sure you exercise, even if it’s less than usual; it keeps your body circulating properly. Keep warm: spend the day baking & cooking in the kitchen, take a long hot shower or bath, turn on the space heater, drink hot tea, etc.

Another option is: If you are able to, take a vacation every once in a while, whether or not it’s on a rainy day. It will give you something to look forward to. Even though you can’t take a vacation from your pain, it might give you a break from your everyday responsibilities. It can be a day trip to a favorite spot nearby, take a long weekend with people you love, or stay a week in a warm, sunny place. And that’s what I’m doing next week. I’m leaving Michigan’s dark, rainy April weather. Tomorrow I’m flying to San Diego for a relaxing week in the sun. It’s a much needed vacation, and I’m so excited to go! 🙂

So, what things do you do on those bad weather days? What is helpful for you, and what isn’t? Are there favorite places you like to visit nearby or far away? Remember to take care of and to pamper yourself those days. Give yourself a big “daffodil” those days! The weather will change soon, the sun will come out, your pain will lessen, and your daily life will become easier & more enjoyable again!

Spotlight: Yoga Studio App

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Okay, I’ll admit it. For years I was one of those people who thought yoga was just plain weird. I couldn’t understand why people were raving about a “so-called” workout, which consisted of twisting your body into painfully odd shapes while being perfectly quiet. No offense, but I thought you had to be some crazy, “new age” hippy to enjoy that “so-called” workout. Well, I was wrong, very very wrong. I started getting the hint when pretty much every chronic pain management books I’ve read highly recommend yoga as one of the best workouts for people with chronic pain. I was stubborn though. I liked my exercise routine. It kept me fit, and I usually felt pretty decent afterwards. I was convinced that it was working for me, or so I thought…

Wii Fit actually introduced me to my first yoga poses. I liked them; I felt “good” after them. But a whole workout of yoga poses? No way! Well, those hints kept coming from my pain management research. Out of curiosity, I started doing more yoga poses on the Wii Fit. They definitely loosened up my tight, sore muscles (dang Fibro!) I finally gave in and bought a beginner yoga DVD. After the first time I tried it, I remember saying I felt like I had a good workout but I was calm & relaxed too. I had no idea those words could coexist! I found myself doing yoga a couple days a week on a regular basis, and then it happened: I am doing it every day! Yep, I’ve become one of those crazy, “new age” hippies. Okay, maybe not that crazy 😉 And I feel wonderful! During my yoga sessions, I can actually sense the oxygen-rich blood rushing through my body to oxygen-deprived muscles. My muscles are more loose and less tender. I’ve seen a decrease in my overall pain levels. Plus I’m more calm 🙂

To expand my yoga workouts, I decided to do some investigating into Yoga Apps. Granted I’m still a newbie, but I wanted some variety and the ability to advance in yoga poses. I looked at a bunch of apps but finally decided on the Yoga Studio app. I absolutely love it! This app has over 280 poses, ranging from beginner to advanced. There are pre-made live sessions, with choices of level, duration, and focus. You can edit or create your own session, depending on your needs or taste. It has a crisp, clean design and is easy to navigate. I don’t know all the techy mumbo-jumbo, but both the pre-made live video sessions as well as your video creations flow seamlessly due to something called “video stitch.” It even has a calendar where you can schedule or record your workout sessions. Needless to say, I highly recommend this app. It’s definitely worth the $2.99.

I’m not saying yoga is for everyone, and it’s definitely not a “fix-all” exercise solution. Btw, I don’t just do yoga; I also have a aerobic/cardio workout based on the advice of my medical team. I encourage you to do your own research and talk with your doctor about possible exercise programs. So, here a few questions for you to ponder: What types of exercises are you presently doing? Are they physically beneficial? Do you find them enjoyable, or at least, pleasant? How do you feel during and afterwards? Tired? More stressed? Refreshed? Invigorated? Here’s to an enjoyable workout!

Don’t Forget the Daffodils #1

A couple years ago, I read a book written by Dr. Claire Weekes. She made a point that I have never forgotten: it is important for people, especially those with depression and anxiety disorders, to do something for themselves each day. She called it “Don’t Forget the Violets.” Probably for me it would be: “don’t forget the sweet peas or daffodils.” But anyways, I don’t think it is a far stretch to assume that people with chronic pain should do the same. I’m not saying to go neglect your responsibilities to your family & work or go bankrupt while spoiling yourself with expensive gifts. However, do take a few minutes each day to pamper yourself. It can cost you very little or be absolutely free. Go ahead; take that bubble bath and escape from the stresses of the day for a little while. Have coffee or tea with a friend. Wrap up in a blanket and read a chapter in your favorite book. Take a 10 minute stroll outside and enjoy the scenery. Buy a bunch of tulips to brighten your house. What are some fun, inexpensive activities you enjoy doing? Have you tried this before, and how did you feel afterwards? Some activities that brighten my day are: listening to a favorite piece of music, trying a new recipe in the kitchen, sitting by the lake, etc. I am hoping to make “Don’t Forget the Daffodils” at least a weekly post, writing about activities I find enjoyable and that brighten my day. So, I leave you with a video that makes me smile every time I watch it: Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand singing the duet “Get Happy/Happy Days are Here Again.” Enjoy!