Here I am again, back, I’m a rubber ball that keeps bouncing back to you… What’s happened since I’ve been here last? What hasn’t, but what else is new?
Too many snowstorms. Too much time filling out forms. In the real world and not real and perceived dramas. In and out of various Self-Isolation fashions and pajamas.
The latest thing? “Bridgerton” on Netflix. Anachronistic version of “The Ton” for your Lockdown kicks.
Elections. Insurrections. Vaccines. Still traveling fiends.
Reddit blows the top off greedy hedge funds, pop, with AMC, Blackberry, and Gamestop! Poor little Wall Street traders Sad little corporate raiders
Bernie lookin’ cozy wearing sweaters now mittens Joe’s cheeks were rosy with memes all aglow Amanda, Gaga and JLo, Kindness can stay, the rest has to go.
New phone. Who dis? What else did I miss?
“The Queen’s Gambit”. Always knew chess was “lit”. New season of “The Expanse” I think space needs more plants.Christmas was merry, despite (you know)… finally, 2020 was hindsight (hope 2021 isn’t a new foe).
“Chronic Not Hopeless” trying to have some fun, not make a mess, I guess?!?
I’m knackered, the world is going “all to pot”, and I’m gobsmacked anyway, clearly time off was way too Britbox-packed.
When the laundry dings When the doorbell rings When I’m feeling sad, I simply watch/read my favourite stuff, And I don’t feel so rough (let’s be honest, there’s usually tea and chocolate involved as well).
Oh and in case you missed it, there’s still a pandemic, yup, more than a bit. So Stay Home (preferably under a dome?) and join us on Zoom for free, we’d love to see you, and you and you… there’s always plenty of room.
DM me…double mask me? When’s it gonna get to three?
OK, my rhymin’s a little loose It’s true I ain’t no Dr. Seuss I’m a Canadian, what do I know? We adopted a Chilean penguin and my best friend’s a moose.
Remember when I just threw in, “Chronic Not Hopeless” (see above), CNH is a volunteer “powered” weekly get together for people with Chronic Conditions, all are welcome. From anywhere, cause it’s on Zoom, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Whether you’re from: Canada, America, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica, The North Pole, Spain, Japan, Sweden, Brazil, South Africa, Chile, Mexico – anywhere in the world! Anywhere in the Galaxy. Anywhere in the Universe. Free (though we accept donations, gratefully). Safe.
I know, I know, there are a billion “groups” out there, but this isn’t really a group.
Not a support group. Not an organization. Not a club. Not a hangout. So I’ve told you what it isn’t, so what is it?
It’s a bunch of friends and just-haven’t-met-you-yet-friends getting together to: chat, laugh, share, learn, connect, etc. Feel comfortable, stay in bed, on the couch, bad hair day, who cares? You want to do crafts, go for it. Want to drink and/or eat: coffee, iced coffee, hot cocoa, kombucha, pizza, pasta, beer, wine (be careful when drinking and Zooming – common sense and Stay-At-Home), sushi, soup, tea, water, juice, salads, cookies, cake, chocolate…well, whatever you want, or not.
We’re going to distract ourselves from our chronic conditions. We’re going to share resources, tips, tricks, life hacks about anything and everything. And we’re going to laugh. I can guarantee that. 😂
All that and more, in a drama-free zone. A place where you can get away from the everyday. You wanna go where everybody knows, or tries to remember, your name…where you’ll be glad you came.
Zoom version of pet therapy, maybe with your pets. 🐶🐱🐭🐰🐧🐦🦄🐍🐋🦧🐢🦎🐠🦖🦨🐹🐷 You’ll hear stories, maybe share yours (your choice if you do or don’t, whatever makes you feel comfortable). No pressure. No drama. No whining. We’re not hopeless. We’re not helpless. We’re still us. We’re not our chronic conditions, we’re you and me and more, who just happen to have one or more chronic conditions.
Stay tuned for announcements about FREE online activities, blog posts, Tweets, updates, resources, and so much more. Please follow this, our brand new “Chronic Not Hopeless” page https://chronicnothopeless.ca . Let’s make 2021 better together!🌠😀
“Chronic Not Hopeless” Bylaws (Enforceable Only By You)
Be Kind. Be Respectful.
Have fun. Laughter is healing.
Be discreet with information shared by others.
Remember, “agree to disagree”.
Share or don’t share. Camera on or off. Leave when you wish without need of explanations – we understand. Be comfortable.
Be present. Be pleasant.
Be aware of “hot button” topics, including but not limited to: politics, race, religion, The Great Pumpkin, etc.
Keep in mind, “Chronic Not Hopeless” is “powered” by volunteers with Chronic Conditions,. We will make missteaks, er, mistakes. We’ll forget things. Our entire life is a Mount Everest-style learning curve. We hope that even at our worst we always try to give you our best.
Feel free to contribute to “Chronic Not Hopeless” in any way you feel comfortable doing so. That could mean: sharing Facebook posts, Pinning on Pinterest, website pages or blog posts, Retweeting on Twitter, etc.
And/or donating via Ko-fi, Paypal, e-transfer to email@example.com , cash, etc., to pay for expenses CNH incurs such as: Zoom Pro so we can have online activities, the cost of the website, admin costs, etc. This is purely not-for-profit, run by chronically ill volunteers, grassroots community get together – we’re an open book(s).
Also, you can write blog posts, help with social media, contribute in any way your skills, energy, and heart can do. It could mean telling family, friends, professionals, co-workers, – well, anyone and everyone about “Chronic Not Hopeless – any and all help is greatly appreciated.
“Chronic Not Hopeless” is here for fun, for connecting, for helping – a drama-free zone. We gratefully accept and appreciate any donations – big or small, we love them all! Ko-fi.com/chronicnothopeless firstname.lastname@example.org We’re not hopeless. We’re not helpless. We’re still us.
Disclaimer for “Chronic Not Hopeless”: Please consult your physician if you have medical questions, before you start any exercise regime, any new medication, supplement, etc. and if you are feeling concerned about your physical, emotional and/or mental health. “Chronic Not Hopeless” is a community get together, not a substitute or source for medical advice. Any medical information found here is opinion and not endorsed by “Chronic Not Hopeless”. If you are feeling uncomfortable, please let us know and/or feel free to leave. We are here to help, not harm.
So you’ve heard this before, “I’m back”, but my heart was always here with you, I just couldn’t get my body to co-operate.
Money is still, somehow, one of those weirdly “taboo” subjects.
This horror movie we’re living in, which so far has no credits, just keeps rolling on, but perhaps it can have a tiny silver lining. It can teach us to discuss everything. To be transparent, honest, to see all sides, all possibilities. We need to stop going to “check out that noise” or “check the basement” or “go to the attic”. If we learn nothing else from this nightmare, we should learn to be honest.
Too many people think honesty is scary. It’s the same when it comes to money. They think discussing money is: “scary”, “embarrassing”, “frightening”, “crass”, or “inappropriate”. We all need money, unfortunately (it’s the main reason the world is a mess, simplistic, maybe, but it doesn’t make it untrue).
Money controls our lives. It’s the truereason for most of the world’s problems, yet too many people refuse to talk about it, learn about it, and try to figure out why money’s too tight to mention.Politics, religion, food, vaccines, money, “The Great Pumpkin”…geez, what can we talk about these days without a brawl?
Times are tough, or not, depending which politicians are trying to score which point.
Most people have at least a rudimentary knowledge of budgeting, oh no, I said a dirty word, the “b” word, “budget”. Who knows what I’ll say next? “Economize”. “Reduce”. Or the big “F”, “frugal”. Gasp!
Why are people ashamed of being poor? Or nowadays, using words like “reduced circumstances” (what if you were never, er, “duced”?). Being “poor” isn’t a financially transmitted disease you’ll catch by using coupons, price-matching, or shopping at thrift stores! It’s not an austere version of COVID-19 (but for actual viruses, please wear a mask, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, physical distance, don’t hoard toilet paper, stay home as much as possible and stay connected).
Some folks are the same way about frugality. They seem to think trying to save money, trying not to spend so much, trying not to go into debt is somehow “embarrassing”. That somehow you should be ashamed of: shopping the sales, couponing, getting freebies, price-matching, buying secondhand (gently loved), or just generally living below your means. Yet personally, I love, love, love the Depression Era slogan,
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without.”
I’m proud of being able to pinch a penny (for those who still have any) till it screams!!! Why? I don’t believe that being “poor” is “bad” just like I don’t believe being “rich” is “good”. It’s not noble to be poor or to be rich. Money should never be a measure of success. Character should be a measure of success. On The Orville they have a system of no money, everyone has what they need and what they want – it’s their reputation, their character that counts. Imagine turning our crazy world upset down and finally using “common” sense/no cents?
Until then, here’s some ways to save…
1…Stay connected. Stay safe. Zoom meetings help you stay connected and a Zoom account is free. Check out https://chronicnothopeless.ca for free weekly Zoom meetings, sharing resources, laughter, chatting,information, fun. One guarantee, you’ll laugh.
Upcoming activities: Tai Chi/Qigong; Gentle Yoga with Breathwork and Meditation;“Tuesday Trivia Time”; special guests, speakers, and so, so much more – online activities galore!
Other ways to save?
2…Love streaming, but not the cost of streaming? There are some “Free” alternatives, when it comes to streaming (but don’t be fooled and keep an eye out, some become decidedly less free and others more free!). Though we don’t have as many options here in Canada as larger population countries, but times are achangin’, so stay tuned. Here are few, including but not limited to:
Tubi (free and fantastic).
MUCH – more than music.
The Weather Network
Classic Cinema Online
Knowledge: KIds (even has “Paw Patrol”)
Roku channel (if you stream on Roku)
and/or you can buy an indoor digital TV antenna or an outdoor antenna…there are so many ways to save and see!
Plus, look for Free Trials (many streaming services are, sadly, removing their “free” trials, for example, Netflix and Disney Plus) of streaming/music/reading services. Again, though we don’t have as many options here in Canada as larger population countries, but times are achangin’, so stay tuned. Here’s a few available now, including but not limited to:
Amazon Prime Video
Watch and see if they’re right for you. Note the start date of your free trial and cancel if you don’t like them. Cancel a few days before, you’ll still have the preview to the end of the trial. Easy-“stay home”-“stay safe”-“stay connected”-free-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
3… The“C” word, no, not Coronavirus, or cancer, in this case, a good “c” word, coupons! We used to clip these, now, they’re printed, or digital, or sometimes still mailed to us. I save a lot of money with coupons, sometimes even getting items free (what a lovely word, I never get tired of hearing or seeing it).If you’re into it, there’s also lots of free samples, contests, and surveys out there. Savealoonie, Samplesource, Websaver, Save.ca, Lifepoints,Smartcanucks, Pinecone Research, Asking Canadians, Swagbucks, and so, so many more.Sometimes, I get freebies, coupons, samples for items I don’t want or use, but get them anyway so I give them to others. Find more ways to save and places to find savings online through frugality blogs and other websites. If you have suggestions for ways to save, please leave them in the comment box below. I love to learn.I love to save.
4… Get paid to shop! Music to our ears and our wallets (virtual or otherwise). That’s exactly what some apps do, like: Rakuten Canada (formerly Ebates), Caddle, Checkout 51, Airmiles, PC Optimum, Petro-Points, Shopper Army, Swagbucks, Plum Rewards (the free version), The Mission Store, David’s Tea, The Body Shop, and so, so many more – look them up! And don’t forget to add the Honey, an app that checks for online coupons and can save you even more!
5…Happy Birthday! Lots of places give birthday “treats” – free stuff or discounts, etc. Don’t feel comfortable giving your “real” date of birth, make yourself a few years younger. But remember, sometimes age does matters! Specifically with Student Discounts and Senior Discounts (some start as low as 55 – the new 45?). Discounts at stores, restaurants, education,pharmacies, thrift stores, travel, car rentals, banking, hotels, entertainment, museums and so many more! Don’t be afraid to ask, you have nothing to lose and so much to win!
6… Groupon. Make sure you read the fine print (always good advice, for every single thing in life). I’ve found some great deals there, including but not limited to: Costco memberships with Shop cards/products that negate the amount of your membership (really!); pizza (anyone who says money can’t buy happiness, has never paid for a pizza or the makings of a pizza, yes, you can make pizza at home!). Oh, and I paid $4 for a movie w/ popcorn and a drink – I went and saw that movie in a theater, remember those? Back in the good old days when we went to a place, went inside the building, with other people, sat in seats, beside other people, and watched a movie.
8…Price/Ad Matching – you can bring a flyer (not so much now, but “BC” – “Before Covid”, or show an app on a smartphone (ie. Flipp, Reebee, etc.) from one store to another, just show it to clerk and get items cheaper (yahoo!!!).Of course, an easy, amazing way to save is sales. Shop sales!
But wait, there’s more…
9…It doesn’t have to be complicated, look close to home. Look around your place. If you have the time and energy, cooking, canning, preserving, and baking are shockingly easy ways to save money.Find ways to do so that make life easier.
10… Sewing, mending, knitting, DIY, gardening, and so much more. Decluttering. Repurposing – for example, my Mom magically changes T-shirts, pajamas, etc. into fun pillow art/pillow covers.
11…Sort through your “treasures”, you know the ones: collecting dust; being used to hang clothes on; stored; just-in-case; might-fit-me-someday; what-if-I-need-it?; whatever — sell them, donate them, give them away, swap them.
12…Why buy new?
Why pay more? Buy gently loved. Buy previously loved. Buy brand spanking new but never used and given away. In this wildly consumer-driven culture, we too often “Dumpit to Crumpit”. But many people also generously donate. There are treasures to be found at: thrift stores, secondhand stores, mission stores, Salvation Army, Goodwill, eBay, Etsy (some new stuff, handmade) many of these places now are online as well! Don’t let perfectly lovely things go to the trash heap when you can give them new life. I’ve found Alfred Sung, Doc Marten, Derek Alexander and so much more, often w/ tags still on. A quirky wooden box that says library (it’s where I keep library books, how original).I don’t know the fate of “thrift” stores in a new world order, but for now, if you’re careful, we have hope.
13… Look for free things to see and do in your community. Take walks on your streets (actually use the sidewalks, safer and if no sidewalks, remember, walk facing oncoming traffic and pay attention, stay safe). Go for lovely walks in your parks. Parks are an amazing resource, they’re ready for anything: Cycling. Picnics. Tai Chi. Yoga. Boating. Fishing. Photography. Martial arts. Playing. Pausing. I love walking through our Ponds – though I live in a large, very busy city, when I step in here, I’m in the woods…
Get out there and discover!
14…Speaking of local,how about your local library? Libraries aren’t just buildings with books (but seriously, books are awesome!!!). And now many libraries are going fine free which is fabulous, but seriously, return the books, DVDs, CDs, magazines and more. Many library resources are online, especially now. You can check out ebooks, e-audio books and they’re returned automatically. You can learn languages, look up your ancestry, and stream movies. Read/enjoy thousands of free magazines and newspapers. Learn from free online courses. Get creative with hundreds of crafts. And so much more!!!Also, most cities allow you to get a non-resident card for a small fee. Go online, check it out, what do you have to lose? Hours and hours of fun and who knows what you’ll learn? Look around your neighbourhood for “Little Free Libraries” or “Swap Boxes” – take a book, leave a book. In these tough times, people also leave: food, household items, coupons, etc. Truly a community spirit exercise. Sharing is caring, in so many ways.
15…Online is filled with free (yes, free, why pay?) courses –
These are just a small sampling. Before you throw money at courses, check out some free ones!
16…Of course, YouTube – the vast universe of stuff at your fingertips!!! Travel the world (who knew I’d become a travel blogger during a pandemic?). Watch “SNL” (especially vintage). Watch “Graham Norton”. “Honest Trailers”. “Stephen Colbert”. “Seth Meyers”. “Jimmy Fallon”. Cooking. Baking. Gaming. Knitting. Sewing. Quilting. Coding. Household repairs. Shoe repairs. Car repairs. Learn languages including: “Dothraki”, “Klingon”, “Elvish”, “Nadsat”, “Minionese”, “Na’vi”, “Parseltongue”, “Huttese” and even some “real” languages. Want to know how to cut an onion without crying?Decluttering. Organizing. Tips and tricks. Life hacks. Health videos (beware). Magic tricks. CPR. Sourdough tricks. Watch (particpate?!?) exercise videos (personal fav for Fibromyalgia folks, https://cocolimefitness.com/). Chess. Poker. Meditation. How to budget (oh no, the “b” word again). Live performance and concerts. Music videos and events. Lip Sync Battles. Movies. How to make masks. How to sell on eBay. How to fight a shark.Find any fix. Find news…from anywhere in the world (galaxy?). Watch a NASA launch. Find reviews. Find things that make you snooze – am I the only adult that enjoys listening to celebs reading bedtime stories to me? Thank you, Dolly Parton, Jeff Goldblum (stories, umm, umm, umm, find a way),Tom Hardy, Sean Astin (I made a promise to read, Mr. Frodo), Ray Romano, Jude Law, Josh Gad (do you wanna read a story?),Jennifer Garner, Helen Mirren, Stephen Fry, Lupita Nyong’o, Justin Theroux, Glenn Close, Viola Davis, Chrissy Metz,Betty White (thank you for being a friend), Melissa Gilbert (Little Library on the Prairie?),David Harbour (Stranger Reads?), Kristen Bell, Allison Janney, Oprah (And you get a story! And you get a story! And you get a story!), Barbara Bain, Michelle Yeoh, Jake Gyllenhaal (I don’t know how to quit you),Chris Pine, Dule Hill, David Schwimmer (I’ll be there for you!), Chris Evans (er, just don’t read from Instagram, Cap), Kiernan Shipka, Christian Slater (Pump up the Reading Volume), Amy Adams, Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Firth,Lily James, Jeff Bridges, James Earl Jones, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Silverman, Rashida Jones, Chris O’Dowd, Mac Conley, Jimmy Fallon, David Byrne, Billie Piper, David Tennant, Josh Brolin (his reading is inevitable), Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Costner, Julie Walters,Eddie Redmayne, Eva Longoria, Natalie Portman,Iggy Pop, Rami Malek (we are the reading champions), Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin,Emma Thompson, and more, thank you for promoting reading!!! Most are children’s books, some YA and adult books, but whatever they are, thank you for reading to relax me, er, for the children and for charity.Also, free guided mediation on YouTube (Calm, limited; PureGym; Tara Brach UCLA Reasearch; BoHo beautiful; City of Surry; well, you get the idea, the sky’s the limit or beyond). Thank you Chris Hemsworth for the guided meditation. Thank you to the late, great Maya Angelou for leaving us recordings of her gifts; Neil Gaiman for reading us Dickens and Dr. Suess; Christopher Walken for sharing the horror of Edgar Allan Poe as only Walken can, and so many more. Get online and explore. Of course, for Shakespeare lovers and general sonnet lovers alike: Vincent D’Onofrio, Rufus Sewell, William Sadler, Michael Gaston, Lindy Booth, Sir Patrick Stewart (and more) – thank you for reading me stirring sonnets everyday (make it so).
17... Seasons change, but fun stays all the year long. There are many free or frugal activities for each and every season.Here are just a few.
Walking – free.
Loyalty – free.
Quiet – free.
Integrity – free.
Common sense – free.
Snuggling (the snuggle is real) – free.
Do you wanna build a snowman? – free.
Gratitude – free.
Courage – free.
Dancing – free.
Talking (words matter) – free.
Generosity – free.
Comfort – free.
Joy – free.
Forgiveness – free.
Compassion – free.
Snow angels – free.
Hope – free.
Imagination – free.
Smiling – free.
Games, so many games online, free. Puzzles, card games, board games, video games and so much more – free.
Friendship – free.
Sunlight – free.
Sincerity – free.
Perseverance – free.
Respect – free.
Empathy – free.
Moonlight – free.
Laughing – free.
Truth (not just your truth, the truth) – free.
Singing – free.
Love – free.
Understanding – free.
Ambition – free.
Fairness – free.
Cheer – free.
Art – free.
Literature (see library information above) – free.
Music (your brain is full of it, let it flow) – free.
Cookies – rarely free sadly (we need a weather machine that makes it rain cookies, who’s with me?), but you can buy the ingredients on sale or with price matching, etc., frugal.
The Grinch learned that Christmas doesn’t have to come from a store, that Christmas can mean just a little bit more. A timeless and free life lesson. And the same goes for birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween, every day. How much you spend doesn’t show how much you care. Caring is free.
Kindness is free! So spread it around. Sprinkle that kindness anywhere and everywhere. Fill the world with it…Kindness is the key, and lucky for us, the free key.
The holiday season stresses out most everyone, but for those who are ill, the holidays can be a nightmare(before and during Christmas); it’s stressful for even those who don’t celebrate Christmas(or try not to celebrate).
The roads are busier. Malls overrun by zombies (We are The Walking Dead, but with brightly-wrapped gifts). Christmas songs drone on, but peace on Earth, really, there’s barely a pretense of civility.
So many Santas, ringing and ho-ho-hoing for money to buy toys – I thought there was a workshop and elves for that…
Expectations. Unrealistic expectations. Too much food (First World Problem).
Frolicking. Accidents. Frolicking accidents. Ugly Christmas sweaters (no longer ironic), now ironically iconic?
Gifts/gift cards/e-gift cards, “the perfect gift” for the “perfect” Christmas – that’s where stress-relievers come in.
First, take a deep breath. Christmas is one day.One.24 hours.1440 minutes. Let’s also enjoy the other 364 days in the year. Relax.
Second, the holidays should be about: giving, helping, hoping, kindness, compassion, and dreams; not pushing, whining, complaining, stressing and screams…Relax.
Third, you need to find out what works for you, what makes you happy, what brings you comfort and joy. If you don’t know that, how can you share it with others? Relax.
Here are some usual ways (and unusual, whatever that means) ways to relieve stress during the holidays (and all the year through)? There are more than 12 so you decide which is which.
If I’ve left some out and I’m sure I did, please comment to tell me what I missed and then share the post on social media so others can tell me what I missed as well…
Read books/ebooks (This is a safe space, no “books vs ebooks” arguments here; all books are welcome and accepted!).
Volunteer (I once knew someone who said more people would volunteer if they were paid, ummm, that’s a job).
Write a blog/journal/novels/poems.
Manicure/Pedicure (at home works too).
Bake (me a cake?).
Aromatherpy (Don’t limit yourself to the usual scents, whatever smells good to you, smell away).
Look for the Fibonacci symbol in nature or fractals, so fun on snowy days.
Design clothes.Wear clothes.Buy New-To-You clothes (Goodwill, Talize, Salvation Army, Value Village, Mission Store, and other Love-Them-Again stores are awesome).
Go see a play, be in a play, write a play, direct a play.
Look at the stars (the ones in the sky).
Plant yourself near a plant to reduce your blood pressure.
Karate (relaxed and ready to defend yourself, probably not against Ninjas or aliens, but maybe zombies or vampires).
Visit an art gallery/museum.
Stream (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Apple TV, Disney Plus, Acorn TV, Crave, HBO, TMN, SlingTV, BritBox, and many more; with more popping up every day).
Play board games.
Play video games.
Play card games.
Stay and enjoy.
Do puzzles – crossword, boxed puzzles, puzzle boxes, find-a-word (Have you heard? The bird is the word), sudoku, logic, trivia and if you can figure out people, wow, you’ve solved the biggest puzzle ever.
Apply gentle pressure to the spot between your 2nd and 3rd knuckle, between your fingers, where your finger and hand meet to reduce stress.
Cheer someone up with a fun surprise (Do not break into their home and draw a happy face on the wall or anything in red lipstick on their mirror, apparently that’s considered “creepy”).
Wine/Beer tasting tour (Don’t taste and drive).
Learn some magic tricks (Be nice to rabbits).
Get/give a facial.
Watch the clouds (the ones in the sky).
Jump (jump jump jump around) on a trampoline (safety first).
Smile (I just like to smile, smiling’s my favourite).
Drink water (don’t waste it).
Create the next big fad! i.e. Lint kittens and puppies. Easy to keep – no walks, no food, soft and cuddly, and easy to house-train. Do not expose to water.
Join a team (fantasy or real).
Pet sit (don’t actually sit on a pet).
Tear paper (then recycle then tear again).
Visualize (guided or unguided, just remember to leave some breadcrumbs to find your way back).
Pay it forward.
Be kind (random or deliberate).
Fix stuff (fix something for someone: TV, car, fridge, cellphone, alarm system, computer, appliances, sewing machine, etc. Even it wasn’t broken, er, at the time, they’ll probably understand you were trying to give them a gift…probably).
Give your time.
Offer your knowledge.
Give your full attention.
When a child hands you a toy phone or a banana, answer it and have a conversation (best time with a phone/actually smart).
Take a shower (not at the Bates Motel).
Take a bath (not in a horror movie).
Enjoy social media for what it is not what you want it to be (because the internet).
Take some photographs (not just of your food and selfies with duck lips).
Ski-doo (not on thin ice…it’s all going to be thin ice soon).
Watch a sunset.
Watch a sunrise.
Cook (Combine food and fashion ie. Forget Lululemon, how about lasagna leggings? Pizza pants. Taco ties. Chocolate crop top. Wine wedding dress. Turkey tux. Beer boots. Hamburger hat. Curry coat. Steak scarf. Bacon blouse. This food fashion can be consumed at any time – hopefully not when you’re out in public).
Join a club (not a gang).
Drink green/white tea.
Walk in a park or the woods (not at night on a full moon, just in case).
Climb a wall, so you don’t climb the walls.
Laugh some more.
Make someone laugh.
Spend time with nature and animals (don’t pet grizzly bears, badgers, or snakes, start slow with cats, dogs, rabbits…then move up).
Build a snowman (do you wanna?).
Remember to forget.
Smash stuff (smash plates, bowls, walls, pumpkins,etc., and if you can’t go to one of the places where you pay to smash stuff, I’m sure family and friends will understand you need stress relief, especially during the holidays).
Make soap not dope.
String popcorn (the eat, the popcorn not the string).
Visit (real or virtual as long as you’re there, in the moment).
Watch TV (question what you watch).
Listen to someone.
‘Tis the season, cut down a Christmas tree for a busy family member or friend. Cautionary note, unlike in the Hallmark and other Christmas movies, cartoons, etc., apparently it’s “frowned upon”, some might even say “illegal”, to just randomly cut trees down. Who knew?
One of the best ways to relieve stress, being honest, with yourself and others; we/they/me/whoever may not appreciate it at first, but it could be the best gift ever, someday.
Chocolate. Enough said.
If you know me and/or you’re a reader of my blog (https://yadadarcyyada.com) you know, I think laughter is the best medicine and it certainly qualifies as a stress reliever. Laughing, even if it hurts sometimes, still makes me feel better. I go to a happy place, including but not limited to: Psych, George Carlin, Seinfeld, Community, Friends, Rick and Morty, The Office, Marx Brothers, Flight of the Conchords, and more.
I love to share the laughter. If I can make someone smile, laugh, giggle, chortle, spew liquid from their nose, then hey, I feel better. Get silly. Adulting is tough, who says we can’t be a kid at heart?
Finding ways to help others is a great stress reliever. It’s hard to think about your problems when you’re helping others with theirs.
There are an endless amount of causes out there, try to support those who really need it. Those who are hungry, scared, without shelter, without hope, being abused, ill, falling through so many cracks.
Donate to a cause in someone’s name instead of handing them another gift they may or may not need or want, or better yet, start a foundation in their name, I’m sure it won’t affect their taxes…much. Help yourself by helping others.
Knitting? Did I mention knitting? What I want to knit…a black cable knit sweater and a Doctor-Who-vintage-Tom-Baker-as-The-Doctor scarf. I’ve been talked down to scarf of one colour and even that’s not going well. The holes are there to let hopes and dreams in, yeah, that’s it. They’re a design feature.
Turns out knitting can be a “knotty” stress reliever.
Exercise is suggested for stress relief, but with pain and fatigue, exercise can be challenging. Years ago, someone suggested Tai Chi for Fibromyalgia/relaxation/arthritis/exercise, I thought, how would flailing my arms around, slowly, help with any of those things? I’ll just look weirder than I usually do.
Lifting weights? I’m no Schwarzenegger, but Hasta la Vista, babyweight (my son is in his 20s). I like Yoga (and Baby Yoda), but it can be painful. Walking helps, but my dogs start barking and the rest of my body growls at me.
I love swimming (not so much Aquafit), but getting there and back, dressing, undressing, showering, etc. is exhausting; I sometimes feel worse, certainly less relaxed (and it’s pricey). And of course these days, we’re not sharing any pools. Thanks COVID.
What else? For seniors, VON offers free programs twice a week, (SMART) Seniors Maintaining Active Roles Together; there’s Ageless Grace (more like Graceless Aging for me). I’ve tried the gym. Belly-dancing (don’t try to picture it). Dancing (Frankie says Relax).
Yet I stick like glue to Tai Chi because it unsticks me. Relaxes. Soothes. Feeling sore? Tai Chi won’t magically fix everything, but it helps ease some aches and gets you moving.
To learn Tai Chi I borrowed items from the library (having fun isn’t hard if you’ve got a library card). Later bought VHS tapes (yes, that long ago, I fought off a saber-tooth tiger to get home), then DVDs (now on YouTube and streaming services, soon to be uploaded into our brains).
Now I have fun with it, I pretend I’m carrying an invisible jar containing invisible chocolate, so I must guard it with my life. But seriously, once I opened my mind, body and heart to Tai Chi, it gave me a priceless gift – some pain and stress relief so I could have quality of life. I can dance again. Well, sort of. My version of it.
Remember, getting through one day (for example, Christmas Day) isn’t the same as finding and giving joy each day.What about you dear readers? What are some of the usual or unusual ways you know to relieve stress during the holidays and all the year through (remember this is a more or less family-friendly blog).
Wishing everyone a safe, happy and stress-free (ok, low stress/reduced stress) holiday season: Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! ¡Felices Fiestas! Jie Ri Yu Kuai! Laethanta saoire sona! Happy Hanukkah! Joyous Kwanzaa! Yuletide Greetings! Best wishes for 2020! Joyeux Noël! Let it snow…somewhere else! Feliz Navidad! Seasons Greetings! Happy New Year Joy! Celebrate! Be merry! Shiawasena kyūjitsu!Boas Festas! Li holide eximnandi! Happy Christmas! Happy New Year! Wishing you a latke fun this Hanukkah! Hau’oli Lanui! मेरी क्रिसमस ! Forhe Feiertage! Selamat Hari Raya! Happy Channukah! Joyeuses Fêtes! Prettige Feestdagen! Buone Feste! Trevlig Helg! Jingle All The Way! Happy Holidays from owl of us! Tis the Season! Warmest greetings! Happy Holidays, Mate! It doesn’t matter how you say it as long as it’s said with kindness.
This isn’t meant to be whiny (see how that goes…), or a ‘it can be fixed’, or whatever blog post. Just a few thoughts about why people think Fibromyalgia isn’t a real syndrome, that it’s just lazy, unmotivated people and mostly, why I don’t have answers.
Let’s begin at the end…I don’t have all the answers, maybe because I don’t sleep enough. Also, I’m not a million years old. In addition, I’m certainly not a super genius.
Oh, did I mention I don’t sleep enough?
People prefer to think people with disorders/syndromes such as Fibromyalgia are lazy, I dunno, maybe because they don’t want to accept that they could wake up one morning and have something like: Fibromyalgia/Fibromialgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, CRPS, ME, Lyme Disease and/or another chronic illness.
Instead of doing the whole “there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I” thing, too many people just decide that people with these illnesses/syndromes could do better if they only: weren’t so lazy, would exercise more, ate differently, got a better attitude, tried harder, did more, pushed themselves, pushed through, pushed harder…
It’s easier to believe that, I suppose, than believe someone who was full of energy, productive, happy, motivated, etc. can too quickly become a person: full of pain, fatigued (relentless insomnia and pain can tire you out a wee bit),
frustrated, sad (so many sadz),
plagued with memory issues,
have massive struggles to function, and so on.
Fibro becomes a joke, a stain, a dirty word because otherwise people would have to accept the reality that people get sick. Humans get sick. They get short-term illnesses, they get injuries that sometimes heal and sometimes, don’t, they get chronic illnesses, they get terminal illnesses, and some live with agony and sometimes, they die.
People often tell someone with cancer they should fight The Cancer, as though that will fix everything. Yes, poking a toothpick at a dragon works so well. Ever thought of how that makes people feel, when they’ve lost a loved one to cancer? Oh, so my loved one just didn’t fight hard enough, well, thanks, that makes me feel so much better.
The same goes for those who’ve lost a loved one to suicide. I’m sure they feel horrible enough without others implying their loved ones gave up, chose to leave, didn’t love them enough to stay, weren’t strong enough, or just didn’t fight hard enough.
I don’t live in someone’s head so I can’t say if they tried, if they fought, or if they chose, but neither does anyone else, so no one is qualified to make these judgmental statements. No one. Live your own life and let other people live theirs.
Instead of mocking someone with an illness, try having empathy for them. Not sympathy or pity. Compassion. Kindness. I’m sure there are some bizarro individuals would prefer to be ill than well (but they have a whole other illness), but come on, does anyone, anyone at all truly, deep in their heart of hearts seriously believe that’s a majority? Most people would choose to be well.
Most people would choose to have a full life, a life with a normal amount of pain and fatigue and other symptoms. Just like most people would choose to beat cancer. Hell, most people would choose not to get cancer at all. Most people would choose not to have a mental illness. If there was a choice involved.
People are slowly coming around to the belief that people who lead a homosexual lifestyle didn’t choose to be that way, it’s the way they are. Why is everyone is fixated on who loves whom…what the world needs now is more love, more fun, more kindness, more compassion, more empathy, more joy. https://yadadarcyyada.com/2015/07/03/how-to-be-good-to-one-another/ It has taken a long time and there are still haters (haters gonna hate) out there, but I bet many people are happy to see a light at the end of that rainbow.
I wonder when that day will come for people with chronic illnesses like Fibromyalgia, or people with mental health issues, or people with Autism, etc. I wonder if or when people will see them, really see them, for who they really are: your Mom, your child, your sister, your friend, your co-worker, your Dad, your teacher, your brother, your minister, your neighbour – just people.
Don’t judge people.
Have a little empathy.
Those people might be: interesting, fun, brilliant, a hope for the future, a good friend, or something more than a friend, someone to talk with, walk with, someone who inspires you, or but most of all, who gets you, but you’ll never know if you make judgements, make assumptions.
Don’t miss out!
Copyright D. Parker (aka Donna Parker/yadadarcyyada) 2013-2019. All opinions expressed are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Fibromyalgia London Group (FLG).
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And the classic, “But you don’t look sick”. Feel free to add more. I think I’ve heard them all…but you never know.
99 Problems and Fibromyalgia (Fibromialgia) is all of them…or at least it makes any problem much much much much worse.
I won’t bore you with all the symptoms:
Extreme, endless fatigue (I’ve never heard, “everyone gets tired”…sigh).
Extreme, endless all-over-body-pain 24/7/365 (“everyone has pain, especially as they get older” – how do you presume to know my pain or anyone else’s pain but yours?).
IBS (Oh joy, love nothing more than talking about my bowels to doctors/family/friends/strangers/readers…”What did you want to be when you grow up?” “Constipated.”).
Depression (tough not to be depressed by all this).
Sleep issues (screw off Alpha waves, no one wants you here).
Mood disorders (maybe my many, many moods are just as ordered as they should be).
Restless leg syndrome.
Anxiety (pick a kind, any kind).
Tender points (misnomer, not tender, excruciating, but trigger points make sense).
Fibrofog (what was I saying?).
Memory and learning problems, like, aah, like, well, there’s Fibrofog (what was I saying?).
Scattered thoughts (dust in the wind, all my thoughts are dust in the wind).
Tingling (not the good kind).
Shakiness (not the good kind).
TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome).
Painful and frequent urination.
You may notice a pattern here, #Pain!
Sharp pain, stabbing pain, dull aching pain, burning pain, throbbing pain (Beavis and Butthead laugh for 5 minutes now about “throbbing”).
Extreme sensitivity to: light, noise, sounds, smells, temperatures, humidity, dryness, changes in the weather (especially extreme heat or cold, fun in Canada, eh).
Also, to tastes, textures (Princess and the Pea was written about someone with Fibromyalia, for sure).
Stiffness (not the fun kind).;
Especially morning stiffness (not the fun kind).
Let’s not forget Allodynia.
Itching (like, bugs-under-your-skin-when-jonesing-kind-of-itching, er, for chocolate, my drug of choice).
Waking up feeling like you’ve been run over by a truck or attacked by a Terminator or zombie (brains?) – We are The Walking Dead.
And don’t even get me started on surviving the Holidaze, er, holidays – Christmas, New Year’s Eve, birthdays, Easter, Thanksgiving, Black Friday (it’s counted as a holiday now, right?), actually I can do CyberMonday, and they’re lined up to take me out for Valentine’s Day…
I could go on and on (really), but you get the point.
What can anyone do to try to help chronic suckage?
Pills/medications (anti this, anti that, pro this, pro that, SSRIs, SNRIs, NSAIDs, PB&J – checking if you were still paying attention, lotions, notions, rubs, gels – not the fun kind – vitamins, supplements, opioids, snake oil, gargoyle oil, and on and on).
Deep breathing (keep breathing).
Tai Chi (saved my life).
Change of diet (I do FODMAP, look it up, you’ll hate it).
Massage (no happy endings).
CBT, CBD, CBC, CBA, COD…
It’s all just fleeting moments of feeling almost human.
And if all wasn’t bad enough, many people assume this invisible disability is and let’s see if I have this right, a conspiracy wherein the medical profession has effectively implemented a fake syndrome just to cater to lazy people (wasn’t that nice of them?). Perfectly reasonable, it’s not as if doctors have anything better to do. Or have reputations and licenses to protect. Or have ethics. What exactly would their motivation be? Why make up an illness, aren’t there already enough? Cancer alone should keep them hopping.
There are many health issues that can not be found through standardized testing, for example: Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s, Autism, Lupus, ADD/ADHD, wheat or gluten ‘sensitivity’, acute back pain, as well as many mental health issues. So they don’t suffer, don’t feel – it’s all some magical conspiracy…
People like to mock. I get that. It’s become a past-time, even a job for some people, especially in the internet age. I also get those same people would want/expect doctors and people to believe them if they were ill, even if there was no standardized testing for their illness.
To the best of my knowledge, there’s no standardized testing for ignorance or stupidity yet either, but I’d buy stocks for that booming business.
I didn’t ask to be ill. Given the choice I’d be “normal”. I certainly didn’t ask to be mocked and harassed because I’m ill. Even if it was just ‘in my head’, shouldn’t anyone with a health issue be treated with dignity and respect? Maybe we need a standardized test for intolerance.
So how do I cope with ongoing agonizing pain, debilitating fatigue and all the other heaping piles of steaming sh*t that comes with Fibromyalgia aka chronic suckage? If you’re a reader of my blog you know, I think laughter is the best medicine. Laughing even if it hurts sometimes still makes me feel better. I go to a happy place like Psych or George Carlin, Seinfeld, Friends, The Office and more. Tons of laughter a day doesn’t keep the doctor away, but it gives me some quality of life.
For example, this was one of my Tweets last week, “When I see a thong in a store all I think is, how would I explain to #EMTs all my multiple injuries were caused by just trying on a thong. Huh. #ThatsHot #thongs“. @yadadarcyyada
I love to share the laughter. If I can make someone smile, laugh, giggle, chortle, spew liquid from their nose, then hey, I feel better. Treatments, medications, family, friends and finding a community that gets you, that understands when you have to cancel plans (again)…
Or you can’t remember, ummm, can’t remember, er, huh…and the only good thing you can say about your day is you’re “above ground”, well, anyway.
Glad there are people around who understand, including but not limited to: the-words-are-not-enough-to-describe-how-wonderful-they-are-Fibromyalgia Group, I’ve even tried to knit (What?!? Please note the word, “tried”).
Reunited with a fantastic friend from college (we’d lost touch when the dinosaurs died), and get this, we started going to the same Fibro group on the same day, from different cities. I don’t know what they call that, fate, destiny, providence, kismet, but I call it cool and lucky.
Finding ways to help myself by helping others.
The thing is, people are just people – no matter how rich or poor; sick (this is an equal opportunity destroyer) or well; all sizes, shapes and shades; known or unknown – you don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t give people a chance. Some will let you down, disappoint, hurt your brain, your heart, your body, but they’re oddly beneficial, they help us appreciate the good ones even more.
Get out there, in person, online, by phone, text, email, do stuff, I don’t know, play cards, smile, knit, donate (give what you can, including your time and talents), bowl, cuddle, talk, sign, sing, walk, dance,embrace your crapathy https://yadadarcyyada.com/2016/05/25/crapathy/,
swim, skate, scuba (gate?), especially smile at children, jog, blog, snog (probably not at the same time unless you’re uber talented), ignore, don’t keep score it’s a bore, read, write, compose, doodle, paint, play, bike, hike, “Like”,bake (me a cake? https://yadadarcyyada.com/2016/09/16/you-had-me-at-cake/),
listen, learn, love, add to the world, be part of the solution, go out with friends, care, share, spend time with family, get to know people, smile some more (and more and more and more)!!!
Consider others, let your mind soar. I can’t say you won’t ever be sorry, some folks are baffling, but on a whole, you’ll be better for it (and they will be too).
Not asking anyone to feel sorry for me (although compassion and empathy are always welcome), just a reminder that everyone has problems, 99 or less, 99 or more, just because we can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there…so don’t be one of those problems.