How To Make Positive Lifestyle Changes

Sometimes we get bogged down in our routines but how about making some changes or trying something you’ve always wanted to have a go at but kept putting off?  Why wait? It’s time to take the initiate and stop playing it safe – follow your passions! Life is filled with endless possibilities and there’s nothing to lose by trying something new.  You can make positive lifestyle changes that will give you a new and exciting outlook on life.

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Today I’m sharing some ideas on how you can make positive lifestyle changes:

  • Learn a new language, either by signing up for a class or doing it online. It’s the perfect way to meet new people and discover new cultures.  It can also open up a world of job opportunities.
  • Do volunteer work. It will make you feel good about yourself, but most importantly it offers you the chance to give something back to the community and make a difference to the people around you. It also provides you with an opportunity to develop new skills or build on existing experience and knowledge.  You’ll meet new people and have fun too.
  • Change your diet – eat less processed food, eat more fruit and veg and drink more water. Find new and exciting recipes.soup-1006694
  • Redecorate a room in your house, you could even try a bold colour. A fresh coat of paint and rearranging some furniture can make you feel like you have a completely new home, a beautifully decorated room can significantly enhance your mood.
  • Stop smoking!  Giving up smoking is one of the healthiest decisions you can make. I gave up over 5 years ago. You can do it too  🙂
  • Practise mindfulness or take up yoga. They can reduce stress and anxiety, and increase your happiness and sense of well-being.buddha-1297531
  • Is social media distracting you? Do you often find yourself reaching for your phone when you’re doing other things?  Give up social media for a week. Enjoy the shift in focus from what everyone else is doing to what you want to do. Appreciate the beauty of the world around you, finish a project you abandoned, read, garden and visit your friends.
  • Create a bucket list – 10 things you want to do before your next birthday.  It will keep you motivated and focused on what you really want to achieve.
  • Check out classes in your local area and learn a skill you always thought would be fun. You will meet new people who share your interests.
  • Have a makeover – try a new hairstyle, a new outfit, get your makeup done by a professional.  It could give you that boost of confidence you need to find your dream job, an ideal partner or new friends — a whole new and exciting life! Enjoy the new you.
  • Start growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs.  Reap the health benefits of fresh food and enjoy cultivating your relationship with your garden and the earth; you may even see a little tinge of green on your thumbs.carrot-1085063
  • Think of something you would enjoy creating – a scarf, a painting or even writing a book – and then make a start this week. Don’t put it off any longer.
  • Sleep more – go to bed early at least once a week.  Treat yourself to a weekend lie in. Getting enough sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight and mind.
  • Set yourself weekly or monthly goals and do your best to achieve them. Goals clearly set out your intentions and desires, the things you really want to achieve, and it gives you a sense of achievement when you complete them.
  • Create a positive affirmation that empowers you to embrace a positive outlook.  Replace, ‘I can’t’ with ‘I can and I will’. (Read some of my positive affirmations that might motivate, uplift and inspire you on another of my blog posts: http://clairescomfycorner.com/2015/09/12/positive-affirmations-that-might-motivate-uplift-and-inspire-you/)
  • Spend more quality alone time with your partner. Surprise your loved one with a romantic evening or overnight hotel stay or go on a day trip to the beach – walk barefoot, enjoy a picnic, eat an ice-cream and build a sandcastle. Have fun together!beach-193786
  • Buy a new or used instrument and look on YouTube for instructional videos. Learning a new instrument teaches you perseverance and enhances your coordination.  It’s also a fun stress reliever too.
  • Change your job, if you’re unhappy update your CV and try something new.
  • Join a gym, dust off your bike, walk more or go swimming. Get more active. Research shows that physical activity can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Ask a friend to teach you to do something that they are good at and offer to teach them something else in return.
  • Plan a holiday to that place you’ve always dreamed about visiting. Going on holiday not only makes you feel good, you also reap the health benefits too – it can cut your blood pressure, it can help you sleep better and bounce back from stress.  Start saving now!aircraft-1362586
  • Adopt a pet, there are huge health benefits to owning a pet, it will increase your happiness – stroking and playing with a pet can reduce your blood pressure and stress levels, and increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine your body produces, making you feel calm and relaxed. They are also great company.
  • Read more, books are a great source of relaxation, knowledge and inspiration. I read every day  🙂
  • Do a random act of kindness at least once a week. Do something unexpectedly nice for a friend, relative, partner or a complete stranger – pay for someone’s coffee, send a card or leave a love note.

Believe in yourself, you can begin to make positive changes today.

Keep smiling  🙂

Claire

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Posted in Fibromyalgia, positivity | Tagged , , , , , | 25 Comments

8 Things Not To Say To Someone With Fibromyalgia

8 things not to say to someone with fibromyalgia

When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the support of my friends was invaluable, but I also learned that there are 8 things you should never say to a fibro warrior.

“I feel so sorry for you.”

This implies that we are helpless victims. We don’t want a pity party, sometimes we are quite capable of having one of our own, we would love your support and friendship. Show us you care by spending quality time with us, listening to us and having a laugh. We are not defined by our illness, underneath the pain we are still the same people we were before.

“You don’t look sick!”

This is usually said in an accusatory or suspicious tone, since the speaker clearly has X-ray vision and knows more than our consultants. We are battling fibromyalgia, an invisible illness. We are brave fibro warriors who have to work hard to try and live normal lives.

“You look terrible.”

Yes, a friend said this to me. This was an insidious way to nudge my appearance towards a joyful, aesthetically pleasing ideal.  What was she thinking?

“It could be worse, you could have cancer.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very thankful I don’t have cancer – it’s a horrible disease; I lost my wonderful mother to cancer. I just think it’s insensitive to say that to someone who has a chronic illness. It’s as if we don’t have a right to have enough problems with fibromyalgia. I have no patience for disease comparisons like this.

“We all have aches and pains as we get older.”

Fibromyalgia is more severe than just aches and pains, it is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and that pain can be electric like, stabbing, burning, grinding, piercing, crippling and vice like.  It is excruciating, intense and torturous when it’s at its worst.

“I read an article online about this cure for fibromyalgia.”

Repeat after me, “At the moment there is no proven cure for fibromyalgia!”

“My cousin’s best friend’s boyfriend’s sister has fibromyalgia and she can still climb Mount Everest/do 6 marathons in 6 days/work full time.”

Fibromyalgia is variable and can affect people in very different ways.  Please don’t make comparisons.

“Doctors? What do they know? You really must meet my homeopath.”

Herbs or vitamins are not a simple cure for fibromyalgia. We will leave medical advice to the professionals.

We know your heart is in the right place and you mean well. Living with this painful chronic condition is difficult. Coping with the pain, poor sleep, brain fog, fatigue and other symptoms can be debilitating, physically and emotionally. And a flare can temporarily put life on hold. Fibromyalgia can be very isolating so we need the help and support of our friends. Just ask us, “What do you wish people understood about how fibromyalgia affects you?” or “It sounds like it’s a really bad pain day, how can I help?” We’ll appreciate that you are trying to understand and help; it will mean a lot to us.

Keep smiling 🙂

Claire

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Posted in Chronic pain, Fibromyalgia, invisible illness | Tagged , , | 78 Comments

6 Cards People With Fibromyalgia Would Love To Receive

D E B U T S I N G L E (1)

Here are 6 cards people with fibromyalgia would love to receive:

I’m sorry you are going through a fibro flare, I promise not to keep telling you about random treatments I read about online.

how do you

Please let me beat the next person who tells you, ‘At least you don’t have cancer!’

how do you (1)

I promise not to compare your fibromyalgia with my friend’s cousin’s mother in law’s life with fibro.

how do you (2)

Be good to yourself, you are worth it!

how do you (4)

I’m here any time you need me. I can help with the hoovering, dusting, washing or ironing.

how do you (5)

I’m sorry that you are not having a good fibro day. I will look after the kids whilst you have a long nap.

how do you (6)

Keep smiling 🙂

Claire

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UK Fibromyalgia

Posted in Chronic pain, Fibromyalgia, invisible illness | Tagged , , | 40 Comments

Empowering Yourself To Make Change Happen

Recently, in my ‘Things I loved in May’ blog post I mentioned The Book of YOU. This book promises to empower you to make change happen – one micro-action at a time because the small things really matter.

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During this challenging time I am prepared to give some time each day in the hope of achieving a happier, healthier and more fulfilled life. The Book of YOU contains 365 micro-actions, one for each day of the year, grouped under four areas – Food, Mind, Move and Love. Trying to change too much, too fast, isn’t a really effective way to bring about lasting change. By focusing on very specific, instantly measurable micro-actions, you can make a difference in your life. The key to success is making small changes, to take time to reflect on each micro-action; this can have long lasting results.

There are some very simple, yet great suggestions, in this book:

  • Explore your neighborhood – Put on your walking shoes and go out to explore your surroundings.  Notice something new.  Find a place you haven’t visited before.  Admire something for a second longer than usual.  When you are paying attention to what’s around you and get lost in the moment you may not only experience something new but also end up walking that extra mile.
  • Your positive mantra – We spend much of our time fretting about the negatives instead of focusing on the positives.  Get in front of the mirror today and tell your reflection a positive mantra.  For example: ‘Happiness isn’t size-specific’, ‘Work out because you love your body, not because you hate it’ or ‘I am strong, I am beautiful, I am enough’.  What are you telling yourself today?
  • Get creative with veg – we all have a repertoire of dishes we bang out, week in, week out, but mixing things up and getting inspired with new recipe ideas is crucial to keeping veg on your menu long term.  Today, get creative with veg.  Switch up salads by using a speed peeler to add ribbons of courgettes and carrots, or grate a load of gorgeous fresh veg to make a slaw.  Use your imagination and have fun!
  • Read something new – Teachers encourage children to read a lot to help instil the ‘story structure’ so they learn to think in sequence while their brain still has a lot of plasticity.  For adult brains, reading something new can improve your creativity – so if you love novels, maybe go for non-fiction or even poetry today, or try to learn something new.
  • Best of the year – Introspective thinking and writing can have numerous health benefits.  Today, look back at the past year.  What do you recall?  What was the best, coolest, funniest, most memorable part of the year gone by?  Was there something that you really loved?  Take a moment to record it.

I love the variety of micro-actions. Completing them is about taking time out for yourself, to do a random act of kindness, to appreciate the beauty around you or to use your time whilst running the bath or during an advert break to fit in some simple exercises.

There is also a brilliant app called YOU-app that allows you to complete daily small actions for health, mindfulness, food and movement. Partaking in the daily and weekly actions makes life more enjoyable – it’s a great way to make small improvements to your mental and physical well being.

The Book of YOU and the app offers you inspiration and motivation to make little positive changes and to adopt new habits. I am, like most people, a work in progress but I feel that this book and app has motivated me to continue my journey.

Keep smiling 🙂

Claire

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Posted in Fibromyalgia, positivity | Tagged , , , | 41 Comments

How To Support A Friend With Fibromyalgia

If someone you love has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you might feel helpless, but you don’t have to be.  Friends play an essential role in helping those who live with a chronic illness. It’s important that people with fibromyalgia feel truly cared about and that they are not forgotten, many people with this invisible illness are left feeling isolated; fibro affects mobility, lifestyle and independence.

How To Support A Friend With Fibromyalgia

Here are some ways to support a friend with fibromyalgia:

  • Ask, “Do you want company watching TV or a movie? I could come over for a couple of hours.”
  • Burn a CD of your friend’s favourite songs or a selection of relaxing music.
  • Just sit and listen to how your friend is feeling. You may not fully understand how he or she feels, but let them know that you are there for them.
  • When you’re at the supermarket call your friend and say, “I’m here, what do you need?”
  • Offer to help with housework.  ironing-403074
  • Know that fibromyalgia varies in severity from day to day, or even hour to hour. Things they could do yesterday may not be the same as what they can do today. Don’t question that.
  • Enjoy a home pampering session together – face masks, manicure, pedicure etc.
  • Laughter is healthy – keep it light and make jokes.
  • Don’t criticize them for whining on a rough day.
  • Arrange for a hairdresser/manicurist/pedicurist to do a house call for your friend.fingernails-259972
  • Volunteer to watch his or her children. Take the children out to a movie to give your friend a break.
  • Don’t gossip about others. They will then worry about what you say about them to others.
  • Remember, just because someone else has the same illness doesn’t mean he or she will have the same experience. Don’t compare your friend’s fibromyalgia with your sister’s friend’s boyfriend’s aunt.
  • Buy a magazine subscription for them. Crossword puzzles or Sudoku or fashion or food or crafting magazines are great choices.coffee-791439
  • Ask, “What do you wish people understood about how fibromyalgia affects you?”
  • Don’t make your friend feel guilty about things that they cannot do.
  • Bring board games or a deck of cards – have some old fashioned fun!
  • Send an email or letter just to let them know you are thinking about them.
  • Don’t tell your friend about a cure that you read online.
  • Bake cookies, muffins or banana bread to show that you are thinking of them.
  • Buy a craft kit, such as a cross stitch kit or a sewing kit. It is good for your friend to feel creative and productive.
  • Offer to accompany your friend to their medical appointment.
  • Create a fruit basket, it’s such a thoughtful and healthy gift.fruit-basket-1114060
  • Prepare your friend’s favourite comfort food. Your efforts will be really appreciated.
  • If your friend doesn’t want to go out or doesn’t want company, don’t take it personally. Sometimes they might just want to be alone.
  • Put together a fibromyalgia cuddle basket. (see my fibromyalgia cuddle basket here: http://clairescomfycorner.com/2015/10/11/what-would-you-put-in-your-fibromyalgia-cuddle-basket/)
  • Remember your friend is still the person you know and love, they are not defined by their illness.

Do you have any further ideas on how to support a friend with fibromyalgia?

Keep smiling 🙂

Claire

x

UK Fibromyalgia

Posted in Chronic pain, Fibromyalgia, invisible illness | Tagged , , | 65 Comments

7 Things I Loved in May

Focusing your attention on the little things in your life makes you appreciate what you have, it’s great to find joy in and value the positives. Concentrating on things like hearing your favorite song on the radio, the peace and beauty of the tweeting birds on the trees in your garden or even the smell of bacon in the morning, helps you feel better about the world around you.

• 7 things I loved •

Today I’m sharing with you 7 things I loved in May:

  1. Watching the beautiful roses growing in my garden.
  2. Planting new seeds in my garden.
  3. The bouquet of flowers brightening up my living room.
  4. Slathering vanilla pistachio with shea butter hand and cuticle cream on my dry hands.
  5. Enjoying some home pampering with a rejuvenating green tea and mango face mask.
  6. Replenishing my Nespresso coffee supply and enjoying an espresso in my new cup.
  7. Completing the micro-actions in The Book of You.

What did you love in May?

Keep smiling 🙂

Claire

x

Posted in Fibromyalgia, positivity | Tagged | 41 Comments

10 Inspirational Quotes To Get You Through Difficult Times

When life is tough we sometimes need to take time out to take care of ourselves, to recover and heal, but we must try to get up again and not let the pain of the present make us feel hopeless.  We should view life’s challenges as an opportunity for growth and learning, to deepen our understandings of ourselves.

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This week I’ve been practising self-care, I really need to look after myself during this difficult period in my life.  I’ve cried, laughed and spent quality time talking to friends and family. I treated myself to new bedding, I gave unwanted furniture to charity, I curled up on the sofa and watched Netflix with my cats and I bought flowers to brighten up my living room.  I know, in time, I will bounce back stronger, braver and happier than before.

Today I want to share with you 10 inspirational quotes to get you through difficult times:

  1. We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey. (Kenji Miyazawa)
  2. Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and twice as beautiful as you’ve ever imagined. (Dr. Seuss)
  3. You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it. (Maya Angelou)
  4. Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it. (Michael Jordan)
  5. Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. (Confucius)
  6. We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope. (Martin Luther King)
  7. Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful. (Joshua J. Marine)
  8. Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work. (Ralph Marston)
  9. In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive. (Lee Iacocca)
  10. Adversity is like a strong wind.  It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are. (Arthur Golden)

Try to keep smiling 🙂

Claire

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Posted in Chronic pain, Fibromyalgia, health, invisible illness, positivity | Tagged | 23 Comments

A Prescription For Self-care

At the moment I’m going through a challenging time – I’m in a lot of pain from my Fibromyalgia and I’m physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted.  I need to prioritise self-care. I struggle to do this – it’s easy to say, “Just take better care of yourself, relax and stop worrying,” but when you lead a busy life, self-care is so often an afterthought and stress makes me feel as if I am lacking – as if I’m not good enough somehow and it all feels like too much.

A prescription for self-care

I need a prescription for self-care.

I’m taking the time now to look after myself, to recover, to restore my self-esteem and to make sure I’m at my optimum – emotionally, physically, and mentally.

I’ve written down some ideas for self-care that might help me and might help you too:

  • Ask for help from whoever you need it – your boss, your doctor, your partner, your friends, your family – let people know you need some help.help-1311144-1920x1440
  • Go outside and enjoy the sunshine.  Listen to the birds, watch the bees flying about and admire the colourful flowers.
  • Enjoy a home spa day – indulge in a face mask, paint your nails, pamper yourself.
  • Treat yourself to your favourite perfume or candle. Buy a small luxury as a way of valuing yourself.
  • Keep hydrated. Have you had enough water today?
  • Eat something nutritious and healthy instead of snacking on chocolate and crisps. milkshake-1021027
  • Take a long hot bath, light a candle, and listen to your favourite music.
  • Slather your skin with wonderfully scented moisturiser.
  • Go to bed early with a good book, slip into clean sheets and relax.
  • Bake a cake for those wonderful friends in your life.
  • Visit a museum or gallery that you’ve never been to before.
  • Take a break from technology. Free yourself from the constant demands of social media and email.
  • Enjoy a sunrise and sunset in a different place. ulsan-442399_1920
  • Write down your thoughts, vent and let it all out.
  • Watch a light-hearted TV show or movie.
  • Enjoy cloud-watching, lie down and relax.
  • Write a list of all the positives in your life.
  • Buy a bouquet of flowers to brighten up your house.  tulip-1230390_1920
  • Listen to songs that remind you of happier times.
  • Spend time colouring, there are lots of adult colouring books to help you relax.
  • Declutter – tidying up can be calming.
  • Practise relaxation techniques. Meditate. There are lots of meditation apps to choose from. I love listening to sounds of nature or animals.
  • Spend a little money and treat yourself to some self-care – a manicure, a pedicure, a new haircut.
  • Learn a new craft – knitting, drawing or sewing. knitting-748168_1920
  • Accept help and comfort when offered.
  • Remember that what you are feeling is temporary.  You will get through this.
  • Develop a relaxing night time ritual to help you sleep.
  • Soften expectations of yourself – tell yourself that you’re doing the best you can.
  • Indulge in your favourite comfort food.
  • Read stories of people who overcame adversity.  They may inspire you.
  • Binge watch a series on Netflix.  I love Modern Family or Orange is the New Black.
  • Read inspirational quotes.
    If you’re going through hell, keep going.  (Winston Churchill)
  • Get out and about, even when you feel like you can’t.
  • Snuggle with your pet or partner, watch a movie, and eat some popcorn.
  • Go to the seaside, take a walk on the beach. sand-1232767_1920
  • Tend to the plants in your garden, nourish them and watch them respond.
  • Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate in a coffee shop – take a moment to people watch.

What self-care ideas can you share with us? What has brought you relief and comfort when going through life’s tough times?

Keep smiling through the tears 🙂

Claire

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Posted in Chronic pain, Fibromyalgia, health, invisible illness, positivity | Tagged , , , , | 73 Comments

What brought a smile to your face this week?

My fibromyalgia pain was severe this week, I even had to leave work on Tuesday as it was unbearable and I couldn’t go in on Wednesday too. Last night I went to bed at 8pm as I couldn’t bear the pain any longer. However, this morning I’ve taken the time to reflect on my week and pick out the little things that brought a smile to my face.

 

Chatting with my best friend

My bouquet of flowers

Waking up to the smell of freshly baked bread

Enjoying a homemade mango, pineapple and passion fruit smoothie

Making plans to catch up with friends over the holidays

The scent of raspberries from my electric melt burner

Laughing when watching the comedy Modern Family

Reading in the sunshine

Hot chocolate with mini marshmallows

Watching the jellyfish swim in my mood lamp

Baking my first Swiss roll

Cuddling with my cats, watching Netflix and eating popcorn

 

What brought a smile to your face this week?

Keep smiling 🙂

Claire

x

Posted in Fibromyalgia, positivity | Tagged , , , | 35 Comments

Slow Cooked Garlic Lemon Chicken

This is my favourite slow cooker recipe. The chicken takes on the flavours of the lemon, garlic and oregano; it is so moist and tender.

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Ingredients

4 – 6 skinless chicken breast fillets

3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced

120ml water

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp dried oregano

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 chicken stock cube

Unsalted butter for shallow frying

Cornstarch (to make a tasty gravy)

Method

  • Combine the oregano, salt and pepper in a small bowl, then rub the mixture into the chicken breast fillets.
  • Brown the chicken fillets in butter for approximately 5 minutes on each side.
  • Place the chicken fillets in the slow cooker.
  • Bring the water to a boil and add the chicken stock cube, lemon juice and garlic, stir until well combined.
  • Pour the sauce over the chicken fillets in the slow cooker.
  • Cook on high for 3 hours until the chicken is cooked through and tender.  Avoid overcooking or your chicken breast fillets will be too dry.
  • Remove the chicken from the juices, add a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch to the juice if you want to make a tasty gravy.

Absolutely delicious served with homemade roast potatoes and vegetables.

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Keep smiling 🙂

Claire

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Posted in Fibromyalgia, recipes, slow cooker | Tagged , , | 16 Comments