Archive for ‘Health and Wellness’

April 19, 2018

#550 – Pastry Blender to Potato Masher

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If you have compromised hand and wrist function, kitchen chores, like mashing potatoes, can be a challenge. Good tools are essential, as is finding creative uses for the items you already have.

I have a pointy-ended potato masher (see bottom image, on the right), which doubles as a torture device. I had to press down on the end of the handle to apply enough pressure to mash those spuds. While I was getting the job done, I was also gouging my palm. (A mixer or food processor works, but sometimes I don’t feel like hauling out or dirtying those items.)

I was delighted when I found a pastry blender with a handle that is ergonomically-suited to me. It allows me to keep my wrist in a neutral position while I mash, mash, mash those potatoes. My mother-in-law blesses me each time she uses the one I gave to her. My sister-in-law used it at Christmas and she raved about it. Guess what she’s getting as a gift? Shhh, don’t tell her!

If you’re new to stocking a kitchen, or are new to RA, I’d suggest that you select a potato masher, or a pastry blender, with a handle that is horizontal. If you can’t find one, at least choose a potato masher that has a rounded tip on the handle. (See bottom image, left side.)

More creative uses for things you already have:

 

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April 9, 2018

What Happened When I Became a Spoonie

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If you spend any time on-line reading about the effects of what it means to have rheumatoid arthritis, you’ll like come across the term “spoonie,” which refers to “The Spoon Theory.”

In a chronic condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, fatigue is significant. The pain and suffering caused by doing something most people take for granted, such as getting dressed, can be exhausting when you are gripped in a flare.

Christine Miserandino came up with The Spoon Theory to explain to a friend how her chronic illness impacted her energy levels. Imagine that you are allotted a finite number of spoons in a day, and each action (showering, dressing, making breakfast, etc.)  subtracts a spoon. You could conceivably have no spoons left by early afternoon, dependent upon your disease activity.

Last August, I ruminated about all the times I was so exhausted that I had nothing left for those I cared about. I often dragged myself into school, teaching a full-day, going home to prepare a meal, eat, do some prep work, then into bed by 9 pm. Only to repeat it all over again. There are those times when I did more than I should do. I grew up on a farm, after all: make hay while the sun shines, dontchaknow! My philosophy was that if I felt good, I should do things. Lots of things. Only that would often backfire, leaving me exhausted and sore the next day.  I am much better at managing my energy, now. Yes, there’s wisdom in aging!

Anyway, back to August, when I began to think like a spoonie. I am a spoonie. Spoonies have finite energy. And so on and on it went, thinking about what it felt like to be a spoonie. Until I realized that the more I took on this identity, the more tired I became. By identifying with it, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I began to believe it. The more I believed it, the more true it became.

Without any disrespect to Christine and the other spoonies, this is one word that I will not claim for myself. Instead, I will continue to do what I need to do to be as well as possible. When I’m exhausted, I’m exhausted. Period. I don’t need an additional label to box me in, especially one that ends up making me feel worse.

A chronic illness is challenging. That’s why I am diligent about employing a number of strategies to help me move through life. “Spoonieism” just won’t be one of them.

February 14, 2018

#548 – Your Beautiful Heart

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Under stress, your heart rhythm shows up as a jagged line – the two branches of your autonomic nervous system (ANS), are speeding up and slowing down. What matters is the quality of that rhythm. If it’s speeding up and slow down, much like a driver with his foot on the gas, then the brake, the gas, the brake, the gas, and so on, which is what happens under stress, it’s not doing you any favours. This wears out your nervous system, accelerates aging and sets up the scene for ill-health, along with a host of other things. Learning to activate the power of your heart changes your heart rhythm. As the rhythm becomes more balanced, you enter a more coherent state. How you think and feel is reflected in real-time in your heart rhythms.

For example, this morning, I recalled what it was like to be in a state of flow. I  went into high coherence; a stress-free zone. Then, a negative thought poked its way into my mind and I immediately saw red in the Coherence Ration window. That’s how our thoughts and emotions affect our heart rhythms. When you’re aware of this, you can make changes to benefit your health and well-being.

By regularly addressing and undressing my stress, I am able to decrease the amount of cortisol my body produces. I see the effects in my lab tests, too, with a lower value in my C-reactive protein (CRP). (If you have RA, CRP, a marker of inflammation, will be part of your regular blood work.)  Cortisol contributes to the inflammatory response, so anything you can do to limit the amount of cortisol that you secrete is a plus, especially if you live with rheumatoid arthritis.

My morning begins with a cup of tea and time on the emWave. Often before I start writing, I’ll do a 10-12 minute session. I do know how it feels when I am in a coherent state; I like the verification I get when I use the emWave. It keeps me on track and honest! 🙂

Since starting this program, over 10 years ago, my life is better in so many ways. In fact, that’s why I became Auntie Stress. I noticed a change in how I moved through life and I wanted to help others do the same. Email me if you’d like to address and undress your stress. I have various options available at a variety of price points to suit your budget.

HeartMath is a registered trademark of the Institute of HeartMath. | emWave and Personal Stress Reliever are registered trademarks of Quantum Intech, Inc.

February 4, 2018

#547 – Goal Accomplishment: Bundling and Trust

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Image courtesy of Stoonn | FreeDigitalPhotos.net

On Alter Your Course, I listed a few things that help me wander the circuitous path that rheumatoid arthritis (RA), has set out for me. While I’m not always 100% successful at doing them, I manage to find my way back whenever I stray off-course.

How are you doing with those New Year’s vows? Have you been successful with the changes that you’ve promised yourself? Perhaps your resolutions were cast in plaster and the icy winter weather has quickly caused them to crumble.

When you decide that self-flagellation, via the guilt train, is no longer viable, it’s time to travel a different route.

Bundle up

To Change Your Life, Learn How to Trust Your Future SelfJeff Wise outlines how to better achieve your goals by breaking your larger goal down into easy-to- accomplish steps. With the religious execution of those baby steps, you chalk up small successes, or bundles. Based on your past performance, you then have proof that you can achieve the bigger goal. The fruit of your labour yields a healthy serving of trust in yourself. The more you nurture it, the more it grows.

Imagine how it feels when you exclaim,”Hey, I’m confident that I can do this, based on what I’ve done so far!”

Yes, even when you have a chronic illness, such as RA!

 

 

 

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