Here is a random list of things I’ve discovered make a difference to my well-being both physically and mentally. Some items have been recommended by medical professionals, some by friends and family, some from personal research, and good old trial and error. 

No one item on this list is a cure, and put together these items don’t add up to a cure, but for me, these things make life more pleasurable, more engaging, more passionate, and provide me with a sense of some control over my symptoms.

– Yoga style stretch and strength sessions, even if only a few short poses at a time are a great help and often provide some modicum of pain relief. 

As a past athlete and sports instructor I know many stretch and strength exercises and how to modify them for more or less intensity. I tend to follow what feels good and brings comfort.

I’ve been through countless rounds of physio and physical rehab programs and I draw on past advice from these great professionals all the time as well.

– I make room in my life to be creative whenever the mood strikes. I have notebooks by my bed and in almost every room in the house. This way if a poem or story or art piece idea comes to mind I can sketch it out right away so I don’t forget.

I also keep torn scraps paper and napkins with ideas tucked away carfefully the way some people collect random pebbles or argyle socks. One never knows when the muse will come along to help snap all the pieces into place. 

– I employ distraction methods to help cope with physical pain as well as mental pain. 

One of my favourite techniques for coping with physical pain is what I call double distraction. I find a TV program or movie where exacting attention is not required to follow the general plot. I then use reference photos from magazines to work on drawing human figures and faces as these are very difficult subjects for me. 

I find focusing on two items at once leaves less time and brain capacity to notice uncomfortable physical sensations. 

– I modified things around the house to make it easier to cope with physical restrictions.

For instance, in my kitchen, I cleared out an easy to reach cupboard and filled it with my most commonly used pots and pans. This way I’m not awkwardly squatting down to rummage in a low cupboard to find what I need.

– I make creative pursuits a priority. As I spend a great deal of time shuttling from Dr to Dr I often feel as though I have no other purpose. I tend to find this rather stressful and depressing. 

Making art, writing, listening to music make me feel a part of things, useful, so I have a studio set up at home where I can work as often as the mood and energy strikes. 

– I try to get out of the house a few times a week for more than just errands and Dr’s appointments. There is a great art studio in Bowness in NW Calgary where I love to go called Grasby Art Studio http://www.grasbyartstudio.com. I attend both group lessons and open studio time as often as I can. It is a lovely privilege to attend such a nurturing and energetic place. 

These are just a few ideas that work for me to feed and comfort my mind, body, and soul. If anything is helpful or can be modified to be helpful for others this blog is serving its purpose.

Also, if you’d like to share techniques working for you please don’t hesitate to comment.

K

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