all Chronic Fatigue/M.E. Fibromyalgia Product Review / Sponsored Post

What I Do For ‘Self-Care’

September 15
“This is a sponsored post for Self Care Catalysts. I have been compensated through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. All opinions remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.”

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In December of 2014 I was diagnosed with both Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It was during the initial stages of being diagnosed that I learned the importance of self-care. At the time, I thought its meaning to be synonymous with ‘symptom management’. As time went on however, I begin to develop a different understanding of the term.

When I was given the opportunity by  Self Care Movement to share on this topic, I enthusiastically jumped at the chance! You see, I am a firm believer in the reality that there is life after diagnosis. Too often, the focus for those of us who live with Fibromyalgia centers around a preoccupation with the disease itself. This can bring about a feeling of being trapped within a new reality of lifetime pain and sickness. Needless to say, our outlook can begin to grow grim.

When I sensed this starting to happen, I took a look at what ‘self-care’ meant to me personally. It was at this point in my journey that a new beginning began to take shape. My attention shifted from negative questions, to more positive ones. Instead of asking: “What are all the things I am no longer able to do?”, I began to ask: “What am I capable of now within my new limitations?”. In other words, a major part of my self-care began to be about not looking at what was no longer possible, but instead focusing on what new possibilities were now available.

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This is where self-care went beyond symptom management and epsom salt baths. I felt the desire to get out of my own head. I needed to gain distraction from being obsessed 24/7 with my personal physical ailments. I began to crave the energy and fulfillment that comes from the pursuit of creative ‘passions’:

What I Do For ‘Self-Care’

  • Create And Maintain My Website ‘A Life Well Red’ ~ This activity allows me to connect with a community I would not be privileged to interact with if it were not for chronic illness. The giving and receiving I am able to engage in there benefits my overall health like good medicine. As I stated in a recent article I posted, “The information I receive from others, along with the sense of intimacy that is born out of shared hardship, brings healing to me in ways that go beyond the physical…” (‘Why Write A Blog On ‘Invisible’ Chronic Illness?’~A Life Well Red). ~

  • Photography ~ This is an adventure I have only recently begun. The creative freedom available using today’s technology, has made photography an unprecedented form of artistic expression. I can lose myself for hours creating and editing, without ever paying the slightest bit of attention to my pain.

  • Baking ~ From the first lopsided boxed spice cake I made when I was 9 years old, to the French macarons I am now endeavouring to master at 49, baking has always been a great love of mine. There are days when flares are bad enough to keep me from being ‘hands on’ in the kitchen. It is at these times that self-care means pre-occupying myself with research and planning. This focuses my mind away from the pain, and on to more productive thoughts. In fact, I am in the process of creating a macaron business, and will soon have a website up and running!

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The importance of self-care can never be understated. I believe it to be one of the most powerful weapons in our arsenal to maintain optimal health, and stave off depression. It helps me to live out the motto of my website ‘A Life Well Red’:

Chronic Illness Is Not An ‘End’, Just Another Unexpected ‘Beginning’ ~

This is why I truly appreciate companies that dedicate themselves to the betterment of the chronic illness community. The company Self Care Catalyst, which creates health-based apps including Health Storylines, has recently launched SelfCareMvmtto celebrate the greatness of the accomplishments within the chronic illness community. These are the stories that bring hope and encouragement to everyone who must journey the path of life with chronic illness.

 SelfCareMvmt can also be found at the following links:

 

Traveling Easier With Chronic Illness ~ 5 Tips To Help Ease The Way
Why Write A Blog On 'Invisible' Chronic Illness ?

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12 Comments

  • Reply Jackie September 16 at 8:18 am

    Mmmmm macaroons I look forward to your website being up and running lol

    • Reply kristine September 16 at 9:33 am

      HAHA! AWESOME Jackie! ♥♥♥

  • Reply Kendall September 18 at 6:48 am

    Chronic illness or not, self-care is utterly important. In the case of minor illnesses, self-care can actually help stave them off. I think it’s great that we find something we like, or think we’d like, and start working on it as a way to care for ourselves. I enjoy blogging, crochet/sewing, and cooking food for our family. I want to do more with photography, too! 🙂

    • Reply kristine September 18 at 8:10 am

      Very true Kendall! Doing what you love is so important to our mental health which in turn affects the physical. Thank you for the comment 🙂 Have a wonderful week!

  • Reply Lee at FBD September 19 at 1:37 am

    Hi Kristine, great to learn more about you and your fibro journey. I have always admired the photography on your site.
    I have never heard of the company Self Care Catalyst and am interested to check it out. Cheers.
    Lee at FBD recently posted…Love you to join in Fibro Friday No. 91My Profile

    • Reply kristine September 19 at 6:41 am

      Thank you very much Lee! Do check out the company, they are doing some really great work! Cheers! 🙂

  • Reply Christine Tatum September 19 at 11:39 am

    I believe self-care is soooooo important. Now I want to try and make macaroons, too!
    Christine Tatum recently posted…My Paris Dream – Book Review and GiveawayMy Profile

    • Reply kristine September 19 at 2:07 pm

      Thanks Christine! Make sure to make the right one though! ‘Macaroons’ are the coconut/egg mounds you often see at Passover, whereas ‘Macarons’ are the delicate almond meringue confections from France. Believe me, Macaroons are far easier to master!! LOL! 😉

  • Reply Brittany W September 20 at 4:28 am

    Blogging is definitely part of my self care as well. It’s really helped me maintain a sense that I am doing something productive and I love the communities I have built and found.
    Brittany W recently posted…Top Ten Pantry Staples for Low Energy MealsMy Profile

    • Reply kristine September 21 at 10:16 am

      Me too Brittany! It really has been a blessing! ♥

  • Reply Debbie September 21 at 12:26 am

    Hi Kristine, I admire your outlook. Self care should be a priority for all of us, if we don’t take the time to care for ourselves then how will we ever feel good? I have asthma, which is under control (for the most part), but I have never let it stop me doing things. I have learned to watch for the signs and listen to my body.

    Enjoy your unexpected journey!

    xx
    Debbie recently posted…Cancer Diagnosis, Overwhelming Support And KindnessMy Profile

    • Reply kristine September 21 at 10:24 am

      Exactly Debbie! What people fail to realize at times is, if you don’t take goood care of yourself first, there will be little to nothing left for others. Thank you again 🙂 ♥

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