Hello my loves and happy unofficial start to the summer!
I know it’s been brought up here on more than one occasion that I’m an emotional person. Emotional doesn’t mean weak, quite the opposite actually, and I believe that it allows me to more effectively deal with the mess of life with chronic illness.
We live in a high-stress world these days, one where we’re expected to be connected 24-7, work 60+ hour weeks, and where we are crucified for situations beyond our control. Ever read the comments section on Yahoo or CNN articles? Thousands of hate-filled comments spewed out by ignorant, judgmental assholes cowering behind their keyboards infiltrate my screen. I can actually feel my blood pressure rising as I read all the nonsense.
Self-Care (psychological and emotional) is imperative for anyone’s well-being, even more so if you suffer from a chronic illness. Though self-care techniques vary from person-to-person, it’s safe to say that those activities all hopefully lead to the same thing- reduced stress. I do my best to engage in self-care activities on the daily as I know reduced stress can lead to less disease activity.
If you told me 5 years ago I’d not only be writing regularly, but sharing my writing with the world? I’d say you were bat-shit crazy. But, blogging has become a release of sorts, cathartic if you will. Sharing my story can be stressful when reliving traumatic experiences, but in the end, it’s a release for me.
There are few things better than getting caught up in the world of an amazing book.
One of my favorite things to do is sit down in front of my vanity and play with my makeup. I’ll mix foundations to see if I can perfect the best cocktail that covers my malar rash, or try new looks with my hundreds of eyeshadow pallates. Which leads into my next thing…
My Mom-Mom always told me to save $5 from every paycheck, and to moisturize my face every night. I haven’t always done so great with either, but the older I get, I’m becoming more diligent in my skin care routine. After awhile of playing makeup, I’ll wash my face and apply some sort of sheet masks or creams that make my skin feel soft and healthy. And at the same time, it relaxes me!
I’ve said this before, and I’ll continue to say it over and over til the end of time. Seeing a therapist is one of the best things I’ve done for myself and state of mind, and I was seeing one long before lupus came along. I know so many people who scoff, “I don’t need a therapist, that’s what friends are for,” and I’m telling you, it’s completely different.
I know I speak for thousands, hell, millions, who can sit on the couch with their smartphones, flipping around through apps, and before you know it, 2 hours have passed. Seriously, between Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat I can decorate my dream kitchen, see what my 4th grade crush is up to these days, look at 9,000 photos of flowers arranged in a vase with a stark white background, get the most up-to-date news… you name it, it can be done on Smartphones.
These days there are a number of apps geared towards patients; some that keep track of medications, symptom trackers, etc… One of the apps I use to relax is Health Storylines, created by a team at Self Care Catalysts who believe that the key to healthcare innovation is to hear the voice of the patient.
The app has many features, as shown, many of which I find quite useful to monitor my days with chronic illness. Obviously, some days are easier than others, and the symptom tracker allows me to record my symptoms, look back and see if there is any type of pattern as to when I experience them. The medication tracker has a feature to set an alarm to remind me to take my meds, and I set-up a weekly alarm on Mondays to remind me to take my Methotraxate.
For the days when I’m laying on just tooling around on my phone, the Healthy Doses feature will select an inspirational quote that I can save and look back to on my tough days. It seems silly, but sometimes just reading a quote is enough to get me through a down day.
What apps do you tend to use to help cope with the stresses of chronic illness?