The importance of addressing your mental health, as well as your physical health, when you have chronic illness!
Each year on October 10th is World Mental Health Day, WMHD for short. Living with chronic illness and chronic pain, naturally impacts on your mental health too. This is because there isn’t just a battle going on physically, there is also a battle going on mentally as well that comes as part of the fight against chronic pain. This is why on my blog and in my Facebook group “HELEN’S FIBROMYALGIA AWARENESS & CHRONIC ILLNESS SUPPORT GROUP” I cover both physical health and mental health as the two can impact on each other so much. This WMHD post is a reminder than we can’t ignore our mental wellbeing. This post will explore addressing the mental health side of living with chronic illness and how we can help ourselves and each other in this area. After all this year’s WMHD theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is ‘MENTAL HEALTH FOR ALL’!
In this post I will share with you my DIY bouquet of artificial red roses and how I put this creative arrangement together, including handy tips and tricks that I learnt along the way. A tale of a steady hand, creative eyes and lots of fun, each step on this ‘Do It Yourself’ journey… who knew faux flowers could be so enjoyable and satisfying? (Well okay, my Nan knew! lol)
Words can be comforting, supportive and help validate our experiences – so I feel compelled to share my personal navigation through death and grief with my readers. May my words touch you, help you, talk to your heart, ease memories of saying goodbye and comfort your pain…
– Helen’s Journey Blog
The reality of loved ones dying is never an easy one. Yet, what about when you get to the point when you personally feel you shouldn’t be encouraging your dying loved one to keep fighting and hold on anymore? Instead, you feel in your heart it is right for them to go, it would be better for them to be out the pain or suffering or it is their wish to die. How can you express those feelings? How can you give your loved one your ‘permission’ or ‘blessing’ to let go?
I recently found myself in this situation and these questions were running through my head, as these feelings started to weigh heavy on my heart and I needed to find a way to navigate through them – which for me was writing a poem. In this blog post I am sharing the poem I wrote in my Grandad’s last few hours, but I am also writing about my experience with navigating through a loved one dying, with the aim of:
Helping others have words that express their feelings during similar times and give their family members the words they sometimes need to hear in order to let go.
Helping others identify with the feelings they themselves felt when they faced a similar situation in their lives in the past.
You will save the poem to help you through future circumstances when/if they arise in the future, if you haven’t experienced this in your life already.
You will share this either directly with someone you know going through this or just generally on your social media, email, Whatsapp etc as you never know what people are going through and it could help others through such a heart-wrenching time.
May people have to cancel travel plans and holidays for to many reasons, such as a death in the family, chronic pain limitations, etc. The biggest reason curently, as I write this post, is Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, that has many places worldwide on lockdown, self-isolation and quarenteen. However, when we can no longer visit places physically – we can use the internet to still visit those places virtually!
Many landmarks, museums, zoo’s and top tourist attractions worldwide, have made virtual tours and many of their resources free over the internet for us to enjoy. This post will share many ways in which we can virtually visit places around the world. It will also bring together an ultimate list of all of these online resources all in one place, for you to easily find things to keep you busy during lockdown self-isolation.
Sections include links to virtual tours for: World Heritage Sites and Landmarks / Museums and Art Galleries / Sports Stadiums / Theatres, Concert Venues & Free Art performances / Religious Places / Zoos and Aquariums / Tourist Attractions, etc.
This is my guide to visiting different places around the world virtually, when you can no longer visit them physically in person. It’s the Ultimate Guide to online Virtual Tours!
As the English Government call for 150,000 NHS ‘Volunteer Responders’ from society to support the NHS during the COVID-19 outbreak. The ‘healthier’ and more able of the volunteers can help with delivering medications, shopping, transport to/from hospital etc. However, don’t think there isn’t a role for you if you are self-isolating, part of the ‘at risk’ group or don’t drive. There is also the role of ‘check-in and chat’ volunteers, whose job is to call people on the NHS list of being ‘at risk of loneliness through isolation’.
I have already signed up to be a ‘check-in and chat’ volunteer and it was so quick and easy to do! I thought I would do a blog post to show just how easy the process was and to also spread the word to try and get more people in England to volunteer themselves, at the times that suit them individually.
Plus at the end of the post I talk about why lonliness can be a difficulty during self isolation, especially for those that live alone. I also give you lots of ideas of things you can do to reach out to the lonely and things to help show care to others during isolation.
This interview is a great way to get to know me as the person behind the words in my blog posts and get a deeper knowledge of who I am personally, as well as a blogger. Here goes…
In this interview I answer 12 questions other bloggers chose to ask me when they nominated me for a Mystery Blogger Award. They are almost like questions you’d ask on a date to get to know someone in a light hearted way. Here are the questions:
If you had to choose between being a cat, dog or bird which would you choose and why?
Pick an object that in some ways resembles you.
What is one of your favourite hobbies or things to do?
Where is your favourite place to be?
What City/Country would you most like to live in?
If you could be any animal what would it be?
What inspired you to start your blog?
One piece of life advice you can offer.
What are you most looking forward to in the next 10 years?
Tell us about a time you made a good decision and why?
How would you spend your day if you were invisible?
If you didn’t have to sleep; What would you do with the extra time?
“I enjoy receiving these awards as it gives me a chance to open up and let my readers see more of the person I am away from my keypad.”
This post encouraging you to keep working at your self-worth, is inspired by a photo I chose to post on Instagram for ‘International Women’s Day’ – a photo including the suggestion of me wearing a crown on my head, just like the statue next to me. (You’ll know from my instagram @helens_journey that posing with statues all over the world is just one of my things! lol) I chose this photo simply because the notion of wearing a crown reminded me of my worth and it has been such an important part of my healing journey and personal growth these past few years. So I wanted to do a post to remind everyone about their own crown and an encouragement to straighten it and strengthen it! I hope it is as much as an encouragement to you, as it has been for me…
We forget that we are amazing, even if we aren’t always treated like we are. We nurture, and care but we also command. We ooze kindness, love, support and guidance. We give all we have in effort, sweat, tears and blood. We endure and we survive. We get bruised, broken and scarred. Yet our war wounds can become our reminders of all we survived and give us a source of strength to continue forward. So never forget you deserve to wear that crown, you are worthy of its placement on your head! So this encouragement is for all.
An encouragement for self-worth, to remind you to straighten and strengthen your crown, after life and others have knocked it off!
This post is to encourage everyone everywhere on these kindness awareness day’s (and every day of the year) to be KIND and it will give ideas of just how we can show kindness in the world we live in – as well as in the digital online world where kindness is needed more than ever!
“In a world where you can be anything – be kind!”
Caroline Flack RIP
Well, they do say “You learn something new every day” or as my Mom, and her Mom before her used to say: “Every day is a school day”! Today is no exception as I discovered via the enlightening world of Twitter that today 17th February is actually ‘RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS DAY’ in the USA. I’m sure my overseas readers will forgive me though, as here in the UK we celebrate ‘World Kindness Day’ on 13th November each year as an alternative. However, regardless of when things are done in your part of the world, this relevant encouragement for kindness and ideas of how to be kind to others, is for everyone from everywhere at any time!
Starting off my New Year with a women’s weekend away in January, has really helped with keeping me fired up for the rest of the year ahead and all the possibilities to come. There is something powerful when women come together in a positive atmosphere and a supportive structure. If you have read my poem “WE ARE WOMEN!” all about the power of a woman and my celebratory posts on International Women’s Day & Mother’s Day – you will know already that I am all for female empowerment!
In this post I want to encourage you, as to why you should find a suitable women’s retreat or women’s event, for that all important ‘women supporting women’ vibe. I will also share with you a review of the women’s spa weekend away I attended this year and then end the post off with a list of additional sources when we can draw female empowerment from in your day to day lives.
Hello and welcome to my series ‘CHRONIC ILLNESS JOKE OF THE WEEK’ where I share with you a joke that can be appreciated by sufferers and their loved ones. As well as non-sufferers too, to give them an insight into our world of living with chronic illness and what that brings with it…
In my Facebook support group ‘HELEN’S FIBROMYALGIA AWARENESS & CHRONIC ILLNESS SUPPORT GROUP for people with chronic illness as well as their loved ones, I share a number of jokes and lighthearted meme’s about life with chronic illness. The group members are able to identify together, laugh together and acknowledge a united struggle so no one feels alone. So i thought, why not share this with my blog readers too! Hence ‘Chronic Illness Joke of the Week‘ series being created!
I have already spoken in a previous post ‘Handy ways to get prepared for the new year ahead’ about why as a New Year begins, one of the things I choose to do instead of resolutions, is to choose myself a ‘focus word’ for the New Year instead. Choosing a ‘focus word’ makes you really zone in on the direction you feel you are going in or the change of direction you wish to be going in instead.
Choose a personalised and specific ‘FOCUS WORD’ for the Year ahead, to keep you centred and fixed on your goals:
When a New Year is here, we may have a long list of goals, things we want to achieve to tick off our lists, places we want to go to, etc. However, choosing a ‘focus word‘ makes you break all those long lists down into a single word, that you want to specifically focus on the most. E.g: Happiness, Education, Rebuilding, Love, Business, Growth, Resilience, Consistency, Balance. Really this list of ‘focus word’ possibilities could go on and on and on.
However, the point is for you to choose just one word that is explicitly personal to you! Dig down deep, be honest with yourself and really own this choice of a word for your personal focus.
Today mark’s 5 days until Christmas, so time for Day 5 of my 12 days of Christmas short Life Reflection posts. Each daily post is inspired by a Christmas photograph I have taken myself.
Today’s post was triggered by one of my Christmas photographs of an alternative type of Christmas Tree, a sculpted tree made out of gold wire swirls with a star on the top and Christmas lights wrapped around it. To some, it may not look special, but to me, it is super special as it was my Nan’s ornament and this Christmas will be the first without her here.
However, the thing that inspired me the most about this specific photo was how much the little lights show up in the darkness and also just how pretty they look. It was a reminder to me that no matter how dark a situation seems, a single flicker of light can bring the brightness you need, to stir up a fresh perspective and a reminder of hope.
Self love is not selfish – you can look after others better, when you remember to look after yourself too!
Some people view self love as selfish. To me that is just fake guilt that other people or the world want to put on you. If you aren’t happy or looked after, then it is harder for you to look after others to your full ability and bring the happiness you are missing into your daily life with others. I love the saying “You can’t pour from an empty cup” as it brings this message home that you have to look after yourself to be able to best look after others.
If you read my latest ‘Chronic Illness Joke of the Week Series’ you’d know I am a big user of electric heat pads for sore and painful muscles. I have gone through soooooooooo many electric heat pads that eventually just overload from such extensive use and stop working. I can’t deny that I have murdered many over the years!
So when my Sister, @libby.artist on Instagram, and fellow chronic pain warrior saw that the supermarket Aldi were bringing in a ‘Heated Throw’ as one of their featured special deals – as you can imagine we got super excited to try this, instead of the normal electric head pads that we had become so used to.
So the very day they were arriving in our local Aldistore (24th October 2019) my Sister was right there getting one for me and one for her. We both LOVE them so much that I wanted to do a product review post to share all about them with my readers and social media followers as they have so many great selling points…
Here it is, my latest addition to my ‘CHRONIC ILLNESS JOKE OF THE WEEK’SERIES, which is a collection of humorous meme’s and a discussion on the issues it highlights on the subject of living with chronic illness and chronic pain.
I also run a Facebook support group ‘HELEN’S FIBROMYALGIA AWARENESS & CHRONIC ILLNESS SUPPORT GROUP’ for people with chronic illness and their loved ones. In it I share a number of jokes or lighthearted meme’s about life with chronic illness and the group is able to identify together, laugh together and acknowledge a united struggle so no one feels alone. So I thought, why not share this with my blog readers too! Hence ‘Chronic Illness Joke of the Week’ series being created.
This week’s joke and chat is all about ‘Heat Therapy’ life, esp using heating pads to help with chronic pain. Have a look at the meme for a giggle and then read the discussion it creates. Feel free to comment on the post at the end and join in the laughs, discussion and sharing your own stories with heat therapy too…
Each year between October 9th through to 15th is Baby Loss Awareness Week, which gives those affected a time to share their stories, break the silence, raise awareness and seek support. For more information search online or on Social Media ‘Baby Loss Awareness Week’ or check out the website: https://babyloss-awareness.org/
So this year for ‘Baby Loss Awareness Week’ I decided to break some of my own silence, by writing and sharing this following poem expressing my intimate feelings after my own personal experiences in life regarding Baby loss.
I hope this poem touches hearts – whether hearts affected by Baby Loss directly or to help in their relationships with others whose hearts have.
I entitled my poem ‘YOU WILL ALWAYS BE MY FAVOURITE WHAT IF…’
Tonight I had a lovely meal at a multi award-winning “Caribbean Fusion” restaurant in Birmingham City Centre; Mellows Bar & Restaurant.
Yummie food, enjoyable cocktails, chilled atmosphere and cosy surroundings. It is definitely worth a visit and deserving of 1 of my food reviews for me to tell you all about it… (And of course, my close up pics of the food too!)
Everyone loves a denim jacket right? To me it is a staple item in my wardrobe, especially in my Spring and Summer wardrobes. I just love a denim jacket as a lighter jacket alternative esp on a cool evening, when no coat would be a bit cold and a full jacket would be too warm. Denim jackets to me bridge that gap perfectly. So it’s no wonder when I visit Charity Shops and Thrift Stores, that the denim jackets always catch my eye. Let me share with you these bargain second-hand denim jacket finds I couldn’t resist…
‘Fast Fashion’ is a fast growing problem in the world today, as lots of people throw away clothes into landfill even though it may still be wearable – to plenty of others if not to them anymore. That is why I’ve always been a supporter of ‘charity shops’ what we call our second hand shops here in the UK (and I always visit ‘thrift stores’ the US version of charity shops when I visit the States too).
September is my favourite month of the year as it is my birthday month – yes that’s right I pace out my celebrations to span over the whole month (it suits me that way due to needing to pace for chronic illness reasons, but really I don’t even need an excuse to be more than happy to stretch out the fun!) However, this year I have something else I’m doing this month and that is ‘SECOND HAND SEPTEMBER’! Which means I have pledged to say no to buying any new clothes for the 30 days of September and just buy second hand ones instead. “Why?” you may ask, so let me fill you in, on the problem of clothes landfill… (like what I did there? I love a play on words me 😉 heehee)
Did you know that the UK has more brand new clothes brought every minute than any other country in Europe? Each minute TWO TONNES of clothing are brought in the UK!
#SecondHandSeptember is an Oxfam initiative to only buy second hand clothes in September, to try and make fashion more sustainable and for ‘fast fashion’ to have less of an impact on the environment and for us to have an impact on the landfills by us reusing and not throwing away, and buying second hand not brand new. Let me share with you their explanation of their reasons why this is an important part of our ‘buying’ culture, that we need to pay attention to & how we can help reduce fashions carbon footprint: