Update: When Intention, Creativity and Chronic Illness Collide
This month has been quite productive! I can't believe it's almost gone already. I'm once again taking part in this thought-provoking monthly link-up with Sheryl from A Chronic Voice. I love the prompts she comes up with each month - they really force me to consider things I might not otherwise think about and perhaps, in a way, that helps to keep me focused and accountable too. This month's prompts are:
- Adapting - to intentional rest and fasting
- Practicing - watercolour blending
- Realising - it's hard to stick to a schedule
- Celebrating - a year since my parents moved to the UK
- Inviting - other chronic illness warriors to share their story
Adapting... To Intentional Rest and Fasting
This month I have experienced quite a few flares which have disappointed me somewhat, but I am now aware that I need to be more intentional about resting as a preventative measure. I tend to get to carried away in my activities and spend too much time on things without resting. As a result, I've been trying to spend much more intentional time in bed or reclined on the sofa.
This is partly because of my heart rate - it prefers the reclined positions and having my legs up at hip level, but it is also because my body starts aching if I sit upright for long stretches. I just have to keep reminding myself that this rest is self-care, not confinement. I am not bedridden, I can get up and walk around my house if I want to, I just need to pay more attention to the subtle signs before the crash comes.
For Lent I decided to clean up my keto and intermittent fasting. It has been a bit lazy lately and that means my fasting hasn't been consistent and I have probably been over-eating on the keto snacks, which, although they are high in fat, also contain carbs which add up.
By stopping my intake at 8pm each evening and only breaking my fast at 12 noon the next day, I will obtain a 16 hour fast daily for the next 40 days at least. During my fasting time I am only allowed water and my salty mineral cocktail.
I'm hopeful that by fasting properly for so long each day, my gut will sort itself out too. I have been a bit burpy lately and I am guessing that it has something to do with my snacking every few hours.
Practicing... Watercolour Blending
I have set up my watercolours on the dining table, right up by the big window which gets morning sunlight. They now stay there, ready to use. I have a lovely desk in my room, but with the current weather patterns, it is way too dark in my room for art, so the living room it is!
I've been playing with a new set of liquid watercolours my sister bought me for Christmas. I only have the 6 primary colours of what seems to be a limited edition product I can no longer find anywhere, so blending is essential.
I have never used liquid watercolour before, so this is all new to me. I have been practicing blending the colours all week and have been amazed at the vibrant shades that come from just a drop of the ink.
Until this point I had been using cheap pan sets which are very powdery. They are fine for painting, but I cannot letter over them as the dry chalky nature of the paint dries my pens right up, not to mention causing a fine coloured dust wherever I store the art!
The liquid inks don't have this problem and dry quite smoothly on the paper. Here is an excellent set I have on my wish list. I am in love with the vibrant colours of this Spectrum Noir set, though and am glad it will last me for quite some time. Although I'd love to still get a white and black from the PH Martin brand I linked to above. That would open a whole new world of possibilities!
Realising... It's Hard To Stick To A Schedule
Last month I wrote about my new schedule, anybody who knows me knows that I redo my schedule every so often and adapt it to my new normal in that season. This month I am realising just how unpredictable this illness is and how flexible I need to be.
Resting so much doesn't come easily and I still don't think I am resting as much as my body would really need - don' you find it hard to switch off too? My head is always racing, but my body can't keep up.
I have decided to not set such a rigid schedule and just go with how I'm feeling. I don't think my ex-therapist would agree with this approach, but I get lots of little things done each day and I am resting when I feel I need it.
Having a fixed schedule with alarms and notifications every ten to twenty minutes was stressful and I couldn't keep up. My condition is way too unpredictable to follow such a rigid routine.
I now have a list of tasks for each day of the week and just try to do what I can each day according to that list. No set time slots and no pressure.
Celebrating... A Year Since My Parents Settled In The UK
The past year has been incredible. My parents moved from Italy last year so they could be closer to my sister and I due to the severity of my condition. My sister had already moved over a year earlier to take care of me.
Last January they drove over from Italy to come look for work and accommodation and within a month they had found everything they needed.
They live in a little cottage in the beautiful Lake District, surrounded by trees, valleys and mountains and every week they come over to visit us and spend 2 days at our house. It is so god to have them so close to us again.
Inviting... Others To Share Their Story
Something I have always wanted for this blog is to share other people's stories, not just my own.
Chronic Illness comes in all forms and affects each of us so uniquely. I would like to give others a voice here at Chronically Hopeful - to help readers feel understood and less alone in their journeys, but also to give other chronic illness bloggers the chance to widen their audience.
I know I am always happy to find new chronic illness blogs to read - they are often filled with hope, humour and loads of practical tips on living your best life despite the pain.
I'd LOVE to share your story here too!
Please get in touch if you're interested.