I have #fibromyalgia…

adorable animal breed canine
Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Fibromyalgia affects around 1 in 20 people. Although most people have no idea what fibromyalgia is; let alone what it’s like to live with.

So, here’s a brief guide for anyone who doesn’t know anything about fibromyalgia.

What is fibromyalgia?

Its a long term chronic health condition characterised by pain. The pain ranges in severity on a daily basis from mild symptoms to severe pain in changing areas of the body.

The main symptoms are:

Pain throughout the whole body 

Joints and muscles feel stiff

Quality of sleep can be poor

Feeling tired and fatigued 

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Extreme Sensitivity 

Cognitive problems, feeling confused, or dazed, sometimes called Fibro fog

Headaches

Depression 

Anxiety 

Painful periods in women 

The symptoms can vary from person to person.

Symptoms can get better or worse from time to time.

Factors that influence this are:

  • the amount of stress you are experiencing 
  • how much daily exercise you have
  • and changes in climate and temperature 

Further information is available on the NHS website.              

If you think you may be suffering from fibromyalgia, consult your doctor or health professional. They will run a variety of tests to get an accurate diagnosis of your condition.

There’s no cure….Yes you did read that correctly; there’s no cure, but…

I’ve lived with fibromyalgia for 15 years and found some times are really tough.

The single most upsetting factor for me has been other people’s perception of ‘living with fibromyalgia’. They almost always get it wrong. So, if you meet someone who has fibromyalgia, tread carefully. Don’t jump to conclusions about how they feel. Listen to them. After all they are living with it on a daily basis.

The positives are my symptoms are still there, but have improved greatly since I was first diagnosed.

I have been able to boost my general health through diet, exercise  and meditation .

This is a short post about symptoms, living with fibromyalgia is another story…

If you would like to read more about what helped me, follow my blog and have a look at my Fibromyalgia Self Help Pages.

#Mindful Thought Practice

aerial view of mountain
Photo by Mariia Kamenska on Pexels.com

At the beginning of a new year after the celebrations are over how do we feel?  Focusing back on our daily lives. My week ahead is busy with everything I’ve ‘put off to the new year’. Unfortunately I seem to have crammed it all into the first week!

I’ve kept one New Years resolution so far; to focus on being mindful in my day to day activities.

I bought a journal and have been using it to keep a record of how I’m doing. It’s also served as a tool for ideas to explore and practice. 

Why practice mindfulness?

Clinical researchers have carried out a number of tests which have shown that mindfulness can improve your overall health and wellbeing in these ways:

  • lower stress levels
  • lower depression
  • improve the quality of sleep
  • reduce anxiety
  • encourage positive thinking
  • alter the way the mind reacts to difficult situations
  • improve decision making

How can mindfulness be described?

In a nutshell, it’s focusing our attention purely on the present moment. Doing this without letting the mind drift back to past memories or thinking about future events. Mindfulness is embracing the present with acceptance, without judgment.

The monkey mind🐒

There are so many distractions for us to focus our mind on. To illustrate the monkey mind, try this exercise for a couple of minutes.

Focus your mind on your breathing.  Think about where you can feel movement in your chest from your breathing.  Concentrate on this area, for a few minutes. You will notice your thoughts stray, thinking about numerous things other than the breath.

These thoughts are from past or future experiences. The mind is rarely focused on the present. It jumps from one subject to another, like a monkey playing. This practice is called the monkey mind.

How do I start to practice mindfulness?

Start by focusing on your senses when you carry out your everyday routine. By thinking about the feel, touch, smell and the sound of everything you are experiencing.

If you carry out a task such as washing the dishes, think about the heat of the water, the texture and feel of the plates, the scent of washing up liquid and the sound of water filling up the bowl.

“If you have a regular daily routine build some time into it every day to practice mindfulness.”

You could try changing your daily activities. For example if you regularly go for a walk and always walk the same way; try changing the route to one your not as familiar with. Or try a completely new walk.

By changing your routine to something different or new it will get your mind to focus on a familiar task in a different or new way.

blue cloudy sky
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Thought watching

If you find while you are concentrating on tasks thoughts interrupt you. Just observe them, try not to be side tracked by them.

Introduce a label for each thought that arises; ‘I’m nervous about a exam result’, label it ‘thought’, or a feeling ‘I feel worried’ label it ‘emotion’; and go back to the task you are carrying out.

This practice will help train the mind to not follow a thought and get sidetracked by it. Just observe thoughts without judgment, acknowledging them, and labelling them. Going back to the task.

Mindfulness meditation

Taking mindfulness a step further incorporating it into daily meditation practice can encourage the mind to work in a regular pattern.

Mindfulness meditation works by silently spending a few minutes every day thinking about one aspect of the body, such as breathing awareness and acknowledging thoughts, when they arise and bringing back attention to the breathing.

Have a look at my page on Meditation for more information about suggestions for meditation practice.

 

#NewYear New Hobby

white painted papers
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A Happy New Year to all my readers.

For a fantastic way to kick off 2020. I have a guest post from a friend BM; he’s a real family history guru who has a wealth of experience and knowledge. He’s done extensive searches into my family history and uncovered fascinating facts about my relatives. 

I understand more now about the lives they led and the hardships they endured in their daily existence. So, read on and uncover your own family’s secrets….

A new hobby for a new year- a simple guide to family history.

Have you ever watched a programme on TV about someone’s family history and thought I wish I could do that but it looks too complicated?

Well you can start it in a few easy steps. When you have got into family history; you’ll find it so interesting that the impetus will spur you on.

Step 1:

Write down everything you know and arrange it in an easy to refer to format.

Step 2:

Speak to your relatives to see what they know or can find out for you.

At this stage just make notes of any interesting stories that come up – you can pursue these later.

Make a note of any discrepancies without questioning them too -these can also be followed up later.

Your ultimate aim is to reach back in your family tree to about 1911 as useful records are available up to this date.

Step 3:

You can access census records online via a subscription website such as Ancestry, Find My Past or The Genealogist.

Some of these are also available from many library authorities.

They have a wide range of resources including the censuses which for England and Wales for example date back every ten years from 1911 to 1841. Other nations feature as well e.g. the United States and Scotland.

With luck these will allow to compile family groups back to the beginning of the Victorian period.

Step 4:

Repeat step 3 each time clarifying and checking what you know and using whatever relevant resources you can- not only from the internet but physical ones as well.

Find out about the areas your ancestors lived in and the types of lives they led which will help to explain much of what you find. There are many websites and magazines which can aid you.

You can also go down the route of DNA testing to find modern day relatives.

I hope this will introduce you to a hobby which millions of people are becoming fascinated by.

I’ve found researching my own family story helps you to understand your place in the world and the things that have come to be; as we are at a time when identity has become so important.

Great post BM. Maybe you can do a follow up sometime with details of relatives stories you have uncovered? Thanks Nick.

Seasonal Greetings

beverage filled mug with marshmallows beside rope
Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

🎄🎄🎄

To 

all

of

my

readers

I

wish

a

very

positive

New

Year

and

enjoyable

festive

season….

🎄🎄🎄

Nick

It’s #Christmas with a twist!

people toasting wine glasses
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Christmas time is a very special time.

For couples getting engaged or married it’s not only special but also filled with love and happiness. With this in mind, I have always wanted to write a sonnet but never had a good enough excuse to!

If your trying to recall; sonnets are written in 14 lines, the subject matter is predominantly about love. Each line of the stanza should have 10 syllables and the rhyming pattern should be ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GG. It’s quite tricky to get right; so here’s my attempt…

 

Wedding Day 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

One day, two people, three wishes, four hands,

Joining together on this special day

In a dwelling the congregation stands

The new bride enters clutching her bouquet 💐

 

She’s dazzling in her sumptuous dress

Above the guests flies a white turtledove

With a bright, sparkling ring, she says, Yes!

Her husband’s relieved; now focused on love 💕 

 

To the reception for a feast for all

Going away outfits are ready now

Toasts and speeches dissolves into a ball

Spain we’re off to soon, Yes, sunny Bilbao 🇪🇸

 

For you, will cherish in the early days

Your enduring love and happiness always 💕 

by Nick

#Snow Falling

snowy pathway surrounded by bare tree
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

It’s getting nearer and nearer now!….

Snow Falling 

❄️❄️

Sparkling brightly

Pure and white

Perfectly formed

So fragile

So light

Its flakes

❄️❄️

Falling slowly

Down

To the ground

White blankets

Floating

All around 

By Nick