Off to Europe… taking care of yourself in a city that doesn’t make it easy

I want to recap the rest of my Amsterdam adventure while I’m on the train to Brussels (I love taking the train, by the way. One of the best parts of travelling in Europe). Amsterdam, however, isn’t the easy city to care for yourself if you’re really experiencing it. This goes for everyone, not just those of us with chronic pain: HYDRATE.

The other day, both my friend and I definitely did not drink enough water. A glass in the morning and then headed out for a day of adventures. A few beers, a trip to a coffee house, and another beer later and I suddenly felt like death. My friend even said my face actually turned green. My stomach felt like it was on fire, and so did my head. Basically I had a lot of substances that dehydrated me, while not drinking water, and walking around outside all day. Not a good plan. Thankfully I actually recovered quite quickly and we were able to have a fun rest of the evening. I did drink two bottles of water rather quickly, which helped.

When beer costs less than water at a restaurant it is important to remember to bring a bottle of water with you and try to refill it whenever you have a chance. Travelling 101. You’d think we were beginners, but in this case just not too smart.

The rest of Amsterdam went quite smoothly. We both carried water with us the whole time (yay we learned). I continued to exercise and meditate in the morning. And even had a luxurious bath in a huge tub at our Airbnb. The key to travel is to stay safe and stay as healthy as possible! Next post will be from Brussels!

Off to Europe… Travelling with Chronic Pain

So once again I’m in Europe. This overseas vacation thing might end up being yearly, at least at the rate I’m going. This time I came with one of my best friends, so navigating travel with chronic pain is a little more difficult this time.

So how am I doing so far? A few reminders to her on our first night (last night) that I need a really good sleep so that I can make it through the trip, followed by a really good sleep! Though I have promised we can go out and party tonight. Which will no doubt be followed by another really good sleep.

A priority I made to myself this morning since I was up first anyway (and I knew I would be) was to do all my exercises and stretches before I start my day. Half an hour of exercise followed by a 10 minute meditation definitely made me feel great. Then I wandered out on the streets of Amsterdam, found a cute French bakery and bought coffee and chocolate croissants (yes I know, not the best for autoimmune but I’m on vacation).

How will the rest of the trip go? I guess we’ll see. But I’ll keep you posted with mini blog posts throughout!

This Week…

So this week is both Mental Health Awareness Week, and National Nurses Week, both of which are near and dear to my heart. Both of which need to be talked about, shared and discusses. So here we go.

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Let’s start with mental health. There is still so much stigma around it. It’s amazing when actors like Ryan Reynold’s come out to talk about their anxiety and other mental health issues. It helps build awareness and it should make it easier for everyone to talk about. And yet, there are still so many people who think “I should see a therapist but what will everyone think of me?” The truth is, most people won’t blink an eye. And if they do, it’s likely because they need some education, or because they have their own fears around seeing a therapist, and what will people think if they do?! I have no problem discussing my anxiety and depression if I believe it will help someone else. I see a psychotherapist regularly, and have been inspired to become one myself. Everyone has issues they need to deal with, and things they need to talk about. You aren’t less than anyone else for having to deal with whatever you are dealing with, in fact, if you are taking the steps to seek help, YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION.

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I love nurses. They are amazing and truly under-appreciated caregivers who have to deal with crap (literally), work stupid hours, deal with angry patients and their families, and save lives without breaking a sweat. Next time you’re in a hospital or at a clinic smile at them, remind them that they are appreciated, because they honestly don’t hear it enough. I know. My best friend is a nurse at a children’s hospital, and one of my parents’ best friends was a nurse for years at a major hospital in Vancouver. NURSES YOU ARE AMAZING.

And here’s penguin for you. Why? Because they are cute.

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