Exercise for Chronic Pain: Hiking Edition

Another video post for you, here at Rouge National Urban Park in Toronto.

Hiking is an amazing way to get some exercise, even when you have chronic pain, because it can be tailored to your health and skill level. I personally can do (and love to do) moderate hikes. Easier trails may be beneficial for you though. Plus, getting out in nature is amazing for your mental health!

Summertime is Water Time

Okay, well technically speaking, all the time is water time when we’re talking about drinking it! On Sunday I shared a tip on how to make lemon ice cubes for your water, but whether or not you do that or just drink water with regular ice, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough of the stuff! And this goes for everyone, not just fellow chronic pain/illness warriors!

IMG_7370As you can see, my water bottle is attached to my hiking backpack!

With the increased heat in the summer, it’s especially important to make sure we are rehydrating so that we don’t get dehydrated. If you’re going for a walk, run, hike, etc. take a water bottle with you. If you’re one of us lucky? people that is going in to work, having a water bottle with you there as well is a good idea. I know personally I’ve found that just by having to wear a mask all day I need more water than I did before or my throat will get very dry.

IMG_7388Meet Water, a trusted companion.

How do you know if you’re getting enough water? The simplest way is the pee test. Literally just looking at the color of your urine. If it’s dark in color, you’re definitely not getting enough water! If it’s clear, then you’re drinking too much. The ideal is to have a light yellow but see through color. If you’ve got it, then you’re on the right track. Make sure you’re doing yourself a favour by making sure you’re on track with your water intake. Your health is worth it!

Image from: https://www.miw.co.uk/the-pee-test-are-you-drinking-enough-water/


I recently did a guest post on an amazing blog called A Chronic Voice! Here’s the link to my submission and make sure you check out the other blog posts while you’re there. You won’t be disappointed!
Self-acceptance guest post

Lemon Ice Cubes!

Audio starts about 40 seconds in… there were some issues today :-/

Benefits of lemons:

  • Vitamin C: great for your heart, your immune system, and is an anti-inflammatory
  • May help with weight loss.
  • Citric acid: prevents kidney stones.
  • Vitamin C & Citric acid: protects against iron deficiency.
  • It’s a fruit: reduces risk of cancer.
  • Fibre: helps with digestion!

For more information check out these two articles:


health line

Thanks for watching!

Convos at Chiro

As I’m sure all of my chronic pain warriors are in a similar situation, I have been struggling with how long it’s been since I’ve been to the chiropractor, physiotherapist (though I’ve done virtual), naturopath, and massage therapist. I normally see each of these specialists once every month (chiro and physio) or every other month (naturo and massage), so going over 3 months without any of it has been a long time. That being said, I cranked my neck at work (cranked meaning I don’t know what I did to it but I couldn’t turn it much) last week so I messaged my chiropractor to get an emergency appointment – the only type available at the moment.

IMG_7292I had to buy a microwavable heating pad to use on my neck and shoulders at work between Friday and my Monday appointment.

On Monday I went in for said appoint and it was amazing. I can now move my neck as normal, plus in addition to adjusting my neck, he did my spine as well. While we were chatting, we had two major talking points in addition to catching up on our time off, my schooling, etc. The first was about the body-mind connection (amazing how this keeps coming up) and how stress is one of the most common causes of physical ailments. My work has been extremely stressful because of the business model we have at the moment. Basically, it’s no surprise that I threw my neck out, or that a lot of the fibro pain that had subsided during lockdown returned. Of course, no one can totally avoid stress, so self-care is a really important thing everyone needs to practice in order to combat some of that stress. Since going back to work I’ve kept up with my daily meditations (even on my lunch break), I walk to and from work every day, I take my nightly baths, and I’ve been using some essential oils more frequently. Self-care continues to be a priority to me!

IMG_7296Spending time with friends is also great for self-care.

The second subject was that of how physical exercise can help with pain and other symptoms of illness. Not necessarily that you need super high levels – walking is very good exercise and one I highly encourage – as it all depends on needs and abilities. We came on the subject when I told my chiro that in addition to doing my assigned chiro and physio exercises daily, I’ve been doing a ton of body weight exercises and getting really fit. He asked if it has helped with me, and I responded truthfully, that yes it has. He told me that a surprising number of people don’t understand the impact regular exercise can have on their symptoms. I guess what I’m saying is, if you are able to but not doing some kind of exercise regularly, you’re not setting yourself up for success in the chronic pain battle. Yoga, body weights, cardio – light or heavy, stretching, etc. can all help you and most are very easy to incorporate into a daily routine as some of it can be done at work, on lunch breaks, during a commute, when you get up in the morning, or right before bed.

IMG_7293Several people have commented on my biceps. Totally unintentional but I am very happy with them!

As the world slowly reopens, try to keep up or set up some good routines for self-care and exercise, and you might like what you encounter. (In other news I really do want things to open up a bit more so I can get my hair cut and coloured, and a mani-pedi… but I’m also willing to hold off until I know things are safe!)

Cooking with Kels: Guacamole

Not only are avocados totally delicious, but they also have a ton of health benefits. I did some extra research this week to bring you some of the amazing benefits avocados have!

First of all they are full of some of my favourite vitamins like Vitamin C and B-6, as well as magnesium, potassium, and omega-3s! (BTW they are only 64 calories so if that’s something you watch, it’s basically nothing).

Here’s more! They are great for your heart health because they help lower your cholesterol. They help with your vision because they minimize the damage UV light can cause. Avocados are also amazing for osteoporosis prevention and treatment due to the high levels of Vitamin K! They protect against certain cancers including colon, stomach, pancreatic, and cervical because of the high folate levels. Speaking of folate, it’s very important for healthy pregnancies, and decreasing your risk of depression. The high fibre intake improve digestion and works as a detox, cleaning you right out! The antimicrobial activity avocados provide helps to combat food poisoning, and finally, it helps to prevent diseases such as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and gastrointestinal disease.

So if you’re not convinced to eat avocados, or at the very least make them into some delicious guacamole, I don’t know what else to say!

Also, if you have an amazing guacamole recipe, or really any recipe that has avocados in it, please comment, or DM me on instagram: janeversuspain.

From Virtual Dating to Real Dating? Pandemics, Reopening, and Chronic Illness

As we move into reopening phases in many places, some of us might be looking to take all of our virtual experiences and start going back to the “old ways.” Whether that be just seeing our friends in person (crazy thought after so many months, I know!) or going on actual dates, the thought that we don’t have to solely rely on online contact is amazing. Yet, for those of us with chronic illness, slow and steady might be the best course of action.

HFuXxH4jQbCnPDW9yQKuCwI miss getting coffees liket

I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t start doing “real life” things again. I have started to see some friends in person, and I’ve been back to work where I deal with the public consistently (some lady refused to sanitize her hands but then proceeded to put on a face mask which made me laugh at the lack of logic but okay). What I am more cautious about is heading on dates. For one, assuming any date goes well, there is potential for kissing at the very least (if not more) and exchanging saliva with a stranger when there is still a pandemic going on is probably not the best idea. As cases do become lower and lower that may change, but for now I’d still rather play it safe than risk getting an illness that could be made worse by my underlying illness.

exR6i3ULStC+sUTdg9vliAMe at work… keeping others safe from me, and hoping they’ll keep me safe from them.

There is also the strong possibility of a second wave to come yet. If we look back historically to the flu of 1918, the second wave was much worse than the first. And though, yes this is a coronavirus, not a flu, a second wave could be terrible. While I am happy to be a risk taker in many areas of my life (adventure travel, moving provinces or countries at the drop of a hat, changing careers, starting blogs and podcasts, etc) I am not one to compromise my health more than it already is. Does that mean I won’t go on any dates until we have a vaccine? Unlikely, but it does mean I’ll be a little more selective of who I date (as if I’m not selective already lol) and how quickly things move.

IMG_5779Remember when we could share drinks with our friends without a worry?!

What are my other chronic illness warriors thinking about dating right now? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.

Staying Safe During Reopening

I know that with reopening having begun in many places, it’s easy to get the feeling that the pandemic is over and things are getting back to normal. I think what we need to keep in mind is that the pandemic is not over, and may not be over until a vaccine is available, as that is what the researchers are saying at this point. So, as Spoonies and Warriors, we need to make sure we are taking extra good care of ourselves during this time. As I mentioned with my post last week, we may be more susceptible to contracting Covid-19 (and even death) due to our illnesses and medications we normally take.

re-opening-webImage from: https://www.chatham-kent.ca/EconomicDevelopment/covid-19-business-resources/re-opening-and-safety

I was called back into work this week after being on furlough for 2 1/2 months. As far as the staying safe part of back to work goes, there were things I was and wasn’t impressed with. I was impressed that most customers came in with a mask on (and some with gloves so they didn’t have to touch the pinpads with their hands), and that the company provided all workers masks and a few plexi glass screens to keep distance between us and customers upon check out. What I wasn’t impressed with is the ratio in which customers are allowed in the story – it was too busy for the amount of staff, and I was never without a lineup at the front (I was the only person scheduled for returns/exchanges AND transactions for the day). As a result (and probably because I haven’t spent that long standing in awhile) I noticed increased hip pain and decreased mobility in my left hip today.

exR6i3ULStC+sUTdg9vliALook it’s me! Back at work!

Beyond any expectations of the work you are doing if you are called back, there are a few other things to keep in mind. We need to continue with safety protocols such as frequent and proper hand washing (and sanitizing between when you can’t wash as often), social distancing, and personally, I think still trying to remain at home as often as possible. Take care of yourself, because ultimately your health is most important. And until there is a vaccine on the market and Covid-19 isn’t something we reasonably have to worry about anymore, we need to make sure we are staying safe.

downloadFollow the link for the CDC’s hand washing guidelines: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html


One final thought of the week, as I reflect on what’s happening both in my own city and to my American neighbours south of me: