I never even thought about stretching my toes until I needed to! A part of me wonders if I had started stretching them earlier, if that would have prevented my trigger toe (I have no idea if that would have been the case). Regardless, I love stretches, so here are some that were given to me by physiotherapists and chiropractors. Let’s keep making the most of it!
Always seek medical advice from appropriate healthcare professionals and never start a new routine without consulting with your doctor.
I had a request to do a video on what I do for hip stretches so here it is! Obviously I made this video before my hip surgery (I planned in advance!). This video includes stretches, strengthening exercises, and range of motion exercises for the hips that are great for tight hips, arthritis, and labral tears (the last 2 exercises were given to me because of the tear, the first two due to hip pain/tightness). Please consult your own healthcare team before trying them out. If you have any video requests please shoot me an email or a DM on Instagram @janeversuspain.
For more on the importance of stretching, check out my podcast episode, “Massage Therapy for Chronic Pain,” where Danielle Potvin explains how stretching can help your body.
This is a self-care type of post I supposed but in the past week of not being able to do much, I’ve been thinking about how, even during a pandemic, there are amazing, cozy, self-care activities… well, activities in general… we can do inside and at-home during the winter. I live in Canada, so winters are already long, and yesterday I watched a news report where experts said the “darkest” months for Covid will be January-March so I guess we should be prepared for the continuation of strict measures.
Let’s start off with some of my favourite things to wear. Pyjamas – because as spoonies we can’t have enough of these – and especially cozy ones like fleece or flannel. Who doesn’t want to lounge around in PJs all day, especially when it’s cold and gloomy outside. Sweaters are another one. Big, comfy, cozy sweaters. And for the holiday season, Ugly Christmas Sweaters (I have three Star Wars ones… I don’t think they’re ugly though!). Sweaters can also just make you feel warm and relaxed – at least I think so! Finally, slipping on some of those fuzzy socks, or a nice pair of slippers (my feet always get cold first… also I can’t get on socks at the moment because of my surgery, so I’m looking forward to 5 weeks from now when I can properly dress myself again).
Part 2: Delicious Drinks. Hot chocolate, coffee, and tea. All of these just feel warm and wintery. I maybe have hot chocolate once a year because it’s way too sweet. What I do like are some of Starbucks’ holiday drinks like the peppermint mocha (half sweet though) because it gives that combo of hot chocolate and coffee (best of both worlds)! Though if you have any local coffee places that make something similar, I definitely encourage you to support them instead! Or if you don’t want to go out, there are tons of recipes online to make them at home! Teas are all great. Usually in the winter I end up preferring black tea over coffee at some point and switch over in the mornings. I also love herbal teas. Peppermint tea is another great wintery classic.
Finally, being creative. Baking, doing crafts, decorating your house, playing music, reading, and even some throw backs like playing board and card games (instead of video games) and doing puzzles can be great ways to get through the extra in door time. Varying up the routine to prevent boredom is essential (my parents used to tell us that “if you’re bored, you must be boring.”). These things all have a cozy, wintery feel to them (yes they can all be done throughout the year) and maybe that’s just some nostalgia from memories of growing up in a snow-infested, bitter-cold province.
I think my point here, is that we can help our health and our mental health by thinking outside of the box and making ourselves feel good with the little things. Because sometimes little things can have big impacts. Keep making the most of it, folks!
I personally find heat very helpful for a lot of my chronic pain. Though I typically use heating pads on my back, I have been known to use them on my legs, glutes, shoulders, neck, and stomach. And the moist heating pads – bless! Check out the video for more information!
I really believe that we should do as much as possible to treat our symptoms. For more on this topic, check out my podcast episode, “Can We Cure or Can’t We Cure? That is the Question.” The link for Apple is below, but the podcast is available on Spotify and everywhere else you get your podcasts! Feel free to send in a review as it helps my podcast get noticed!
I hope you’re enjoying the “stretch” series. This week we’re doing stretches for our back. I’ve added two more in addition to the cat cow. As always, please consult with your own professionals if you are unsure of how to do the stretches or don’t know if you should be. These were given to me by current and former physiotherapists and chiropractors. I personally find them to help alleviate some of my back pain. Enjoy! And let me know in the comments if you have some of your own favourite back stretches!
As the second post in the October linkup, I decided to use the prompt of producing. Why? Because I have started and plan on continuing creating more and more content and a few other goodies in the next while. However, sometimes chronic pain, fatigue, and the mass amount of appointments I have coming up, get in the way of what I want to do. Luckily, I’m not working right now, but with school there is a lot of work, so factoring that plus exercise and trying to keep my body as “healthy” (silly term when dealing with chronic illness) as possible, and volunteering between 4-8 hours a week, I find that I run out of time in the day as quickly as I ever have!
Let’s start with what I have been doing. First of all, I’ve been putting out weekly blog posts like these for a few years now. I love it and will continue to do it (I hope you all love it too!). In the summer (or was it spring?) I started to bring you weekly Sunday video content as well. These I am usually able to record and edit at least a few weeks in advance. Did anyone ever mention how much work editing is? I feel like film editors do not get enough props! And I’ve started to bring some premium content (paid membership… i’m not working right now…) which is honestly worth the small investment you’d put in because that content is top notch! Of course, I have my podcast, Chronically Living and how to make the most of it. I love podcasting and have a ton of topics written down. This does involve planning (I like to have a solid outline for solo episodes, and there is tons of planning involved in interviewing), and while enjoyable, it is work! I also co-host another podcast (Into Everything with Pete and Kels) that is pretty light and fun (great if you’re looking for something pop culturey/easy-listening) but again that involves a lot of work (slightly less because my co-host splits the work with me).
Now, what do I have coming up? Well, remember when I wrote that book in the spring? I still need to edit it (I started but then stopped due to lack of time) and write a proposal because I would like to get it published instead of self-publishing. And then there is the children’s book I wrote, which my friend is illustrating for me. We plan on self-publishing that one but will probably need a GoFundMe campaign to cover the costs (it’s about a diabetic dog and is a great way to talk to children about chronic illness). Finally, I want to create some merch to sell, but that is a project and a half indeed. Create, create, create is the name of the game right now.
I did mention some of my roadblocks (time, money) but there are others that I encounter. One big one is fatigue. If I don’t get what I need to get done before supper, I’m pretty much out of the game afterwards. Sometimes I can do some promo pic creation in the evening but that’s about it. And honestly, resting is part of self-care so I don’t get upset with myself for needing it, yet at the same time, I wish I could do more in a day. The second roadblock is pain. The weather is starting to change so my body is freaking out, plus my hip tear makes it hard to sit for more than about an hour at a time (I probably should have a standing desk now that I think of it so at least I could alternate positions). Finally, I seem to have a lot of appointments. Okay, this is mainly because I only have benefits until mid-January, but I’m probably moving at the end of December (I’ll let you all know when it’s official) so I really only have them until about the end of the 3rd week of December. Next week for example, I have an appointment with a surgeon on Monday, psychotherapy on Wednesday, chiropractor on Thursday, and massage therapy on Friday. Busy!
Will this stop me from getting everything I want to get done? Possibly. Or possibly a bit of it, but it won’t stop me from trying to create when I can, because that’s what I love to do.
Welcome back for another, and a little bit longer, body scan. Body scans can be excellent for relaxation, improving mindful awareness, and even pain management. Join me in this 10-minute scan, which can be an amazing way to start your day, take a break half way through, or even end it.