Ending Summer With A Bang (Despite Chronic Illness)

I am so excited to introduce fellow endo warrior and blogger Kenya! As if being a warrior isn’t enough, she is also a practicing doula and advocate to end violence against women and girls! Definitely be sure to check out her sites after checking out how to make use of the last official weeks of summer!

There are a couple more weeks of summer left before the glorious transition of autumn begins. If managing endo or chronic illness has kept you from enjoying the warmth of this season, you still have time to take back control of your illness and soak in some healthy rays of vitamin D. Sometimes dealing with the heat can exacerbate the fatigue, exhaustion, and pain I feel from having endometriosis, so I’ve spent quite a bit of time indoors this summer.


However, it’s not over yet and I’ve vowed to make the most of these last several weeks. It can be challenging at times to feel confident making plans far in advance, given how my pain and other endo-related symptoms vary, so the summer is a great opportunity to be spontaneous. Listed below are seven things you can do to end the season with a bang:

1. Go for a drive or a bike ride to an undetermined destination.

Let the windows down or hop on your bike and just go in the direction your mood takes you. This is a wonderful time to let your thoughts roam free, explore the landscape of an area you may not have traveled before, and feel the wind on your face.

2. Take an overnight trip.

Haven’t had the time or money for a full-scale, luxury vacation? That’s alright. You can spend less than that amount on a fabulous staycation. Pick a destination that’s about three hours away, by car, bus or train, and stay overnight at an upscale hotel—sleep-in, order room service, enjoy the luxury toiletries, be a tourist!

Remember to bring any comfort measures and medications used to manage your illness and practice being comfortable taking your time and resting when needed. I live in the DC area and plan to take a trip down to tour Monticello in Virginia. I hear the grounds are beautiful and the experience is powerful.

3. Practice yoga outside in nature.

Try out yoga alá Yoga Rocks the Park or this simple routine from Whole Living. After my cycle ends, my insides feel completely twisted and weak, like they’ve been wrung out to dry. Beginning to move again and stretch/lengthen in this area helps me get back in touch with my body and gives me a sense of being in control of how my body recovers. Many yoga centers host outdoor sessions all throughout the summer; simply Google “outdoor yoga classes” with your city and you’ll see a variety of options.

Yoga In Nature - Ending Summer With A Bang

 

4. Have a swim in the lake or the pool.

I love to just float in the water, on my back, feeling the warm sun and breeze on my face. I will spend hours in the pool feeling weightless and free from all the worries of the day (or week or year! Lol). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that “water-based exercises can help people with chronic diseases” by improving the use of affected joints and muscles and decreasing pain.

Swimming also doesn’t strain your back or involve jolting, jerky movements, which can help lower pain symptoms. The relaxation and meditation that many swimmers experience from deep, focused breathing and rhythmic stretching movements as they swim is an added bonus.

5. Enjoy a delicious gelato made with summer fruits, or a yummy water ice, and an intriguing, brain stimulating book (whatever that means for you).

There’s a new little café near my apartment that offers the most delicious mango gelato. Did you know there are health benefits to gelato? It’s gluten free, low in fat, has half the calories of ice cream, and generally contains very little artificial flavoring or ingredients. I plan to grab a couple scoops and take some time to work through my summer reading list.

So far my list includes Ballet Beautiful: Transform Your Body and Gain the Strength, Grace, and Focus of a Ballet Dancer by Mary Helen Bowers and The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body by Cameron Diaz.

Summer Reading List
What’s on your current reading list? Let us know in the comments!

6. Work on that new summer hairstyle (color, cut, or style) that works best under the hot sun.

The impact endometriosis and other chronic illnesses have on our bodies—unexpected weight gain, frequent bloating, always being on edge before our cycle starts, surgery scars and the like—can be hard to control and may have a negative impact on our self-esteem. One part of our bodies that we can play with, with little regard for the effect to be permanent, is our hair! Trying a new hairstyle or treatment can work wonders to raise our spirits, give us a new attitude and change our perspective on a situation. It’s all about seeing the same thing in a different way.

During the summer, the heat helps my curls coil and dry in the most attractive way and the humidity adds volume that styling products could never achieve. It’s hot out and I’m in/out of the water a lot anyway, so why fight it? I’m planning to get a curly cut and try this gorgeous twist out, Channeling Corrine Bailey Rae, during my downtime this month. I may even add a touch of color just for fun. No matter what we do to it, our hair will grow back or grow out, so take a risk and be adventurous!

7. Check out that outdoor concert, art/music fest, or athletic event.

While I don’t think I’ll regret not having children, I will likely regret not having gone to the Beyoncé Mrs. Carter World Tour or her On the Run Tour with Jay-Z. I tend to be exhausted by crowds and hours of standing/walking but with a little pre-planning, excursions like these can become the highlight of the summer. Be sure to bring water and light snacks, wear comfortable, supportive walking shoes, a blanket and small pillow so you can rest in a shaded area when needed, and a camera to capture the memories.

Summer Fun - Ending Summer With A Bang

 

Use these ideas to generate some of your own, but most of all, have fun and let loose! What plans do you have to make the most of these last weeks of summer? Share your strategies to manage endo during the warm summer months in the comments section.

 

Guest post written by Kenya Fairley (www.kenyafairley.com), an advocate to end violence against women and girls. As Senior Director of Capacity Building and Education for the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (www.nrcdv.org), Kenya oversees the technical assistance, training, and resource development components of the organization, including its online presence and social media engagement. Additionally, Kenya is a practicing doula (www.kenyathedoula.com) with experience, knowledge and education related to childbirth and supporting survivors of abuse.

Life Update

I most definitely did not expect to fall of the internet map over the last several weeks. The migraines I shared about in a previous post have intensified to the point when at least 5 days a week, I have intense migraines. The nausea, vomiting, dizziness, hypersensitivity to light and sound, the whole nine yards.

I have been diagnosed with chronic illness for almost 11 years and have had six abdominal surgeries yet I don’t think I’ve ever had something hit me so fast and so hard as these migraines. Daily functioning has been minimal. Sitting in front of the computer screen for more than 4-5 minutes at a time have been a challenge. Outside of some occasional pinning on Pinterest, my screen time has been minimal (and my apologies for the majority of my twitter feed being ads. I am trying to honor my commitments as well as help ends meet).

I’ve been trying to spend as much “functional” time with my family, as you all understand.

I have most definitely been struggling with the guilt of not being able to do enough – for my family, for my blog, and for myself.  Its hard to not feel isolated or to keep from the negative thoughts from being overwhelming. Some days it feels like all hope is lost but I cannot give up.

I look down at my wrist and remind myself that I am a fighter.

I look at my daughter and my husband and remind myself that I am a fighter.

I look at all of the kind, encouraging, and supportive comments and messages I have received from this amazing community and remind myself that I am a fighter.

I look at God’s promises to be with me always and to have a beautiful future in store for me and I remind myself that I am a fighter.

I am determined to bring back life to A New Kind of Normal, even if it means writing posts 5 minutes at a time. I need it. When I saw my doctor on Thursday and we were discussing my history, he said that I needed to write a book so I told him that if he could help get my migraines under control, I would work on it.

Hopefully new things are just around the bend. Regardless of today’s challenges, there are always so many things to look forward to. Abby started kindergarten today (I totally cried!). Fall is just around the corner (praise Jesus for cooler weather!). And of course, a new season of Leroy Jethro Gibbs coming up (a Mark Harmon fix does a body good!).

I cannot put into words my gratitude for each and everyone of you sticking around and offering so much support and encouragement. Its hard to believe that A New Kind of Normal has been around over 7 years now and I had no idea what God had in store for me. My life has been incredibly blessed and you guys are a part of that. I love you all and I love being part of this community.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart and from my family to yours:

Miller Family Thank You

So if you are still hanging around, hang tight. Its time to reclaim hope.

P.S. Tomorrow will be a guest post (that was supposed to go up while we were on vacation  which unfortunately didn’t happen) but definitely check back in as fellow endo warrior, Kenya, will be sharing how to end summer with a bang (even with chronic illness)!