chronic illness

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.

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.

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.

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 (, 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 (, 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 ( with experience, knowledge and education related to childbirth and supporting survivors of abuse.

chronic illness

Blogging for Endometriosis – Mental Exhaustion (Week 2 Link-Up)

 When living with an invisible illness like endometriosis you often hear comments questioning the legitimacy of your pain. Comments like “it is all in your head,” “you just need to get out more,” or “but you don’t look sick” are enough to make you want to slap someone. If I had a dollar for every time I have heard a comment like this in the last ten years, I would be living on a private island in the Caribbean and sipping fruity drinks in a hammock.

The struggle, however, is that after so many unsuccessful treatments, doctors appointments, and surgeries, you can get to a place where you begin to question yourself. I know without a doubt the level of pain I have to live with on a daily basis. I have no doubts that each of my illnesses is very real and not some type of manifestation of mental distress. I have no doubts that I know my body and know that something is not right.

The struggle comes as a result of the mental exhaustion that comes as a result of living with chronic pain such as endometriosis. There is most definitely physical exhaustion from battling illness but the mental exhaustion is hard to describe and is not as recognized by those on the outside.

I am constantly worrying about when the next surgery will come. I stress about how my illness is affecting my family. I cry knowing that my daughter now recognizes when I am in pain and that she worries that her mommy will never get better. I fear what my future holds as if my pain is this intense now, what will it be like in ten years? How will I be able to handle it?

I feel like there is a constant weight on my shoulders and it can be exhausting. Mentally exhausting.

This is where I come to a mental and spiritual crossroad.

I know in my heart of hearts that God is in control and He has plans and hope and a future for me. I know He is going to take care of me. I may not know all the answers but I can hold tight to His promise.

But at times it is so hard to turn off that part of my brain that is programmed to worry. It is such a struggle as I know the more I worry, the more exhausted I become which causes me to worry even more and thus perpetuates the cycle. I am such a type-a personality and like having a plan and like being in control even more but one thing you have to come to terms with when living with endometriosis and other chronic illnesses is that are not in control. Flares will happen and there is nothing that you can to do to prevent it. By trying to constantly maintain that control, you can really wear yourself down physically, mentally, and physically.

I know all of these things but it is still so hard. Every day is a battle and every day I pray that I can turn over the worry and the stress and allow myself to rest in His promise which is more than enough to get me through.

What is the hardest thing for you mentally or physically when living with chronic illness?