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.

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.

familyholidays

Vacation is finally here & I am seeing Disney at Christmas!

By the time you read this I will be in sunny Orlando with my family preparing to take over Walt Disney World!

I am a Disney lover at heart (if you haven’t picked up on that yet) but I have never been during the holidays so I am beyond excited to see Disney at Christmas and see everything dressed up in lights!

Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World

My dad and I did a ton of research online to find out the best weeks to visit without the parks being absolutely jam packed and it seems that the first two weeks of December are two of the most favorable weeks throughout the year! Thanksgiving and Christmas are horrible (as in close the gates by noon horrible) but the time in between is great because kids are still in school!

While I am stoked that the weather will be a beautiful 80 degrees for most of our visit, I am a little bummed that I won’t be able to wear my Minnie Mouse Santa hat! At least to the parks. There will be family pictures and of course there will be a post or two (or five) when I get back 🙂

While I am gone, I lined up three guest posts from some absolutely wonderful ladies who will be sharing their tips on surviving the holidays with chronic illness! You will definitely not want to miss this!

P.S. Make sure you are following me on Instagram to take a look at Disney at Christmas! I am sure there will be more than a few pics of a certain little princess all dressed up!

familytravel

Preparing for Your Trip To Disney World

Preparing For Your Trip To Disney World

Its no secret that I am a planner at heart. I love checklists and achieve boatloads of internal satisfaction in crossing items off a to-do list! I’ve described myself as “almost type-A” (which my former counselor got a kick out of). Planning for vacation is no different! Especially now that it will come 4 weeks after a pretty major surgery so I’m trying to get prepared early.

In my prepping for our trip, I wanted to share some things I learned about preparing for your trip to Disney World! Here are some cool things that I have found so far in packing for children:

 

1 – The Disney World Vacation Ultimate Packing List

Seriously this list has it all – including things to remember to put in your day bag for visiting the parks! Hopefully this will help me remember the little things that I always find myself forgetting like extra batteries.

 

2 – What to Pack in Your Disney Diaper Bag

Another great packing list specifically for your little one! I love that this list was created by a mom and not only does she provide a list of items, she also gives her recommendations on what works and what doesn’t. The Growing Up Disney blog is a great resource when traveling a family trip to see The Mouse.

 

3- Travel Kids Card

Abby is 2 so obviously she doesn’t have a photo ID. While the airline will not require a photo ID to get on the plane, it is not a bad idea to have one on hand for traveling. Heaven forbid, she get separated from us, but at least this will allow some peace of mind. Creating a travel ID only takes a matter of minutes, ships quickly, and is fairly inexpensive. We ordered ours from Kids Travel Card. I ended up purchased 2 spares so that Hubs and I can each keep one in our wallets just in case.

 

4- Sippy Cup Straps

If you follow me on twitter, you’ve recently heard my rants about sippy cups going missing in our house. Seriously I have had to buy at least 6 new sippies in the last 3 weeks. I was concerned with how we could keep up with Abby’s cups while touring Disney. I’ve seen several variety of sippy cup straps/leashes  and some of them are quite pricey. I decided to check out one of my fav sites, Etsy, and I discovered the shop HarmonyStyle who has the cutest sippy cup leashes in Disney prints at $5 each! Score!

 

5- Hit up Dollar Tree & Dollar General

I have seen so, so many cute Disney related items at Dollar Tree and Dollar General (and similar stores). You can save some money by packing some small souvenirs or items to keep them occupied on the plane (or in the car). They have Disney related snack bags and sippy cups. All of these things you can get for a fraction of the price! We traveled to Disney the last time at Christmas so I picked up a Disney Princess stocking at the Dollar Tree and every morning she had a small Disney treat waiting on her in her stocking that I picked up while preparing for the trip at Dollar General or the Dollar Tree. She was super excited and she didn’t care where it came from! Cool points for mom!

 

Any great sites or products that you would recommend in planning for family vacation? Do you have tips to share regarding traveling with a toddler, either to Disney or in general? Would love to hear them!