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How to Handle Chronic Pain and the Beach

So you’re thinking of going to the beach? Good! It’s an awesome idea. But before you book your vacation ticket, there are a few things you need to get right if you’ve got chronic pain and want to handle a trip successfully. 

I love the beach and it’s a passion that I share with my whole family (which explains why my name is Marina). However, from when I was diagnosed with CRPS 10 years ago and was left wheelchair-bound – even I had to question whether a beach holiday was worth the hassle. 

The thought of dragging a wheelchair through the sand or needing to leave the minute I arrived because I was too hot, tired or sore – it put me off the idea altogether. 

However, this wasn’t a long term solution. I wasn’t ready to give up my favourite place in the world. And if you enjoy the beach too – you should not give it up either. 

There are just a few adjustments you’re going to have to make for it to be an enjoyable experience. To handle chronic pain and the beach you need to:

  1. Choose your destination carefully; 
  2. Pack for the day wisely; 
  3. Be realistic about your itinerary;
  4. Make your trip as comfortable as possible;
  5. Go with someone you trust; 
  6. Get into the water if you can; and  
  7. Use the time to rest.

Now I’m going to show you exactly how to do this with as many tips and tricks as possible. 

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The Ultimate Flare Survival Kit for Chronic Illness

If you’re a spoonie that has been left feeling unprepared for a flare – I know how you feel. That’s why I’ve spent the last 10 years compiling an ultimate “survival kit” that anyone can put in place today. 

Flares are so unpredictable, and for that reason, they can leave you feeling so helpless when one rears its nasty head. 

It’s worth mentioning that the reasons you might flare are quite vast and sometimes tricky to pinpoint. Some of the most common reasons include:

Physical and psychological stress, weather changes, lack of sleep, travel or any energy draining activities alike, or change in medication. Unfortunately, not all flares are preventable and the only way to get through it is by being ready. 

The ultimate flare survival kit for anyone with a chronic illness includes: 

  1. Stuff to keep warm and comfortable; 
  2. Entertainment and gadgets
  3. Low-energy hobbies;
  4. Technology to help you communicate;
  5. Easily accessible food and snacks; 
  6. All the medication you need;
  7. Dog or cat cuddles;
  8. Tools to keep brain fog under control;
  9. Basic things to keep your room clean; and
  10. Care products for your body.

Now, are you ready to find out exactly what this entails and how to get through your next flare with slightly more ease? 

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12 Energy-Saving Cooking Tips When You Are Chronically Ill

Even eating becomes exhausting when you’re chronically ill – never mind preparing a meal. But you still need food to survive and it can’t just be takeout. These energy-saving cooking tips are here to show you how you can still eat properly without needing to recuperate all your spoons… just in time for your next meal!

If you want to save your energy while cooking, it requires: 

  1. Planning your meals once a week; 
  2. Doing your shopping online; 
  3. Making sauces and soups in bulk; 
  4. Cleaning as you go; 
  5. Splitting the responsibilities; 
  6. Making sure you can sit and rest; 
  7. Using parchment paper; 
  8. Learning to love one-pot meals; 
  9. Rearranging your kitchen; 
  10. Buying pre-cut or frozen fruit & veg; 
  11. Keeping easy-to-use pantry basics; 
  12. Getting the right tools  

But there’s a whole lot more where that came from. I’ve been trying to optimise my cooking strategy for the last 12 years. It’s not just about your everyday hacks – it’s about personalising them for chronic illness. 

So, if you want to know what it takes to eat well and still look after your wellbeing – then this article is going to help you figure out what will work best for you and how to go about it.  

This includes how to preserve your energy when you have guests; when you need to eat but don’t even have the energy to make scrambled eggs; or when you’re in so much pain you can’t stand for more than 2 minutes at a time. 

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The 9 Best Ways to Clear Brain Fog When You Are Chronically Ill

The frustrating thing about brain fog is that it cannot be officially treated with medication. But there are proven lifestyle changes you can make to effectively clear it up and I’m going to share the best ones with you. 

Brain fog is a symptom that is commonly experienced amongst people with chronic illnesses and – simply put – it just makes daily life painfully slower. 

Unfortunately, most of us (myself included) can’t afford to forgo our daily responsibilities because our brains have decided to work in slow motion for the foreseeable future. 

That’s why clearing mental fog is probably one of the most important things that you need to work for your social, mental and financial wellbeing. So now the question is – how do you do this?

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11 Tips for Staying Organised with Brain Fog

Brain fog is a frustrating thing that almost anyone with a chronic illness will have to deal with. Most of all because it impacts your ability to stay organised and keep your sh*t together – sound familiar?

If you have repeatedly let your bath water overflow, burnt dinner, left your car unlocked, or even walked into a room and then immediately forgotten why you needed to be there – I know how you feel.

But I also know that this is something you can work through and I’m going to show you how.

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5 Ways to Make Cleaning with a Chronic Illness Easier

Having a chronic illness often leaves you with little energy for cleaning. But that doesn’t always mean you have the luxury to leave it up to someone else. 

If you want to make cleaning with a chronic illness easier then you will need to adopt a strategic cleaning system and not an intensive one. Although this requires more planning and research – it’s a lot less manual labour. 

Cleaning can leave the healthiest people with aching backs and tired muscle. It’s not an easy exercise by any means but it’s necessary.

Not only is a clean home a pleasure to have but it helps keep you healthy too. So if you want to do a lot less painful work and still have a clean house that you feel good about – you’ve come to the right place. 

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Top 13 Best Apps for People with a Chronic Illness in 2020

We all need some help managing aspects of chronic illness and I believe it’s worth taking advantage of any tech that enables this process. But it’s time-consuming to find what’s worth your time and what isn’t. 

That’s where I come in. I’ve done the work and tested at least 30 different apps designed to help with chronic illnesses or general life management. And I’m sharing the best ones in this article. 

The top 13 apps that I’ve listed as the best options for anyone with a chronic illness in 2020 all fulfil a different purpose in disease management. From monitoring symptoms to demonstrating coping techniques – I’m covering it all.  

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What is a Spoonie? (Includes Free Poster and Chart)

If you’ve ever tried to explain your chronic illness then you’ll know how hard this is. It’s not just a medical condition. It impacts your whole life. That's why referring to yourself as a spoonie will come in handy. 

A spoonie is a term used to describe anyone with a chronic illness who suffers from limited amounts of energy. It evolved from the ‘spoon theory’, which is a clever analogy used to show how your energy levels are limited when you have a chronic illness – using spoons! 

​It’s effective at explaining your limits to your friends and family in a way that they will understand.

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5 Chronic Pain Music Playlists Depending on Your Mood

If you’re here – you already know that music helps with chronic pain. But your mood ultimately decides what you end up listening to. So when a bad day hits, I like to have these 5 different playlists with me: 

  1. Pick-me-up tunes 
  2. Songs for relaxation 
  3. Motivational tracks 
  4. Songs when you need a fat cry 
  5. Nature sounds and meditation 

Music is its own form of medicine. But the way you appreciate it will be different from the person next to you (or from me). We attach it to our memories, emotions, decisions and so much more. 

So what I want to make clear is that these playlists are important for what they represent – the mood you want to work on. And, of course, to give you a little bit of song inspiration. 

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The Benefits of Music Therapy for Chronic Pain Management

Turning on a feel-good track is the cheapest and fastest therapy I can think of. I’m not a singer or songwriter, but I love music. And I use it for my own chronic pain management all the time. 

Did you know that people listen to music for up to 126 different reasons? It’s so much more than a pick-me-up. Music has the proven power to shift our way of thinking and our physiological responses.

Research is now showing that it can also reduce our perception of pain. Music can be used as a non-pharmaceutical treatment for chronic pain… and actually, work! 

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