Katie

Dec 072015
 
Travelling with chronic illness

This is an article I’ve been meaning to write for a while, and a number of you have emailed me asking for tips for travelling with a Chronic Illness.

Travel is fantastic- an opportunity to experience something knew, whether you’re travelling down the road or 10,000 miles away. However, due to the often unexpected nature of travelling, it can also be a total nightmare. It’s this unexpected and ‘what if’ element of travel that doesn’t body well with illness, and we can often stress ourselves out on the ‘what ifs’ and deplete our energy before we even leave our house.

After trying and tests are number of different methods over the years, here are my top tips for travelling with a chronic illness.

5 Tips for Travelling with a Chronic Illness

Travelling with chronic illnessImage by danist_soh for Unsplash

1) Don’t imagine what going to go wrong before you’ve even left the house

As I wrote about here, don’t convince yourself weeks or months ahead of the journey that something is inevitably going to go wrong on the trip, or you’re not going to have the energy to get there and/or enjoy yourself, because (you guessed it!), you might just get what you’re asking for! Either that or you’re so tired from future-tripping that you’ve totally exhausted yourself.

No-one knows what’s going to happen, so just take it as it comes. Every time your ‘monkey mind’ tries to convince you otherwise, give him a little pat and send him on his way.

2) Plan, plan and plan again

Boring, but very necessary…

Have all of your tickets, reservations or details printed out, or in an accessible place on your phone, ready to go well in advance of your leaving date.

Because I’m a slightly nerdy combination of teacher (I’ve had to organise a lot of school trips!) and recovering type-A, I always put together ‘a pack’ before we go travelling. (My husband finds this hilarious, but I love doing it!). Not only does it get me excited about the holiday, but I know that if I have everything printed out, I’m going to stress about things going wrong a few days before or into the trip.

Even if you’re just getting a train up the road, you’ve got to leave to get there at a certain time and know how you’re going to get to where you need to be at the other end. Don’t let this exercise stress you out, however- reframe! You’re basically kicking stress in the teeth by preparing yourself- clever, eh?!

3) Grab your Comfort Kit

I slight confession- I’m one of those people who never manages to sleep on planes. I’m not afraid of flying, but I’ve always found the atmosphere a little bit unnatural. My husband on the other hand can sleep through the whole flight without a flinch (dagnamit!).

Luckily, I’ve got ways to keep myself happy and healthy while everyone else is dozing in the form of a ‘Comfort Kit’ (the term ‘survival kit’ doesn’t sit well with me). This might also work if you’ve got a long car, bus, boat or train journey, but works especially well for flights.

In my comfort kit, I have:

  • A big fleecy blanket
  • Books (plural!)
  • A tiny bottle of organic moisturiser or hand cream
  • An eye mask (I try to bring my own, as often the ones provided smell of plastic)
  • A bottle of this gorgeous essential oil (also great for time of the month or times of general stress)
  • Some of these beadlets, especially if I’m flying.
  • Water, water and more water (not a drop of caffeine or alcohol, thanks- I don’t seem to handle it well at the best of times, but especially not when travelling. It completely throws me off.)

Throw in whatever you’d like to bring- it might be a neck pillow or some fleecy socks. If you’re not flying, you might also be able to bring some healthy food or supplements with you. Have a bit of an experiment and see what works for you.

Bali

4) Have a travel companion (but choose wisely!)

Looking back when I was very ill, I’d probably say that my parents were my travel companions, giving me lifts to and from train stations and really looking after me. (At the time, I might not have shown my gratitude, but I’m so grateful for this now.) Having someone you can travel with is even better, but this also comes with a warning!

Choose your travel companion wisely! You don’t want someone who is going to chat and want to have a conversation for the whole journey if you’re not feeling up to it. You don’t want someone who’s going to nag you if you’re not feeling so great. It’s often worth explaining to someone how you’re feeling on the day and being honest with them, just so they know where your boundaries are.

If you can’t travel with someone, points 2 and 3 can help.

5) Know that might be a little tired after the journey

Travelling is tiring for everyone, whether it’s the daily commute or a 15 hours flight with jetlag. You might be a little tired after the journey, so don’t try and do anything too crazy when you arrive. Aim to have a few days just to float around and see how it goes. The worst thing is to arrive and go headlong into a schedule of planned activities.

This might involve a little bit of honesty on your part, especially if you’re being picked up or staying with family, for example, but honesty (in advance) is always the best policy. That way, you’re not going to feel guilty if you can’t do something when they’ve had it all lined up. Advise them well ahead of leaving, and if it’s family or friends, let them know of any dietary requirements or sleep requirements you might have. If you don’t ask, you’ll never get…

Also, try and drink as much water as you can on arrival- it works wonders

So there we have it- a few tips for travelling with a chronic illness. I still use many of these today, because my journeys always seem to run smoothly this way, especially if I’m flying to and from the U.K. and Australia (that’s a long trip!).

Do you have any other travel tips my darling? I’d love you to share them below, so we can all learn from your experience.

Safe travels!

Love, Katie    xx

Dec 022015
 
Christmas with CFS

Christmas with CFS can either be a time when you seem to forget about your health and enjoy the season (in a responsible way, of course!), a time when all of your stresses and difficulties suddenly get magnified, or a strange, bizarre cocktail of the two.

I have to say that I did enjoy Christmas, but found it incredibly draining when I was very sick (at around 20-40% functionality). I was so determined to enjoy it, but my energy levels and stomach capacity (I wasn’t really managing to eat so much at the time) wouldn’t really allow me. I couldn’t even get out of the house to buy presents, for goodness sakes.

However, there are a few things that you can do to stay focused, healthy and merry during the season (into New Year’s Eve and beyond).

http://

How to Survive Christmas with Chronic Fatigue

  • let your hair down a little bit- ’tis the season, CFS or not. For the last few months of the year, enjoy celebrating wholeheartedly without the guilt.
  • speaking of guilt, it’s perfectly ok to take time out to rest, nap or just to gather your thoughts . Don’t worry about missing out or letting other people down- you’re only disappointing yourself by NOT looking after yourself.
  • everyone finds this season hectic, so if you find yourself feeling more drained than usual, don’t attach meaning to it.
  • don’t feel as though you only have the rest of this month to feel the way you want to feel before 2016. Realistically, we can only achieve so much.
  • take it one moment at a time and enjoy. Don’t worry about what was, or what might be (click here for my tried-and-tested tip).
  • know that you are loved and worthy of love.

Happy Christmas my darling and enjoy the holidays (guilt-free!)

Love, Katie    xxx

Nov 272015
 
Why do I want to hide from the world-

 

When you’re sick or something monumental happens to you, and it doesn’t seem as though there’s any direct way through what we’re experiencing, something inside us shuts down.

We’re unable to cope with something using the same skills and resources we used in the past, so we freak out and feel the need to pull ourselves away.

Whether out of shame, inferiority, regret, embarrassment, guilt, self-loathing or a combination of all of them(!), we automatically think that we’ll just be able to think away out of it and ‘see how it goes’. It becomes a hell of a lot easier to keep our insecurities to ourselves, because we can’t be 100% sure how others are going to react to what we’re going through. We’re terrified that we’ll be seen as totally messed up, fucked up and pathetic. Ironically this is how we feel inside at the time, but we’re so insecure about others knowing this that we slide into the need and want to hide from the world.

Why do I want to hide from the world-Image by Drew Hays adapted from Unsplash

What does hiding look like?

Not picking up the phone when there’s a random number on the screen (done it, and still do it all the time. My husband thinks it’s hilarious!)

Not wanting to go out without a full face of make-up on. I want to hide my flaws and imperfections.

Not telling people how bad something really is. You think you’re protecting them, but really just hiding the truth from yourself (hip injuries anyone?!)

Hiding away from flatmates/neighbours (i.e. running the other way when they’re coming towards you, or hearing them arrive home and running into your room- I’ve done both of these.)

Avoiding difficult conversations.

Not admitting to someone how you really feel, so when you really do express it, you spit it out at them and it comes out as anger.

Why are you hiding?

I hid during my illness out of shame.

Shame for the fact that I wasn’t at work, as a ‘normal’ person should be.

Shame that maybe I was having too much down-time while everyone else was grafting away at work.

Shame at being off (again), because I’m still not fully understanding the lesson behind my hip injury.

Every time I hear my neighbour come out of their house and hear the gate go at the moment, I know that there’s no way in hell I’m stepping outside any time soon. I was about to head out for my daily walk the other day, but I hid behind the door for 5 minutes until I heard them drive away.

Why?

Because I’m ashamed that I’m having to take time off again, and truly, if anyone asks me when I’m going back to work anytime soon, I think I’ll burst into tears.

Hidden Healing

Clearly, all of this is coming up now for a reason.

I haven’t been stepping into my power recently. I need to dive into some big, big chakra two stuff and all I want to do at the moment is meditate my little self senseless. I’ve been feeling this sense power a lot recently in kundalini yoga sessions, and it’s pulling me with everything it has.

Do not be afraid of your power my love. This is your life-force, your energy, your birthright. This is pure creation and what the world revolves and spins on. Stepping into it is terrifying, especially if we’ve spent our whole life running from it, but taking small steps and sitting in stillness is sometimes all we need.

We can’t keep hiding behind doors forever.

Your light deserves to be seen.

Sending you so much love and strength,

Katie     xxx

(P.S. If you’d love to reach out to someone who really understands what you’re going through, I’d love to encourage you to dive into the CFS Collective, launching next week. Understanding, compassion and love cannot stand in the face of secrecy and fear).

chronic illness community

The CFS Collective- launching August 4th

belinda davidson

My favourite chakra meditation

Nov 242015
 
blog outline

Over the past week, no less than three people have directly asked me why it is that even though I’ve healed CFS, I still continue to write about and give advice about Chronic Fatigue. This is a question I’ve actually been asking myself a lot recently, so I wanted to put down my thoughts, just in case you’ve been wondering the same (and also for myself!).

Why I’m Still Giving Advice About Chronic Fatigue

Most people who recover from chronic illness go back to their lives and never look back. If I’m totally honest, I have been looking back. I never think about CFS returning, but I do love to take a birds-eye view of what I’ve learned. Not only am I interested in what I’ve learned (10 years is a long time not to come away with any lessons!), but I’m also interested in life after CFS.

The more I write, the more I believe that I’m writing for the future you. I’m writing for the part of you that knows with everything you have that you will get better, even if your mind takes over sometimes and tries to talk you down. I’m writing for the realisations I’ve had as a result of going through Mind Detox Practitioner Training, looking my own dated fears and self-imposed limitations square in the eyes, and passing down lessons and advice about Chronic Fatigue to you in the hope that they’ll help.

A 2.56am Realisation

About two months before I started my blog (a blog which was originally called ‘All Natural’ and contained some pretty lame smoothie recipes!), I was watching one of Dr. Wayne Dyer‘s lectures. Wayne always spoke about being woken up in the middle of the night by spirit and knowing it was time to write.

Well, a similar thing happened to me a few days after I finished watching his lecture. I was woken up one morning at 2.56am on 21st June 2013 feeling energised and alive, instinctively grabbed a pen and paper and sketched out the homepage for my blog in the living room. Yep, that’s it- on the scrappy piece of paper below! (For some reason, I even wrote down the time and date at the top of the paper.

blog outline

The name changed, but the concept stayed the same, and that how it’s been for nearly 3 years. It took me another 6 months to actually start putting it all together, but I took the hint eventually!

Why Do I Do It?

Why do I still do it? Because frankly, I can’t help it.

It all feels a lot bigger than me and if anyone can benefit from my insights and advice about Chronic Fatigue, then I’m so grateful to have been of help.

What’ll happen in the future? I’m not entirely sure, but I feel as though I’m always been led by something bigger than myself.

I always love hearing from you, and will continue to help as many people as in can in any way in which I’m guided.

Thank you for being here, beautiful one.

Love, Katie  xxx

Would you like to read my full recovery story? Click on the image above to find out about my latest book on Amazon.

Nov 192015
 

When we’re feeling anxious about something, we become consumed by worry and fear, and so often, that fear drags us down until we can’t think about anything else. This might mean we write things off, feel bad for the rest of the day or feel as though we’re useless and unworthy.

However, when I recovered from CFS, I found that I had a few stories from being sick that I’d carried with me. None of these were helpful and, as much as our brain is trying to keep us safe (it’s helping us to survive, that’s its job), some of these thought patterns were just not helpful, and certainly not useful if I wanted to move forward in my life.

The Best Way To Overcome FearImage by Jakub Sejkora adapted from Unsplash

The Best Way To Overcome Fear

For me personally, this is the best way to overcome fear. You might find that other methods work well for you, but I wanted to share this with you to play around with the next time you’re feeling anxious or fearful that something might be too much for you, or you find yourself future-tripping about something on the horizon.

My Personal Tip

As soon as you feel anxious, before the fear has a chance to drag you down and before you feel the emotion, think of all the POSITIVE THINGS that you will feel or that will happen if you do decide to do what you want to do.

Example

You’re supposed to go to a dinner at the weekend, but there’s going to be a lot of people there (some you know, some you don’t). You really don’t feel like talking, and you haven’t been great in groups or with noise since your diagnosis.

Instead of automatically telling yourself how difficult, awful and stressful it’s going to be, reframe it. You might meet some new people; the food will be great, so you don’t have to think about cooking for once; it’s a great chance to get some fresh air and get out of the house.

Why It Works

Once you think about the good sides of the situation, the positives almost always outweighs the negatives.

Suddenly, instead of feeling anxious, stressed and sick, you’re feeling light, free and maybe even a little bit excited. You’ve also managed to stop that whirlwind of emotions that come with feeling fearful and anxious.

Just before you tell me that this is too simple (and I get it, I’ve second guessed this too!), I’d just love you to try it. Try it the next time that voice comes bubbling up, or you feel too fixated on a future event and you’re not sure why. Try it a few times, and I think you might just like the perspective it gives you.

Changes are that none of the negatives will happen anyway! Your mind is just trying to protect you (bless it!).

I’d love to know how you get on- let me know in the comments below!

Lots of love,

Katie      xxx

Nov 182015
 
6 Ways to Cope with  Noises and

 

When I think back to having a selection of quick, go-to articles that would’ve made my life a whole lot easier when I was sleeping for 22 hours a day (more on this here), the post I’m about to write would have been really helpful to me. During CFS, you don’t actively realise that you need help with this, but as you start to get out of that ‘always sleeping’ phase, learning how to cope with noise and sounds during CFS becomes vital.

Why do sounds bother me so much?

The truth is, we become hyper-sensitive to anything and everything when our body is hibernating or in ‘shut-down’ mode. I developed allergies (probably due to an overdose of this stuff), and became so used to spending so much time sleeping in my room and being alone that anything out of the ordinary really upset and shocked me. Any sudden sounds, such as someone dropping something, forget it- my heart and head would be racing and pounding for hours to come (brain fog can bring us to our knees when we least expect it).

Eventually (and it will be eventually, believe me!), you will come to see this sensitivity as a strength, not a weakness. We come to realise that our body is protecting us in our fragile state in the only way it knows how, and for this, we should be very grateful. The alternative doesn’t really bear thinking about.

6 Ways to Cope with  Noises andPhoto by Corey Blaz taken from Unsplash

Here are 6 ways to cope with noise and sounds during CFS:

1) Get the hell outta there

Sometimes, the most obvious, ‘what do you take me for?’ advice is the thing we need to hear the most. If you’re feeling extra sensitive, don’t dive into a shopping centre or a crazy supermarket (my own personal sounds hell-holes). I get it, by being in these places, you get to feel like a ‘normal’ member of society again, but just imagine the feeling of hitting that wall of sound and then having to head home again feeling disappointed and embarrassed. If you’re with someone who gets it and you think you can cope with it, great, but if you can’t, there is absolute no shame is not wanting to subject yourself to what can be an utterly overwhelming situation.

Don’t go there, literally. Do what you have to do and get the hell outta there.

2) Have a back-up plan

Maybe you want to go to a shopping centre, but you’re not 100% sure if you can cope with it. Is there a smaller town or area with less people on your way? Is there an alternative which involves being out of the house for a shorter time or can you get away with shopping tomorrow when you might be feeling a little stronger?

I know the temptation is to use the little energy you have in one go, but sometimes, the best way out is around. We don’t have to be so rigid all the time (something I’m definitely still learning for myself).

(Click here for my number one essential CFS recovery tip- incredibly simple, but life-changing).

3) Go with someone who gets it

I know that you might argue that a family member or friend might never truly ‘get it’, but it’s a lot easier than going on your own. I know you feel like an elderly person who needs to be accompanied everywhere, but when you’re in the midst of CFS brain fog and a crowd of strangers, you need someone who can link your arm and point you towards a cup of tea or some open space.

Even better, talk to the person going with you before you leave (maybe about point number 2) and reassure them that you’re ok, but if you’re feeling wobbly, they have full permission to ask if you’re ok and drag you home if need be.

4) Earphones or Headphones are your best friend

I’m not talking about drowning out all the other noise with some death metal or trance, I’m talking about just popping some headphones and letting them do a little bit of ‘damage limitation’ for you. Plug them into your phone and everyone else will just believe that you’re listening to some funky tunes.

If you’re feeling edgy or like you’re ready to take on more ‘audio’, downloading a beautiful podcast (like these ones by Connie Chapman) can really help to soothe you and calm you if you’re feeling panicked. Some uplifting music is a must as well. This gorgeous mantra by Deva Premal is my ultimate go-to track when I feel as though my breathe is becoming a little bit shorter and all I want to do is dive into the ocean.

5) Take along a calming kit

If you’re at that stage in your recovery where you know that shopping for an hour is do-able, but any more than that might be tough, take along a little calming, ‘survival’ kit with you. I always used to do this when I would go window-shopping with my Mum and it really helped (the headphones and earphones in point 4 can form part of this kit too.)

Click here for more healthy snacks which might help to maintain your energy levels.

(To see the rest of the Perfect Potion range, click here and jump over here for more on Rescue Remedy.)

6) Trust your Gut

Your intuition and body never lie, so learn to trust the messages you are receiving. Today might not be the day to do a mad trolley dash, or meet friends for lunch, and that’s ok. I relapsed on many occasions because I fell into the trap of thinking that my friends would abandon me if I didn’t show up. But you have to do this thing on your own terms- don’t be ashamed or scared to step back a little. Your energy is your savings account.

I really hope some of these tips help you my love. Let me know below, do you find it difficult to cope with noise and sound? How do you find your way through it?

Love, Katie    xxx

Nov 112015
 
HOW TO LET GO OF THE PAST

Originally, I thought that writing an article on how to let go of the past was going to take me months. I thought I’d always be battling with it and trying to word things in the right way, but I deleted all the previous drafts of this post. Really, it’s quite simple, but nonetheless painful. It’s a lesson that took me a long time to learn, and I’ve no doubt I’ll have to keep relearning for years to come.

HOW TO LET GO OF THE PAST

How To Let Go Of The Past

Accept that it’s over. It’s finished.

There is no going back and rewriting or making things over.

It’s done.

It’s impossible for it to be any other way.

It’s brutally raw, but that’s the unvarnished truth.

The past might seem very real in your mind. We replay memories, the good and the bad, over and over until we become haunted by them.

Why didn’t you do this?

What if I’d gone there instead of here?

What if she hadn’t said that?

What could I have done to make it better?

These thoughts move round and round in our heads until we either exhaust ourselves or convince ourselves of something that simply isn’t true, a made-up story. To get a handle on our emotions, our brain then helps us to make sense of what happened by creating a story around it. This means we can rationalise and ultimately survive, but these stories are not always positive ones. (I’m still clinging on to a few of my own.)

you are safe

So, how to let go of the past?

With grace, gentleness, gratitude and a knowing that spending all your energy focused on the present is a hell of a lot more productive than sending your body and mind back to the past.

You might have to grieve as part of the letting go process, and you should allow yourself to do so. Sometimes what we always thought we’d do can ultimately never be done in the same way again. We have to be ok with this, because, ultimately, we don’t have a choice (as I learned myself the hard way).

Peeling back the layers takes a hell of a lot of courage, and sometimes it’s a lot easier to stuff down and resist our emotions, but they always somehow have a way of coming back round to us.

It is safe for you to let go.

It is safe for you to forgive.

It is safe for you to move on even though you’re terrified.

It’s safe to not have a damn clue what you’re doing.

Just let it go.

Love, Katie     xx

(Would you like to dive into this a little more? This incredible video from Jordan Bach might just help.)

Nov 072015
 
smoothie

Ok, I’ll come clean. Since really taking care of my body and wanting to create as nutrient-rich a diet as possible, juices and smoothies are my go-to essentials. Juices and smoothies are easily absorbed by the body (more so juices, because smoothies require more work on your digestion’s behalf) and are perfect as a snack or pick-me-up. I wish I had had this knowledge in the early stages of my illness, as my appetite was practically non-existent, and juices and smoothies would have provided much-needed nutrition in an easy and practically effortless way.

CFS Juices

Green CFS juices and vegetable juices in general are probably my favourites. My Grandad always used to buy huge bags of carrots from the farmer down the road and make us litres of carrot juice. Pure carrot juice is still one of my favourite things! Fruit juices are lovely and refreshing occasionally, but I tend to find that I’m a little bit jumpy because of all the sugar, even though it’s all natural. Green juices on first glance can look absolutely disgusting, but trust me, the nutrient content of them will blow your mind and you’ll feel instantly better.

Another amazing wellness inspiration, Kris Carr, pours her juices into wine glasses for that bit of extra glamour. I’ve started doing this too, and must say, it makes me feel fabulous!

juice

Picture taken from here

Top Ingredients for Juices

Kale, beetroot (the colour is beyond belief!), carrots, cucumber (for beautiful skin), green apple and celery. If you can buy organic, then I’d definitely recommend it. It can be expensive in some places however, so buying fruit and veggies from the supermarket and removing the skin/peel can lessen the chemical load a little bit.

CFS Smoothies

Smoothies were something I shied away from for a long time, probably because I was sick of buying fresh smoothies in cafes and shops and they would be full of yoghurt and ice-cream. If you’d like to do this to start off with, to add variety or build up your strength, go for it, but I prefer non-diary smoothies. Just stick everything in a blender and pour it into a glass! Oooh, I love smoothies!

Top Ingredients for Smoothies

Homemade almond milk (rice/oat/quinoa milk work well too), goji berries, blueberries, raw cacao powder, maca powder, chia seeds (I think I have a slight chia seed addiction) and coconut water

(If any of these ingredients sound a bit weird and wonderful, I’ll be writing a post about them soon!)

smoothie

Picture taken from here

Both juices and smoothies (especially smoothies!) can be quite filling, so I always have them between meals as they will be more readily absorbed on an empty stomach.

More Recipes

With juices and smoothies, I general don’t follow recipe or guidelines, I just throw things in! I’m not especially creative in the kitchen, so I tend to get inspiration from other people. Jess Ainscough (The Wellness Warrior) has really helped me in getting going with green juices and smoothies- she is truly inspiration, and I heartily recommend that you visit her website. Best of all, if you sign up for email updates, you get a free e-book with 80 smoothie recipes in it! Jess is not only full of knowledge, but generous to a fault!

wellness warriorImage taken from here

The Equipment

I bought this juicer two years ago- it’s not the best on the market, but is definitely up there. It’s incredibly reliable, easy to clean (dishwasher friendly) and stands pride-of-place on my kitchen worktop. As far as smoothies go, I don’t have a special gadget, I just use a regular food processor. Mine is years old and still does the job.

So, give it a go! Trust me, you will not regret it. Juices and smoothies are part of my daily diet and I absolutely love making them. I truly believe that they help me maintain my health and boost my immune system.

Let me know if you have any of your own recipes you’d like to share!

Love and smoothies,

Katie   xx

(Click here for my official CFS Smoothie recipe- Strawberry Cheesecake!)

CFS smoothie

Nov 062015
 
Best Essential Oils for chronic fatigue

I’ve dabbled in essentials oils in my time, but never really seemed to be able to find oils that had a profound effect on me. They’ve always just been something that smells nice for a little while, but nothing more than that.

I’ve recently been diving more into the healing powers of essential oils, and I really wish I’d had access to them when I was ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I think they really would’ve helped to relieve my symptoms when I was feeling like hell and on my road to recovery.

Best Essential Oils for chronic fatigue

The Best Essential Oils For Chronic Fatigue

1) Lavender

If you’re one of those people who remembers overly-scented lavender bars of soaps from your childhood (or maybe that’s just me!), think again!

I really wish I’d had lavender oil to help with my chronic insomnia when I was sick. It’s ironic that an illness that makes us so fatigued can also cause insomnia too.

My husband was having trouble sleeping a few weeks ago, and although he’s a bit of a sceptic, he was out like a light within minutes of me rubbing lavender oil on the soles of his feet! Even he had to admit that lavender worked for him!

Lavender oil uses: rubbing on soles of the feet before bed; putting a few drops in a warm bath; putting a few drops on your pillow or wrists before bed.

2) Orange

Oranges are not really the first thing we think about when we think about energy, but that smell of the zest of a ripe orange or orange oil in a blend can really help to energise us. It also makes me feel instantly happy and upbeat!

Orange oil is also said to be the oil of abundance, so can help to make us feel a little more positive when we’re not feeling so hot.

Orange oil uses: great in a diffuser or burner; good to use as a perfume (my personal favourite!).

unsplash plants imageImage by kazuend via Unsplash

3) Peppermint

Peppermint is great for wanting to be alert and more focused. It also goes well when you diffuse or burn it with orange essential oil- the ultimate pick-me-up!

Peppermint oil uses: great in a diffuser or burner; good to just smell from the bottle for an instant energy burst.

4) Geranium

This has to be my favourite oil at the moment, and I just love wearing it as a perfume. I feel so loved, serene and calm when I use this oil, and have had comments from complete strangers in the middle of the street when I wear it!

If you’re feeling down or like you need a little more love in your life, I can’t recommend Geranium enough.

Geranium oil uses: mix a drop with your favourite facial moisturiser; diffuse or use in a burner; wear as a perfume; put a few drops in your bath.

Do you enjoy using essential oils my lovely? How have you found them beneficial? Let me know below!

Love, Katie   xxx

(P.S. If you would like to know more about essential oils and how you can use them in your life own life, please fill in this form and I’ll get back to you asap.)

Disclaimer: The suggestions shared on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA or TGA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. Essential oils are not used to “treat” medical problems.

Nov 022015
 
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Following on from yesterday’s post, I just wanted to share some insights with you about my state of mind before I became ill and was diagnosed with CFS.

As some of you might have read in my story on fear, I was a bit of go-getter before I became ill at age 18. There literally weren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things I wanted to do. Notice the use of the word ‘wanted’ here, rather than ‘needed’- I was passionate about so many things- my studies, going to Uni to study Music *cough cough*, and everything was where it should’ve been. I was all set and so enthusiastic about life and the future.

When this changed suddenly due to a decision to study languages, I felt like I had the wind knocked out of me. Everything I’d known in life up until that point felt like it was being taken away from me. Ironically, I didn’t feel angry, depressed or disappointed. I just felt numb. Maybe this was what growing up and making responsible decisions was supposed to feel like.

I could not relate to this feeling at all. It was so alien, but I also had no choice but to get on with things. I’d played my own game for so long and loved it, and now I had to play someone else’s. New rules, new teams, new tactics and a new result.

I just couldn’t do it. All of a sudden, I just had to stop and hope that everything else would stop with me. Then it’d all be fine and I’d pick up from where I’d left off during this horrible, nightmarish period of living someone else’s life. But I didn’t. I stayed where I was…and I sank into my body.

Before my diagnosis, I was tired of living someone else’s life. Tired of pretending that everything was ok. Tired of having no passion, whereas before that’s all I’d ever known. Tired of playing along. Tired of time passing by too quickly for me to change anything. Tired of having no voice.

Tired of not being me.

girl mountains unsplashPhoto by Chris Lawton for Unsplash

I honestly belief that part of the reason I became ill with CFS was because I was tired of this pretend life I was attempting to live, so tired in fact that my body picked all these thoughts up and just followed my instructions. Emotionally, I was tired, so my body got my messages and followed suit. I wanted to hide and wait for everything to sort itself out without me. I can’t be angry with my body- I’ve stopped blaming it for everything. I’ve also stopped blaming myself- it’s absolutely useless, a waste of much-needed energy and keeps me dwelling on the past when all I want to do is move on.

I don’t mean to say that you are to blame for your illness, not at all. When I feel down on myself, my immune system crashes, and I come down with everything. I wasn’t in the best health, and I don’t think mentally telling myself I was tired and my body wasn’t working was helping.

When I’ve meditated on this, I’ve gradually received answers, but reading for me has really opened my eyes. When I’ve read something that is basically written for me, I’m forced to stop in my tracks and really think about the words. Through this, I’ve managed to come to terms with my illness and, more importantly, I’ve learned great life lessons from it.

If you’re really honest with yourself, what were you tired of feeling before your diagnosis? What might have been your reasons for Chronic Fatigue? What do you want to feel again in your life? I’d love to know your thoughts below.

Love and lucidity,

Katie    xx

Oct 282015
 
5 Alternative Self-Care Tips

Having gone back to work full-time after a hip injury, I knew that I would have to do things a little differently. I’m a teacher, and tend to spend most of my day standing up, moving around a classroom and writing on the board, but with a slightly sore hip and lower back, I’m changing things up (or should I say, ‘down’) a little.

After years of CFS and heading back into full-time work, often when I wasn’t ready, I knew this time that I was all set.  Even my husband, who’s always the first to pull me up if I’ve got my type-A head screwed on too tightly, supported me going back. I’m practising what Cheryl Richardson would call ‘extreme self-care’ at the moment, and I have to say, I’m finding it an incredibly interesting experience. It’s shining a light on where I was giving too much and not prioritising myself a few months earlier. I’ll write more about this in a future post, but for now, let me share with you 5 alternative self care tips that have been working for me recently (trial and error approved!).

5 Alternative Self-Care TipsPhoto by Blair Connolly taken from Unsplash

5 Alternative Self Care Tips

1) Ask for what you want

The people around you aren’t psychic. If you need help, or find yourself resenting someone when they don’t offer assistance, please ask them.

I slipped back into old habits pretty quickly last week. I went in to see my boss to see if he could put me in a classroom on the same level as our teacher’s room, so I wouldn’t have to manage the especially slippery stairs in school. I asked if he could move me, but then went back on myself- I became embarrassed to even be asking, but luckily, he knows me pretty well, so moved me anyway (even though I suddenly felt really ashamed).

Ask for what you want, otherwise nothing changes. Your nearest and dearest probably aren’t mind readers. You’ve no right to get angry at others because they’re failing to read your mind!

2) Let someone else pick up the slack

You don’t have to do everything under the sun yourself. Really, you don’t.

You think you have to, but you don’t.

If you’re someone who believes that your way is the best way, or no-one else can do it as well as you, catch yourself and ask yourself if it’s really true.

If you’re angry and resentful that you seem to be the only one who lifts a finger, ask yourself if you’ve approached anyone for help recently.

We can’t read your mind. (Point 1- rinse and repeat).

3) It doesn’t have to be done right now

As I mention here and here, my husband is the type of person who will rest first, and do a job or task later. Crazy, right?!

Well, he’s definitely taught me that the world will not crumble if I sit down with a cup of tea for 10 minutes before unloading the dishwasher, or that I’m allowed to relax with a magazine before trying to knock off every single thing on my to-do list. Relaxing should be a priority, but these days, we feel we can’t really relax until we do x, y, z.

Why not relax now, and do what you have to do later? It’ll still get done!

4) Stop making up stories

I can’t remember in which book I first read about this, but it was years ago now. I knew very early on in my teaching career that if I attached to all the emotions the students reflected back to me, I’d be a nervous wreck and would be terrified to go into school and do my job.

We create stories in our minds as survival mechanisms, but this isn’t always helps (natural, yes, but not always helpful). I’m very quick these days to detach from the reactions of others and not interpret ‘x’ to mean ‘y’.

On her recent interview with Oprah for Super Soul Sunday, Brené Brown really summed this up well. Are you hooked on a false story?

5) Stop thinking about it

I wrote this post a little while ago, but you don’t have to think about it all the time.

You know, that thing or person who seems to constantly be piping up and making you question yourself? Well…

You don’t have to think about it all the time.

Let it go, distract yourself if you must, but if it’s something you’d rather not thinking about, just stop thinking about it. Sometimes, it really is that simple.

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Do you have any self care tips of your own, my love? Share below!

Love, Katie    xxx

Finding M.E.Now available on Amazon!

Oct 262015
 

 

I’ve received lots of emails about this recently and it’s a recurring theme of conversation with my coaching clients, and so I just thought I’d put my thoughts into a post.

Along with all of these lovely choice phrases, “Why are you so lazy?” or words to that effect, might have been aimed at your recently or during your illness. This hurts…I mean, really, really stings.

Up until about x-days/weeks/months/years ago, you had it all figured out. You had a job/income, you had some form of social life, you were frequently in touch with your family and friends, you could string a sentence together and things were generally pretty good. But now you can’t move- you can’t remember the last time you opened the curtains (never mind went outside), you feel incredibly guilty for not bringing in a salary and you feel as if your friends can’t be bothered with you any more. Now, to top it all off, you’ve got people thinking you’re lazy when you have CFS!

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Photo taken from here

Ooooh yep, I hear ya! I’ve had this and all you want to do is scream and shout, and let them know what’s really going on. You’ve told them over and over, but they still don’t get it. Luckily, there are some things you can do to make everything a little bit smoother for yourself and others.

Show them this article. If they still haven’t changed their tune, show them this one or this one. If you still don’t get a flinch out of them after this, ask yourself some serious questions.

+ Know that if you were going to invent an illness, CFS/ME would be it. It’s almost like a crazy junior school Biology project:

Teacher: “Ok, everyone- settle down. Now what I want you to do is work in groups and invent an illness. You must describe it and then present it in front of the class. You have 10 minutes- off you go!”

Student 1: “I know! How about something where you sleep for, like, 22 hours a day- like Sleeping Beauty!!”

Student 2: “Yeah, and you can’t go to work because you’re too busy sleeping and lying in bed and people have to feed you and stuff?!”

Everyone in group: “Yeah, that sounds amazing!!”

See the humour in it- it might just get you through those “I really want to break your arm right now (if I had the energy)” kind of moments.

The dictionary definition of ‘lazy’ is: “averse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion; indolent.” I have never, EVER met anyone with CFS/ME who is lazy. Most of the people I’ve spoken to are Type A Personality people and we do not do lazy. Perfectionist, yes. Lazy? Nooooo. People relapse with CFS precisely because they are not lazy- that’s half our trouble. We want to contribute to the world, to our lives, and so we push on and then make ourselves worse. Don’t you dare talk to me about laziness….! (Sorry, rant over!)

+ Understand at a cellular level that there is absolutely no way they can understand what you’re going through. No way. People can empathise, but they’ll only know it if they’ve been through it themselves. This might make you feel lonely or disconnected from everyone for a while, but it’s only temporary. Know that they just want to see you better, healthy and happy- ask for their help, even though they don’t understand this craziness. You look fine, so of course, they’re a bit confused (I remember wishing I could’ve broken my arm or something instead of having CFS- at least people can physically see there’s something wrong with you, right?)

+ You are still you. You are still you. You as a person and a beautiful soul have not changed. Your body is just taking some time out, because it needs it. Once you know who you are, and really know it and own it, those lazy comments will bounce right off you.

Smile, suck it up for a bit longer and know ultimately that these comments will stop. People will see how sick you are, not lazy, and will want to help in any way they can. Show them this website, point them to my Facebook page and show people that you’re not the only one going through this ‘laziness epidemic’.

I’d love to hear your comments below- have you ever been accused of being lazy?

Love, not laziness,

Katie    xxx

Oct 192015
 
Final+Heal+the+Hidden+Cause+Front+Cover+2013

(Mind Detox Sessions are now live and available to book here!)

Ever since the beginning of 2015, as we welcomed in the New Year in Bali, I knew that 2015 was going to be a big one. I had no idea what it would look like, but I knew that I’d gain a lot of confidence in a particular area. 2015 so far has been quite eventful, with the launch of my new book on Amazon, and it’s also held a few surprises!

I’ve known for a while that a course or some kind of extra learning would be on the cards at some point, but I had no idea what form it would take. A few courses have popped up on the horizon over the last few months (and believe me, I’ve been tempted by many of them!), but I was never 100% hooked into them. Now I know why…

Healing the Hidden Cause with the Mind Detox Method

After reading Sandy Newbigging‘s ‘Heal the Hidden Cause’ a few weeks ago, I knew that if there was some kind of course related to it, I just had to do it! If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I believe there was a root cause to my illness, and once I stumbled across this for myself (via these lovely books), healing was quick in coming to me. Don’t get me wrong, I still stumbled a bit (you can read all about it here), but after this point, there was no going back.

Final+Heal+the+Hidden+Cause+Front+Cover+2013

Sandy’s course, the Mind Detox Method, deals with the root cause of any feelings or symptoms you might be having trouble with, and can really help to ‘uncharge’ any negative emotions around certain events or occurrences in your life. This is not a substitute for actual medical help and I’m not a trained medical practitioner, but this is one of the most interesting alternative healing methods I’ve come across in a while.

So, as luck would have it, there was a course in the method in October in Sydney! I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be doing my practitioner training with Debbie Spellman this weekend. I’m sure that I’ll learn so much, and I can’t wait to help you work through some of your own underlying issues in the future. It’s certainly transformed a lot of my thinking around various ‘niggles’ I’ve had related to success, health, wealth and wellbeing.

Click the video below for all the details!

Mind Detox Sessions are now live and available to book here!

Lots of love, Katie    xx

(P.S. To preview more of Sandy and Debbie’s groundbreaking work, click here.)