Back to basics: Flares

I haven’t been feeling too well lately. A combination of the rise of fascism, and worry about my children, may have been what has sparked up this flare in my symptoms. Or it may be just a totally random occurrence. Who knows?

Anyway, I thought I might write down some of the things I normally do during these types of flare-ups. Both to remind myself, and in case it might be useful for someone.

Sleep: During flares, I’m usually exhausted. Both mentally and physically. Getting enough sleep is often my number one priority. And yet, pain and ‘the jitters’, can often get in the way of enough sleep. I would normally have a bath to help me sleep, but the bath tap is broken. I haven’t been too good at getting to bed early, so instead I’ve been having epic naps when the children are in school. Not ideal, but it still counts as catching up on my sleep.

Limiting activities: I don’t really do too much at the best of times, but during a flare, I put as much as I can on hold. I avoid leaving the house unless I really have to, and the same with doing housework. I do try to do just enough to keep things hygienic, but I know most other things can wait. I try to ask for help with the chores, but if I cant get any, I try not to worry about it.

Nutrition: My diet isn’t great at the best of times, so when I experience a flare, and lose my appetite due to pain, it can be hard to eat enough. When this happens, I rely more on supplement drinks, and other high calorie drinks such a milkshakes. I also rely on meals that don’t need much preparation, such as ready meals and take out. And I buy snacks that are not too messy to eat in bed.

Hydration: This is also very important. I try to kill two birds with one stone by making sure all my drinks also contain calories. So, a lot of smoothies and milkshakes. I also tend to drink more out of bottles, as I’m less likely to spill them, especially if drinking in bed.

Medication: I’m notoriously bad at remembering to take my meds at the best of times. Doubly so during a flare as my memory seems to get so much worse. This is where the medication tracker I made for my bullet journal comes into its own. I can see which meds I’ve taken, which ones I’ve forgotten, and which ones I should give another chance to.

Heat Packs: I have various heat packs. Simple homemade ones that are nothing more than a sock filled with rice and knotted, to ones filled with dried lavender blossoms, to instant ones that I used by the hundreds when I lived in Japan and are thankfully available everywhere now. I don’t have any fancy plug-in ones, but maybe I should invest in one. But heat packs are great for when I’m in pain, and I seem to always have one somewhere on my body during a flare.

Flare kit: Speaking of heat packs, one place I keep them is in a box next to my bed I call my ‘flare kit’. In it I keep heat packs, instant ice packs, massage rollers, eye masks, various lotions and sprays. No medications though, as the children can easily reach inside. I also keep some drinks and snacks in it for when I simply cant get out of bed.

[image shows a photo of my Flare Kit. From top left are: various lotions such as Deep Heat, Magnesium Oil, Deep Freeze etc. An instant ice pack. A pile of instant heat packs. A tub of clove drops. A TENS unit in a blue case. Kinesiotape. More lotions plus a bottle of lavender oil. More massage rollers, that are like spikes balls. A thermometer. A Japanese fan in a cloth case. ]

Good Company: Besides the company of my husband and children, I’m very grateful for all my online friends, especially on Twitter. There’s nothing quite like sending out a moany tweet about all the pain I’m in, and instantly getting a pile of virtual hugs. It may not seem like much, just a few words or emojis, but it really does cheer me up and make a difference. So, thank you for all of you who have shown such support.

And, that’s all I have the energy to write now. Hope you found it useful.



January Tiger Haul

So…instead of sitting down on this gloriously sunny day, and finally writing some ‘serious’ blog posts…I went shopping! Here’s my January Tiger Haul:

Clockwise from top left:

2 packs pretzels: my kids love them for their school lunch snack.

Rope dog toy: Tiger now have a range for pets, and they are really cheap. Not sure about the quality, seems good but got this to put it to the test.

2 packs of Rose Soap: my go-to soap. Smells amazing.

10-subject folder divider: so I can finally start filing 2017 accounts. 

Fabric paint: my husband is finally throwing out used-to-be-white t-shirts. So thought me and kids could have a bit of fun with some of them.

Pink hardback A5 notebook: am stocking up on notebooks that may be suitable as Bullet journals.

Bamboo-cover A5 notebook: see above.

Magnetic memo pad: always useful on fridge for writing shopping lists. 

Chalkboard weekly planner: might be useful to help kids plan their week.

Drawing kit: paper and coloured pencils in a handy case, for my daughter on car trips.

Pencil case with book strap: this might finally solve my conundrum of keeping pencils, ruler etc handy when using my bullet journal 

So, pretty boring haul this time, nothing too fun or stimmy. I was being sensible! 

And now I’ve no excuses left for not sitting down to do some proper writing…


Happy New Year, Happy New Bullet Journal

So, one of the key pieces of advice by the developer of Bullet Journalling is to start each new year with a fresh Bulket Journal, even if the previous one wasn’t used all the way to the end. Following this advice, I’ve started a new bullet journey for 2017. And, again as per advice, I’ve tweaked it a little, keeping what worked and changing what didn’t. 

So, what’s different? Well, I bought a new notebook, again from Tiger. The nature of that store being what it is, they didn’t have the exact same one as last time. Instead of little dots lining the pages, they are blank. Which has pros and cons. And the cover is harder and less rubbery. It has an elastic to keep it shut, and a pocket built into the back cover. But otherwise, it’s not too different. 

And, I also bought a tin of colouring pencils. They are triangular, which helps with the grip, and the tin keeps them neat. I use the elastic band to keep the tin, and a pencil, attached to the journal, as you can see in the photo below: 

The colouring pencils are lovely, and offer me a lot more choice for colour coding. I think I need to buy a small ruler too. 

I’ve put a full-year calendar just inside the front cover, before the Index pages. 

And the Future Log is cut torn out of the same journal I found the full-year calendar in. It was the last few pages of a 2016 calendar I was given but never used. If I need to, I can photocopy it into later journals. 

Next was the Monthly overview, which stayed basically the same. Though page being blank makes it a bit tricky to write in straight lines. I added a few chores to the weekly habits tracker. And just kept it Jan-April.

I also added a few new tasks to my daily habits tracker. And new symptoms to my symptoms tracker. And changed the colour coding a bit. I also make a symptoms tracker for the kids, mainly to track headaches my son is having and my daughter’s stomach aches. 

The medication tracker is pretty much the same, with one or two new meds. And so is the one for the kids too. It’s the one that gets neglected most, mine because I forget, and the kids because they hate taking meds and it turns into a battle. 

And finally, when I made all these trackers, I remembered to photocopy them before I’d added in days of week or any info. So now I have blank templates for future months! Saves on handwriting and also time. I store these templates in the handy pocket at the back. 

So, there you go. Some changes, but not really anything major. The system I had was working quite well so no need for anything more than a few tweaks. This is my fourth month using a Bullet Journal, and I’m still pretty happy with it. 

Happy New Year, Happy New Writing

So, we’re already a week into 2017, and despite my best intentions, this is the first time I’ve been able to write. Put it down to pain and fatigue, sure. But also, I usually write on my iPad, and my daughter likes to hog that device when she’s not in school. Yes, I could write when she’s asleep, but that’s where the pain and fatigue come into play.

As part of a combined Birthday/Communion present, today we bought her a ‘Kurio Smart’ tablet with detachable keyboard. It functions more like a mini laptop, and she’s very happy with it. Except, she’s not enthralled with the YouTube on it. So, we’ve come to an arrangement. If I want to blog, and she’s using the iPad, I get to borrow her Kurio. And that’s what’s happening right now.

Its a nifty little machine, if a little glitchy. And obviously the WordPress App works a bit differently on it. So, it might take me a little while to get used to it. And I do envisage using my iPad for the majority of posts. But at least I now have the option to do more blogging. Also, I normally use the Canva App for images, and that’s not available for Windows. So, I may have to add them in later, or find a different solution. I’m not arty in the least, so find Canva very handy. If any of you can suggest anything, I’d be grateful if you could leave a comment.

As it is, I’ve ideas for more than 30 blog posts. So, hopefully 2017 will see me finally be able to write them. Here’s to a New Year full of new writing!