Category: Health

In Praise of the Afternoon Nap

I love an afternoon nap!  When I wake up, I feel refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day and evening.

I am not alone.  Winston Churchill also loved to nap.  He believed you get twice as much done if you nap!  “Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces… Don’t think you will be doing less work because you sleep during the day. That’s a foolish notion held by people who have no imaginations. You will be able to accomplish more. You get two days in one — well, at least one and a half,” he said.

I have always loved a Sunday afternoon nap.  There is something quite indulgent about snuggling up with a book and then allowing yourself to close your eyes and head to dreamland in the middle of the afternoon.

I also have great memories of that nap at the end of nursery school or kindergarten.  Bliss.

To nap or not to nap?

I have recently being experiencing a flare.  My pain levels are off the charts and this makes me grumpy.  To be honest I have also had a niggling feeling that the depression that I have kept at bay for many years is creeping back.  The weather isn’t helping – in Ireland has been dull, grey and rainy for months.  I really don’t like taking antidepressants (although I would never rule them out). What I could do to help myself?

I sat with my journal and tried to figure out how to get though this rough patch. The first thing I realised is that I must be absolutely diligent with my exercise.  Exercise gives you endorphins – happy hormones so this was an easy fix. It is easy when you are not feeling great to skip, but that is the last thing I needed.  You can read about my wonderful trampoline routine here.

The second thing I realised is that an afternoon nap might help.  It was around 5 pm that I was feeling completely overwhelmed by pain and low mood.  I wondered if a nap might help.

An afternoon nap definitely helps

After a few days of my new routine, exercise first thing, eating as well as possible and my nap I started to feel a bit better.  The late afternoon dips were gone and I felt more able to cope.

There seems to be some evidence to back this up.  According to WebMD Napping isn’t just for babies. Studies show that an afternoon nap is great for adults, too. There’s no need to feel lazy for indulging in daytime sleep. A short nap in the mid-afternoon can boost memory, improve job performance, lift your mood, make you more alert, and ease stress.

Dr. Sara Mednick, a psychologist at the University of California, Riverside and author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life has some interesting thoughts.  In an article on www.time.com she is quotes as saying that naps are good for most people.  Mednick says. her research shows a nap—defined as daytime sleeping that lasts between 15 and 90 minutes—can improve brain functions ranging from memory to focus and creativity. “For some people, naps are as restorative as a whole night of sleep,” she adds. More research shows a quick nap can lower stress and recharge your willpower. And napping has also been linked to lower rates of cardiovascular disease and inflammation.

It looks like my instincts to take an afternoon nap are good.  My research did show however that if you are very sleepy and feel like you need to sleep all the time, there could be an underlying cause.  If in doubt please consult your doctor.

For me though I am off upstairs for a little shut-eye.

Thanks for reading and sharing my journey.

Kerry x

Living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome – IBS and me!

Sometimes I feel like IBS is the soundtrack to my life.  It is always there in one form or another, and I am always hunting for a way to turn the volume down.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of those things that nobody seems to have a definitive solution for and it is exacerbated by long-term illnesses like fibromyalgia and diabetes.  Medication that you take to solve one thing seems to make it worse, so it is a constant juggling act.  For me this is the hard truth when it comes to painkillers and anti-inflammatories I need to take for arthritis.

Warning:  This is a post with a bit TMI (too much information) but I hope it will help my fellow irritable bowel syndrome sufferers.

It isn’t all doom and gloom though

A few things have helped me to deal with IBS.  The first one is simply accepting that it isn’t going anywhere.  It isn’t ever going to go away and I simply have to deal with it.  Anyone who suffers will know what I mean when I say that sometimes I simply don’t want to go out because of it.  Sometimes I am literally curled up in a ball with tummy cramps.  Don’t even start the constipation and diarrhoea.

I have however found some products and techniques that do help, and they help so much that I really wanted to write about them.

doTERRA ZenGest Oil

This little bottle of magical goodness has actually changed my life.  To give you an idea of how much, imagine this scenario.  I always have a little rollerball of Zengest diluted with fractionated coconut oil around me.  I roll it on my tummy and then massage it in a clockwise direction.  This is literally the most soothing thing ever.  The cramps simply dissolve.  It is also great for constipation.

On the odd occasion I lose it.  It rolls under the bed, or the sofa (I actually have two on the go). You have never seen my so energised trying to find it.  I literally go to pieces because I know that it is my little lifesaver in a bottle.

doTERRA Zengest has a unique blend (sometimes called the tummy tamer blend) and contains the calming properties of Ginger, Fennel, Coriander, Peppermint, Tarragon, Anise, and Caraway. ZenGest can be diffused for its liquorice aroma, applied topically to the abdomen, or taken internally.

doTERRA Peppermint Oil

Another little roller bottle (I dilute the pure oil to use as a massage oil) that I have at my side all the time.  I often layer the two together for the ultimate relief.  Peppermint oil has been a favourite of mine for many years and I have used it for a number of different purposes from calming anxiety, clearing my breath, a simple pick me up and more.  My son, as a child called it magic oil.  It is also mighty for tummy troubles, and can be added to a cup of hot water for an instant peppermint tea – and we all know that is perfect for bloating and that full feeling.  (Note:  not all oils can be taken internally, but this one is OK) .

Peppermint oil has the added bonus of clearing your airways and freshening your breath.

Prune Juice

Yes, although I am super grateful for the difference the doTERRA products are making in my life, another new addition that is helping is old-fashioned prune juice.  A small glass every day is helping to keep me regular and that in itself gives me the confidence to manage my IBS life better.

doTERRA Lemon in lots of water

Hydration is vital – especially when you are taking as many medications as I am.  I try to drink up to 2 litres of water a day.  On the advice of my friends Mike and Sinead at West2Wellness, I started adding a few drops of lemon oil to my water jug.  Not only does it taste delicious, but it is a great internal cleanser.

Last but not least ….

doTERRA Terrazyme

This is a supplement created by doTERRA containing digestive enzymes as well as other goodies.  It supports healthy digestion and metabolic processes.  I pop a pill or two especially when eating a full meal.  It is a little like sending in the solution before the problem.  I am pretty sure this is helping my weight too.

I always think long and hard before writing about any products on my blog.  I need to know that they work for me and be sure that the information is worth sharing.  I have been on a huge health journey over the past year (more about that soon).  I have made doTERRA oils and supplements a part of this journey for the last few months and I can honestly say that these little bottles of goodness have quietened the IBS soundtrack.

I get my products (which are conveniently delivered to my door) from Mike and Sinead at West2Wellness.  They have their own health stories which continue to inspire me.

If you are suffering with Irritable bowel syndrome and want to chat about it or get any advice, please feel free to message me or get directly in touch with West2Wellness.

Thank you for reading my IBS story.

Kerry x

 

Kerry xx

Melanoma Awareness – Love your skin – it is the only one you have


I grew up in South Africa and was a real water baby.  As a child I spent hours running around  in my swimsuit, in and out of the water and baking myself under the hot sun.  I even fell asleep in the sun during the Christmas holidays and burned my bum so bad that I couldn’t sit!

That was many years ago and the word melanoma wasn’t one I had ever heard.  It wasn’t until I got a funny patch on my collar bone a few years ago that I really started to consider the cost.   Thankfully the patch was removed and it was ok, it was however a real wake-up call.

Perfect timing – Melanoma Awareness

As a blogger I receive press releases on a regular basis.  I glance and them and if they are relevant to my blog I will follow up.  A few weeks ago we had just returned home after visiting a melanoma clinic for a check-up.  All was good, but we were firmly reminded that we needed to wear Factor 30 if not Factor 50 at all times – not just on holidays and in the sunny weather.

Ping! An email arrived reminding me that May is Melanoma Awareness Month. Uriage a brand I love was calling on the public to adopt safe behaviour in the sun when abroad as well as in Ireland. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland with over 1,000 new cases diagnosed year, and on average 159 people dying annually. Cases of melanoma have almost trebled in the last 20 years.

UV rays come in two forms – UVA and UVB. UVA rays make up over 90% of the sun’s rays. They have a longer wavelength than UVB, allowing them to reach deeper within the skin. They pass through cloud, glass and water. These rays are responsible for Ageing of the skin and play a significant role in the development of skin cancer. UVB rays do not penetrate skin so deeply: they cause the skin to Burn, cause eye damage and also play a role in the development of skin cancers.

Uriage has gifted me this wonderful spray which is going to make keeping safe and protected so much easier. (It is available from many pharmacies and online)

Uriage Thermal Water Mist SPF 30 has the highest concentration of minerals and trace elements (52x richer than other Thermal Water available) and is proven to be soothing and fortifying for the skin. Its high mineral content and rich compositions makes it exceptional water with therapeutic properties. An anti-pollution shield associated to UV filter for an UVA/UVB protection

Be Melanoma Aware and know what to look for

With my few brushes with skin issues I have learnt a few things.

  1. Don’t panic.  However if you have any questions or concerns get medical advice.
  2. Know what to look for. A quick google with show you images of good moles and bad moles.  Many people have completely harmless ones, but it’s a great idea to keep an eye on them.
  3. Watch for changes – in many cases moles might be on a back or unseen. I take photos to compare (which I have found is exactly what the melanoma clinic does too).
  4. Finally, prevention is always a better option. Use the right sunscreen, and cover up!

After talking about sun, I feel I might need a bit of time with a cup of tea and a search for my next sun holiday.

Thanks for reading and please take care!

Kerry x

 

 

Fat people can exercise and enjoy it!

 

Yes, I am fat.  I have struggled with my weight my whole life.  Knowing what I know now, I wish that I had figured out how happy keeping moving makes me years ago.

A few weeks ago someone asked me what exercise I did.  I answered that I jumped on my mini trampoline.  You could actually see the images in her mind as she tried to visualise me on a trampoline.  It is not that I jump up and try touch the ceiling – what I do could probably be defined as jogging in one place.  With the huge benefit of less pressure on my arthritic joints. (I previously wrote about the benefits of rebounding (trampoline jumping) here.)

My biggest fear

I am afraid of loosing my mobility.  In fact, I have lost some already and have issues with balance and pain when walking.  I use a stick for any distance, or in areas where I am unfamiliar.  At first, I was embarrassed, and ashamed that I needed a stick to walk.  In Manchester with my son and I asked him – do you mind that I need a stick to walk?  His answer (he is very straightforward):  ‘At least when you walk with Stan (the stick) you walk faster.’  To be honest at least when I walk with a stick I get out and do it!

Anchoring habits

I knew I had to get moving and at the same time I knew that I needed to incorporate exercise into  my daily routine in a way that I would enjoy it and that it would become a habit.  When I get up in the morning, my first thought is tea, and then breakfast as I have a number of medications to take that need food.  The next thing I would do is write my journal.

In order to incorporate exercise effectively I decided to anchor my trampoline sessions to these two activities.  It is no fun jumping on a full stomach, so first thing in the morning I come downstairs and straight onto the trampoline.  Sometimes I jump to breakfast TV and other times set up a YouTube concert to inspire me.  By doing this first, I get it done and am rewarded with breakfast and some quiet time with my journal afterwards.

What to wear to exercise?

For many years I used the excuse of not having workout gear.  Thankfully times have changed and there is a great range of exercise gear at companies like Oxendales in all sizes.  The truth is that you don’t need special clothes to jump at home.  Just be comfortable and wear a good bra!

Footwear is another matter.  It is really important to look after your feet – especially as you get older and most exercise requires good supportive and comfortable footwear.  I am delighted with these blue grey shoes gifted to me by Hotter.  I could walk for miles in them, and the extra bonus is that they look great with jeans or jeggings.  They  haven’t been off my feet since they arrived.

My fab footwear are called Flow Shoes and are lightweight, flexible and trendy.  They come in three colours – Sky Blue (my choice), black and pebble grey.

Check out their range online at www.hotter.com.  They have a wide range of sizes and widths and a superb delivery service.

Although this is a sponsored post and the shoes were gifted to me, the story is my own.  I hope to share more episodes of my health and fitness journey with you here.

Thanks for reading – I am off to jump!  Yes, fat people can exercise.

Kerry xx

Imagine if you were battery powered

You know what it’s like when the batteries are running low on the TV remote?  It is awkward – pointing at the TV and pressing buttons in the hope that the channel will change or the volume will increase.

We all charge our phones.  We have chargers in the car, next to the bed, in the kitchen and even if you are like me a power bank in my handbag for emergencies.

There are great lessons to be learnt from the digital world.  My son is a gamer and game developer.  I have often watched him play and noticed that players get ‘health’ which slowly ebbs away especially if you get injured.  You have to complete a task or buy new health.  Thank goodness we have the option of ‘plugging ourselves in’.

What about our own batteries?

I think we are battery powered.  Perhaps not in the same way as a phone or TV remote, but more like the quintessential Duracell bunny who can go and go and go, but will eventually run out of power and stagger to a halt.

My own personal situation and the health issues I deal with on a daily basis often make me feel like the bunny that got the dud batteries.  I find myself flat.  Not only down but flat like a battery operated toy that is mumbling and muttering, staggering around.  I am no longer the singing dancing bear (or bunny).

Every one of us is unique and our situations are too.  Some people struggle with mental health, and others with physical health.  Even the seemingly healthy people, are using their batteries every day – running around doing lifts for kids, working in a high stress environment, studying for exams.

Every little thing we do in life is sucking our battery power.

If we don’t plug in and recharge we will come to a grinding halt.

We all have different battery lives

Because we are all unique, we have different battery lives too.  Mine doesn’t seem to have a very long life, and sometimes I need to be plugged in and recharging 3 or 4 times a day.  Other people might be ok with an overnight charge.

The truth is that we all need to charge.  And we need to be cognizant of the fact that if we don’t plug in and recharge we could be in from some serious health challenges.

It was only when things were really bad that I became consciously aware of the need to recharge.  I think this conscious awareness is what has really made a difference, and I would urge everyone reading this to stop, and if it doesn’t seem too silly think about when you need to be plugged in and juicing up your battery.

Recharging is actually quite easy.  There are a number of activities which will make a difference, but to varying degrees, and of course unique to each person.

  • Rest
  • Sleep
  • Eating healthy
  • Drinking enough fluid
  • Meditating
  • Journaling
  • Exercise
  • Creativity and flow
  • Setting boundaries

It is all very well to simply list these items and promise yourself that you will remember to plug-in.  Life gets in the way, constantly veering us off course and then we look down at our battery life and oops – we are on emergency power.

How I recharge

Recharging needs to become a habit.  Something that you do automatically.  When I go to bed I leave my phone plugged in downstairs.  When I get into the car, I plug it into the car charger.

Similarly I have a routine that after having breakfast, I have my second breakfast (medication and supplements), and then I sit with a cup of tea and write my journal.  This sets me up for the day.  Quite often I get up from my cup of tea with my mind buzzing and a list at my side ready to grab hold of the day fully charged.

It is really about finding what works for you.  I jump on my mini-trampoline for at least 10 minutes a day.  I have made this part of my routine too, and find it is really energizing me – yet another way of charging my battery.

As my own personal battery isn’t all that long-lasting, I have to constantly remind myself to plug-in.  I use the list above to remind myself of different ways I can recharge.  The luxury and necessity of rest is a priority as is setting boundaries.

Just imagine me sitting on my sofa plugged in – just like my phone.

Thank you for reading and please let me know what you do to recharge.

Kerry xx

Time to love my nails

I always think that it’s important to have pretty nails, especially when your hands are on display. As I teach art and craft – this is quite often.

Over the past few years I have really struggled.  My fingers have lots of lumps and bumps because of arthritis, and are often swollen.  My nails have simply been a disaster area.

Years on methotrexate (a chemotherapy based drug used for arthritis) saw them in a dreadful state.  They were so ridged they were like corduroy.  That isn’t the worst.  They split – vertically, and flaked and some of them simply stopped growing.

For someone who has always had a nail polish library this was quite distressing.  I must admit that I neglected my nails too.  It just became depressing.

There is nothing I can do about the lumps and bumps, and nothing I can do about the fact that my hands are in their fifties just like my body.  There is however quite a lot I can do about my nails.

Since I have been off methotrexate my nails have slowly started healing, but are far from fine.

Making a Nail Commitment

A couple of months ago I made a commitment to myself.  I was going to take care of my hands.  They may be arthritic but they are the only hands I have.

I set myself up with hand cream – my choice was a nourishing hand and nail treatment from Roger+Gallet – aptly called sublime.  This brand has been going for years (my granny used it) – truly standing the test of time. I placed this along with some cuticle oil next to my sofa spot and promised to nurture my hands and nails every day.  What a difference this has made.   Things have improved significantly but unfortunately the ridges are still quite prominent.

Treating myself to Mavala

I went off to the pharmacy to treat myself to a new colour.  I love Mavala – the little bottles of delicious colour remind me of paint.  They never go hard and you can build up a whole library of little pots of deliciousness.  I chose a gorgeous pearly shade called Rose.

The real find for me was the Mavala ridge filer from the Nail camouflage range.  At nearly nine euros I had to have a little think about it.  I then reminded myself that I was taking care of my body which does so much for me.

What a brilliant little pot of goodness.  I used it as an undercoat and it was brilliant.  My nail polish went on smoothly and lasted for days!

I really think it is important to give our body and in this case our hands a bit of tender loving care.  Now all I need to decide is which colour to add to my library next.

Mavala is available from most pharmacies. 

(This isn’t a sponsored post – I bought the products myself and absolutely love them)

Thanks for reading.  I hope this inspires you to love your hands too.

Kerry xx

 

Feeling fresh with Pit Putty natural deodorant

I love smelling fresh, and I don’t like sweating, but then again I don’t like deodorant or antiperspirant.  The stingy spray is painful and the fumes choking.  This is not something I often reveal.

One day I was trawling through Facebook and came across a fellow blogger’s review of Pit Putty.

Avril, blogger at  A Paler Shade of Beauty speaks honestly and I immediately knew I must try this natural deodorant.

As I was about to head to the sunny island of Tenerife for a holiday, this was the perfect opportunity to try a new product.  The makers – almost local to me in the West of Ireland, kindly sent me a sample to try out.

It’s funny that in this world of budget travel, and no checked luggage, my first thought was wow!  I can take this in my little zip lock back and it won’t be a problem.

Hand made by Laura and Luke in County Sligo in Ireland, these deodorants are unisex (depending on the fragrance of course) and really effective. Using only 100% natural and vegan ingredients, this innovative product is completely free from harmful chemicals, aluminium oxides and preservatives.  You simply pull a little of the paste together, warm it in your hands and apply it to your pits.

Sharing is Caring

I didn’t quite realise I was sharing mine until a couple of days into the holiday I noticed a fresh aroma of limes after going in for a cuddle.  At this point we had walked 10 000 steps and sunned ourselves on a hot beach for a few hours.  I politely enquired if he was using my deodorant and he said that he had tried it one morning and it worked.

Fragrances include the Lime and tea tree  which is definitely unisex as well as Lime, basil and mandarin, Three flowers and Lavender and lemon.  I think I might have a girly one next!

I only review products on my blog that I really like!  My reviews are honest and I have no hesitation in recommending that you try these innovative but extremely effective little pots of Pit Putty this summer.

Thanks for reading and be sure to let me know if you try it!

Kerry xx

 

What is dignity?   And why is it so important?

Dignity is a complex state and something that I truly believe that everyone deserves.  Dignity is the state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect

My blog is all about being fabulous despite the circumstances of your life.  Despite the curveballs that life throws at you.  Your dignity is something that is truly integral to your fabulousness no matter what age, gender or circumstance.

A little about me

Over the past five years (and a bit more perhaps) a lot of things have come across my path. I have been a victim of gaslight bullying in the work place. My health as also been a huge struggle, most especially with my arthritis, which has been stripping me of some of the things that I perhaps took for granted.  It is some of these situations that has made me realise how important dignity is.

If dignity has been stripped from you – for whatever reason, it isn’t the easiest thing to get back. Walking tall and acting confident when you are crippled with pain or humiliation is hard.  The first time I walked out with Stan, my trusty walking stick was hard.  Not simply because I thought people would be looking at me and questioning , but because I felt vulnerable.

Vulnerability is closely linked with dignity.

When I feel vulnerable, be it a situation when I had to return to the office after a humiliating dressing down, or when I had to introduce Stan to my date.  I feel vulnerable when I am faced with a plate of dinner that I know I cannot cope with (there are days when I cannot cut my food because of pain in my hands, and many days when I know I will be decorating my clothes with the food that I might spill).  I feel vulnerable when I need to ask for assistance to carry my tray in a restaurant and even on a very bad day when I cannot pick up a cup of tea.

There are days like this – perhaps more than I would like.  After several attempts, trying to get my essential fix of tea, I realised that lifting the cup was not an option.  I asked for a straw which was delivered with a smile and with an attitude that didn’t make me feel vulnerable.  This kind woman understood dignity.

We are all different

No two people are alike and there are many people living with disabilities both visible and invisible.  This month is autism Awareness month and I am delighted to hear of many supermarkets introducing shopping hours where attention has been paid to decreasing light, sounds and other sensory stimuli.  I will certainly be taking note of these.  As a result of my conditions I am hypersensitive and find shopping overwhelming at the best of times.

Invisible disabilities (very like me on a good day when I don’t have my stick or hand splints)  are exactly that.  They are invisible.  These include depression, arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, and MS just as a start.  Anybody going about what seems like daily life with these conditions is fighting an uphill battle and dignity is part of that.

So how can we help people to maintain their dignity?

  • Firstly as mentioned above we don’t know who is struggling.  So why not show everyone respect.  It is old-fashioned I know but if you are sitting on a train or tube and know that you are ok to stand, offer your seat.  I promise there is someone who is struggling to stand and maintain balance.
  • Be aware.  It takes so little to hold a door open, to perhaps notice that someone needs a little help, perhaps with carrying a tray or a cup of coffee.  Perhaps allowing someone to go ahead of you in the queue.  These are all little actions that will allow someone to maintain their dignity and not feel quite so vulnerable.
  • In close relationships, family and friends who know what someone is going through it is both easier and harder.  My advice would be to again be aware, be conscious of what things might be difficult, and simply help silently.  I had visitors over the Easter weekend and every day I realised that little things had happened.  My bin had been cleaned thoroughly, the back garden was tidied, the dishwasher had been packed and unpacked.  I didn’t ask for help, but it was given.  And I am so grateful.
  • Acceptance is key.  If there is a person in your life who is disabled in any way, simply accepting them for who they are is a wonderful gift of dignity.  When I was in a new relationship, I was shy about introducing Stan the Stick.  Eventually we were going on a trip and I knew I would need the support of my stick.  I remember asking my Mom.  If he doesn’t accept Stan he isn’t the man for you.  Wise woman!  I just loved the day when he suggested bringing Stan out with us.

 

My tool kit for coping

It may seem odd, but the little things I do for myself to feel better, and to maintain my dignity are important to me.

I like looking good.  I love my fashion and style.  If I am going out (and even sometimes staying in) choosing great clothes, doing my hair and spending time on my make-up give me that added confidence boost.

I also of course rely on the old favourites of pain relief, mindfulness and rest.  A great day out feeling totally dignified has a lot of planning behind it.

Thank you to all the wonderful people who I share my life with.  My friends who know and the strangers who don’t.  Allowing me my dignity is a gift.

 

Thank you for reading

Kerry xx

 

What does Loneliness look like?

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Everyone gets lonely.  There are those moments when you feel quite simply that you are on your own and you do not feel supported.

When we think of loneliness, especially at this time of the year, we think of people who live alone.  Old people, single people and those that have reduced mobility to get around.

As I type this I realise that I could fall into those categories, but truthfully I am thankful that I don’t feel lonely very often.  I enjoy my own company, and I am blessed with many friends, both online and offline that make me feel cherished and loved.  I do however lives many miles from my birthplace and must admit that sometimes this isn’t easy.

So how do you recognise loneliness?

I think the answer is that you don’t, for the most part.  If I think of the many people in my life, I know that many are lonely and have lonely moments, and they are not always the ones you would expect.

My own lonely moments have made me very conscious of others, and what they might be going through.  I have created myself a pair of imaginary loneliness glasses and am trying to always be aware of the less obviously lonely.

One of the biggest upsides of wearing these specs is that you will bring so much joy into your own life, just by being in someone elses.

Here are just a few thoughts of where you might look to deliver your own antidote to loneliness

  • Self employed people (they spend hours alone and probably miss having colleagues. I blogged about social isolation before and it all still remains true.
  • People living away from home (either expats, or immigrants). Being separated from your children, your parents and your childhood friends is simply hard.
  • Single people of all shapes and sizes – divorce has left many people alone and lonely, but they are not the only ones. All the media buzz shows Christmas as a time for holding hands, and family moments under the tree.  This is not true for everyone.
  • Older people – especially living alone, or in retirement homes. Memories are special but they can also make you feel melancholy
  • Those living with a chronic illness.  Being limited in what you can do physically means that you often spend many hours alone.  And these people also struggle to find people to understand what they are going through. These people might be lonely, but I am betting they could do with a little help as well as company. I had a group of friends come round to help me decorate my house this year.  Imagine my surprise when they left and I went to light a fire to find that the fire-place perfect.  I was very grateful

The truth however is that loneliness has no face, it has no colour and no archetypical image.  It is up to us to be open, to listen and to hear.

I am always reminded that you can be lonely in a room full of people.

Do lonely people know they are lonely?

I suspect in many cases that lonely people don’t realise that they are lonely.  They know that they are not happy. They know that it feels like there is something missing in their lives but they don’t necessarily identify that this feeling is loneliness.

What if we simply go about our lives with an open heart, offering friendship and noticing the world around us? We will realise when the time is right to offer a cup of coffee or simply make a call.

Let your Christmas present this year be to take some loneliness away from someone.  Either someone you know is lonely – a neighbour, friend or acquaintance that lives alone, or someone who may not realise that they are lonely but whose face lights up at the thought of a hot chocolate and shared conversation.

 

I wish you a joyful festive season filled with love and laughter.

Thank you for reading

 

Kerry xx

 

The Magic of Three – and how this little number helps me in my day to day life.

Three is a magic number.  Or so I am told.

I have been having a bit of a tough time lately.  I had two bad falls which set me back a bit.  As I stumbled around the house trying to get focus and motivate myself, I realised that three really is my magic number in so many ways.

I make a commitment to tackle (at least) three things off my to do list every day.  It might seem little, but when you look back on the week, know that you have achieved 21 things.  By using this focus I know that I move forward.  Sometimes little and often, but I do achieve what I set out to do.

As someone suffering from chronic conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia it isn’t always easy.  Even if I think of keeping my home tidy – it is overwhelming.  By the 7th day of concussion and I was getting frustrated.  Three things I kept telling myself.  Put a wash on, unpack the dishwasher and wipe the counter.  Then you can sit down.  A little later I tackled three computer related tasks, and after that sent three thank you messages to friends who have helped me out.

By the time I got into bed I felt a real sense of accomplishment despite the fact that I was ‘under the weather’.

The Magic of Three – in so many ways

Every night before I go to sleep I always recall three things I am grateful for.  Sometimes it is more than three, but never less.  This really puts me into such a positive place.

The more I think about it three is a number that resonates through my life.  It is a small number but a perfect number.  It is just enough but not overwhelming.  Add a few threes together and you can really rack up some impressive personal statistics.

Imagine if we saved 3 Euro a day.  That isn’t a lot – a cup of coffee.  Over a month that is 90 Euro.  Over a year it is over a 1000 Euro – more than enough for a holiday.

Three and its multiples are also a great way of dividing up your day.  As I mentioned before I need to pace myself due to my conditions.  By dividing my day into 30 and 60 minute chunks I can ensure that I get enough rest time and also get things done.

I have followed this principle for a while now and I can honestly say that 3 is my magic number.

The internet of things

The internet is awash wish apps, blog posts, and articles confirming that by simply using a formula of three we can become happier and more effective in life.

I have downloaded the 3 Good Things app for my phone and am going to see how that goes.

Before writing this blog post I did a little bit of internet research as to why 3 is a number that seems to have magical properties.

  • As a creative person I was delighted to be reminded that there are 3 primary colours
  • Almost all religions have 3 as a sacred number
  • Mathematicians will confirm that 3 is a really cool number.  It is the first prime number and of course is the first number that forms a geometric shape – the triangle

So many things come in threes – here are a few random ones that delighted me.

  • The beginning, the middle and the end
  • The past, the present and the future
  • The three bones in the human ear
  • The three little pigs
  • The beauty of 3 dimensions
  • And of course the perfect 3  minute egg.

Frivolity aside, I am happy that I have the number three in my life.  It really helps me to pace myself, feel productive and puts me in a lovely positive mindset as I am reminded daily that we have at least three things to be grateful for.

Thank you so much for reading xx

Kerry

 

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