Going Back To Work…Again

Hello everyone, how are you all? Leave me a comment below letting me know how your day is going.

As the title would suggest… I’m going back to work today… Again. Now the ‘again’ part of the title is because I’ve been through this before this year when I had my first fairly big relapse of the year. I wasn’t off work for as long as this relapse, however my doctor feels that I went back to work too early and should off probably had longer off… But when you get very little money whilst being off sick, it makes it difficult to remain off so therefore I had to go back to work sooner.

I have also done phased return once before as well and again my doctor and many others felt that I rushed going back to work full time and that I should of had a longer phased return period… But once again… Money was the issue and I couldn’t really afford to continue the phased return so I went back to work full time maybe too soon, who knows because at that time I honestly thought I was okay.. I felt a lot better in myself and I thought I was ready to go back full time… You just never know with MS – there’s no explanation as to why we relapse or how long the recovery period will be.. It’s just time. 

This time though is a bit different… I’ve had a longer period off work and I really do think it’s benefitted me and my recovery, I did want to go back to work at the end of July but when it came down to it, I just didn’t feel ready so I had another two weeks off work, which has really helped and now I am feeling a lot more stronger and confident to cope with a few hours at work. I’m also going to take my time with phased return too.. I’ve been a lot mor knowledgable with my money this time and have been able to save some money from previous wage slips so I can afford to carry the phased return period for a little longer. 

For those of you who are unsure what phased return to work is… It’s basically a schedule discussed with your doctor and manager of how many hours you can cope with when going back to work if you’ve been off for a long period or have been off with problems relating a condition or disability and then liaising with your doctor and manager you gradually increase the hours till eventually you are able to resume to your normal working pattern… some people however may need to reduce their normal working hours due to their health condition – something that I may consider, but like I said before… This condition is unknown and only time will tell how I’m going to feel. 

It’s my first day back today and I’m feeling good but also a little nervous, you know those first day back nerves.. I’m very lucky in the fact that majority of my colleagues have stayed in touch with me whilst I’ve been off and are all looking forward to seeing me, which will make going back a lot easier. I’m doing three hours a day at the moment 1-2 which I feel happy and confident with , my anxiety isn’t playing up at the thought of ‘oh what if I can’t cope’ because I’ve decided the hours that I can manage with at the moment.. You have to be strong when you do this.. At the end of the day this is YOUR body, YOUR life and only YOU know how you feel.. Although sometimes for me it’s hard to tell how I feel. 

I didn’t know if any of you would like me to document my phased return week by week? Let me know what you think to this idea or anything else you’d like to read. 🙂

I’m feeling positive and ready… So now I’m going to ‘slay’ the day and then after work I have to pop to the doctors to get another note for my phased return for me and then I’m going to see my best friend for a nice cup of tea and chill before coming home. 

I hope anyone reading this is having a good day and I’m sending you all hugs!

Much Love

Hannah xx

My Final Break Away! 

Yes.. the title is correct.. this is my final little break away before………. Going back to work! I have been off work with this relapse for just over 8 weeks battling through and going through the recovery process. It’s definitely not all been plain sailing, in fact there have been some heavy storms throughout my recovery period.. however I can finally say that I’m starting to come into remission and feeling a lot stronger again. 

So I decided to take myself away again to my Aunt’s house to stay with her, my Nana and Uncle for a few days just to build strength further. 

I had a lovely time and was very well looked after… I also felt like I could achieve more and that I didn’t need to sit down and rest as much as I had done previously.. I was also starting to walk small distances without my crutch (in the house) and try and use it on small journeys outside the house, which was a huge step one that made me feel so happy! 

My anxiety is a lot better also, not being afraid to do nice things whilst on recovery has really calmed down and I started to enjoy things a lot more (just sitting in my Aunt’s field observing the wildlife was one main thing) we even went to a local store called Downtown and had a look around.. it was so nice to feel okay and not feel like I was being spied on etc.. I know all of my work colleagues are fully supporting me and have told me that I need to go out, which is a great reassurance.. I know I don’t have to justify myself to anyone… But us with invisible illness get judged constantly and it’s so wrong on so many levels so to feel un-judged was lovely. 

Enough rambling now lol.. I’m going to insert some pictures of what I got up to whilst away! 

Ive also really been getting back into playing the piano.. it’s really been helping my MS and helping me to relax… If you’d like to see a video on me playing then head on over to my YouTube account– http://www.youtube.com/hannahsmithswj

2 Weeks into my Recoery Goals

Hello everyone how are you all? Leave me some comments below as I’d love to hear how you’re all doing. 

Last week I published a post telling you how I’d got on with my recovery goals a week on, well today I’m giving you all another update but this will be 2 weeks into my recovery goals. 

So like before here are the goals that I set myself:-

1) Preparing Breakfast and lunches at the end of the week (Sunday) – Well as I write this I’m currently away at my Aunts for my final little break before I go back to work.. So I haven’t been doing this goal much, however when I was at home last week I did make sure that lunches were prepped and ready to go for the week on Sunday night, which has been such a help! Breakfasts have been fairly easy, all I do is break up a ripe banana and put it in my smoothie maker along with some frozen fruit of choice, 2 cubes of frozen spinach, some cinnamon and ginger, 2 tbsp oats and some coconut sugar then fill half with almond milk and the rest with water and blend.. It takes me 5 mins and then that’s my breakfast sorted.

(breakfast at my Aunt’s house!) 

2) Getting up in the mornings at 9am, getting washed, dressed, makeup and hair done ready for the day – This has become a very good habit now, especially since George has been back off holiday and back to work himself it makes it a good routine. I’ve also been having an ice cold glass of water to drink along with a cup of lemon and ginger tea and then a decaf coffee if I want one and I’ve also been trying a little bit of Yoga too! My lovely friend Natalie from surviving life’s hurdles told me that Yoga with Arienne is brilliant and she does a sit down class of 10 minutes on YouTube, which I have found to be great and really helps me to take up ready for the day ahead!

3) Practice the piano once a day – Well this has been my favourite goal and one that I’ve been able to achieve well! In fact I practice at least twice a day when I feel like it and I have finally finished practicing and learning the piece that I’ve been learning for years right to the end now! I mentioned it in my last post… It’s by a composer called Ludivico Einaudi and the piece is called I Giorni. It’s such a beautiful piece and so relaxing to play, I feel so happy and proud of myself that I’ve managed to learn and play it right to the end!! That’s a separate goal that I set myself when I started playing again and I’ve achieved that!

4) Going for a walk every day –  I’m also doing really well at this now too, I’m making sure that I go out for a walk every day now, whether that be in the morning or afternoon. I always make sure I get out and since coming to my Aunt’s I’ve been able to do little steps WITHOUT my crutch around the house, which is fantastic!! Small steps lead to big mountains and I”m also trying to only use one crutch when we go out and about, again something I wouldn’t have done 2 weeks ago!

5) Writing Blog Posts and Interacting on social media – So my blog is continuing to grow,  which I am thrilled about and it’s also interesting to read other people’s blogs too and interact with others too. I’m still enjoying writing my blog too I suppose I just love talking to you all and writing down how I’m feeling and how I’m managing MS – It’s also enabled me to connecting with some larger groups too and share my stories, recently on Instagram I’ve been able to share my story and challenges with MS through the MS Societ, which again has been fantastic! I’m definitely going to continue to write on my blog and any offers for sharing my story or tips I’ll take with both hands.

1 Week into my Recovery Goals

I wrote a post last week about ‘Setting some Recovery Goals’ and seen as its been a week I thought I’d give you an update on how I was getting on… 

I’ll remind you all of the small goals that I’d set myself:- 

1) Preparing breakfasts and lunches at the end of the week (Sunday) – Okay so I have been going with the flow on this one I’ve been making sure I get breakfasts and make smoothie’s every day but I’m not making actual smoothie bags, however I definitely want to get back into the habit of making them so that when I go back to work life will be a little easier for me. Same with Lunches, I just need to get into the habit of making things so that I can just access them to make life easier.. But I’m getting there 🙂

2) Get up in the mornings at 9am, get washed, dressed, makeup and hair done so I’m ready for the day – This has been a very successful goal and I think it’s because I have been pushing myself to make the effort just to get up in the mornings, however whilst I’m writing this I’m having a ‘rest day’ of only a little makeup… Not much done to my hair and some comfy clothes on.. Cause let’s face it.. We can’t make an effort all of the time can we? 🙂

3) Practice the piano once a day – Again this has become a lovely habit that I have stuck too… Every day when I’ve felt like it I’ve played the piano, my Aunt also has given me daily piano lesson via Face Time, which has been great and I’m fINALLY almost finished learning my favourite song by my favourite composer Ludivico Einaudi called ‘I Giorni’ I’e been loving playing it’s been really relaxing and just taken me away from any troubles I may have had.. and the best part.. I play whenever I want 🙂 


4) Going for a walk every day – Yes I’m making sure I do this every day and I’m even starting to go out on my own without having an anxiety attack which is fantastic! I’m also trying to go a little bit further every day.. I do have ‘rest days’ where I choose whether to go out or whether to stay inside in my cosy clothes and watch episodes of Sex and The City, which because I’m choosing to do those it doesn’t feel like an entrapment in my own house. (if you understand?)

5) Writing Blog posts and interacting on social media –  So I’ve thrown myself out there a little and joined some social media blogging groups and loving it! I’m really enjoying connecting with new people and getting some blogging advice.. I’m also enjoying writing on my blog and just love writing in general, my dream one day is to do something like this for a living.. Who knows, dreams can come true right? 

And that is where I’m up to on my ‘Recovery Goals’ I’m really happy that I’m making progress and I love writing it down and sharing it with you guys reading this… I think I’ll keep writing weekly updates as it’s good to look back.. Or if I find myself in a similar situation again 9who know’s with MS) then at least I can look back and see that I got thought it once… I can sure do it again!

Thank You for reading

Love Hannah

July Favourites

So… The last few months haven’t been too great for me and to be honest I’ve been struggling to find things that I was just ‘loving’. However the last couple of weeks I’ve finally found things that have really made me happy and therefore I thought I’d share them with you all. 

Flowers in the garden

Whilst I’ve been off I’ve spent a lot of time (when it’s been sunny) in the garden, just sitting admiring my beautiful flowers and silver birch tree… Whether it’s having a ice cup of tea and cheeky slice of cake of a cloudy lemonade in my cocktail glass imagining I’m having a fabulous cocktail.

My Aunt, Uncle and Grandmother brought me some beautifully colour flowers and they really do brighten my day when I’m feeling a bit rubbish.. I just look out of the window and see colour! 

Having time for myself

Now that I can do more things without help (recovering finally) I’ve been enjoying just having some ‘me time’ whether it’s having a nice bubble bath, just spending a few extra hours in bed, writing in my Bullet Journal or having a girly set up – nail varnish, mocktail and episodes of Sex and The City.

It’s really been making me feel a lot more happier and upbeat whilst being off, a lot of us with chronic illnesses feel quite low and just a bit helpless.. But when we are able. To enjoy little things to make ourselves happy… Grab it with both hands! IT’s okay to enjoy little things from time to time.

Playing the piano

This is one thing I’ve really taken up over the last month and something that I’ve been truly loving… I have mostly daily internet lessons with my Aunt via FaceTime or Skype and I’ve FINALLY almost finished learning this piece called I Giorni by my favourite composer Ludivico Einaudi who I’ve loved for years.. his pieces are so relaxing and one day I will learn them all!

My piano sits in my front room next to the kitchen door and since I’ve decided to have the lid up its just been a lot more attractive and made the room look nicer too and when friends come to visit me they always notice the piano a lot more. Next piece is Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

My cat Arthur

This comes at no surprise to some of you, I love my cat Arthur! We’ve had him for over 2 years and he’s really changed mine and George’s lives for the better. 

Since being off sick he’s really been there for me and a real comfort during the days when I’m home alone.. He’s such a character as well which always makes me smile. If you have a pet I’m sure you’ll understand what I mean.. they all just give you unconditional love don’t they? I love him every month, however I thought I’d put him in this month’s favourite list. 

Making new friends

Since creating our Facebook page with the lovely Natalie from  Surviving Life’s Hurdles I feel like I’ve made some truly lovely new friends who actually understand exactly how I’m feeling! I’m incredibly lucky to have some genuinely lovely friends who are so supportive, however it’s lovely to meet people who are in the same situation as you. I love connecting with them all on our Facebook page it’s a lovely group and if any of you out there have just been diagnosed with MS then come along and join us 🙂 http://www.facebook.com/groups/718223168361813/

Food and MS

Hello everyone, how are you all? 

‘Food and MS’ I’ve read and heard a lot about this recently ‘What to eat to help MS’ ‘Food cured my MS’ ‘What not to eat’ etc and it got me thinking… Is any of this true? Cutting out a lot of ‘Main Food’ groups would actually benefit me? Example, cutting out red meat, dairy, sugar, saturated fat, becoming full on vegan, becoming raw vegan, cutting out gluten, cutting out caffeine? 

We already have enough to think about and deal with/manage every day, do we really want to be over thinking about what we are eating? I used to watch a lot of YouTube videos ‘What I eat in a day’, ‘Vegan Recipes’, ‘Quick an easy recipes’ ‘Quick and Easy Meal Ideas’ and the only thing that these had in common… They didn’t suit me! 

No matter how much I tried to make it work, when I come home from work at 6:15pm the last thing I want to do is stand or be in the kitchen for 30 minutes plus cooking a meal with a load of ingredients… I want SIMPLE, QUICK, NOURISHING, EASY meals and so after a lot of research and deciding to try ‘cutting out a few basic things’ first I have come up with a simple structure that actually works for me!

Now I’ve been doing this for just over a month now and the only thing I’ve noticed so far is that my anxiety levels are dramatically reduced and I’m a lot calmer since I’ve stopped consuming caffeine… I drink caffeine free beverages now and always check the packaging to make sure it doesn’t contain caffeine… however I had no idea that caffeine is in more than just beverages – yes I know I’m’ naive! So I try to avoid it to the best that I can. 

I also try and have at least 1 vegan or veggie meal a day, this is normally breakfast in the form of smoothies. Lunches are usually Sandwiches and dinner definitely consists of vegetables and something tasty but maybe not lean, fat free etc all of the time. 

I thought I’d give you a five day plan of what I eat in a day that’s actually simple for me and helping me 🙂 obviously I know this won’t work for everyone and it’s just there to help people who struggles with planning perhaps? 

Day 1 – Breakfast:- Fruit Smoothie made with mango, spinach, banana, oats, almond milk & water, a little coconut sugar, cinnamon and a little ginger.

Lunch:- A small sandwich (bread roll) with tuna, Mayo, sweet corn, cucumber, lettuce I then usually have a dairy free yogurt, a piece of fruit, carrot sticks and hummus and a Eat Natural Bar.

Dinner:- Roast chicken (One already cooked from the shops), a couple of potatoes, peas, carrots and broccoli

After dinner treat (only sometimes):- Dairy free ice cream with a couple of dark chocolate drops

Day 2 – Breakfast:- Smoothie made with banana, almond milk, cocoa powder, peanut butter, ice cubes, cinnamon and a little ginger – my little guilty pleasure chocolate smoothie

Lunch:-  A small sandwich with 1 slice of ham, 20g cheese, lettuce, cucumber, tomato, spring onions then the same a dairy free yogurt, a piece of fruit, carrot sticks and hummus and a naked bar.

Dinner:-  Usally ledt over chicken with a couple of potatoes, broccoli, peas and carrots

NO after dinner snack

Day 3:- Breakfast:- Smoothie made with raspberries, blueberries, banana, spinach, oats, almond milk and water, cinnamon and a little ginger

Lunch:- A small sandwich with falafel, hummus, lettuce, cucumber and grated carrot, a dairy free yogurt, a piece of fruit, carrot sticks and hummus.

Dinner:- homemade pizza with bbq sauce, chicken, pineapple, sweet corn and mozzarella – this is a treat because George is normally out in the evening.

Day 4:- Breakfast: A small English fry up with 1 sausage, 2 eggs, baked beans and 2 hash browns (I like to have a change up and something that I like). 

Lunch:- a small falafel Sandwich with hummus, lettuce, cucumber and grade carrot, a dairy free yogurt, a piece of fruit, carrot sticks and hummus and a Eat Natural bar.

Dinner:- Fish pie with a couple of potatoes, peas and broccoli

After dinner snack:- Fab Ice lolly

Day 5:- Breakfast:- A fruit smoothie with Mango, Pineapple, spinach, almond milk and water, oats, cinnamon and a little ginger

Lunch:- A small Chicken Sandwich with a little may, lettuce, carrot shavings, and cucumber, a dairy free yogurt, a piece of fruit, carrot sticks and hummus, and some Youshi Pea snacks

Dinner:- Toad in the hole with peas, green beans, carrots and broccoli.

No after dinner snack

So.. That is one of my five day meal plans, I don’t cut everything out because how I look at it… I will not let MS stop me from enjoying the foods that I love! I have adapted my diet to a balanced one and changed a few little things and have come to love them… But if there’s an occasion where I want a burger or a Chinese… The I will have one and enjoy it 🙂 

I finally feel happy about food and don’t feel that I should be eating a certain way for my health.. it’s also all simple and easy prepared food which honestly does’ take long.. Yes some of it is cooked in the oven.. But I need simplicity in my life at the moment.. and this works for me.. 

Setting some Recovery Goals

Hello everyone, I hope you’re all well?

I had recently written a blog post about setting some recovery goals but for some reason it wouldn’t allow me to publish it… So here I am writing it again. 

Looking back on the goals that I set myself and thinking about going back to work made me think ‘what if I’m not ready to go back yet?’ There are some people who think that I’ve had enough time off now and that I’ve been sick for long enough and should go back to work… And do you want to know the funny thing… I WANT TO GO BACK TO WORK! Sometimes I want to say ‘do you think that I want to be like this? 27 years old and not being able to do the things that I normally do, May that be working or just doing stuff’ I want to get up and go to work and then come home like ‘normal’ people, but right now I can’t and I need to do things that I can do in my own time.

The previous goals that I set I now feel were a little to high… I know now that I need to set more realistic goals for the time that I’m going through now.

What are Recovery Goals?

For me, recovery goals are little accomplishments that are easy to achieve on a daily basis… They are also there to help build up my physical and emotional strength and allow me to gradually get back to a slight normality – the sensible way. These goals that I’m setting to ‘normal’ people will seem very basic and simple.. Some people may even think ‘oh you can do those straight away’ (do not listen to these comments – take as much time as you need to achieve these goals and then YOU will feel happy you’ve accomplished them. 

Okay… Here are my goals:-

1) Preparing breakfasts and lunches at the end of the week (Sunday) so that you have them for the next few days – I make smoothie bags for breakfast and sandwiches for lunches so this is what I shall do.

2) Get up in the mornings at 9am, get washed, dressed, makeup and hair so you’re ready to face the day – however long this takes to begin with make sure you get up and out of bed at 9am – tracking my progress in my Bullet Journal.

3) Practising the Piano once a day – When I was at my Aunts I played the piano every single day, I used to play when I was younger and then time just went on by – as it does! But since I’ve returned from her’s I’ve been getting back into playing the piano and learning some new pieces… it’s been knackering yes, but also so relaxing and calming.. Also it’s great to help keep my brain stimulated. 

4) Going for a walk every day – I need to make sure that I do this every day, not only to help with my physical health and getting me stronger, but to also help my mental health and get me out of the house! Even if it’s just a short walk at a time that’s something and it’s all building up.

5) Writing blog posts and interacting on social media – I know some people may laugh a little at this, however this is again so important for mental health – getting things down and feelings out there stop you from bottling things up and secondly interacting more on social media not only will help you gain some new friends, but will also make you feel less alone whilst being off sick. 

I’m going to leave the goals at these for now, I feel a lot happier about these and I feel that they are more achievable – I’m thinking of doing another ‘Goals’ post once I’ve accomplished these ones  you’ll have to let me know what you think to that idea?

I hope everyone is okay and having a good day.

Take acre

Love Hannah xx