Good evening everyone, happy Tuesday! I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend?
I know some of you may be wondering about the title of this blog post? Before I get into talking about “How a simplified life helps my chronic illness” I’d just like to say a little disclaimer.
This is what works for me, I have found that changing not only my mindset but also my lifestyle really rewarding and really benefits my chronic illness. We are all different and all need to find what helps us, however, if you find anything in the blog post helpful, reassuring or just interesting then please try it and let me know what you think.
Having a relaxed morning routine
Having a relaxed morning routine really has helped my chronic illness. I know this isn’t sustainable for everyone, however, I make it a priority in the mornings before the hectic day begins to make time for me.
I wake up, have a glass of water and then look at my phone — I know most of the health bloggers tell you not to look at your phone first thing in the morning, but I say do what is best for you and you alone. I like to look at my phone in the mornings because during the day I’m usually too busy to check it and in the evenings I turn off social media etc by 7pm.
Once I’ve given myself 15 minutes to wake up I then do some stretches. I stretch for 15 minutes everyday and always in the mornings, sometimes I stretch just before I go to bed also but recently its only in the mornings. This stretching really helps with flexibility and my nerve pain funnily enough. When I first started it was really painful to stretch, especially in my back but the more I practice, the easier it became.
I always make myself a cup of tea to have while I get ready too and I basically just do things I want to do in the mornings and when I’m getting ready I’m a lot calmer.
Minimal Makeup during the week
I used to LOVE makeup. I wouldn’t leave the house without it, however, since I’ve got older I’ve come to realise that there are more important things in life and wearing makeup every single day really isn’t good for the skin.
I also had so much makeup, like my draw was full! So I declutterd it a while ago and now I have a nice simple makeup collection, consisting of: 1 Mascara, 1 Eye Liner pencil, 1 Eye shadow pallett, 3 Lipsticks (for each season), 1 blusher, 1 bronzer, powder foundation, concealer and powder, 1 eye brow product and a setting spray. Now this may sound like a lot but I use all of them and now that I’ve shortened my pile I’ve noticed that my makeup only takes me 10 minutes in the morning to do, sometimes even less time!
Fresh air every day
I always make sure that I get fresh air every day. Whether that be walking to work or just being in my garden, fresh air is really important and really helps my chronic illness, especially when I sleep.
I’m fortunate that currently I am able to walk to work — when I do walk I never rush and power walk (I can’t really do that) but because I don’t rush etc its always such a lovely experience. I take my time when I walk, look at things around me and take it in particularly if its a beautiful day. I also either listen to a pod cast or music, I rarely speak to anyone when I walk to work as I find this is my meditation time and time to relax before the busy day begins.
Meal Plan and Prep
I can’t tell you all how much meal planning and prepping has helped my chronic illness. When I’m struggling with fatigue and brain fog, I just need to look in my bullet journal and I can see what I have planned for the weeks meals. It just makes life so much easier, cheaper and healthier.
I always prep my meals for the week or at least part of them on a Sunday with the help of George, I know that my weeks are usually busy so the last thing I want to do when I get home is spend ages making dinner. I have found this to be really, so helpful.
Planning for the next day
Have you noticed the theme yet? I lead a very planned lifestyle.
I find that planning and preparing really helps my chronic illness. Although I am human and sometimes planning etc just goes straight out the window and all I can manage is lying in bed watching Netflix, however, it really does help in the long run.
When I plan for the next day, I just go through my bullet journal and make sure everything is prepare. Food, clothes, what I’m going to have for breakfast, makeup etc.
This also gives me more time in the mornings to relax and have ‘me time’.
Everything is usually all laid out for the following day everyday, especially when I’m working the next day.
Phone off by 7pm
Like I mentioned in my simple morning routine, I turn my phone off or on areoplane mode at 7pm every night (I’m slightly more flexible at the weekend). This is because I allow myself the morning to catch up on Social Media and any messages and I also use my phone when I come home from work during the afternoon and I find by 7pm I don’t actually need it any longer.
By doing this I have noticed a dramatic difference in my sleep, doing other things like watching a nice film or bullet journalling I’m taking my mind away from reality, while I wind down.
Having a more simple mindset
I firmly believe that overthinking and worrying about either the past or future can play a massive role in, not only for our mental health but our physical health also. The majority of us are always stressed out or worried about something causing us to become stressed or tense.
I’m not telling you to sit on the floor and meditate for an hour a day, I’m telling you to slow your mind. Just take a step back and try to live in the present moment, yes that does sound silly and sometimes impossible to do, however, I have my motto ‘Not My Problem’ that I practice and use every day. I also try and practice mindfulness every day too, whether that be when I’m walking to work, watching a YouTube video or writing blog posts.
When I do feel like I’m getting stressed I put everything down — all technology etc and I just sit, wherever I am, I sit and close my eye and just listen to what’s around me. I focus on what I can hear while I take 4 breaths through my nose into my tummy and then exhale slowly. I then focus on 5 things that I can see, 4 things that I can feel, 3 things that I can hear, 2 things I can smell and 1 thing I can taste. I always finds that this brings me back to the present moment. Also… TALKING or WRITING down your feelings, this is huge and I find that once I have either spoken about how I feel or write that down, it makes me feels a lot better.
We ALL have something to be grateful for every single day, yes even on the bad days there is something to be grateful for. I always write down 1 thing that I’m grateful for every day, today I was grateful that I got a lift home from our office meeting.
I’m grateful that I have eyes to see out of, grateful for a sense of taste and smell, grateful for the loved ones I have around me and all the supporting friends I have. I’m grateful for everything I own and for my cat Arthur — definitely grateful for him.
Focusing on what we are grateful for will absolutely change our mindset and allow us to become at peace with everything around us.
I don’t earn a big salary, have a big house or even drive/own a car but I’m so happy and content, because I’m GRATEFUL for everything that I have around me that I don’t need anything else to fill my happiness circle.
All of this, just feeling of contentment and peace helps my chronic illness the most and of course I have bad days, we all do with chronic illnesses. Especially with one like Multiple Sclerosis that’s so up and down all the time and that can affect everything through your central nervous system — btw I’m not saying that MS is the only condition like this, I just don’t have any of the other conditions and don’t wish to comment about them as I do not live with them, I talk about MS because that is what I have.
Talking of Multiple Sclerosis… I’m grateful for having it. Since being diagnosed with MS I have made some amazing new friends, realised who my real friends are, learnt that I’m a strong mother f**ker, can achieve anything, won a national award, learnt about gratitude and mindfulness, learnt to appreciate the smallest things in life and discovered what inner peace truly feels like.
Without MS would I have discovered all of the above? Maybe, but possibly not because I was leading a totally different life to what I am now.
Simplicity is the key, living a generally simple life and reducing my stress has absolutely help my manage and deal with living with Multiple Sclerosis.
I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog post, please let me know what you thought and also let me know if you try living a more simplified life.