Fighting back against chronic pain with a simple, creative, & healthy lifestyle. Inspiring others to become warriors.

Monday, April 30, 2018

It's week two of being back in actual yoga class.

Since I got bronchitis from hell over December, oh, and January, and did I mention February? 


Yep. Three months of bronchitis. Three months of coughing with adhesive arachnoiditis. Gee and I thought bronchitis was bad before...

Where was I? Oh yeah, yoga.

I did private lessons for the last 6 weeks rebuilding the strength I lost during my three months of bronchitis. I finally made it back to class. The class was fine. After class was fine. That night though...I was a little tired. However, I did not expect day two to be a day from hell.

I was so tired I couldn't even. I mean seriously. Nothing. Not even move from the couch. I ate freaking Mac n Cheese for lunch. I haven't done that in for-ev-er! (Thank goodness it was Amy's so at least it was organic and not so many chemicals)


via GIPHY

I then proceeded to eat my husbands leftover pizza for dinner because oh yeah I was so in the throws of IUEV that I couldn't even make logical or rational decisions.

Food.

Pizza.

Me eat.

Yum.

So when I started my cycle the next day I thought well no wonder, it was just the day before Satan's Waterfall. (Sorry if TMI but I'm trying to keep it real, plus if you know me IRL and I was a total ass to you, well now you know it wasn't me. It was Satan.)

Flash forward to this week.

Monday - Yoga.
I felt fine and got some good things accomplished that day, however, I did fall asleep on the couch watching TV with #leohusband.


Tuesday - Total Train Wreck.
I wasn't quite as bad as last week, but still bad enough where I spent the majority of my day on the freaking couch or in bed.

From IUEV.

Ugh.

At least I made better food decisions, mainly because I had leftover roasted vegetables and chicken in the fridge for lunch, and stuff to make a super fast and easy lettuce wrap for dinner.

Ok, so I may have stuffed a handful of 80% cacao chocolate in my mouth in a moment of weakness before I decided to throw in the towel and crawl into bed. 


Whatever. At least I didn't eat pizza this time, that box of Amy's was calling me though...

So now I know that it is simply recovery time from my 90 minute Monday yoga class, I need to start planning in advance.



7 Ways to Regain Energy After a Workout for Chronic Pain and Illness

1. Hydrate Before, During, and After

I normally hydrate plenty but I'm going to make a special point to drink only water or coconut water on Monday's. I had a cup of coffee in the afternoon both this and last Monday, so I'm going to avoid that in the future. I don't want the diuretic effect of the caffeine to dehydrate me, leading to a greater energy suck.





2. Protein and Healthy Fats

Days when I have yoga I'm going to load up on protein at lunch and healthy fats, post workout. I'm also going to switch to a smoothie bowl (thank goodness it's getting warm enough to eat one) before and load it with superfoods and plant-based carbohydrates.


3. Avoid Long Hot Showers or Baths

Again, I'm glad it's getting warmer because since my thyroid is so low, I get cold very easily. I tend to take hot showers which are not only bad for my skin but saps my energy as well. Taking a warm shower or bath at night adjusts your body temperature so you're nice and groggy by the time you hit the sack so you wouldn't want to do it during the day unless you want a snooze fest!


4. Caffeinate Before Your Nap

So I know I said no caffeine, this does seem contradictory. I'm going to avoid caffeine on Monday, but the day I need it, Tuesday, I'm going to drink a cup of mushroom coffee - superfood - and then straight to a nap. This way when I wake up, the coffee has had a chance to take effect.


5. Rest or Take a Nap

Seriously, one of the biggest things I deal with is IUEP. When you have a chronic illness you just have to rest to recoup your energy. This may be going to bed earlier than planned or sleeping in or taking a mid-day nap so you can clean the kitchen and fix dinner.

Mainly you can't run on empty, that will cause a pain flare.

6. Do an evening walk

I'm lucky in that I have a big fluffy dog to take out for a walk at night. He makes me keep moving even when I don't want to. Yes, you do need rest but you do need to do gentle movements as well. Nothing strenuous so a slow walk is just the thing.

7. Have dinner ready

The last is this, to avoid eating bad things that are easy or comforting because let's face it when you are really drained, comfort food is number one on your list.

So identify your healthy comfort meals and always have them ready. That may mean making them ahead so you can reheat or have some frozen. Either way, the goal is to be able to just grab something from the fridge and eat it without much thought.




Friday, April 27, 2018

It's late, you have zero clue on what to make for dinner so you check out the fridge. Time to MacGuyver!

I usually do a taco night once a week. It's delicious and easy. My husband is awesome at browning the beef while I caramelize onions and peppers. 


Since I always have leftovers it's easy to throw something together!




Caramelized Onions and Sweet Baby Peppers:

Coarsely dice onions.

Deseed the sweet baby peppers

Place both in a cast iron skillet on medium heat with about a tablespoon of olive oil.

Heat and stir for about 20 minutes.  Onions and peppers should be soft and slightly brown.  They should be coated with their natural sugars released by the cooking process.

Add to anything!



Taco Night Leftovers: Sweet Peppers and Potatoes

Ingredients:
Sweet Peppers and Onions
Leftover Taco Meat
Large Sweet Potatoes

Any Miscellaneous Taco Night Leftovers:
Pico de Guilo
Guacamole
Sour Cream
Shredded Lettuce

Preheat Oven to 400

Wash and scrub sweet potatoes. Pierce a couple of times with a fork and place on a foil-lined cookie sheet.

Roast for 60 minutes.

While roasting reheat taco meat, onions, and peppers in a skillet.

When the potatoes are done slice them open lengthwise and stuff with meat, sweet peppers, onion, and all the toppings.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Ok, so far spring of 2018 has been one day that feels like summer and then the next is winter.

When I made these last week it was warm and hot and then a cold front came in and hasn't really gone away enough to crave popsicles. Nevertheless, it will get warmer and I'm ready to partake in these beauties!



Strawberry Ginger Popsicles

Supplies:
Medium Sauce Pan
Measuring Cup and Spoons
Blending Stick or Blender
Popsicle Molds

Ingredients:
2 lbs of fresh strawberries
1/2 c of raw unfiltered honey
1T of beet powder
1.5T of ground ginger or 3 inches of grated ginger
2 cups of water
Make it!
Wash and cut the tops off the strawberries. Put into saucepan with water and honey. Bring to a simmer. Stir in the beet powder and ginger. Keep at a low simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. After the mixture has reduced and strawberries have softened remove from heat. Using a blending stick puree the mixture, or dump in a blender and blend until smooth.

Using a ladle, pour puree mixture into the molds and freeze.


If you have leftovers, cool, pour into a glass, and top off with cran-raspberry LaCroix and ice.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

It's one of those days.  You hurt.  The last thing you want to do it workout.

In my experience though, if I don't work out a little it's even harder the next day.  While it may hurt, it hurts more to not move, and sometimes a little yoga can actually lessen the pain.  You just need to find out which poses are your go-to poses.

These are some of my GO-TO poses.


5 Yoga Poses When You Just Can't

Supta Padangusthasana - against the wall



Find a doorway where you can stretch one leg up and one leg out. Placing half of your bum on the wall and using the wall as leverage, reach through your big toe mound while pushing your hip into the floor.

You want to create opposing action by doing this.  To reach you have to use your quad and to press down you have to use your hamstring.  This is stretching and strengthening at the same time.

The leg on the floor should be completely engaged by pressing the back of the leg down to the floor and flexing the foot.  

Think mountain pose for your bottom leg.

Here's another view.


Ardha Uttasana - Modified on the Wall

This pose is going to work your core, open up the shoulders, work the hips, open the SI joint and stretch the hamstrings.


So in traditional Uttasana you are in the middle of the room and you extend forward bending all the way down, level your hips, open the SI joint, with your arms extended in front of you.  However, on a high pain day that is not the best pose.

In the top photo, you can see I couldn't even get my hands level and I have my SI joint belted down.  My heels are out, my toes are in and lifted.  I'm still working every part of my body, just not as extreme.

Look at me now. I can level out because I have built up the core strength.



In order to help open your SI and really engage your legs, you can use two blocks. One between your feet and one between your inner thighs.







Since your feet are gripping the bottom block, this forces your SI to open.  Keep your core tight and again you want opposing action.  Reach back through your sit bones and press forward through your hands.

Balasana into Adho Mukka Svanasana

These really are the best poses to do every day.  In fact, they have sometimes stopped the pain flare I've been in. Make sure you do them with support, so put a bolster underneath you.



Don't have a bolster?


Viparita Karani

I always end in Viparita Karani because having your legs up the wall eases so much tension and stress.  It helps with my nerve pain that runs down my legs and hips.  It also takes pressure off my back and discs.



Getting in can be tricky.  Face the floor and put your bum on the wall.  Roll your back onto the bolster and keep your bum on the wall while you do it.



Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Wouldn't it be great sometimes if we could go back to the good old days where someone told us what to do instead of having to make decisions all the time?

Yeah.

You get a hug, a PB&J, and then get to play in the yard before dinner.

Now all these damn decisions just keep the stress just piled on.

Stupid Decision Fatigue.  Learn about decision fatigue here.

As I stated in 9 Steps to Simplify Your Life I haven't been really happy with my 'daily schedule' bujo spreads.

I just feel it isn't enough, too vague, too difficult to follow, and doesn't take into account rest breaks and workflow schedules. Hell, it doesn't even cover emergency visits to the grocery store or GNC.

It also doesn't take into account bad days. Days where I can't even think about what to put in my mouth let alone doing work or even getting dressed...TBH.

That dog won't hunt so it's back to the drawing board.

I need focus and evaluate what I want to get done during the week and weekend.  I really needed to go back to 'work.'

So I'm trying to imagine that my living room is my boardroom and I need to be dressed and ready to tackle my flexible work day.  You know, like working at Google except without the nice salary.

Plus, if I get the urge to go blog somewhere fancy like Starbucks (I've never done this) then I'm ready to go in public, sans Active Wear.





Bullet Journal Task Blocking for Chronic Pain and Illness

First, I decided what was really my best day ever.

Well, just last week I got amazing sleep. Woke up at 6:00. Did all my AM block, TMM, walked Fluffy Alarm Clock, fixed and ate breakfast.

I started laundry and blog writing.

Took a break and emptied, loaded, and started the dishwasher. Checked the laundry. Went back to blogging.

Break time.

Fixed lunch for me and Big Fluffy. Ate. Checked laundry and folded a batch of clothes. Went back to blogging.

Break time.

Emptied dishwasher again. Fixed and ate dinner. Folded and put away rest of clothes. Blogged some more.

Did my nighttime block and was asleep by 10.

This hardly ever happens.

I can think of only 1 other day I was this productive in 2018, and it's almost May.

I cleared all of my todo list and then some! Exhausted by bedtime but did an incredible job and didn't wake up feeling terrible the next day.  (I also have decided to focus on things in my life that increase energy).

So then I timed myself with my iPhone.

How long did it take me to dry brush my body? Fasciablast? Meditate? Fold clothes? Etc.

I wrote down those times.

Then I compiled the data in my bullet journal and grouped tasks into blocks.

For example, I have my Wake Up Block where I get up, dry brush, put my contacts in, brush my teeth, wash my face, drink a 12oz glass of water, take my pre-breakfast supplements, and put my workout clothes on. This takes 20 - 25 minutes on average.

My Miracle Morning Block is here.

You get the picture.

I made a collection in my bujo for all of my blocks, with room to add more. I also put descriptions next to each block in case I'm ever wondering what I should do. Ha! No seriously, brain fog is real Y'all!



Then I thought about the different days I have - good days, bad days, yoga days, acupuncture days, and weekends. What do those blocks look like all put together?

What is flexible and what isn't?

So this is what I came up with:

Basically, I have a good day, a bad day, and a flex day.  The flex day is for doctor's appointments, yoga, physical therapy, or "emergencies."

I have plenty of rest breaks or selfcare breaks as I prefer to call them.  I get some work in every day.  I also have a set time to cook and take care of Big Fluffy.

Don't have a bullet journal? Get one here.

Monday, April 23, 2018

How do you get through a day?

I remember complaining about being tired before Adhesive Arachnoiditis happened to me.

I remember thinking how tired I was when I was teaching full time, going to graduate school full time, and planning my wedding.  I thought I knew tired.  I was wrong.

I feel that the "tiredness" you feel with a chronic illness is not really the right word.

Irrational and 

Uncontrollable
Energy
Vampirism

is a much better description or IUEV for short.


I'm Exhausted

When someone with a chronic illness tells you I'm tired and you say, "Man, I know that feeling. I'm exhausted."

No. You really aren't.

Yes, I would say that in general Americans are tired.

We are overworked and under compensated.  We have less vacation time compared to the world at large and have the irrational need to keep up with the Jones's.  We pretend everything is perfect when it's not and yes, that is exhausting.

The IUEV I'm talking about is quite different.

So next time your friend or family member tells you they know how you feel, tell them this:

"Have you ever had the fu?"

Yes?

Now, you have the flu, but you still have to take care of everything you normally do during the day and you have no downtime to rest.

That's what it's like for chronic illness suffers every day.

I have the flu but it is lifelong and yet I"m still expected to carry on and function.

If you have ever felt the undeniable need to rest after you have gotten up, brushed your teeth, washed your face, and fixed your hair, you know what IUEV is like.

If taking a shower has ever exhausted you to the point where you have to rest for an hour to rekindle your energy, you might know what IUEV is like.

Welcome to chronic illness and hey, I'm not even mentioning the fact that all these things also hurt.  So you are doing everything with IUEV and pain.

Awesome.

Several weeks ago I talked about the 5 Side Effects of Chronic Pain and Illness No One Talks About. One of those is fatigue, let's talk about how to get through the day to maximize your time and not drain you.

Managing Energy Levels During Daily Tasks with Chronic Pain and Illness

1. Take Breaks and Often

I like to break my day into task blocks. To name a few, I have an AM Block, a Meal Prep Block, a Chores Block, etc.

In each block, I have written the things I want to accomplish that day in my Bullet Journal.

I'm always going to have more energy in the morning as compared to the afternoon.  Therefore, I have my workout part of my AM Block.

I typically follow The Miracle Morning because it does kick start my day, keeps me focused on my alternative medicine therapies, and reinforces the behaviors I want as habits. However, where I generally differ from most people doing TMM, I take a 30-60 minute break after and eat a slow breakfast so I can recoup the energy I expended doing all of my AM tasks.

I do this for all of my blocks of time.  Do a block, rest. Do another block, rest.

2. Move Your Body

By the time I've showered and exhausted myself gotten ready.  I have to take another break.  So this time I set my microwave kitchen timer (because I have to get up to turn it off) and I usually go over my to-do list in my Bujo.

I really think about my current energy level and what I want to achieve and complete in that framework.

When you are in your "up off the couch time" move your body.

Don't just stand in the kitchen chopping veggies...that is not moving, exhausting, but not moving.  Moving more increases your endurance, keeps blood and oxygen flowing, and stimulates the brain.  The more you sit the more tired you will become.

However, there is a fine line between being active and exhausting yourself out of all energy to be had.

You will have to discover that line for yourself.  I still don't have the right balance but I will eventually figure out what is the right amount of rest time and the right amount of movement time.

If I'm having a low energy day, I take breaks more often. For example, for every 60 minutes of sitting, I get up and set a 15-minute timer and try to get as many things done in 15 minutes that I can.

A good day, maybe I set a 30 or 45-minute timer. As long as the pain doesn't interrupt me I'm great.  If I start hurting its ice on the couch until my next "up off the couch time."

If it's a really good day I'll usually jump from task to task, but I will...
3. Change Venues

I like to move to a new room, or if it's a rough day just moving to a different couch or chair.

On nice days I take Fluffy Alarm Clock outside, although summer is rapidly approaching and we do not go outside in the summer in Texas.  That's just crazy talk!

Changing things up can refresh the mind.  It can bring new energy and life to your mind.  That's why it's good to change seats or rooms, heck, get outside!


4. Stay on Top of Your Water Game

The biggest way to keep your energy up is to make sure you are drinking the correct daily intake of water. Find out how much here. I really can feel the difference in my energy levels when I'm not drinking enough water.

I feel even more sluggish and get winded far more easily. So increase your water intake by trying this recipe here.  Not only is more water better for you, you also have to get up to relieve yourself so you are moving your body.  Double Win!


5. Cut Out Foods that are Energy Drains

I really recommend doing a Whole 30 and then slowly introducing foods one at a time over a period of several months to find out what specific foods cause you to feel lousy.

I know mine is grains.  I had an unintentional cheat day because I was caught unawares by food poisoning.  UGH!  I ended up eating chicken noodle soup and boy did that pasta make me 'hungover' the next day.

Pasta, bread, sugar, and beer will sap the lifeforce outta me faster than you can say Dracula.

You need to know what foods do this to you. Find out all the words for sugar here.


6. Be Consistent but Flexible

Be consistent with your daily habits because sometimes habit is the only thing that is going to get you through a #hellday.

I actually feel weird if I don't do my Miracle Morning routine.  It's my one stop shop for all things good for me and my disease.  Meditation, Exercise, Visualization, Affirmation, these are all amazing alternative medicine exercises anyone with a chronic illness should try and do.

So when I wake up feeling like it's going to be one of those days, I make myself the promise that all I have to do is my AM and TMM block.

I get those blocks done and I usually find that I'm ok to do more blocks that day (sometimes nothing will help me but that's another story).  Even if I don't do anything else, I feel good and accomplished getting the AM and TMM block done.

Maybe the chore block doesn't get done that day. Just be flexible and move your blocks around that week.  Ask a friend or loved one to help with something if it is a priority.


7. Change Up Your Game

When things feel stale, you need a change.  I started walking Fluffy Alarm Clock before my Miracle Morning block.  I needed a fresh air boost and blood and oxygen rush earlier in the morning.  Plus, when it's summer, he needs to go out before it's too hot.

The walk helps me loosen things up.  Then I come back home for meditation and yoga. After, I finish the rest of my Life S.A.V.E.R.S.

When the sun actually starts coming up earlier than 7:00 I might move my TMM outside...remember change venue!

Maybe you need to switch laundry day or prep dinner when you make lunch.  Try shifting your blocks around or moving the blocks to a different venue to freshen it up.

Don't forget to take breaks and set a timer!! We will delve further into how to do time bullet journal time blocking tomorrow.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Bahn Mi Bowls are one of my favorite throw together meals.

I take leftover Hawaiian Pork from Nom Nom Paleo's recipe and throw in some jalapeno pickled salad which down here in the south we call "summer salad."





Jalapeno Pickled Salad or Spicy Southern Summer Salad
Quick Version:
Drop Chopped Radishes, Cucumbers, Carrots, Onions, and Pepperoncini into a sliced Jalapeno Jar. Let sit refrigerated overnight.

Paleo Hawaiian Pork Bahn Mi Bowls

Supplies:
Saucepan
Colander

Ingredients:
1 c Leftover Hawaiian Pork
1 c Jalapeno Pickled Salad
2 T Primal Kitchen Mayo
Bunch of Mint Leaves, Cilantro, and Basil
2 c of Baby Spinach
1 "nest" of sweet potato or glass noodles
Sambal Oelek

Assemble:

Bring a saucepan full of water to a boil. Put one "nest" of the glass noodles in the water.  Boil for 3-5 minutes until soft.  Drain.

While the noodles cooking, chop the mint, cilantro, and basil.

Get out 2 bowls.  

Put a handful of spinach in each bowl.  Top with the glass noodles. Divide the Jalapeno Pickled Salad and Hawaiian Pork into each bowl.  Sprinkle with the herbs.  Top each bowl with 1T of mayo and as much sambal oelek as you want.

Easy peasy!

Thursday, April 19, 2018


Treat Yo Self Thursday comin' at ya with a BIG treat yo self moment.

I mean big.

I've saved up my monthly fun money and with the help of an Amazon gift card from my parents, we got an Amazon Fire TV Stick for our bedroom TV.

Wow.

I mean wow!

We're "cord never's"--meaning that we've never had cable.  From the beginning, #leohusband and I hooked up an old desktop to our TV and watched Netflix (and Hulu when it used to be free).

More and more services are going to online subscriptions and we were more than happy to sign up for each.  The total bills still being less than paying for both cable and internet. Plus, the Fire TV Stick is so inexpensive, once that cost is sunk you are definitely saving money by the next year.


We are happy cord never subscribers to HBO, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Funamation, and Crunchyroll.

Yes, the last two are for me, I'm a total Otaku - super geeky and obsessed anime fangirl. However, #leohusband also likes anime, it's one of the things that told me he was the one.

One TV we have our XBox hooked up, all of the above apps can be downloaded on the XBox.

Our second TV is connected to a desktop computer.

Now our bedroom TV has an Amazon TV Fire Stick!  I can go watch TV and shut the bedroom door when #leohusband calls overseas at all hours of the night.

What's even better is I can unplug it and take it to my sewing room, plug it into my super small apartment TV and there is zero set up.  It just immediately works!  Amazing.

I'm so in love with it.

There have been days that I simply haven't been able to get out of bed, due to a migraine or pain.  I always just put on sunglasses, maybe a hat, and crawled to the living room couch to have the TV distract me.

Now I can stay in the bedroom if need be. Hell yes!

The Alexa remote also lets me say "Play Westworld" and it will play it.  That's super cool and good for when I don't want to scroll through multiple screens.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation is a powerful tool for increasing perception, thinking, reasoning, remembering, and reducing stress levels while improving short-term memory. Something of which chronic pain and illness patients need desperately.

Let's face it.  If you aren't ready to try chanting meditations then you haven't reached rock bottom, and really, do you want to reach rock bottom where there is no hope and you are desperate for anything that might work? No. You don't.

So try it for a week and see how you feel.  If I'm brave enough to film myself doing this, then you are brave enough to try it.



I will say this is the first chant that I have felt comfortable enough to actually chant out loud in yoga class. I was super interested in what my yoga teacher was saying about the studies that the scientific community has done with this meditation.

This is what I found in my research:

Two studies were done at the University of Pennsylvania and one continuing studying is being done at UCLA University of California. The University of Pennsylvania study was published in 2010 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Their second study was published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine in 2010.
The Canadian Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation is recommending the meditation as a daily practice to slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s which is great since it seems everything causes Alzheimer's nowadays.

Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation is a Kundalini Kirtan Kriya (KEER-tun KREE-a) brought to North America by Yogi Bhajan.

Kirtan Kriya is Sanskrit, a classical language of India. Kirtan means “song” or “praise” and Kriya means “to do” or “action.”

The meditation is a combination of chanting a mantra while moving the hands through mudra’s.

Mantra and mudra are also Sanskrit words.

Mantra means “an often repeated word or phrase” and mudra means “a motion of the hands” or “a dance of the hands.” To fully experience the benefits of the meditation, a combination of singing, whispering and silently repeating the mantra are used.

Let’s start first with understanding the mantra Sa Ta Na Ma.

SA is birth, the beginning, infinity, the totality of everything that ever was, is, or will be.

TA is life, existence, and creativity which manifests from infinity.

NA is death, change, and the transformation of consciousness.

MA is rebirth, regeneration, and resurrection which allows us to consciously experience the joy of the infinite.


How cool is that?  Chanting and moving the fingertips at the same time really brings my focus to the forefront. Again, I urge you to try 6 minutes of this meditation and track your energy levels through the week.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

I want to spend the next couple of weeks discussing the energy drain that comes with chronic pain and illness and what can be done with it...realistically.

There's a lot I want to achieve in the next 5 years. I've talked about what is coming up for me in the future. Well, in the long term I am going to write a Bill to submit to Congress that established Rights for Patients with Rare Diseases and the Doctor's that treat them.

I see several things going wrong with today's healthcare that simply does not address or applies to my disease or the other classified 7,000 rare diseases identified. I want to protect myself and others.

I can't just go out and write a bill. I need to put together an advocacy group first. I need to establish a presence to run an influential advocacy group. I need to get published on the topic of handling chronic pain. I need to work on and make this blog successful to be ready to write my book. Oh, and a yoga teaching certification and health coach certification wouldn't hurt either.

Ok, that's a lot to do. It's ambitious AF.

Step 1: Get my Energy Levels Up

I totally have my large goal on the mirror: Bill for Rare Disease Patients

Underneath I have: Get Energy Levels Up

Then I list the ways I know of that do actually help my energy levels:

Eating Paleo - Eating Clean
Drinking the Proper Amount of Water
Taking all my Supplements (I forget sometimes)
Getting Daily Exercise
Keep Moving During the Day
Go to Bed on Time*
Waking Up at a Consistent Time*
Getting Proper Sleep*

*I will go into how I'm going to achieve the sleep goals in another post.

How do I know what raises my energy levels?

I turn to my bullet journal.

Tracking Energy in a Bullet Journal for Chronic Pain and Illness

I have tracked my emotions, sleep, productivity, and activity for over a year now.

In 2017, I bullet journaled with tracking in mind but the main enjoyment I got out of it was drawing and how beautiful I could make my spreads and collections. 

While beautiful, they got tedious to fill out and keep up with.  I didn't even fill in the last half of October's pain and activity levels.

Also, it's hard to see and interpret.



In 2018, with my goal of Simplicity, I wanted to be able to see everything in one glance.

Sleep - Emotions - Productivity - Activities - Pain, all in one glance.


This really made it clear that the days I meet my water goals, eating goals, and activity goals...I'm more productive and clear my to-do list. The simple set up also doesn't exhaust me, so I'm more likely to stick with it.

Making time to do my journal helps too.

If you are thinking about including a pain and activity tracker this is a good one to start with:

It's a simple chart, next to the level, just write in what you did that day. This is also great to show your doctor. It proves you are being proactive in fighting your pain as well as what sets it off. 

If you are unsure about your pain level, check out this chart (it's also a great collection to have in your bujo).


What do you want to track in your bullet journal? Don't have a bullet journal yet? Check out this post.

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