Thursday, 31 December 2015

30 days of yoga with Adriene

I used to practise yoga quite some years ago, but I guess over time it got replaced by other activities and somehow I never went back to it. Just recently I guess I've been feeling a bit out of sorts. Nothing serious, just the usual stuff like recovering from the flu, not being my best during winter anyway and generally feeling a bit stiff.

Whilst searching for some local classes online, I remembered someone recommending Yoga with Adriene on YouTube and voila, I discovered that she is offering a free 30 day Yoga Camp which starts tomorrow on the 1st January! I set the alarm this morning and got up to do her yoga for complete beginners and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I find that getting up earlier in the darker months to exercise helps my mood greatly, so I'm looking forward to the next 30 days.

Wishing you a happy New Year!  

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Living with a loved one with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME

Photo by Mayur Gala - courtesy of https://unsplash.com/
I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for a while, but I know that I’ve been putting it off as it’s something very personal, a serious subject and I guess I want to do it justice. If you’d like to find out more information about the illness, you can visit: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Chronic-fatigue-syndrome/Pages/Introduction.aspx or http://www.actionforme.org.uk/get-informed/about-me/
The Spoon Theory is also a good analogy: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/.

My wonderful husband has CFS and I hate it. We obviously try to concentrate on the positive, but I hate seeing him suffer each day and how it impacts our life together. I admire him for his courage, tenacity and his positivity. I feel honoured that he chooses to spend energy and time with me as with any limited resource, it must be about prioritising your choices on any given day.

I admit that I can find it tough sometimes and I can feel a little envious around couples where both individuals are in good health. I sometimes feel guilty for being well and for being able to participate in things that he can’t. I sometimes find it difficult if I’m not at my best and he’s having a less good day too. However, I think that there can be much in common here with any relationship and you figure out the best way to go forward together in that particular moment. One day, it might be that I say to him, “I know you’re having a rough day. Can I do anything to help?” The answer might be, “No, thanks” and I may put my headphones on and let him have some time to himself. Unfortunately there will never be a definitive answer to what will be the best way to help, how much to talk etc., but it’s a case of working it out as we go along (pretty much like most of life).

Communication
I would say that communication is very important in any relationship with one partner suffering from any chronic condition. Over the years, I have worked on becoming a better listener as I can understand that being interrupted or being talked over would be tiring and unhelpful for anyone with less energy. Luckily I am a people watcher anyway and it makes it easier to pick up on how he might be doing. 
You can also ask! 
  • “Can I help with that?” He might be bringing the washing in from the garden and I will look at his expression as he’s coming in the door and ask that question if he’s frowning or just looking more tired. In the past, it’s been too easy to just instead take over (with the best of intentions) but that doesn’t give him the choice
  • “Is there anything I do regularly that helps or doesn’t help?” Again, it can be possible to act in a certain way with the best of intentions, but it may be that it doesn't have the positive effect that you were hoping for. 
Be honest and don't hide the bad stuff! I have found in the past that I didn't want to bother him with stuff that I was struggling with as he has enough going on anyway. However, this just means I'm not communicating and only wanting to be happy for him when I might not be. 

A subject that came up recently was my own energy levels. I suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder which means that I am more tired in the winter months. Whilst this will never be to the degree that is experienced through CFS thankfully, it does affect me. However, I was finding that I was concerned about saying, "I'm tired" around my husband as it could be irritating to him on a not so good day. Answer? I asked him and the bottom line is that whilst his energy levels may be lower than mine on that day, he is still concerned about my well-being. Talk, talk and then talk some more.  

Another example - after one of our aikido classes, we eat at a local pub for convenience and often he will get out his iPod or Kindle when we sit down. I admit that I was originally irritated by this as it felt like I was being ignored. However, after watching him for a couple of weeks I understood that this was his way of relaxing after teaching and concentrating. He's then able to talk to me after that initial period of down time.    

Doing stuff together
This is an area where we need to be positive, but also realistic about what someone with CFS may be able to do. Like many other chronic conditions, there will be better times and periods of relapse. This means it will be useful to consider some lower energy activities that we can both do together. For example, we both play an online game called Guild Wars 2 and it’s something that won’t be too tiring for him. We also enjoy curling up the sofa together with the cat to watch a series on Netflix and I'm very much enjoying Gotham currently.

Learn about the condition
He has more recently been reading more on the subject. At first, I found it upsetting watching some of the videos about how badly some people’s lives are affected. However, I would say that overall both of us learning more has been of benefit. It’s helped encourage us to talk about the difficult stuff and that’s much better than avoiding it.

It might make or break your relationship
It can be too easy to think about the negatives, but I believe that we have a stronger bond due to the CFS. We communicate better, are closer and coping with any of the difficulties are worth it to have him in my life. Luckily many marriages may not be tested by the ‘in sickness’ part of the traditional vows, but I believe you become stronger together or the sad alternative is that you go separate ways. Even if you love someone, I don’t think that everyone is cut out to have a long term relationship with someone with a chronic condition. I’m not saying that to judge or to say I’m wonderful, I just think it’s a realistic fact and it means that it might be better to kindly express this and walk away.

Look after yourself
Luckily, my hubby has mild to moderate CFS so I am not his carer, which may be the case for some partners. It is important to have time to yourself and I’ve found it also helpful to spend time with people who do not have CFS. It took me a while to figure this part out as I enjoy my husband’s company and we share interests, but I think this is also important in any relationship anyway. 

For example, on a weekend day where he might have less energy we will spend time together, but I may pop into town for a wander and a coffee whilst he has a rest in the afternoon. Looking after yourself is just as important as looking out for your partner, as you don't want to end up doing too much and consequently becoming ill or feeling resentful (back to communication again unsurprisingly). Another example - for some time now I have agreed to do the washing up each day. It's quite a minor task, but it means he doesn't have to do it. Some times I don't feel like doing it, especially if I'm not at my best or if I have cooked dinner. Therefore, I make sure that it gets done each day and I listen to a podcast whilst doing it. It's interesting how my change in attitude and deciding to listen to something at the same time has affected my feelings about it.  

I think I am naturally an empath and can be affected easily by other's moods. Therefore, something I have been working on recently is to ensure that I don't mirror my husband's behaviour too much. There will be days when he is quieter and I don't want to be stomping around like a small child, but I need to be careful that I am still 'me'. 

What can you do to help your loved one with CFS?
  • Be patient and listen to them
  • Offer to help, but don't just take over
  • Be yourself
  • Love them and support them
  • Talk to them. 
Hang on a minute, that sounds like general good advice for any relationship! I think that any chronic condition will add some extra challenges, but if you love and respect them you work together to have the best life that you can. 

Well, that's my thoughts on the subject. I'm no expert on CFS or relationships, but I love my husband with all my heart and feel we're working well together to continue our happy life.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Final day of the Shining Biz and Life Academy sale


If you've been considering joining Leonie Dawson's Shining Biz and Life Academy, today is the final day of the September sale - head on over to shiningacademy.com! (affiliate link)



Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Michael Franti and Kid President

Some videos that I have been enjoying recently :)



Saturday, 11 July 2015

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Stuffs to watch in Netflix

I admit that I quite enjoy it when other people blog about what they're watching or listening to. I guess I'm nosey, so it's a bit of an insight into what they're like, so I thought I would share with you what I have saved in My List in Netflix currently:
It does quite a good job of giving a flavour of things that I'm interested in or just enjoy - martial arts, vampires, H.P. Lovecraft, motorbikes, self development, meditation, aikido and Calvin and Hobbes! Any suggestions gratefully accepted :)   

Monday, 1 June 2015

I survived Tough Mudder and loved it

On the 2nd May, myself and twelve others from Dawn Breakers had an amazing day at Tough Mudder London West (Henley-on-Thames) which involved 10.8 miles of mud, hills, water, ice, monster obstacles and electric shocks.
Warning - long post... 

What is it? 
'Tough Mudder is a team-orientated 10-12 mile (18-20 km) obstacle course designed to test physical strength and mental grit. Tough Mudder puts camaraderie over finished rankings and is not a timed race but a team challenge that allows participants to experience exhilarating, yet safe, world-class obstacles they won't find anywhere else'. 


Obstacles
1. First up is a wooden wall to get over to the start line - members of our team kindly helped us with a boost up.
2. Skidmarked
A ten-foot wooden wall angled toward you - we worked well together with people hanging from the top to help you up.
3. Arctic Enema 2.0
Down a short slide, under a chain-link fence, and into freezing cold ice water - not too bad at first, but the shock set in after submerging again to go under a beam. 
4. Birth Canal
Crawl under a deceptively heavy, water-filled liner - tougher than I expected and luckily Simon was on hand to help drag me out at the end. 
5. Bale bonds
One of the easiest ones, just bales of hay to get over.
6. Quagmire
Climb down to wade across a stretch of muddy water - quite pleasant after Arctic Enema.
7. Hero Carry
Take turns carrying another team member for a distance - not bad as there wasn't too much of a size difference with my partner (compared with Simon and Caroline).
8. Sewer Rat
Crawl through a pipe and climb down into an area of thick mud - not bad, but I was glad to be able to encourage one of our team members who wasn't a fan of this.
9. Crybaby
An enclosed structure filled with a safe tear gas-like substance with logs to climb over - I actually found the gas quite pleasant and it cleared my bunged up nose a bit...
10. Pyramid Scheme
As the name suggests, it's all about forming a pyramid and helping to boost others up - quite tricky as not much grip.
11. Haha Ditch
A ditch to climb into and out.
12. Kiss of Mud 2.0
Crawling with barbed wire overhead with some muddy trenches and hale bales to navigate.
13. The Liberator
A ten-foot A-frame to be climbed up using pegs slotted into holes with not much for a foothold - a tough one and luckily a team member helped to haul me up near the top.
14. Mud Mile 2.0
Waist-deep water with mounds of mud to climb up and down - I loved this one!
15. Hold Your Wood 2.0
Your team carries a massive log around a course and over walls.
16. King of the Swingers
Swing off a ledge to try to reach out to ring a bell before landing in water - I was nowhere near the bell and the impact of falling in the water was quite a shock. 
17. Killa Gorilla
From looking at videos, I was expecting to run up and down a super muddy hill multiple times, but the course instead wound up and down some steep hills instead. 
18. Funky Monkey 2.0
Monkey bars over water with a trapeze and pipe to climb at the end - I've been working on my upper body strength, but bodged it on the day, slipping off and hitting the starting platform before falling in the water. A bit stunned and winded (bruises to come later), but able to carry on.
19. Hero Walls
Two ten-foot wooden walls - I admit I was still a little shaky after my fall, so I came pretty close to wanting to miss the second one. However, we all got over.
20. Devil's Beard
Cargo nets to crawl under. 
21. Everest 2.0
A curved ramp/pipe that you need to run up to to reach up to people hanging over the top - I can't find anything about how big this is, but it is huge! I got up on the fifth attempt and wasn't giving up. 
22. Electroshock Therapy
Wires hanging down that you run through with small bales of hay to get over - the first shocks felt more like static electricity, but the final biggie got me in the neck which flung my head back. I managed to keep going though to help encourage other team members through. 
 
Obstacles I could have happily missed out
The second Hero Wall (see above), and King of the Swingers as I had just dried off and warmed up.

Toughest thing of the day
Being cold.

How fit do you need to be?
There's some useful info at https://toughmudder.co.uk/mudder-nation/blog/top-5-myths-about-doing-tough-mudder and https://toughmudder.co.uk/are-you-fit-enough. I would recommend working on your upper body strength and you do need to be doing some training beforehand. However, your team will work together and it's not a race.

What to wear
I'd recommend a tight fitting long sleeve top and running tights, and old trainers you don't mind ruining. There are mixed opinions about wearing gloves. I didn't wear mine and was fine, but others found they were helpful. I wouldn't recommend wearing glasses due to the water and mud. I wore contacts and put on swimming goggles for the times when I knew I would be submerged.

What to take 
Photo ID, ticket, signed waiver form, change of clothes, towel, money including £3 for the bag drop, plastic bags for wet clothes. Some snacks for afterwards, but the water stations also provided some. 

What I loved 
Helping other people and being in a team with such wonderful people. It's really well organised with a great atmosphere and everyone is very helpful. The event has helped show me how much my fitness has improved and it was a perfect balance between being tough and fun.

A HUGE thanks to Hutchy, Jo, Simon, Jenni, Helen, Olly, Stef, Angela, Caroline, Mandy, Ivor and Charlie for being such awesome teammates! And thanks to Spencer for driving and being our support team.  
Hoorah! 

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

International Day of Happiness giveaway winners

Thank you for your comments on my previous giveaway post and apologies for the delay in announcing the winners. Luckily I have enough postcards, so everyone is a winner!

Anita, Misha Gericke, Jennifer Javellana, rosewendy, Silver De, Maly, Alexandra and JillianRaeHappyEnding - please could you email me your name and address to info [at] anitalim [dot] co [dot] uk ?

Thanks once again to Action for Happiness for supplying the postcards free of charge.

Wordless Wednesday


Friday, 20 March 2015

International Day of Happiness giveaway

The 20th March is International Day of Happiness.
This campaign is a global celebration to mark the United Nations' day, and is co-ordinated by Action for Happiness, a non-profit movement of people from 160 countries, supported by a partnership of like-minded organisations.

I have some ten keys to happier living postcards to give away.
(Handy size to hole punch and put in your personal size Filofax - for the Philofaxy peeps)




Thank you to Action for Happiness for providing the postcards.
This giveaway is now closed and details of the winners can be found here.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Accepting the not so good days

I am not at my best during the winter. 
As previously mentioned here, I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder after finally getting round to talking to my GP about it. 

On great days:
  • I feel like myself
  • I don't care if the weather is bad
  • I have lots of energy.
On not so good days:
  • I feel low in energy
  • My overall mood is lower
  • I find it hard to concentrate
  • I can often improve the above by doing things like:
    • Getting outside
    • Exercising
    • Using my light lamp
    • Meditating. 
Yesterday was a rough day for me and I feel lucky that it happened on a day off work:
  • Didn't want to get out of bed
  • Finally managed to drag myself to early morning circuits, but struggled as my energy levels felt quite low
  • Felt ready to go back to sleep at about 10:00 a.m.
  • Went back to bed to watch Lost Girl on Netflix and needed to nap for a couple of hours
  • Looked in my Filofax and couldn't face doing anything 
  • Didn't feel interested in the things I normally enjoy
  • Didn't go to aikido class
  • Felt teary, emotional and very low all day. 
I think that in the past, I have found it hard to accept that on some days I am unable to improve how I feel. It can be tiring needing to work on my mood most days in the winter, but I am grateful that I can make a difference even if I still feel tired. However, from time to time I just have to say 'today is a rough day' and cope with it the best that I can right now by being kind to myself, and finding the easiest options for anything that I might need to get done.

Tomorrow is another day, and thank goodness that Spring is nearly here :) 

Wednesday, 11 February 2015