Why technology is important for spoonies

Read about Netflix shows featuring chronic illness on The Unchargeables.

We’ve all been scolded for being on our phones, laptops and tablets. In this current age of rampant technology, it is understandable that these convenient devices can inhibit human interaction. While this is a growing issue, there is another side to this conversation that no one seems to be discussing.

What if technology was your only source of social interaction?

What if a disability, disease or mental health challenge inhibited your ability to have regular social interactions.

To these folks, a computer, tablet or cell phone may be the single source of not only entertainment, but also friendship and connection to other human beings.

Isolation is one of the most difficult parts of having any disability or illness. Not being able to socialize like we once did is a difficult card to be dealt, along with life long, incurable illness.

Most of us, before our diagnosis led very social, exciting lives. Most of us have had to mourn not only the life we once knew, but the friends that isolation took with it.

This is why it is SO important to keep in touch with your disabled friends and family and never judge them for the amount of time they spend on technology.

You never know how one text message or phone call can make a difference in someones life, for the good or bad.

For example. as a former career oriented women with a robust social life, since my diagnosis of Adrenal Insufficiency caused by my congenital disorder, Medullary Sponge Kidney I have had to reclaim a new life. I am no longer able to work a full time job and am mostly homebound. Due to health, I was forced to move away from my home state and am isolated in a foreign place for access to rare medical treatment. Texts, phone calls and social media are the main way I communicate with my friends and loved ones now. My extroverted soul aches in the isolated four walls I live in now.

I recently texted one of my loved ones, repeatedly, with no response.

I know it shouldn’t, but since that is my only source of communication with people, it hurts my feelings sometimes when people seem to be too busy for a three second reply.

This person’s response to my repeated text was “Sorry, I try not to be on my phone much.”

And I thought. “What a luxury.”

I miss the days where I didn’t have time to look at my phone because I was so busy running the geriatric home I was the director for. I was so busy perusing my degree in medicine I didn’t have time to scroll through social media. I was out in the world. I was an extrovert who was allowed to be extroverted.

Now, texts, calls, FB messages etc are my sources of social interaction, other than my weekly treatments at the hospital.

Social media and phones can be a source of JOY or a source of STRESS. It’s all in HOW you use it. It’s all in what you expose yourself to. It’s all in the people and content you ALLOW in your life.

If you are homebound and isolated, please don’t feel alone. There are many communities and support groups that understand the struggles you may be facing.

You are never alone, even if your only friends are in your phone 😉

Another point to be made is how important streaming services and TV can be in the life of someone chronically ill.

I know we all have felt guilt at some point for how much binge watching we’ve done, but honestly this practice has it’s place!

There are days where I am in so much pain and feel so miserable from my disease that I have to have a distraction. My mental health depends on it. Sometimes, watching a comedian on netflix or a comforting classic movie is a much needed distraction for those of us who struggle with difficult diseases or disabilities.

There’s only so many deep breathing exercises, meditation and yoga you can do and sometimes you just need to rest and recuperate.

I know sometimes we feel guilty for the amount of resting we do, but when you battle a disease 24/7 365 with no remission, it is completely okay to need a distraction in your life.

If netflix, youtube, hulu or whatever is that distraction for you, by all means please do not feel guilt over that. You deserve to rest. You deserve to be able to enjoy movies, shows and entertainment just like the healthy people.

I will close with two messages:

1- Don’t let anyone berate you about being on technology if you are using it for POSITIVE reasons.

That being said, if technology and social media is becoming a source of stress, it’s ok to cut back on it. Just don’t isolate yourself completely. You deserve to be heard, understood and loved.

2- If you love someone who is homebound, sick or disabled, respond to their texts, messages and phone calls when you can.

I get it, you’re busy. But we should never be too busy to let someone know we care Sending a text takes 3 seconds, but it could make someones whole day! Make people you love a PRIORITY. Especially those with chronic health issues, they may value your efforts even more. <3

Wishing you hope, healing and happiness!

Love, Win

To read more from Winslow you can visit her website-

How Being Chronically Ill Has Made Me The Target Of Dangerous “Miracle Cure” Products (And How To Avoid Them).

Disclaimer: When starting a new health supplement or diet you need to consult with your doctor first to ensure that any changes will benefit your health instead of making it worse.

As someone who is both chronically ill and overweight, I am a perfect target for the “miracle cure” products that circle the internet. If you’re unsure as to what I’m referring to, certain products on the internet claim to be the “miracle cure” that can cure “any and all” illness or disability. Of course, this isn’t true.

If It Sounds Too Good

I’ve learned over the years that if a treatment sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Not only do these products target and take advantage of chronically ill and/or disabled people, but they can also be extremely dangerous. It’s not just because of the possibly unregulated ingredients though. Some of these “treatments” even recommend stopping all other medications while using the product, which is ridiculous!

I’m not going to mention specific product names or brands in this article, as I don’t want to cause any legal issues. However, there are plenty of online resources that can be consulted regarding these types of products. I find that the five most commonly targeted conditions by these scams that I’ve seen are Cancer, Obesity, Fibromyalgia, ADHD, and Autism. However, there is no condition that the scam supplements will not claim to cure. The rise of internet usage in our society has made it super easy for the creators of these scam products to widely sell their product, but I’m hoping we can use the internet to raise awareness about this issue and turn things around. 

My Experience

Like many others, I have seen these products advertised all over the internet. Luckily, my mother taught me at a young age to do my research before buying any of these “miracle cures”.  Like many of us, my experiences with the advertisement of these products was purely online… until earlier this year. I’ll set the scene: One afternoon I was walking through the main street of my town, minding my own business, heading towards my dentist appointment. Out of nowhere, a woman runs out of a little nutrition store and asks me if I’d be interested in learning more about her products. Me, finding it hard to say no and having time to waste before my appointment, agreed and headed into the store. 

I then asked if I needed to consult my doctor before starting to use these products. She told me that no, I didn't need to consult a doctor because it was all-natural,

It wasn’t until later that I realised how weird it was that she ran out of her store upon seeing me. She wasn’t standing outside her store handing out flyers, and I didn’t see her approach anyone else. Later I realised that she must have seen me as an easy target because I’m overweight and was using my walking cane. As I entered the store, I instantly regretted my decision. Every single one of the products in that store was a “health” product from a single company that is well known on the internet for promising benefits for their products that they don’t deliver. I continued to talk to this woman as if I was interested in buying the products. She went on and on about how her products have improved the lives of people with many medical conditions. 

I then asked if I needed to consult my doctor before starting to use these products. She told me that no, I didn’t need to consult a doctor because it was all-natural, and then she made a snarky comment that the fast-food I eat would react far worse with my medication than any product she sells. The funny thing is, despite being overweight, I only eat fast food not even once a week. I couldn’t believe she’d say something like that to someone she had never met before, and I knew her comment about it being all-natural and therefore not possibly interacting with medication was blatantly untrue. I then escaped the store, and the awkward situation, by telling her that I needed to leave to attend my appointment and that I would consult my finances and get back to her. After my appointment, I went home and did my research, and it turns out this company’s products are linked to liver failure. I definitely dodged a bullet. 

The Rising Awareness Concerning These Products

Some of these products are so dangerous that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has released warnings about them. The FDA is discussing tightening rules regarding these products, however, the companies behind said products are adept at finding loopholes in the law. D] Phil even did an episode regarding a “miracle” cabbage and salt-based drink that the creator claimed cured all illnesses – she evened claimed it could grow back missing limbs and organs and fix chromosome disorders. However, this drink had such a high salt content that prolonged use would cause sodium poisoning, which can be deadly. 

Some of these products are so dangerous that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has released warnings about them. The FDA is discussing tightening rules regarding these products, however, the companies behind said products are adept at finding loopholes in the law.

Thanks to coverage from platforms like these and articles all over the internet, awareness regarding these dangerous products are arising. Still, however, some people are falling victim to these schemes, and I’m hoping that the continued spread of information through the internet will eventually turn the tables against these scam products. 

Some Supplements & Diets Can Be Helpful

Depending on your chronic illness and current treatments, supplements can be helpful for aiding the treatment of your symptoms. Magnesium, for example, is widely known to help lessen muscle pain and spasms. It was first suggested to me by my doctor, and I’ve found it to be very helpful in addition to my other medications. Other popular supplements include turmeric and fish oil, which each have a long list of ways they may be able to aid your health.

Certain diets can also be helpful. I have encountered many people with obesity, chronic pain, and/or fatigue who swear by the keto diet as a way to lose weight and aid the treatment of their symptoms, though I have not yet tried it myself. These treatments (when used under the guidance of a medical professional) can be genuinely helpful. What isn’t genuinely helpful, however, is when people claim that their unreliable diets and supplements can cure any and all forms of illness, which is obviously not true.  

“Natural” Doesn’t Always Equal Safe

The main angle these companies use to advertise their “miracle cure products” is that their products are “100% natural, 100% safe!” Don’t let this fool you. A product containing all-natural ingredients does not guarantee its safety. After all, cyanide is natural! And so is the cabbage and salt drink I mentioned above, yet the amount of salt in this ‘treatment’ has caused serious medical events in patients that have drunk it, such as stroke.

It’s not just an excess of certain ingredients that can be an issue. There’s also an issue that comes along with these products targeting the chronically ill. Like many people who are chronically ill, I take a lot of medication in an attempt to manage my symptoms. Many medications have specific ingredients that may not be consumed along beside this medication. Some of these ingredients are in other medications. Others are a part of natural growing foods. For example, I can’t consume products that have grapefruit in them because that would negatively interact with the medication I take every day.

How to avoid dangerous “miracle” supplements:

Do your research. 

If anyone other than a trusted medical professional recommends a health product or routine/diet to you, do your research. When researching a product, Google the product and look at reviews that are not on a website connected to the product brand (as some brands delete negative reviews). Make sure the brand or website you’re buying from is reliable. You can even check with the FDA to see if the product is approved, or if the FDA has any concerns regarding the product or the brand. Also, in my opinion, “health” products from MLM (multi-level-marketing) companies and websites should be avoided.

Consult Your doctor or a pharmacist

As always, when starting a new health supplement or diet you need to consult with your doctor before to ensure that this will benefit your health instead of making it worse. This is especially important if you have chronic health issues and take medication. 

As always, when starting a new health supplement or diet you need to consult with your doctor before to ensure that this will benefit your health instead of making it worse. This is especially important if you have chronic health issues and take medication.

Pharmacists can give you a break down on ingredients in the supplement you are enquiring about, and inform you as to whether they will interact with any of the treatment you are undergoing. Consulting a pharmacist regarding a supplement I was interested in saved me from possibly developing Serotonin Syndrome, which can be deathly. This would have been caused due to an interaction between the supplement and one of my medications. 

Only buy from reliable sellers

Once you have the “OK” from your doctor or pharmacist, only buy health supplements from reliable sources. I personally only buy my supplements from pharmacies and supermarkets. Unless I’m visiting a website directly connected to a supermarket or pharmacy, I will not buy supplements online. 

While some people may think that what other people decide to sell or buy is no one else’s business, these “miracle” products take advantage of vulnerable people and they are also often extremely dangerous. I can not stress enough how important it is to consult a medical professional before starting a new treatment. People reading this may think I’m being repetitive and redundant, but I can’t say it enough. 

My Resources:

Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/no-this-miracle-solution-isnt-a-cure-for-cancer-autism-its-bleach#Unproven-and-dangerous-health-cures

Dr Phil, regarding dangerous cabbage-salt drinks: https://www.drphil.com/videos/medical-professional-explains-potential-dangers-of-controversial-health-beverage/

About The Author

Amy Clements is a 20-year-old who has lived with chronic pain, the result of Fibromyalgia, since childhood. In her teens she was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in her wrist, which was the result of a netball injury. Amy lives in New Zealand and studies Business part-time at University. She enjoys reading novels and writing. She especially enjoys writing about her experience with chronic illness.

How to Keep Moving! (Chronic Illness and Exercise)

How to Keep Moving! (Chronic Illness and Exercise)

Though exercise is an important part of maintaining our health, exercising regularly is more difficult for people living with a chronic illness than it is for many others. However, with a doctor’s approval (of course), regular exercise can become manageable to some extent, while being highly beneficial for many aspects of people’s lives. For people with chronic illness, it can be even more crucial to regularly do some light physical activities, in order to increase their heart rate within safe parameters.

Some of the benefits of exercise for people with chronic illness include bone and muscle strengthening, weight control, improvement in mental health and mood, reduced chances of falls, as well as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome (as well as helping to manage the symptoms of these conditions). As a whole, regular exercise can help preserve your lifestyle.

How to get started:

If you’re a person suffering from some kind of chronic illness, then the topic of chronic illness and exercise is surely familiar to you. The first thing we ask ourselves is how to even begin exercising. The first thing you should do is speak to your doctor. This is very important, as they will give you the best advice that will match your medical condition and capabilities. Your doctor will advise you on how to start, what exercises are best, and what pace to keep.

How to get your exercise routine started when you experience chronic illness

Remember to ask about the exact benefits of taking up some physical activity, the safe exercises you can do, the ideal intensity and duration of these exercises, and the realistic goals that you can set; as well as learning what exercises are definitely off your list that may cause you harm. You can find the right level of activity for yourself and your unique chronic condition only when you have the answers to all the above considerations to act as a basis for your exercise plan. 

Dealing with exercise related fear, grief, and trauma

Exercising with chronic illness can lead to experiencing a turmoil of emotions, including fear, grief, and trauma. Fear can be brought on by worrying about being judged by strangers while exercising, or being scared that we may not be able to keep up or do what we used to. There is also the fear of onset numbness, flares, and possible injury.

Grief can be experienced while exercising with chronic illness because we may not be as fast as we used to be, and the loss of functionality and stamina during our workout routines can be upsetting. We need to acknowledge that our bodies will look and work differently than they did before the onset of our chronic illness symptoms. Even knowing this may not stop us from feeling vulnerable as we see other people doing everything we once could but now can’t. We need to be aware that each person has a different level of activity they are capable of.

People diagnosed with chronic illness experience moments of acute trauma. This can mean that due to pain they feel, they simply disconnect their mind from their body in an attempt to ease the tremendous pain they feel. However, when exercising it’s impossible to disconnect our body from our mind. The sensations that accompany being physically active are discomforting, especially for people with a chronic illness – as they tend to associate the pain from exercise with the pain associated with their illness.

Dealing with  fear, grief, and trauma when exercising with chronic illness

These are some reasons many people with chronic illness avoid exercise. We can help ourselves overcome these by thinking encouraging thoughts and assuring ourselves that we are not in danger. The more we are able to deal with these emotions, the stronger and more capable we will become. This kind of practice will make us stronger – both physically and mentally.

Start off slow

It’s important to start off slow. Choose some light, mild activities as you begin your exercise plan. These activities could include taking a short walk, gentle stretching, riding a bike leisurely, or lifting light weights. If you’re a fan of walking, take some walks in nature: go to the park or the countryside. If you prefer cycling, find a perfect bike that fits your personality and needs and cycle leisurely around your neighborhood. Any kind of physical movement, even though it might not seem much to you, is better than no movement at all. 

Choose activities you like

Usually, in life, we persist and continue doing what we enjoy doing. That’s why it’s key to choose the activities we enjoy because in that way we’ll have something that ties us to the activity. Another way to persist in doing physical activities is to find an exercise buddy. That helps you stay motivated and accountable. Everything we do with our friends is easier and more bearable, as we can give each other support during hard times. 

Frequency is more important than duration

This means that you should focus on moving a little every day rather than doing something for two hours once a week. You should try to make the activities a part of your day. Even things such as using the stairs, sweeping and even standing up and sitting down on a chair repetitively are also considered to be light physical activities.

Frequency is more important than duration when exercising with a chronic illness

Set realistic goals

It’s necessary to be realistic in setting our goals. We should start with simple and easily doable ones such as some yard work and little housework, for those people who don’t suffer from severe chronic conditions. On the other hand, people who suffer from more severe forms of illnesses should maybe start with improving their flexibility in order to start managing some usual daily activities. Setting unrealistic goals can lead to disappointment and lack of motivation.

Don’t give up

Even if sometimes you can’t keep up with a regular activity once or twice in a certain period, don’t let that bother you. Take a break if you need to, but remember to go back to exercising as soon as you can. Go over in your mind what you’ve achieved so far and think about what you can achieve in the future if you keep up the good work. 

Motivation is important

Everybody has a different motivation for making themselves go through something that is extremely difficult for them, such as exercise. Some people want to be in better physical shape in order to keep up with their toddler, while other people want to improve their mood, their quality of life, and their overall health – the reasons are countless. When you have a reason strong enough, you’ll find more time and energy to endure. It’s especially important to remember your motivation on the days you don’t feel like exercising. Motivation is a very powerful tool and it can help you achieve almost anything. 

Remember: Your excercise plan can be adapted to suit you

If there is an exercise that you loved but are no longer able to do, it may be able to be adapted to suit your needs. This means you don’t need to stop doing what you enjoy. For example, yoga can be practiced from a chair and you can receive all the same benefits of improved flexibility, increased strength and reduced stress

You can adapt your exercise plan to suit you (chronic illness and exercise)

Try attending a class

Attending a fitness class has the benefit of being able to consult an instructor, who can help you do the exercises correctly and avoid any mistakes that could lead to an injury. If you worry that a “normal” fitness class may be too hard on you, you may be able to find a special class for people with disabilities or chronic illnesses. This means you also get to spend time with people who may have a similar condition as you, allowing you to share your experiences and maybe even hear a few good pieces of advice. 

Learning how to live a to-some-extent-normal life when suffering from a chronic illness is not an easy task. With lots of effort, motivation, will, and support from our dear loved ones, we can try to improve as much as we can and be the best version of ourselves. 

For more information regarding exercising with chronic illness, you can visit: www.gethealthystayhealthy.com

About the author:

Helen Bradford is a journalism student who always seeks new ideas to write about. She enjoys blogging about beauty, health and style trends for women. When she’s not writing, she spends her spare time being active through fitness and traveling.

6 Tips On How To Cope With The Holidays (When You Have Cerebral Palsy)

The holiday season is fast approaching, which means its that time of year where you get to together with family or friends. For someone like myself who has Cerebral Palsy this time of year can be a lot more challenging, as opposed to someone without a disability.

Although I enjoy getting together with my family during the holidays, It can be a difficult time for me.  It can be overwhelming and cause feelings of being left out, which can make the holidays hard to deal with.

Although I enjoy getting together with my family during the holidays, It can be a difficult time for me. It can be overwhelming and cause feelings of being left out, which can make the holidays hard to deal with.

6 Tips To Get You Through The Holidays

I decided to write down and share the 6 tips that I use on how to cope with Cerebral Palsy during the holidays. These tips are by no means limited to someone with Cerebral Palsy, they may also be helpful to anyone who finds the holiday season hard to cope with

Try To Remain Positive During The Holidays

I understand that sometimes Cerebral Palsy, disability, and chronic illnesses can be a pain in the butt to deal with especially when you’ve been out socializing, visiting loved ones or doing activities that require you to move around more than you would normally. It can be exhausting, but you should try to have a positive attitude about your situation.

Spend Time With Friends

Sometimes having Cerebral palsy could make you feel lonely at times. It’s a good idea to spend time with friends that understand what you’re dealing with. I know from experience that hanging with my friends with Cerebral palsy helps me out a lot.  

Have A Plan For When You Feel Overwhelmed

The holidays could be an anxious time for many with chronic illnesses and disabilities. I especially begin to feel anxious about the idea of having to go on a vacation to see family, disrupting the day to day routine. To attempt to minimise the disruption and the potential feelings of being overwhelmed and anxious I pack all the things that help me when I’m feeling anxious, like my favorite movies to keep me calm.  

Express your emotions

If you’re feeling overwhelmed about the holidays and your disability. Talk to your family or friends. Expressing what you are feeling, means that you could come up with a game plan to help get you through the holidays. You’re all in this together and maybe they’ll agree with you on certain things. 

Listening to your favorite type of music might help to relax your body.  For me listening to country music has always been my go-to when it comes to coping with situations with my Cerebral palsy.

Try To Relax

Listening to your favorite type of music might help to relax your body. For me listening to country music has always been my go-to when it comes to coping with situations with my Cerebral palsy. Listening to Blake Shelton’s Christmas album to help me escape from reality and it also helps me relax my muscles form the possible triggers I might face.   

Find Activities That Are Inclusive To All

Find activities that you can do that won’t cause you to feel left out! Believe it or not, there are many activities you can do with your friends and family that won’t cause you to feel left out. My favorite activities to do with my family is dancing to Spanish music and its something that I can do. 

Although having Cerebral Palsy may not be easy, I’m thankful for the experiences that it has given me and it the best gift I could ever receive this holiday season.

About The Author

Tylia Flores is a 24-year-old born with cerebral palsy. Although her condition has affected her mobility, it has never affected her will and determination to make a difference in the world. Through her many life challenges and obstacles, she discovered her passion for writing. Tylia’s goal in life is to share her stories with the world.

7 Ways to Find Peace of Mind and Inner Calm

All our life, we keep on seeking peace of mind but it is important to understand that it is not something we can buy or seek. We often get indulged in the process of seeking peace rather than attaining it. Happiness or peace is not something we can grasp, it comes from within. Yes, of course, we can try to meet people we love or buy things we like but peace is not just confined till materialistic pleasure. In this process of seeking peace and calm, we chase people, we get inclined towards things which we guess could get us into a better position but truly one cannot chase or grasp peace. Have you ever met someone who remains calm most of the time? Who does not react abruptly even if something bad happens? Maybe that person is at peace and so nothing easily disturbs him or her. 

Peace Is Different For Everyone

The definition of peace could vary from one person to another, one might like to sit at home with a cold coffee, watching Netflix or another person might want to explore the world. It differs but it does not mean seeking peace in the next moment. Maybe the next job could be better, maybe another relationship, moving to a different city or place could give us peace is not a good state of mind. If we keep on doing this, we are stuck in the loop of seeking peace. In this process, we feel lost and dull. Our entire personality is devastated as we are too busy discovering things about others but not ourselves. If you want peace, start living in the present, it is important to realize the importance of momentary happiness. When you start living every moment, when you start understanding the importance of present and start living every moment to the fullest, you start taking steps towards attaining peace.

The definition of peace could vary from one person to another, one might like to sit at home with a cold coffee, watching Netflix or another person might want to explore the world. It differs but it does not mean seeking peace in the next moment.

We often come across people who are suffering from depression or stuck with regular panic attacks or anxiety, the reason is they believe that peace or happiness is in the next moment. There is no next moment. When you start getting sure about things, when you decide to end your confusion and take a step towards living the life right now, you are following the correct path. It is normal to keep on looking for happiness but peace is different. You have to collect a lot of happy moments to get close to the calmness your mind deserves. Yes, you can implement certain rules in your life that could make your life a little easier. You can check out some of the important ways by which you can try to develop a state of mind that is calm and peaceful.

How to find Peace and Inner Calm?

Yes, it is a fact that we cannot calculate and find peace. It does not have any blueprint yet we can practice some activities that can at least help us to get over the temporary problems we are dealing with. You can check out some of the common ways to deal with it. Have a look, try to read, understand and implement in the process of seeking a better life ahead.

Stop Being too Serious

Why so serious? You must have come across this famous dialogue. Eventually, it is not just a dialogue, it’s philosophy itself. It is good to be serious in life and take important decisions yet it is not a great idea to take yourself too seriously. It is important to know how to turn a problematic situation into a good one. We often criticize people who prefer being humorous and solving out things but probably they are the ones living their life to the fullest. If you are serious enough to make commitments, you should also know the ways to figure out things if the commitment did not go well. If you are serious all the time, it is a possibility that you might get inclined towards the negative thoughts. You might face many difficulties but if you are dealing with it with a positive perspective, things do not get heated up. Your acceptance level increases and you develop a habit of involving in the situation positively.

Increase the Horizon of Acceptance

It is important to accept things as they are without adding any extra flavor of over-thinking and assumptions to it. You can wake up in the morning and challenge yourself that everything that comes your way, you would accept it and then react or respond to it. Acceptance is important because without accepting you cannot respond appropriately. You must listen to everything the other person is saying, you must observe and then analyze and then react. When we stop accepting things, it leads to unnecessary quarrels and not needed worries. So, try to listen, accept and then react.

Be You!

You might be messy one day and classy on the other. So, try to accept that a bad day does not make you a bad person. You must accept yourself, all your flaws, confusion, doubts and mess is yours and you should never be ashamed or embarrassed to accept it. Make sure that you do accept all your imperfections and strive to make it better. Be sure that only you can turn your imperfections into perfections.

Don’t be too Harsh on Yourself 

You would come across many situations in life when you would question your existence? But wait a minute before doing it. It is ok if you made any mistake; it is ok if you are not doing well. Try to be your best friend. Do not ever question your self-esteem, you can do wonders.

You would come across many situations in life when you would question your existence? But wait a minute before doing it. It is ok if you made any mistake; it is ok if you are not doing well. Try to be your best friend. Do not ever question your self-esteem, you can do wonders.

Permit Yourself to Feel

You must feel everything. Make sure you go through every phase; make sure you cry your heart out when you need to. Make sure you laugh out loud when you are feeling like too. The power to feel is everything. You must understand that numb is not good. Allow yourself to feel what you like to, what you want to.

Get Over the Past

Most of us are not at peace because we are stuck in nostalgia. You must understand that you should not cling to the past and ruin your present. Try to forgive yourself for all the pathetic decisions you took, all the bad people you gave chance to. It is ok to be not perfect. Make yourself feel comfortable by letting out all the bad memories. Try to revive the energy, make sure you do not hold any past grudges. It is important to know the importance of ‘let go’

Meditation is helpful

Apart from all the above activities, self-care is important too. You can try mediation to avoid panic attacks and anxiety. You can play a soothing track, try to calm down, relax and meditate. Allow yourself to feel everything. Research shows that meditation gives you proper space and time to think, feel and act. So, do not hesitate and try to build a tension-free world for yourself.

self-care is important too. You can try mediation to avoid panic attacks and anxiety. You can play a soothing track, try to calm down, relax and meditate

We have tried to explain some of the vital ways to get over the problems you have been facing. Once you take a step, some changes take place. When you choose light over darkness, happiness over sadness, Love over hatred and acceptance over assuming, you are all set to go.

About The Author

Manmohan Singh is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveler in India. He organizes Ayurveda Courses in Kerala and Yoga Teacher Training in different cities. He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, health, nature, Himalayas and Trekking Tours in India.

What Helps Me to Stay Strong (Through My Family’s Chronic Illness Journey)

What Helps Me to Stay Strong (Through My Family's Chronic Illness Journey)

I’ve always found it difficult to share my feelings with other people. I would keep it all to myself. This, however, changed when we received the latest diagnosis for both my daughters. 

Let me start by giving you some background information about me and my family: It’s just me and my girls, and we live in Holland. We are also known as the bendy bunch, all three of us have Ehlers Danlos syndrome. And as a bonus, we all have some similar and some different additional illnesses (which we like to refer to as extra toppings). Mine are adenomyosis, dilated aorta, retinal vein occlusions, high blood pressure, and I no longer have my own teeth. Both my daughters have POTS, ME and as we know now since June this year Craniocervical Instability (CCI), Atlantoaxial instability (AAI), hindbrain herniation, and the youngest is close to brainstem compression. When they were giving out chronical illnesses, we were obviously front in line… And I’m pretty sure I forgot to write some of them down. 

The shock of these new diagnoses

The latest diagnoses were a shock. We’ve been dealing with chronic illnesses for quite a while now, but this one really gave me a scare. Not one, but both my girls have a life-threatening and life-limiting disease. And as I usually do when I get stressed, I started planning and thinking about what could be done to fix this. I turned to the insurance company, but the treatment, an operation done in another country, wasn’t covered. This didn’t come as a big surprise, because we had to go to another country for the diagnosis which, as you can probably guess, was also not covered.

The stress of receiving new, life threatening diagnoses

As I continued to process this, my thoughts went in all different directions as my emotions went into a spin. You wouldn’t have known that, though. On the outside I was calm and rational, and I tried to stay that way. I had to be strong for my daughters. They needed to know that everything would be okay, or at least, as normal as possible. When we received the news about these diagnoses, the adrenaline took over and I went into first, second and third gear. I’m still feeling it after two months because if I let go of this adrenaline, I’m afraid I’ll break down. And that’s not an option. 

Creating a Foundation and Establishing a Social Media Presence

In the last two moths following the diagnoses I started a foundation called Help Jane & Rosa battle CCI/AAI. We had to go to a notary office to make it official. As a result of the Dutch tax laws, I found that a foundation is the best way to go. Otherwise, all donations would be considered an income. Friends of mine built the website, and I deliver all of the text and images. We have also created a Facebook page, an Instagram account, a Twitter account and a YouTube channel. Unfortunately, most of the videos on our YouTube channel are in Dutch, however we try to make some English versions too.

How blogging has helped me cope with my family's chronic illness journey

Filming these videos was really awkward for me. In the beginning of this article I mentioned that I’m not a great sharer, but as you can see, I’ve stepped outside all of those boundaries I once had. Writing about what’s going on in our lives is one thing, however filming videos was a huge step for me. If you want a grin you should check it out. Even with me speaking in Dutch you can see how exposed and awkward I feel. Luckily my daughters, especially Jane, are taking care of the video aspect. This meant I could start writing a blog for our website. All this work establishing a social media presence is to raise more awareness and to fight for an operation for both of my girls.

The Support of Friends, Family, and Aquiantances

I always knew I had great friends and family (not all of my family has been supportive, but who has a perfect family?) but what really surprised me is how supportive even my colleagues have been. Not only have they supported me by making a donation, they have also done so much more. One started designing T-shirts, one started developing calendars, and Jane’s old school of is thinking about a project for raising funds. They offer help in any way they can. I know not everyone is so lucky, and for me, receiving all this support was a true eye opener.

I realised that not only was I bad at sharing, I was also reluctant to ask for help. I surprised a lot of people by reaching out for help, and as the time goes by, it gets easier to do so. I still blush when I do, especially when I do it face to face. But I’m managing it and it makes me proud that I do. Today during a coffee break at work, I asked the owner of the coffee bar if he could share our fundraising page and make a donation. And again, the warmth of people was overwhelming.

The support of my friends, family, and acquaintances is very important

On the workdays I’ve been drinking my morning coffee there for over the last five years, my daughters’ illnesses have come up in some conversation. He was very concerned for their health and immediately started thinking about things he could do to help. This shows that even acquaintances are sometimes more than just people you meet now and then. The bond you have with them is sometimes stronger than you think.

All Of This Helps Me To Stay Strong

Blogging and writing about how I feel what’s going on, and where we stand is really helping me cope. Sometimes it puts things into perspective or helps me to channel my emotions in a constructive way. Today I felt sad while I was going to work. I was quiet during a meeting because my thoughts were all over the place and I felt like I could burst into tears at any moment. So, I started writing this article, thinking about all that has happened in the past two months and all that I’ve achieved. And for a chronically ill mum, with chronically ill daughters, I feel like that’s a lot.

So, I’ll keep you posted about how all of these illnesses have an effect on us and our lives, about how the fundraising is going and what difficulties comes with raising funds, and how all of this mixes with work and day to day life. Sometimes it’ll be sad, sometimes it’ll be fun and sometimes it’s just how it is. Because every day is different and life don’t always turns out as planned. And that’s okay, as long as we have each other we’ll get wherever we want to go, eventually. The love in our family will always get us through the rough spots and that’s how I stay strong. 

Monique Blaauw is a mother of two daughters (20 and 19). Founder, chair(wo)man and treasurer of the Help Jane & Rosa battle CCI/AAI foundation. She has been a single mother for 18 and a half years. Works fulltime, as well as being the caregiver for both her chronically ill daughters and older mother and is chronically ill herself. 

Service Dogs (The Pros & Cons)

There are definite pros and cons to having a service dog.  First, I will point out a few differences between service dogs, emotional support animals, and therapy dogs.  Service dogs (SD) are a dog or miniature horse trained for specific tasks to help mitigate a disability that the person cannot do on their own. An emotional support animal (ESA) is a pet that provides emotional support that doesn’t need specialized training.  A therapy dog helps others by providing comfort, these ones you see go to nursing homes, hospitals, schools, etc…  Service dogs can go everywhere the general public is allowed to go, with a few exceptions (operating rooms, religious places that don’t allow animals, food preparation areas).  ESAs are only allowed in housing/apartments or on an airplane or a travel bus, with a letter from a doctor, counselor, or psychiatrist.  These are important differences because this will come up later in this blog and other ones that I write in the future. I will start with the pros of having a service dog, for me personally, then cover the cons obviously.

The Benefits Of Having A Service Dogs

I will be keeping this part mostly serious, with possibly a few sarcastic remarks that I will point out as sarcasm.  A benefit of a service dog/mini horse is that it will help provide a little bit more independence in your life, that is if you have a debilitating disability and the dog helps mitigate that disability (as per the ADA law and not your doctor).  The dog/mini horse is trained, either by the owner themselves, a dog trainer that is knowledgeable on service dogs, or a facility. 

A benefit of a service dog/mini horse is that it will help provide a little bit more independence in your life, that is if you have a debilitating disability and the dog helps mitigate that disability

They are trained to perform specific tasks to help their handler with things the handler cannot do.  A very common service dog/mini horse task is guiding the blind.  This is where the dog/mini horse will help the handler avoid obstacles and lead them up to a counter, etc… the animal does not know directions like google maps does, let me restate that, the dog/mini horse cannot just take their handler to Starbucks on a single command like “go to Starbucks”. The handler has to know the way, through memorization or google maps, to get there and the animal just keeps them from harm or gets them to crosswalks and helps them cross them safely.  This is a common misconception that I have heard plenty of times.  

Another main misconception that I hear is that there are only a couple types of service dogs/mini horses like guiding the blind and helping people in wheelchairs with retrieving items and opening doors.  There is in fact a wide range of different tasks that the service dog/mini horse can do.  There is mobility, balance, retrieval of items, PTSD (multitude of tasks that are performed for this one), guiding the blind, hearing alert for the deaf, performing everyday tasks (ie. Laundry, opening doors, getting items from the fridge, etc.), seizures, diabetes alert, heart alert, blood pressure, psychiatric, autism, allergy detection, medical alerting, etc. The list can go on because the tasks/jobs depend on the handler and their needs.

Pros of Service Dogs

They help the person be able to be independent with everyday tasks and help the handler to get out of the house for simple errands.  For this part, I’m going to list the pros for me with my service dog since this can be a specific thing.  I get to go out of the house with the help of my service dog because she helps me walk, no I’m not blind….  My first service dog was trained for mobility, balance, retrieval of items, alerting for vertigo, allergy detection, and protection (I’ll explain this in a moment).  My current service dog, 2.0 (sarcasm), is trained for mobility, balance, bracing, retrieval of items, alerting for vertigo and medical alerts, allergy detection, overheating, anxiety/panic attacks, and PTSD (this is where the “protection” came in with my first dog, but did not have the diagnosis until a few years later). 

y current service dog, 2.0 (sarcasm), is trained for mobility, balance, bracing, retrieval of items, alerting for vertigo and medical alerts, allergy detection, overheating, anxiety/panic attacks, and PTSD

This benefits me because I feel comfortable going out into public because I know I am safe and my dog will help me be completely independent.  I got to feel normal for a bit there and did not have to wonder if I had energy to get my wheelchair out of my car or not (I no longer use a wheelchair at this point in time).  I know other pros are that I am able to avoid allergens without feeling the need to avoid going out in public places with the fear of coming across it. I have had a significant drop in anxiety/panic attacks and debilitating vertigo attacks.  My SD helps with avoiding triggers for my PTSD and vertigo.  For me, the pros outweighed the cons with a service dog.

Cons of Service Dogs

This one is a bit easier to write for me only because I found out about the cons after I had gotten my SD and experienced them out firsthand.  I honestly think that if I had known the cons before I got my SD, I would have chosen to stay in the wheelchair and not relearned to walk.  The main one is that you will feel like a freak show/circus act and many people will treat you as such. 

The first thing that comes to mind with this is that people will take pictures of you and your SD without asking and even post it on social media.  The captions to this can be “look at the pretty puppy! I’m going to sneak a pet when they aren’t looking!” or “this is a fake one because the person isn’t blind!”.  You will get unsolicited advice on what breed you should be using, whether you truly need one or not, what you can use instead of the SD, or they will try to educate you on the laws….incorrectly…. I have had people be downright rude and mean towards me.  I have had death threats because I’m “torturing” my SD for “forcing” her to work. 

The first thing that comes to mind with this is that people will take pictures of you and your SD without asking and even post it on social media.  The captions to this can be “look at the pretty puppy! I’m going to sneak a pet when they aren’t looking!”

I have had people scream at me for lying and saying that I am disabled when I look “perfectly normal”.  People will think that they are entitled to pet your SD without asking and that they can do it because they said “hi” to the SD first.  People will assume that you are blind and try to sneak a pet when they think you can’t see and then get mad when you stop them because they were caught.  These are the people who then go straight into “so your faking being disabled! I’m going to report you!”  You will be told you are not allowed in restaurants or other establishments because they don’t’ allow pets, but if you try to educate them that the animal with you is indeed an SD they will not back down.  Some will even say that you need papers or a license for it.  In a couple of provinces in Canada, this is true, in the US it is not; as per ADA law, there is no registry or license.  

All in All

Even with all the cons, I chose to keep my Service Dog and even continue with SD 2.0, because I get my freedom (to an extent).  My SDs have saved my life a couple of times and I have been very grateful for them and all the hard work that they put into helping me.  They are both spoiled rotten and well taken care of. 

My first SD Kaiya (German shepherd, border collie, husky) is retired now and living the life!

My first SD Kaiya (German shepherd, border collie, husky) is retired now and living the life!  She gets to sleep on the couch when she wants, plays, eats and sleeps.  My SD 2.0 Naomi (gladiator dane) is enjoying working thoroughly and is excited when her pack/equipment comes out that means she is going to be working.  If she loses wanting to work before she gets too old I will retire her because as handlers, we want what is best for our Service Dsog and want them to be happy doing what they do. 

If you come across a team and want to say hi, please talk to the handler and not the SD.  If we choose to not say high back or seem like we are ignoring you, please do not be offended as some days we are out even though it could be our worst day yet with energy.  Some of us are willing to answer questions and hear about your pets (yes that happens more often than you think).

About The Author

Katie McCabe is a wife and mother of two beautiful girls. She has rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and lupus, along with a few other disabilities. She works full time at a school district in the city where she lives and will be going back to school to get her Masters. She has a service dog that helps her with being independent and able to function day to day. Follow Katie on Instagram

Why The “You Can Do Anything If You Try” Narrative Is Harmful to Chronically Ill and Disabled Youth

We hear the phrase “you can do anything if you try,” or something similar, throughout our entire lives; starting at preschool and kindergarten and continuing throughout school. And sure, for many children this may be true; if they put their efforts into something, they may eventually master their craft and achieve all their goals.

However, this phrase completely ignores the fact that we each have our own unique strengths and weaknesses. Someone who is naturally good at maths is going to do far better in that subject than someone who is not. And that’s ok.

Why The "You Can Do Anything If You Try" Narrative Is Harmful to Chronically Ill and Disabled Youth

This phrase becomes even more illogical once you consider that it is also often applied to disabled and chronically ill youth. When experiencing a disability or chronic illness, you often can’t do certain things, no matter how hard you try. So why is it being drilled into disabled and chronically ill youth that they can? Isn’t this harmful? Wouldn’t this lead to false expectations and damaged self-esteem? 

You may be reading this and be thinking that I’m just cynical. This article may even be seen as a little negative and controversial. However, for me, finally realising that I couldn’t do ‘everything if I put enough effort into it’ was freeing. I’ll explain why;

Coming to the realisation that I can’t do everything I try

After a lifetime of feeling like I haven’t been achieving enough (through my grades, sport, etc.), last year I had to give up studying the course that would have led me to my dream career due to my health. I felt so dejected because all my life I had been taught that I can do anything if I try hard enough.

Why The "You Can Do Anything If You Try" Narrative Is Harmful to Chronically Ill and Disabled Youth

The thing is, I WAS trying. I was working myself into exhaustion, but it still wasn’t enough. I felt like I wasn’t enough. I felt horrible about myself, to the point of feeling depressed. However, I got back up and found another course that I would be able to study without having as big of an impact on my health. I still felt horrible, but I did my best and found that this course was a lot better for me.

Six months in, I came to a realisation. I didn’t fail at continuing with the previous course because I wasn’t trying hard enough, I failed at continuing because my health didn’t allow it. It wasn’t apathy on my part, it was an actual, physical limitation.

Once I accepted my limitations, this led me to become a lot more accepting of myself. I wish I had come to this conclusion sooner; it would have saved me a lot of heartache. 

Being told that I could do anything I wanted as a child set me up for a lot of disappointment. And despite how harmful this narrative is, I see evidence that it is still being told to children every single day. Here are some other phrases that are often directed at chronically ill and disabled youth that also fit within this narrative:

“The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” 

This one especially upsets me. It wasn’t a bad attitude that caused me to experience immense chronic pain on a daily basis starting in childhood. It isn’t a bad attitude that has left me using a walking cane most of the day to get around.

This phrase takes the word “disability”, a word that has a lot of meaning to a lot of people, and tries to change the definition completely. This phrase frames disability as apathy towards carrying out tasks, rather than an actual inability to carry out these tasks. 

The “What’s your excuse?” comparisons

You may have seen memes depicting disabled athletes, with phrases written across them saying things such as “what’s your excuse?” or even worse, “Your excuse is invalid.” These memes basically use disabled people to shame others (including other disabled people) into thinking they need to adopt certain habits or push themselves past their limits. 

Why The "You Can Do Anything If You Try" Narrative Is Harmful to Chronically Ill and Disabled Youth

I understand wanting to come up with a viral, inspirational meme, but chronically ill and disabled people should not be exploited in the process. I know able-bodied and disabled people alike who agree that these memes are very harmful, especially in an age where social media is such a huge part of our lives, even more so for the youth.

My “excuse”, as they put it in the second quote, is certainly not “invalid”. I will never be an award-winning athlete, as the constant pain and exhaustion make exercise difficult. I will never be an award-winning mathematician because the brain fog makes remembering formulas difficult. I’m ok with that.

As I said above, everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Just because one disabled or chronically ill person achieves something, does not mean every other disabled or chronically ill person can.

You can’t judge a group of people by the actions of a few, and they certainly shouldn’t be shamed just because a member of the community has achieved something that they haven’t. 

“There’s no such word as ‘can’t’”

This phrase confused me a lot as a child. Mostly because my young brain would take it literally, and I knew the word “can’t” did exist. When I was presented with this phrase, for the longest time I would go fetch the dictionary to prove them wrong.

It also confused me because I knew there were things that I, and other humans, couldn’t do. I can’t fly independent of a form of aircraft. I can’t breathe underwater without using a snorkel or oxygen tank. The word “can’t” doesn’t have to be a negative word attributed to pessimists, and knowing when to accept your limits shouldn’t be considered negative either.

Why The "You Can Do Anything If You Try" Narrative Is Harmful to Chronically Ill and Disabled Youth

“Don’t let your disability define you.”

Another phrase that is often said to chronically ill or disabled youth is that we “shouldn’t let our disabilities/chronic illnesses hold us back” or “shouldn’t let our disabilities/chronic illnesses define us”. I find this to be a very naive take.

Sure, we aren’t wholly defined by our disability/ies, but what we are able to do often is. There are ways to overcome these challenges, but only to a certain extent. There are some things that, no matter how hard you push yourself, you’ll never be able to achieve.

Accepting that isn’t letting your disability define you, it’s understanding your limits and knowing there are better areas to concentrate your energy. 

I’ve even had people tell me that I shouldn’t talk about my chronic illness or disability – at all. That talking about my chronic illness or disability is letting my health control me and consume my thoughts.

My disability is a part of me. I can acknowledge my disability’s effect on my life and be proud of what I achieve despite it without letting it define me. Not to mention, it’s hard not to think about your chronic pain when you experience it every minute of the day… But that’s easy to ignore, right?

While on the surface these phrases may seem inspirational, they may do more harm than good when it comes to disabled and chronically ill youth. They can lead to false hope, which can chip away at the young person’s self-esteem when they don’t achieve everything they aim to like it did to me.

Not everyone can do everything, no matter how hard they try. Instead, we should be encouraging disabled and chronically ill youth to try their hardest to achieve goals that are realistic, yet also push and challenge them at the same time.

If there’s one thing I want disabled and chronically ill youth to take away from this article, it is that you should feel comfortable doing what you CAN. With the help of those who care about you, set your own pace in life.

Push yourself, but not so hard that your goals become unachievable. Don’t let society tell you that trying your hardest isn’t good enough, because it is. Know that you are enough.

About The Author

Amy Clements is a 20-year-old who has lived with chronic pain, the result of Fibromyalgia, since childhood. In her teens she was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in her wrist, which was the result of a netball injury. Amy lives in New Zealand and studies Business part-time at University. She enjoys reading novels and writing. She especially enjoys writing about her experience with chronic illness.

How You Can Decide Which Yoga Style Works Best For You: (Comprehensive List)

How to Decide Which Yoga Poses Work Best For You

Yoga is a disciplinary practice that helps us to reshape our unconscious patterns. It disciplines us by reducing the fluctuations of our mind and keeps our mind in harmony with our body. Practicing yoga helps us to build a framework to make conscious choices with clarity, mental peace, and happiness. This unparalleled form of wisdom is the ingredient we need to become spiritually aware and to enlighten our souls.

Yoga and it’s benefits

Practicing yoga mainly consists of Asanas (different body postures), and Meditation Pranayama (meditation while controlling your breathing), making it an efficient way to uplift our physical and mental health. Yoga asanas can improve our physiology by increasing our flexibility, strength, mobility, and balance. Yoga is a great tool to improve one’s physical stature and posture. The physical postures in Yoga allow our body to go through a full range of motion, reducing pain and tension in the muscles.

Modern Yoga has been divided into different forms, each with its own distinctive style and health benefits. It might be a difficult task to choose the one that resonates with us, but we can make an informed decision after evaluating all the styles available.

Styles of yoga:

Hatha Yoga:

This ancient style of Yoga is very common and focuses on asanas and pranayama. The asanas include twisting, reclining, standing and balancing of the body. This form of Yoga is highly practiced in Yoga teacher training in India.

What to expect: The Yoga asanas can be physically challenging and are usually slow and calm.

You should try this if: You need a grounded and pure form of Yoga with standing and sitting poses. It is also great for those who wish to develop awareness through pranayamas.

Benefits: Reduces muscular pain and de-stresses the body.

Making an informed decision about which form of yoga works for you

Viniyoga:

This is a branch of Hatha Yoga that focuses on breathing and meditation with poses. It helps in creating an inward flow of energy.  

What to expect: Focus on breathing, meditation, and chanting.    

You should try this if: You have limited mobility and wish to work from the inside out.    

Benefits: Improved posture, body awareness, and relaxation.

Ashtanga Yoga:

This advanced form of Yoga has a series of poses that require quick transitions from one pose to another. This challenging form of Yoga is also regarded as ‘power yoga.’ Surya Namaskar is a popular form of Ashtanga Yoga with 12 asanas. 

What to expect: Keen concentration on breathing while following a set of sequential poses.  

You should try this if: You need a physically demanding session with fast-paced movements and acrobatic postures. 

Benefits: Strengthened muscles, increased flexibility, and improved stamina.

Bikram Yoga:

This yoga form includes practicing basic asanas with breathing techniques for 90 minutes in a pre-heated room (40 degrees Celsius).

What to expect: Similar asanas as in Hatha Yoga.  

You should try this if: You prefer a repetitive routine, extreme exertion and are okay with heat.  

Benefits: Removal of toxins, as well as improved circulation of blood and oxygen.

Iyenger Yoga:

This form of Yoga works so that the body and mind can function in equilibrium. It has strict poses which focus on posture and proper alignment. The good breathwork helps you to hold poses for a longer time. 

What to expect: Using Yoga props for standing and seated postures with good breathing techniques. 

You should try this if: You want to work on correcting your posture and alignment.   

Benefits: Increases range of motion, muscle tone and reduces anxiety.

Using yoga as an exercise when dealing with chronic illness

Vinyasa Yoga:

This is a dynamic and flowing form of yoga. It includes quick transitions with a rhythmic background. This is a cardiovascular exercise and is very popular in the US. 

What to expect: Freeform and a dynamic exercise usually guided by an instructor. 

You should try this if: You want an athletic kind of feeling with minimum restrictions in forms. 

Benefits: Reduces body fat, increases flexibility and builds lean muscle.

Jivamukti Yoga:

This is a Vinyasa based style that includes chanting, meditation, and listening to the spiritual and ancient teachings of Yoga. This form of Yoga is good for the mind and helps widen our intellect.  

What to expect: Sequences of meditation, deep listening, and chanting. 

You should try this if: You want to experience the spiritual and ancient teachings of Yoga and its philosophies. 

Benefits: Body awareness, widened mind and wisdom.

Kundalini Yoga:

This yoga form balances the energies of the body through mindful activities like meditation, chanting mantras, and pranayamas. It directs the flow of energy from the bottom of our spine to the seven chakras that revive the soul.

What to expect: Chanting mantra, deep meditation, and repeated movements.  

You should try this if: You’re looking to deepen your spiritual practice.

Benefits: Deep spiritual awakening, corrects our energy channels, and you can feel the energy at the base of the spine.

Yin Yoga:

This is a slow-paced form of yoga where the positions are usually held for a longer period of time. The asanas are usually performed in a seated or lying position. The longer duration of each position releases tension in muscles by giving them a uniform level of stress.  

What to expect: A slow style of yoga where poses are held from 1-5 minutes. 

You should try this if: You deal with chronic muscular pain, stress or stiffness.   

Benefits: Repairs connective tissues, releases tension and stress, and revives the range of motion of the muscles.

Using yoga for restorative and relaxing purposes when dealing with chronic illness

Restorative Yoga:

This form of Yoga is best suited for the purpose of resting and relaxation. This involves only five or six poses with minimum movement and passive stretching. Props are also used for better support and balance. 

What to expect: Gentle and slow poses that are to be held for more than 10 minutes using props. 

You should try this if: You’re suffering from chronic pain and stress.  

Benefits: Stimulates the nervous system by aligning physical and mental aspects by practicing still movements.

Though all the yoga styles have different benefits to offer, Yoga has a consistent theme of synchronizing the body and mind so that people can reach their highest potential.

About The Author

Bipin Baloni is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveller in India. He organizes 200 hours of yoga teacher training in various cities in India and Nepal. He also conducts AyurvedaCourses in Kerala He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, health, nature, Himalayas and Trekking in Nepal .

How the Andy Griffith Show Helps Me Cope with My Cerebral Palsy (TV Shows as a Coping Mechanism)

How the Andy Griffith Show Helps Me Cope with My Cerebral Palsy

There are multiple reasons as to why each of us seeks to watch specific television shows. Television shows can offer us both entertainment and distraction from our everyday lives, which becomes even more important when someone suffers from a chronic illness or has a disability. Television shows can become our escape from the reality of our circumstances, offering us a respite.

Another reason we can enjoy television shows is because of our personal identity; we find shows that reflect something about ourselves or can teach us more about ourselves. Each of us has that one television show that we love, that we could watch any day, no matter our circumstances, that would put a smile on our face. For me, that show is the Andy Griffith show.

My love for The Andy Griffith Show

I first discovered the Andy Griffith show as a child. I would watch it on the TVLAND morning block, and the second I saw Andy and Opie for the first time and heard the fishing pole theme song, I felt like everything was going to be alright, especially when I would watch some of my favourite episodes in the series. One of my favorite episodes is The Pickle Story, during which none of the characters will admit that Aunt Bee’s pickles taste horrible. However, by the end of the episode, Andy and the rest soon decide that honesty is the best policy. This episode makes me smile and laugh, helping me to forget about all my worries and my Cerebral Palsy.

My love for The Andy Griffith Show and How it Distracts Me From my Cerebral Palsy

The Episode that Relates to My Life as a Woman with Cerebral Palsy 

Though I am a fan of the Andy Griffith show as a whole and love all of the episodes, there is a specific episode that I hold close and dear to my heart. It is at the beginning of season 8 and is titled “Opie’s First Love”, where Opie’s date to Arnold’s big birthday party cancels on him at the last minute in order to go to the party with a ‘cooler’ guy.

“Opie’s First Love” hits me close to home because Opie faces rejection, however, he overcomes the obstacle of heartbreak and soon realizes that he was still able to have fun at Arnold’s party. He even gets a new girlfriend.

What This Episode Taught Me:

This episode reminds me whenever I’m having a bad day that there is something positive that can come out of a negative situation. This is especially important on days where my Cerebral Palsy is acting up. I tell myself that when I’m having a bad day, if Opie could make it through his tough time of being stood up while maintaining his kind and sweet personality, then I can make it through the obstacles my disability presents while having to deal with the judgment from society for the things I can’t do, and feeling like I have to prove myself, by remaining true to myself. Ways I do this are through my advocacy work and published literature.

This Taught Me I Can Make It Through the Obstacles My Disability Presents By Remaining True to Myself.

I’m Thankful for The Andy Griffith Show

There is a lot that I could thank The Andy Griffith Show for teaching me. On my most difficult days when I feel down and out, I can always turn on my television and enter the world of Andy Taylor, Opie Taylor, Aunt bee, and Barney Fye. I enjoy finding out what lesson is going to be taught during each episode, and how I can take that and apply it to my every day life as I interact with society as a disabled woman.

Like Andy Griffith once said: “I firmly believe that in every situation, no matter how difficult, God extends grace greater than the hardship, and strength and peace of mind that can lead us to a place higher than where we were before.” This is a quote that I remember every day, as I live my life with grace as a person with a disability.

Tylia Flores is a 24-year-old born with cerebral palsy. Although her condition has affected her mobility, it has never affected her will and determination to make a difference in the world. Through her many life challenges and obstacles, she discovered her passion for writing. Tylia’s goal in life is to share her stories with the world.