Chronic Illnesses · Endometriosis · Fibromylagia · Hypothyroidism · IBS · Self Care

5 Way I Cope Through The Flare-up Days

Hello Beauties,

I am feeling a little bit better today, more so because I have a game plan than my body condition is improving. Thus is what life is like living with chronic illnesses; the body rarely changes for the better, but outside circumstances can make you “feel” better.

I want to talk a little about the things I use, rely on, or do for coping through the really hard days/weeks. I used to use comfort as the one thing I went to when my body was screaming at me. But with having significant and un-diagnosed food intolerances that always made food really unsatisfactory. Besides, it usually made me feel worse, but I didn’t want to admit that. I’ve already talked about a few clothing choices for when I’m having flare ups, so this post is going to deal with some of the other coping mechanisms I use.

  • Yoga –I have been mostly consistently practicing yoga for roughly 6 years now. This is most definitely NOT a one size fits all practice for those with chronic illnesses. When I was diagnosed with Fibro 9 1/2 years ago, I blindly accepted my fate of always being in pain and never having any energy. I never did any research about what options I may have for *MANAGING* (<– that’s a key word there…more on that later) my pain and energy levels. When I started my yoga practice, I was amazed that within a week of doing yoga almost every day, I had gained a big increase in flexibility and my back didn’t hurt as much. It wasn’t until about 4 years ago during my first pregnancy that I really started consistently practicing yoga. I will however be the first to admit that on bad flare up days/weeks, I do not pull out my yoga mat and practice. When everything is flaring up, like things have been the past two weeks, my yoga practice is one of the first things to go. So please don’t take this as me saying you HAVE to do yoga. This is merely something I’ve used to manage my day to day pain and energy levels. I can do another post later on about what specific poses I’ve found helpful and why. But for now, I’ll just say I do yoga roughly 3x a week, and every yoga session includes some bit of core work.

 

  • Vitamins/Supplements –I kind of poo-pooed vitamins or supplements all of my childhood and early teens. I remember trying to take vitamin D and magnesium at one point, but I must not have been taking the right amount because I felt worse than before I had started taking the vitamins. I started taking a good prenatal vitamin 6 years ago and honestly even though I’m done having kids, I’m still take the exact same vitamin. Only, I’ve added a ton of other supplements now. I’ve noticed that most people who struggle with chronic illnesses have some sort of vitamin deficiency or multiple deficiencies. When the body is fighting constant inflammation then the cortisol levels are almost constantly raised. When this happens, the adrenal glands get drained and don’t do what they’re supposed to.**BIG NOTE** Have your doctor test for deficiencies. There are certain vitamins that those with hypothyroidism seem to be lacking, but not everyone’s body works the same way. So if you want to add vitamins and supplements into your daily routine, start with a multi-vitamin (the natural the better) and then work with your doctor to figure out what other supplements may be helpful for you.

 

  • Revamping My Diet –My first sign that something was wrong with how my body reacted to food was suddenly being hit with intense non-stop nausea for more than a month when I was about 14. Shortly after that I tried to eat a yogurt and spent the next hour huddled in the bathroom feeling like my entire gut was being ripped to shredded. When we got married, my hubby and I were a penny-pinching nanny and college student and we got the best food we could afford and I know that didn’t help my gut at all. But that was all we could do! and I don’t regret that time at all. Three years ago when I found out about my gallbladder rapidly deteriorating, my primary care told me to go gluten free; GF and as anti-inflammatory I could manage. I lost 10 pounds within the first week of eating strictly GF. I firmly believe all of that weight was all inflammation. Even after two years of eating GF, I still wasn’t feeling good, food was still an issue, and leading up to my surgery three months ago, almost every single thing I ate was making me sick (i.e. running to the bathroom with painful diarrhea after every meal). So in March I decided to cut out all grains and switch to a mostly Ketogenic diet. This was out of desperation due to how everything I ate made me sick and food was 100% the enemy at that point. I also switched because I found a good bit of studies and research papers talking about how Keto can help with IBS. Three months of keto has made a huge difference and I am starting to actually like food again, which is kind of huge. Because I’ve done so much work with managing what I’m eating and being strict about what I eat, my gut/stomach aren’t usually contributing to the bad flare up days. Even still, on those bad days, I will get even more strict with what I eat, simply meaning, I basically eliminate anything that could possibly contribute to the pain.So if you have chronic inflammation from your chronic illnesses, then consider looking into what you’re eating and maybe even try an elimination diet (removing foods, then slowly adding things back in to see if you react). I was never a huge supporter of diet changes due to food intolerances…that is until I realized how many things made me sick and I got the point where I just wanted a break from everything making me sick.

 

  • The Comfort Things –Ahhh, comfort. Although, those of you who deal with daily pain know that comfort with chronic illnesses is often hard to come by. My list of the things I turn to for comfort isn’t very long, and it changes. Right now, I have two pairs of shorts that leave minimal pressure on my abdomen and several t-shirt dresses that I’ve been pulling out more often now. Comfort also looks like having cold water in my water bottle that I constantly have with me, and curling up in front of the couch (yes, not on the couch) and binge watching a favorite show while the boys nap or have quiet times. Comfort looks like the fuzzy blanket I sleep with bunched up in front of me in bed. That fuzzy blanket has been a constant companion for nigh on 7 years now. My body physically sighs with relief whenever I curl up with that blanket. Let me stop right here though and say something I think is really important; there is NO SHAME in binge watching tv shows or movies because you can barely function. There is no shame and no guilt for barely being able to get a meal made because your energy levels are so low you didn’t even have enough spoons to get out of the shower this morning. There is no shame or guilt allowed for when you are so sick and so uncomfortable that bed is the only place that is only just tolerable. When it comes to chronic illnesses of ANY KIND, it is extremely important to create space and give grace to yourself to allow your body to rest. This means surrounding yourself with the things that bring you any kind of comfort that means you can rest or at least try to rest. I promise I’ll get to a spoon’s theory post sometime soon-ish, but for now, those with chronic illnesses, you know what it means to have to count spoons. Anything comfort means not using more than 1/2-1 spoon.

 

  • Distractions –Just after I had my first (who btw is turning 4 years old today!!!!) I started dealing with significant nursing aversion. I mean huge rushes of nausea and anxiety whenever I sat down to nurse him. The ONLY thing that helped at all with that was immediately pulling out my phone and scrolling through Pinterest. There’s a reason I have about 11.5K pins. On really bad pain days, almost nothing can be a distraction because high pain = severe nausea for me and that usually turns into a migraine. But Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, games on your smart phone, are all legit distractions. I have felt guilty in the past with spending so much time on my phone, but some days, that’s all I can do between feeding my munchkins their meals, making sure they’re happy and safe and then curling up in a corner to wait for a headache to past.

 

  • BONUS! Research – Research is overwhelming. Especially when you just have no idea what to research. I use and have used research in the past to help me understand something I’m dealing with. Whether it be the right types of supplements recommended for my diagnoses, or understanding the right kind of questions to ask my doctors when trying to get them to take me seriously. This is one of the reasons I like Pinterest so much; researching on Pinterest adds an extra layer of focus to the research.

These are just a few of the ways I work through bad days/weeks. And honestly, all of these go out the window if I’m having such a bad day or week and nothing seems to help or make me feel better. These are just the options I tend towards on the mild pain days.

What are some of the things that make you feel comfortable or are able to manage flare ups better?

All Things Beauty · Beauty Favorites · Curly Curls · Hair Care · Products

Curly Girls! *Heads* UP!

Hello Beauties,

I guess it’s time to spit out a curly post considering “curly” is in the name of this blog!

My hair currently is an a-line bob that I am slowly growing back out. Up until about 7 years ago, I had waist length hair, didn’t know how to style it, never understood how to properly take care of my curls, and well, let’s just say it was a frizz bomb about 90% of the time. Then, a few months after I got married, I got it cut short. Still though, looking back at pictures, I didn’t get it cut very well for my curls. With my hair, I NEED layers, more the better. The more layers I have, the more my curls bounce up, literally. I even tried straight across bangs too for awhile, but eh, I was pregnant during most of that time, and I feel like my face was too round for bangs at that point.

I grew my hair out back to my waist again two years ago, this time, I knew better how to take care of it! I even figured out how to cut my own layers. With waist length hair, cutting my own layers was super easy. After my second was born a year and a half ago, I said forget this, and got my hair chopped off in an a-line lob with lots of layers. Fast forward a month and I got it cut even shorter, off of the back of my neck, and whoa boy, that was quite an adjustment!

I have done years of research on how to take care of curly hair before even narrowing it down to how to take care of MY curls. Feel free to take a look at one of my curly hair boards on Pinterest.

One of my favorite curly bloggers is Christina over at Hair Romance! Go check out her posts! I have found some of the best tips on her blog.

Anyway, when I had longer hair, my favorite curl products were cream/gels and argan oil. One specific product of oil in fact.

Marc Anthony Argan Oil Exotic Oil Treatment – Amazon

This oil is AMAZING. And the only place I’ve ever been able to find it is Amazon and every once in a while ONLINE Walgreens. It is not carried in stores, and in fact, besides Amazon and Walgreens, I’ve never been able to find it anywhere else. It is a very light oil, smells really good, and never weighs my hair down.

My other favorite cream/gel that I used all the time with my longer hair was from Tigi.

TIGI Catwalk Curls Rock Amplifier – $10 Amazon
The thing with this curl cream/gel is that you don’t need much. I definitely relied on this product the most with long hair, but found with short hair it was way too much for my hair.

Now with the short hair I’ve had for the past year, I found mousse was one of the best products that worked with my hair. I hated mousse with long hair, but with short hair, not sure what made it different, it worked. Then I totally chopped up my hair a few months ago; took a pair of thinning shears to my locks, and holy cow, uhm, took WAY too much off. Que the biotin, hair growth vitamins, and strategic situating of my hair. It’s finally back to a manageable thickness, and when I was working on the personal care budget for this month, I stumbled upon a new product at Target.

A little backstory first; I’ve used Aussie brand curl mousse before and really liked it.

 Aussie 24 hr Curl Lock Mousse – $3.39 Target

This mousse has a very light hold, but does add some volume and definition. My curls are actually pretty thin comparatively speaking. The curls I do have are the only things that give my hair volume. Thanks to the hormonal imbalances I’ve been dealing with for years, and my thyroid being off, my hair is not as thick as it used to be. BUT! Having short hair definitely helps with creating that voluminous look.

I had run out of this mousse and wanted to switch back to a cream for my hair…IF I could find one that was affordable and worked. That’s when I discovered Aussie has a new line of products! Miracle CURLS!!! Needless to say, I was SOOOO excited since I already knew I liked the other curl products from Aussie. What made me most excited was that there is a co-wash included in this new line. I primarily use a co-wash for my hair nowadays, only using regular shampoo and conditioner maybe once a week or less.

And they’re all affordable!!! I grabbed the creme pudding and tried it out a few days ago. So here’s the thing, I have been wrestling with my hair trying to get the most out of my curls, and despite my best efforts, by the end of the day I washed my hair, my curls are fairly flat. I don’t really like it when a product makes my hair really crunchy, but I decided to go full bore with this cream. I thoroughly coated my curls, roots to ends while soaking wet, with the creme pudding. I immediately thought I had done something wrong and I was going to have to re-wash my hair. I kept going through because I could see that legitimate curls were forming.

Once I pulled out my hair dryer and diffuser, I really had a lot of curls going. One of the things I’ve learned over the year with my hair in particular is that I need to give my hair time to completely dry before I decide if I like it or not. The recommendation on the back of the miracle curls creme pudding is to air dry, but I always use a diffuser. This helps minimize frizz significantly, and I have a little bit more control over how my curls set.

Really quickly, before I get to the pictures of my curls, this is the diffuser I use. I HIGHLY recommend it. One of the best curl diffusers I’ve ever used. Plus! It’s collapsible, so doesn’t take up a lot of room, and you can really use it to direct the air flow and push curls up.

 The Curly CO. Collapsible Diffuser – $14.99 Amazon, $14.99 The Curly Co.

Okay, so now, here are pictures of what my curls look like!

I have some serious curl definition and even though my hair feels a bit crunchy (I’m continually fluffing the curls and crunching the molds) I have lots of volume and I’d rather have that then soft flat curls.

Overall, I 100% recommend at least trying the new curl line from Aussie. They are affordable products, and I think that warrants at least trying them.

Enjoy! and let me know what you think if you do try them! The co-wash is next on my list as my current Pantene co-wash is almost out.

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means I get a percentage of whatever you purchase through a link I’ve posted at no extra cost to you. I use affiliate links to help a little with keeping this blog up and running. 

All Things Beauty · Beauty Favorites · Curly Curls · Naturals & Non-Toxic · Products

Switching to Natural: All Natural Dry Shampoo!

Hello Beauties!

As I’m making the shift to using more natural products, I’m researching all of the products I typically use on a daily/weekly basis. One such product is dry shampoo. Now, with curly hair, dry shampoo can either significantly increase the life of my curls, or it kills them instantly and instead of second day hair, it’s back to the shower. I have tried many brands but never really really liked any specific one. When I made the switch from long waist length hair to a short jawline brushing a-line bob, dry shampoo became something I paid more attention to. BUT! I stumbled upon several articles talking about the ill-effects of dry shampoo when used consistently. I’d rather wash my hair every day (not necessarily a good thing with curly hair) than coat my hair with dry shampoos that aren’t working or making things any better.

So I went looking for an alternative. Just something to help bring volume back to my curls after a night of smashing them flat. I found this pin on Pinterest and followed one of the links through to Amazon.

Go check out Well + Good’s article about Natural Beauty Swaps for Drugstore Prices

I browsed around Amazon and checked out the Acure dry shampoo. I was intrigued by the idea that it wasn’t an aerosol dry shampoo. I discovered that Acure has one for brunette hair as well as for all hair. Because hi, brunette here, I’d rather not have white-ish powder showing up on my roots! However, as I looked around, I stumbled upon the dry shampoo I ultimately ended up purchasing – Drop Dead Gorgeous Dry Shampoo Wanderlust For Sexy Brunettes by Handmade Heroes. There is one for blondes as well as brunettes!

The ingredient list is what made me decide to get this instead of the Acure dry shampoo.

Drop Dead Gorgeous Dry Shampoo (brunette dry shampoo) Ingredients –

  • Rice Powder
  • Kaolin Clay
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Charcoal
  • Rose Geranium Oil
  • Lavender Oil
  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Peppermint Oil

And that’s it!

I was a bit nervous about using a literal powder on my roots, but I liked that there wasn’t any extra dry shampoo residue floating in the air like when using an aerosol spray. It does take a little bit to get used to as the bottle needs to be squeezed to get any to come out. I think you could just shake it into your roots, but I’m not sure. I have used it twice so far and really like the refreshed and slightly tingly scalp feeling from the peppermint and eucalyptus oils! Besides, it’s a tiny little bottle with a large amount of powder inside! Easy to pack for travel and as far as I can tell, it does not stain clothes if it drops on your shoulders.

Let me know if you try it?

Have an awesome rest of your Monday!!

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means I get a percentage of whatever you purchase through a link I’ve posted at no extra cost to you.