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5 Ways to Avoid Overwhelm When You Have Chronic Illness #AWAPwednesday

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 in acceptance, ChronicBabe Basics, coping, featured, practicalities, Work | 10 comments

Okay, I’ve got to remember to go to the dry cleaners, and call my health insurance about the EOB, and make sure I take my new vitamins this afternoon, and paint my nails for a photo shoot, and, and write a handful of emails, and… whew! I am overwhelmed! So it really resonated when one of our fellow #ChronicBabes emailed me to ask about overwhelm. (Did you know you can request a video on specific topics or questions around chronic illness life?) It’s easy to get overwhelmed when we have chronic illness, because there are so many things to juggle—and the world is just overwhelming all on its own! I hope you find some of my tips helpful.     *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: What kinds of things help you get calm and tackle overwhelm? I want to know! Tell me all about it in the comments below. Want more #AWAPwednesday? Check out our #AWAPwednesday video playlist, which has more than 130 videos packed with practical advice, lots of humor, and bloopers. Lots of bloopers. Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email. Until we meet again: Be AWAP! Smooches! (Rough) Transcript: Hi! I’m Jenni Grover Prokopy of ChronicBabe.com and today is AWAP Wednesday (that stands for As Well As Possible). Each week, I offer you my personal favorite tips and techniques to help you craft an incredible life beyond illness. Yes! I know you can. Subscribe to the ChronicBabe YouTube channel today to make sure you never miss another video, OK? One of our fellow #ChronicBabes wrote me recently with a question about overwhelm. She’s been feeling more and more of it since she got sick, and she wondered if I sometimes got overwhelmed, too—and what I do about it. Girl, you KNOW I get overwhelmed sometimes! Not only do I have a handful of chronic illnesses to manage, but I also run my own business teaching women how to live full lives in spite of being sick chicks, and I’m finishing writing my first book, and I have a couple of time-consuming hobbies, and friendships and a husband to maintain, and… I am SO with you on the overwhelm thing. I have a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to handling overwhelm. Here we go: Make a list. I know, it sounds obvious, but seriously: Make a list. Sometimes I use the reminders app that’s built into Apple computer products, so my lists are synced across all my devices. Sometimes I use the Evernote app if I want to make a list of things I share with my husband or a friend, so we...

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How to find hope during difficult times with chronic illness #AWAPwednesday

Posted by on Jan 25, 2017 in ChronicBabe Basics, coping, depression, featured, self care | 6 comments

Hello, there! I’m so happy to be back with a fresh video for the new year, all about the little things I’m doing daily to find hope: Yesterday, I was feeling SO down. The world is just bonkers right now, and it’s hard to stay positive when I see bad news every single day. That’s on top of living with chronic pain and its unpredictable, totally sucky nature! So try as I might, sometimes I just get really low. So yesterday I did a handful of things that really helped. Probably just one would have done the trick, but… I never like to do things halfway, so I did a bunch of them. This week’s #AWAPwednesday video shares all the details. I hope they inspire you to come up with your own list of hopeful activities! *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: What kinds of things are YOU doing to inspire hope in your day-to-day?  I want to know! Tell me all about it in the comments below. Want more #AWAPwednesday? Check out our #AWAPwednesday video playlist, which has more than 130 videos packed with practical advice, lots of humor, and bloopers. Lots of bloopers. Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email. Until we meet again: Be AWAP!...

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3 Weird Sounds to Make When You Feel Bad #AWAPwednesday

Posted by on Nov 2, 2016 in coping, featured, humor, inspiration, pain, resilience | 11 comments

When I’m doing my morning yoga routine, I hurt. And I tend to moan and groan a little as I ease into poses. But sometimes, I get so sick of hearing myself moan and groan. And on days when I feel my depression creeping in on top of the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia, moans and groans can make my heart hurt, too. So I came up with three fun sounds to make instead to crack myself up. I think they’ll help you, too—at the very least, you’ll have a laugh! *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: How do YOU crack yourself up when you’re struggling? Tell me all about it in the comments below. Want more #AWAPwednesday? Check out our #AWAPwednesday video playlist, which has more than 100 videos packed with practical advice, lots of humor, and bloopers. Lots of bloopers. Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email. Until we meet again: Be AWAP! Smooches! (Loose) Transcript: (Jenni making weird sounds) Hi! I’m Jenni Grover Prokopy of ChronicBabe.com and today is AWAP Wednesday (that stands for As Well As Possible). Each week, I offer you my personal favorite tips and techniques to help you craft an incredible life beyond illness. Yes! I know you can. Subscribe to the ChronicBabe YouTube channel today to make sure you never miss another video, OK? Sometimes when I’m doing my morning yoga routine, I hurt. OK, fine – let’s be real – I always hurt when I’m doing my morning yoga. And I tend to moan and groan a little as I ease into poses. My beau, Joe, is used to this. Sometimes I feel bad, because I know it must make him feel uncomfortable to hear me groaning so much – but when I say “I’m sorry,” his response is always, “babe, don’t apologize – you’ve gotta express that pain so you can let it out.” (He is so smart!) But sometimes, even I am sick of hearing myself moan and groan. And on days when I feel my depression creeping in on top of the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia, moans and groans can make my heart hurt, too. So I came up with three fun sounds to make instead to crack myself up. The sounds are really simple. First: cartoon horn. Ah ooo gah! Just imagine shouting that as you feel pain, instead of sighing, or moaning. Ah ooo gah! Next up: karate sounds. Hiyah! Just imagine you are bending over to pick up something and your back twinges. Instead of groaning, a little hiyah! can really hit the spot. Finally, try this one out: Hey-oh! This one is just...

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Stone soup: How to create something from nothing when you have chronic illness

Posted by on Oct 31, 2016 in coping, Creativity, guest author | 10 comments

This post was guest written by Therese Kay. What is Stone Soup? Stone Soup is created from “nothing.”  Several variations of this old folk tale exist, but here’s the gist:  A couple of hungry travelers venture upon a town asking for food.  The townspeople refuse to feed them, claiming that all their food has been eaten or needed.  The travelers convince the town to feed them by making stone soup.  They build a fire and ask for a pot.  Filling the pot with water and a stone, they proceed to “cook.”  At this point, he travelers say, “It’s wonderful and we’ll share!  We just need a few things to make it delicious.”  A carrot, some seasonings, a bit of potato… you get it.  Remove the stone, and – Voila!  Soup!  The travelers tricked the villagers into sharing their food and they created a tasty and nutritious soup to share with everyone. Assess Your Soup Pot Hungry for some soup?  A tasty and nutritious life?  Let’s get busy!  Yes, you may only have a stupid stone and you’ll have to use one of your precious spoons to do it, but the results will be worth it! First, what’s in your soup pot?  Just that stupid stone?  Mystery ingredients?  Gross stuff? Take a full inventory.  Be sure to scour all of your “shelves.”  You probably have ingredients hidden about that could make life pretty tasty.   Skills?   Resources?   Friends and family?   Medical team?   List them all.  Sometimes we forget about some ingredients.  The limit of what you can add to your soup is your imagination – and the imaginations of the people who we allow to add to our soup! Get Others to Add Ingredients In order to make a nice soup, we need a bit of help.  Very few of us have all of the ingredients we need to make the tastiest most nutritious soup to feed ourselves.  How can you convince the villagers of your life to share their ingredients?  Remember, in the fable, the travelers didn’t simply rely on the villagers’ curiosity, the said what they needed! So, the best way to get those ingredients? Get cooking with what you have!  Build the fire, put on the pot, plop in the stone.  The villagers will be curios. Likely, they will begin offering what they have to add to your soup.  Don’t be afraid to make suggestions – ask for what you want and need.  If you want a carrot, ask for a carrot.   The best way to get help is to start helping ourselves and then inviting others.  Action begets action.   How Do We Keep Out Unwanted Ingredients? Uh-oh.  Here comes a villager...

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Community Collab: How do you cope with the changing seasons?

Posted by on Oct 21, 2016 in acceptance, community collab, coping, featured, inspiration | 6 comments

This time of year is the hardest seasonal transition for me. As the days grow darker and colder, I feel myself sinking into depression—and I have to work VERY hard to not let that take over. So I wondered this week: How are YOU coping with the changing seasons? Kirsten said “complaining about my knees like an old lady! nah mostly I get the lovely scarves out and bundle up a lot. Also lots of curling under my heatmat in bed lol” (which made me want to research the full-bed heating mats I’ve heard great things about…) Beannachd said “I usually get super psyched for Halloween. It is the best holiday season! But the thought of the cold and the pain has got me really down this year. I lost the entire month of August and half of September to a migraine (apparently generic Kroger brand Afrin and Flonase are NOT the brand name ingredients!!!) Took me a month and a half to figure it out. I’m still not 100%, so when the pain hit with the cold snap, I just wanted to cry. It’s been in the 70s and 80s here this week, though, so I’m laying out and baking the pain away while I can. It has helped me resign myself to sweaters and socks at night. So I am trying to get into the spirit of my favorite season – Halloween lights are up, and we may leave them up til spring! Spiderwebs and spooky things and watching Hocus Pocus and Nightmare Before Christmas – I totally want to be Sally! Mostly trying to enjoy what I can, and I’ll deal with the rest as it comes.” (which made me go pull out my halloween pumpkin, fill it with candy for the neighbors, and sneak a piece or two for myself…) Kyrie-Inn said “So much different in FL than it was in CT. Less adjustment. Miss my foliage though.” (which made me remember to appreciate the changing colors of all the trees around me here in Chicago…) Mary said “Here in Vegas the seasons don’t really change…” (which brought back fond memories of work trips there in January and February years ago, which offered me some respite from the snow and frosty temps here…) Delores said “I change the color of my blanket on the couch.” (which sounds like a dandy idea, so I went and swapped out the quilt on our living room couch…) And Laura simply said “Badly.” (which reminded me of how tough it is to cope, sometimes…) I hope this handful of interesting and fun ideas—and frank conversation about the realities we ChronicBabes face—is helpful to you. Feel free to continue to...

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5 Ways to Feel Sexy Even if You’re Sick #AWAPwednesday

Posted by on Oct 19, 2016 in ChronicBabe Basics, coping, featured, relationships, self care, sexuality | 2 comments

If you have chronic pain or illness, a decent part of your day is taken up with self-care and managing symptoms. Sometimes, you can get lost in that process, and forget that you’re also a sensual being. Today’s video includes five things I do all the time to maintain my sexy ChronicBabe side… and I’ll be curious to hear what works for you, too!     *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: How do you nurture your sexy side? Tell me all about it in the comments below. Want more #AWAPwednesday? Check out our #AWAPwednesday video playlist, which has more than 100 videos packed with practical advice, lots of humor, and bloopers. Lots of bloopers. Is there a question I can answer for YOU? Add it to the comments below, or shoot me an email. Until we meet again: Be AWAP! Smooches! (Loose) Transcript: Oh, hey there. Hello. (Blows a kiss) Come sit down and let’s have a little chat, shall we, sugar?   Hi! I’m Jenni Grover Prokopy of ChronicBabe.com and today is AWAP Wednesday (that stands for As Well As Possible). Each week, I offer you my personal favorite tips and techniques to help you craft an incredible life beyond illness. Yes! I know you can. Subscribe to the ChronicBabe YouTube channel today to make sure you never miss another video, OK?   I’m sure you could tell from the intro that today, we’re talking about how to feel sexy even if you’re a sick chick. This is a challenge for me, and for many of us. If you have chronic pain or illness, a decent part of your day is taken up with self-care and managing symptoms. Sometimes, you can get lost in that process, and forget that you’re also a sensual being. For me, sexy is all about sensuality. Because I have fibromyalgia, my senses are always heightened to the max – that’s a huge part of the illness – so I often feel like I’m on overload, but mostly for BAD sensations. Embracing sensuality is about turning on your senses to all the GOOD sensations out there. It’ like pointing your little radar dish toward deliciousness. Here are a few ways I embrace sensuality in my day-to-day: When I wake up in the morning, I sometimes stretch and roll around in the bed like a cat. I try to embrace the languid nature of the wake-up time, enjoying that feeling of being in between asleep and awake. It’s lovely. I always put on some essential oils. You can buy these online from a number of retailers, and some grocery stores like Whole Foods carry them. You can go exotic, or you can go floral, or...

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