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How to Create Your Own Authentic Holiday Season… and Bypass the Craziness (AWAP Wednesday)

Posted by on Nov 25, 2015 in acceptance, ChronicBabe Basics, coping, featured, friends and family, holidays, relationships, self care | 0 comments

Oh, the holidays are SO stressful! I mean, they’re super-fun. But also, stress: Travel, which can be stressful in and of itself Eating weird/rich/too much of foods that you’re not used to Interacting with family/acquaintances/co-workers with whom you might have strained relationships Overindulgence and temptation at every turn Pressure to be “well” enough to meet the expectations of others to be “festive” and “jolly” even if you “feel like dog crap” and “wish you could be napping instead” Sadness around loss of normalcy, especially for folks who have lost romantic partners or children or pets this time of year Focus on consumption and other money-related stresses BWAH! It’s too much. If we think of it in this way, that is. So I’ve got a different perspective for you to try out: Make your own holiday. That’s right: Make it your own. Don’t try to be everyone’s everything. Eschew traditions that don’t fit your current abilities or interests. Assert your needs. Plan fun things that work for you and feed your joy. I know–this is kind of revolutionary for some of you. The holidays are laden with traditions that we are loathe to break, especially if we don’t want to “let down” family members. But what does the winter holiday season TRULY symbolize for so many of us, no matter our religion or spiritual pursuit? Togetherness. Generosity. Joy. Creativity. Fun. Rest and relaxation. Delicious meals. Snuggle time with pets and our loved ones. Fun. Did I mention fun? Will you get some resistance? Probably. Your great aunt Shirley might think it’s nuts that you don’t want to eat turkey and instead want to have a potluck and invite your two best friends to the family table. Your mom may think it’s bizarre that you want to stay in the city and nestle into your little apartment with your cat and a good book and enjoy some quiet time, instead of traveling across the country to sleep in a cramped guest room. If you’re like me, you might have family members who resist your new tradition of a gift swap (instead of buying dozens of gifts for everyone). But believe me… they’ll learn to love it. Or not. Either way, it’s OK. It’s OK. This holiday time is YOUR holiday time. Make it your own. Make a list of the things that are a priority for you. Make a list of the things that will feed your soul. Make a list of the things that will be fun for you. (I bet these lists are really one big list all together!) Get solid on your priorities, and then gently assert yourself. Planning an authentic, soul-fueling holiday season is a mindful task, so...

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How to Respond to People Who Offer Cures for Chronic Illness (AWAP Wednesday)

Posted by on Nov 18, 2015 in ChronicBabe Basics, coping, featured, holidays, ranting, relationships | 20 comments

Today’s AWAP Wednesday video is all about what to do when someone offers you an unsolicited cure for your chronic illness. I KNOW you get these all the time—I sure do—and it’s a pickle to figure out how to respond with grace and calm when you’re all riled up inside! So I’ve come up with a few ideas for you that just might help you have easier conversations. Watch today’s video, in which I share some of my favorite conversation strategies for cure-offering busy bodies: *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: How do YOU respond when someone tries to push a cure on you? What has worked, and what hasn’t? I wanna know! Join the conversation in the comments below, share your experience and ask for advice from our community. Want to watch more videos like this? Check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has almost nine hours of guidance, advice, and 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: Sitting under a special tree, which is home to angels who will bless me and cure me. Drinking tart cherry juice. Taking handfuls of supplements every few hours. Seeing a particular specialist who has a secret cure. These are all real things people have suggested to me to get rid of fibromyalgia. Grrrr… I KNOW you know what I’m talking about. Today, I’m talking about how to talk to people who offer you cures. [Transition] Hi! I’m Jenni Prokopy of ChronicBabe.com and today is AWAP Wednesday (that stands for As Well As Possible). Each week, I offer you my 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? [Transition] It’s rough when someone offers a cure, right? Because many of us WISH for cures. We crave a fix. We would give almost anything to be well again. So when someone offers us an unsolicited cure, it tugs on our heart strings for a moment. We want it to be real. And then we feel the inevitable crushing blow of its non-realness. It’s almost like we get sick all over again, each time. It can feel like a little defeat. And then we’re stuck with responding to this unsolicited cure, which is a quandary. [Transition] Consider the Source. It’s one thing for one of our healthcare providers to suggest a new treatment, or for a well-meaning friend to forward a link to an article about new research. It’s a whole other thing for strangers to offer us “cures.”...

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Embrace the Beauty of No (AWAP Wednesday)

Posted by on Oct 14, 2015 in acceptance, ChronicBabe Basics, coping, featured, practicalities, relationships | 5 comments

Today’s AWAP Wednesday video is a little bit longer than usual, and a little bit different. Today, we’re learning to embrace the beauty of saying no. We ALL need to say no more often—I’m including myself in that category—so I’m sharing three strategies to help us figure out how to honor our own needs and say no. Nada. Nope. Watch today’s video, in which I share some of my favorite no-saying strategies. *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: How do YOU figure out when to say no? Have people fought you when you say no? I wanna know! Join the conversation in the comments below, share your experience and ask for advice from our community. Want to watch more videos like this? Check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has almost nine hours of guidance, advice, and 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: Nope! Unh unh. Naw. No. No! Today we’re doing something a little different: We’re embracing the beauty of NO. Hi! I’m Jenni Prokopy of ChronicBabe.com and today is AWAP Wednesday (that stands for As Well As Possible). Each week, I offer you my 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? It’s time to say no. As women, we’re taught to say yes: Yes to helping people. Yes to being the caretaker. Yes to juggling dinner and our kids’ bath time and laundry and dishes. Yes yes yes. But damn, that is tiring. Saying yes to everything will wipe you out. And you’ve got limited energy already, babe! So it’s time to say NO. Clear your calendar. Is your date book filled with engagements you’re only half-interested in, but you said YES to because you didn’t want to appear anti-social, or hurt someone’s feelings? It’s time to clear those calendar events, babe. Cancel them. Cross them out. You don’t have time to spend on things that aren’t a) really good for you, b) really fun or c) really necessary. I invite you to say NO to everything else. Delegate. Are you doing too much at home? It’s time to delegate. Maybe you need to have a heart-to-heart with your honey about dividing tasks more successfully. Maybe you need to find space in your budget so you can hire a cleaning service every couple weeks. Maybe there’s a barter you can do with a friend, so both of you benefit by doing tasks more ideally suited to your abilities. Say NO to things...

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5 Secrets to Coping with Chronic Illness (AWAP Wednesday)

Posted by on Sep 9, 2015 in ChronicBabe Basics, coping, featured, friends and family, humor, practicalities, relationships | 6 comments

Today’s AWAP Wednesday video offers five of my all-time favorite coping techniques for chronic illness. They’re fast and advice-packed, so get ready! Watch today’s video, in which I share my favorite coping skills… and encourage you to develop your own: *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: What is YOUR favorite coping skill? I wanna know! Join the conversation in the comments below, share your experience and ask for advice from our community. Want to watch more videos like this? Check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has more than eight hours of guidance, advice, and 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: PSSSSSST come closer… I have a secret for you. Here it is: Chronic Illness does NOT have to ruin your life. It can actually make you sexy. What? I know! Shhhhhh! Hi! I’m Jenni Prokopy of ChronicBabe.com and today is AWAP Wednesday (that stands for As Well As Possible). Each week, I offer you my favorite tips and techniques to help you craft an incredible life beyond illness. Yes! I know you can. There are limitless ways to cope with chronic illness, and if you ask just about anyone, they’ll offer you advice. Heck… many people will offer you advice whether you ask or not, amirite?! But you know me, you trust me to steer you straight. So yay! Today I want to share with you—in rapid-fire succession—my top five secrets to coping with chronic illness. Here we go… Radical Self-Care for Chronic Illness When you’re sick all the time, you often lose the time and energy to do some self-care. Pedicures and face masks go out the window. But they shouldn’t. Why? Because you already feel like crap—why deny yourself the very things that can give you even a smidge of relief? Radical self-care is prioritizing the things that make you feel great. Don’t have time or money for a full pedi? Take five minutes and slap on a coat of paint, babe. Get creative. Fit it in. You simply must. When you prioritize your self-care, you’re sending a conscious and unconscious message to your mind that YOU MATTER. Make it Sexy Make it sexy. Seriously. I’ll sometimes joke about, say, having gas. Because nothing is sexier than farts, right? If I’m having a bad gastrointestinal day my boyfriend hears me toot, I’ll say, “aw yea, sexy!” We both laugh. Is it really sexy? No. But you know what is? Having a sense of humor about it. Rally Your Team You’ve heard me say it before, and I’ll say it again now: You’ve gotta have a strong...

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How to Strengthen Your Relationship with Your Doctor When You Have Chronic Illness (AWAP Wednesday)

Posted by on Aug 5, 2015 in ChronicBabe Basics, featured, health care providers, practicalities, relationships | 7 comments

Today’s AWAP Wednesday video looks at an issue ALL ChronicBabes face: Strengthening our doctor-patient relationships.To help you nurture stronger, more powerful relationships, I share the tactics I use to strengthen my relationships with health care providers (think: communication, research and preparation), which can help YOU get the treatment you need and deserve. Watch today’s video, in which I offer three different tactics for relationship building. And then let me know what you think! *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: Have you built stronger relationships with your HCPs? Have any of your efforts fallen flat? I’m ready to hear it ALL. Join the conversation in the comments below, share your experience and ask for advice from our community. Want to watch more videos like this? Check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has more than seven hours of guidance, advice, and 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: (waiting, waiting, waiting…) Oh, hi! I was just waiting by the phone for my doctor to call. (Looks at imaginary watch.) Nah, just kidding — I have a GREAT relationship with my docs. Today I want to share some tactics that I use to strengthen my relationships with health care providers, which can help YOU get the treatment you need and deserve. Hi! I’m Jenni Prokopy of ChronicBabe.com and today is AWAP Wednesday (that stands for As Well As Possible). Each week, I offer you my favorite tips and techniques to help you craft an incredible life beyond illness. Yes! I know you can. In Western society, we’re taught that “doctor knows best” all the time, to never question our health care providers, and especially — as women — to respect authority without fail. I’m happy to report that I’ve tossed those societal rules out the window, and am engaging my health care providers in a very different approach: Collaboration. There are three things I do with every health care provider to create a stronger vibe of mutual trust and respect, and I think they’ll work for you too. Communication When working with a new doctor (or working on a relationship I’ve already had for years) I ask my doctor how best to communicate with them. This is such a simple tactic but it works wonders! Some docs prefer that you use the new patient portals that are popping up all over the place. But some prefer you call their office directly. Others will even chat with you on social media. When you ASK your doctor how she likes to communicate, you’re showing respect — and a spirit of collaboration. And when you respect their...

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Here’s Why You’ve Gotta Say “Maybe” (AWAP Wednesday)

Posted by on Jul 22, 2015 in acceptance, coping, featured, friends and family, relationships | 16 comments

Today’s AWAP Wednesday video is all about the power of maybe. It’s difficult to figure out how to craft a social life when you have chronic illness; “maybe” can sometimes release a little of the pressure. Watch now for some tips on how to use “maybe” to improve your social life: *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: Have you said “maybe” lately? Are you challenged by social situations and how to say yes, no or maybe? I’m ready to hear it ALL. Join the conversation in the comments below, share your experience and ask for advice from our community. Want to watch more videos like this? Check out our AWAP Wednesday video playlist, which has almost seven hours of guidance, advice, and 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: Yes? No? Maybe! I think you’ve gotta welcome more “maybe” into your life, and today, I’m gonna tell you why. Hi! I’m Jenni Prokopy of ChronicBabe.com and today is AWAP Wednesday (that stands for As Well As Possible). Each week, I offer you my favorite tips and techniques to help you craft an incredible life beyond illness. Yes! I know you can. As a strong woman, I like to be declarative. I like to say YES and NO a lot, and I usually try to avoid maybe, because it feels a little… wishy-washy. But there’s one area of my life where I’ve learned to embrace the maybe. And that’s when it comes to planning social gatherings with friends and family. When we’re sick and have unpredictable symptom flare-ups, we may be disinclined to say “yes” to social gatherings, for fear of canceling last minute and dashing everyone’s hopes of hanging out with us. We may be in people-pleasing mode and don’t want to disappoint or anger folks. But here’s the truth: You are not in charge of other people’s feelings. They are entitled to feel disappointed or sad if you have to cancel—after all, you’re bummed too, right? So you can understand how they feel. Still: It is not your job to make them feel OK about you being sick. They are in charge of their own feelings. Don’t be a people pleaser! You may not want to say “no” to invitations either—even if you’re not that into the event—because you don’t want to seem antisocial. But saying “yes” just to keep up appearances isn’t doing anyone any favors—especially if you have to cancel on something you weren’t even interested in. Ugh! Double bummer. Starting TODAY, you’ve gotta start saying “maybe.” If your reality is that your health is somewhat...

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Info posted here should not be considered medical advice; it's not intended to replace consultation with physicians or other health care providers. 

Every Babe needs to find her own path for achieving optimal wellness. While we do tons to help guide you, it’s up to each of you to make well-informed choices and live with the consequences. ChronicBabe.com assumes no liability or responsibility for stuff that goes wrong.

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Take what you like from this space, and leave the rest. Use what you learn to make your life better. Be responsible for your own choices. And please don’t sue us. XO!

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