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A step-by-step process for creating a morning routine #AWAPwednesday

Posted by on Jun 20, 2018 in ChronicBabe Basics, featured, practicalities, resilience, self care | 4 comments

Do you struggle to make your mornings meaningful? Are you feeling frustrated because you’re not getting enough done early in the day, and you run out of steam by the afternoon? (I relate to that so much!) Do you want to prioritize self-care? Then a morning routine is for you, babe. We’ve been talking about this process in the Secret Club membership program, but this process is just too good to share only with my members. My meaningful morning: To create a more meaningful morning, I first review all the things I would like to do in my morning routine, and I make sure to get clear about WHY they are important to me. Here’s the list I created today during a Facebook Live video: wake up at 5:45 – so I can be sure to accomplish all that I want drink a big glass of water (equivalent to three cups) – hydration helps reduce pain and inflammation, and we wake up dehydrated, so this is the first thing I do heat up my back – I’m always stiff in the morning, so a heating pad helps me get loose work in my planner – I love my daily planner, and I fill my day while I’m on the floor with my heating pad do yoga – a standard 20-minute routine helps me limber up for the day; when I don’t do yoga, I feel awful all day drink tea – my only source of caffeine during the day, a couple cups of black tea have a healthy breakfast – protein is important for powering me up, and I try to sneak in as many fruits and veggies as I can in a big smoothie, so if my diet is not healthy the rest of the day, I know I’ve met my produce needs bathe – this might be washing my face, or taking a shower or bath, depending on how much time I have meditate – I’m trying to build up to 45-60 minutes a day, so incorporating a meditation moment in the morning helps me meet my goal creative time – this feeds my soul, so I try to do some hand sewing or coloring Whew! That’s a lot, I know. I’ve worked on this routine for years, and I know what I need to start my day right. I try to do most of these every day. Your first task: Make your own list Think through your ideal morning. It’s the time to get you pumped for the rest of the day, even if your “rest of the day” is going to be spent on the couch. What do you want? What do you need? What...

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That time I went to the E.R. because I thought I was having a heart attack…and almost didn’t, because I was afraid I WASN’T having a heart attack

Posted by on May 2, 2018 in ChronicBabe Basics, fears, featured, pain, practicalities, resilience, self care | 10 comments

SPOILER ALERT: I was NOT having a heart attack. Last night, I was taking a shower when I had a sudden searing, clenching pain in my chest that took my breath away. It lasted for a couple minutes, and then got a bit better, but my left arm and shoulder and neck were clenched and sore. My chest felt tight. Was I having a heart attack? Nope. Turns out, it was a huge muscle spasm. I had never had one like that before. But WOW did it present like a heart attack. I Googled “women’s heart attack symptoms” and had almost everything on the list (minus nausea or vomiting). But did I go to the E.R. immediately? Nope. I felt scared, but not just that I was really sick—I felt scared that the staff would judge me harshly if it turned out I wasn’t having a heart attack. How messed up is that?! Have you ever left the E.R. with undiagnosed symptoms? Oh, babe—I know you have. I have, too, many times. I think it’s part of having undiagnosed chronic illness; as we try to figure out why we feel so broken, the E.R. is often the easiest place to get care for things that feel, well, emergent. I’ve done it so many times over the past 20 years, in fact, that I’ve developed a bit of shame about it. That shame has sometimes kept me from going, because I know the odds are that they won’t find anything. Tests will come back negative, blood work won’t show anything, and they’ll throw up their hands and say “we don’t see anything wrong, so maybe you’re under stress?” And then I’ll head home, dejected, still unwell, and alone. This pattern repeats over and over for many of us, and can begin to make us feel like it’s never worth going to the E.R. or the doctor’s office. But DO NOT stop getting checked out. What if I had been having a heart attack? Seriously, how terrible would it have been if I was having a heart attack, and didn’t get checked out because I was worried about being ashamed of not being sick? Super terrible. And I’m not a doctor…how should I know if I was sick enough to go to the E.R.? Google is NOT our doctor either, babe. But dang, even Google was telling me to go to the hospital last night. My husband, Joe, got home just as I was deciding to call 911. The operator said a person should never ever neglect chest pains, and that they were sending an ambulance. Joe spoke up and said he would drive me. A few minutes later, we were...

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Self-love: Jenni chats with Mary from Uncustomary about a powerful practice

Posted by on Nov 7, 2017 in acceptance, guest author, inspiration, self care | 0 comments

A few months ago, I stumbled across an Instagram account that was just irresistible. Mary is a strong, creative, energetic, authentic woman talking about the benefits (and challenges) of practicing self-love, and I adore her style. She offers resources at her website, Uncustomary, including blog posts, a podcast, a fun (and affordable!) membership service, a book, much more. We had a couple conversations and now, OMGOSH are we friends. I’ve written before about how we can rock our look as ChronicBabes; this babe rocks it Every. Dang. Day. Today, she’s hosting me over at her Uncustomary podcast, and I’m hosting another conversation here, too—because we both believe women with chronic illness deserve to love themselves deeply, no matter how sick they are. And have fun while they’re at it! Jenni: You’re all about the self-love and its impact on leading a happy life. What brought you to this work? Mary: The short answer is knowing what it’s like to be on the complete opposite end of the spectrum! I started developing multiple mental illnesses at just eight years old, and it seriously impacted my adolescence in terms of self-esteem and overall happiness. Feeling like I wasn’t in control of my body made me hate my body and myself which spiraled deeper and deeper. I finally got to a point where my symptoms were controlling my life and I knew if I didn’t at least try to do something about it, I was going to end up in a place I didn’t want to be. So I started cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is one of the huge stepping stones I pivoted on and feel changed my life. I basically learned how to deal with some of the most obtrusive symptoms in my life, and by doing that I felt this mental space open up in my mind. I finally wasn’t totally consumed by just getting through the day; going from one symptom to the next… I had room to wiggle around! I could even get creative! I dove back into crafty stuff I had missed from my childhood and started documenting it. From there emerged a blog, and that blog chronicled the progress of the journey of my self-love exploration and discovery that is ever-growing. Essentially, I realized that if someone who had five mental illnesses, a palm-full of pills to take just to function, and a panic attack metaphorically scheduled on her Google Calendar could start loving the body that had gained a hundred pounds in the process (from medication side effects) and herself, that it was possible for other people in better and even worse situations. I wanted to provide my perspective in hopes it would be useful...

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How to say “no” when someone keeps buggin’ you with questions about chronic illness #AWAPwednesday

Posted by on Feb 1, 2017 in ChronicBabe Basics, featured, friends and family, ranting, relationships, self care | 2 comments

Do you get tired of people asking you to justify self-care? Are you sick of answering probing questions about “what’s wrong now?” when you need to reschedule something? Me, too! Today I’ve got my favorite phrases for shutting down those conversations and moving into more productive territory: I think this is something we all deal with, so I came up with a bunch of tips to help you – adapt them to your particular needs. *AWAP = As Well As Possible Now it’s your turn: How do YOU handle conversations where people push back when you set boundaries? 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: Aw, thanks, but I’ve gotta wash my hair. Gee, that’s a nice invitation, but I have another commitment. Wow, you’re tenacious — thanks, but no thanks. Aw, hell no! 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?   Today I want to talk to you about saying no to people when they won’t stop buggin’ you about your chronic illness (or limitations related to it). I was talking with a friend the other day, and she lives in a community where people really push and push if you say no — they demand an explanation. I think that’s baloney! Most of the time, when you say “no” to someone, you don’t owe them a detailed explanation. But people can really make us feel like we have to explain ourselves. Today, I’m sharing a few strategies I’ve learned through the years that shut down unwanted conversations. Let’s say you need to cancel a coffee date with a girlfriend because you’re having a flare-up. You call her and say “I’m having a flare-up, so I’m sorry but I need to reschedule.” She responds with: “But why? I thought you were fine yesterday?” You could: Go into a lengthy explanation of your unpredictable chronic illness and its daily attempts to steal your fun. (That can be a real downer for both of you!) You could get defensive, and end the call abruptly. (That could damage your friendship!) Or… You...

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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 | 8 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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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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Info posted here should not be considered medical advice; it's not intended to replace consultation with physicians or other health care providers. 

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