Rolling with the Punches: PJ from Pajama Daze on Living with Multiple Chronic Conditions

What’s it really like to live with chronic illness every day? How do you deal with the physical symptoms, emotional turmoil and practical problems? In this interview series, real life ‘spoonies’ share their stories and tips.

Rolling with the Punches: PJ from PajamaDaze on Living with Multiple Chronic Conditions | The Health Sessions

PJ runs the motivational and inspirational website Pajama Daze for people with chronic illness, pain and fatigue. She’s currently writing her first book. 

 

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m 61 years old, retired on disability. I earned a BS Ed and an MA in Communication, am a Certified (PA) Holistic Health Educator, and was a Fellow of the PA Rural Leadership Program. In my previous life I worked in radio and television in both advertising and documentary production. I’ve worked in a couple of independent films, as well having published various pieces of freelance writing and photography. I also worked in community health education for several years.

I am currently writing my first book based on my website Pajama Daze for people with chronic illness. I’m also doing what I can to save pollinators through local projects and my website Posies for Pollinators.

I’ve had asthma all my life, arthritis and minor subluxations at various sites for much of my life, uterine cancer in 2002, three mild heart attacks in 2005, and another in 2008, caused by vascular spasms. It was discovered in 2010 that I have an uncommon disease called Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD), which causes abnormal cell growth in my carotid, vertebral and renal arteries, as well as other problems with connective tissue. I suffered with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for 10 years after my heart attacks, but went into remission last summer, thankfully.

 

When did you first get sick?

I first became noticeably symptomatic with FMD in my mid-30’s, though it would be more than 20 years before I was diagnosed. I suffered from severe, debilitating migraines and dizzy spells which, thankfully, have become less prolonged and severe, but still crop up from time to time.

Read more >Rolling with the Punches: PJ from Pajama Daze on Living with Multiple Chronic Conditions



How to Have an Indulging Spa Day at Home

How to Have an Indulging Spa Day at Home | The Health Sessions

 

Do you ever fantasize about running off to an exotic destination for a yoga retreat to kickstart your health? Or pampering yourself with a relaxing day at the spa, to let go of all your stress and worries?

Unfortunately, you might not always have the time, money or mobility for a much needed wellness treatment. But that doesn’t mean that indulging self-care activities are off the table. Just set aside an evening, a full day or even a weekend to have a luxurious spa day at home!

How? By recreating the essential ingredients of the spa experience in your own home:

  1. Peace and Tranquility. A day at the spa offers an escape from our hectic world. The serene surroundings and lack of digital distractions help you take your mind off your never-ending to do list. With a little preparation you can recreate those calming settings in your own home.
  2. Relaxation. We all need to a take break every now and then – and warm baths, massages and yoga are very enjoyable ways to let go off tension and rest up. Fortunately, that kind of relaxation isn’t limited to the spa.
  3. Health Boost. Many people hope to boost their health and transform their body during a luxurious wellness retreat. But there’s not necessarily a need to go on a juice ‘detox’ holiday when you can whip up delicious smoothie bowls and salads in your own kitchen.
  4. Pampering yourself. How good does it feel to treat yourself to a facial, mani, pedi or bubble bath after a tough week? Ok, you have to put in a little more effort than just lying back, but that shouldn’t stop you from pampering yourself with DIY beauty treatments to refresh and recharge.

 

You can adapt these principles to fit any budget, energy level and home situation. Have a look at these 8 ideas to have an indulging spa day at home. 

Read more >How to Have an Indulging Spa Day at Home



Is Your Health Really in Your Own Hands?

Is Your Health Really In Your Own Hands? | The Health Sessions

 

“Your health is in your hands.” 

It’s supposed to be an empowering phrase, meant to encourage you to take good care of your body and mind. And yet, there’s a kind of accusation hidden in there that so many chronically ill people face: have you done enough to stop this from happening to you?

Over the last decade or two, the way our society thinks about health and happiness has changed a lot. Thanks to a growing body of research on how our lifestyle affects our health – in good and in bad ways – and the widespread availability of information via the Internet, our mindset has gone from trying to control (chronic) disease with medication to actively preventing illness through healthy nutrition, exercise, stress management and positive thinking.

And that’s a good thing: with all the present-day knowledge, why wouldn’t we avoid serious risk factors and learn about how we can feel as fit, strong and upbeat as possible?

Read more >Is Your Health Really in Your Own Hands?



10 Delicious Dinners in a Bowl

10 Delicious Dinners in a Bowl | The Health Sessions

 

Healthy food bowls are all the craze. Whether it’s a breakfast smoothie bowl, powerful porridge or a Buddha bowl for lunch, there’s something ultimately comforting about digging into layers of goodness.

Making your weeknight dinner in a bowl is oh so easy and appetizing too. You just pick a colourful variety of veggies and grains, add some (plant-based) protein and healthy fats, before you top it off with nuts, seeds, microgreens and a tasty dressing. Et voila, dinner is served!

Here are 10 hearty and healthy recipes to inspire your next dinner bowl. Enjoy! 

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How to Stop Ruminating: Thinking Things Through, Distraction or Mindfulness? | The Health Sessions

How to Stop Ruminating: Thinking Things Through, Distraction or Mindfulness?

“I don’t understand why this is happening to me.”

“God, I’m such a loser for blowing that presentation. What must my colleagues think of me?”

“It’s not fair! Why did he do that to me?”

We’ve all been there. In your mind, you keep going over that argument with your friend or the stupid mistake you made, thinking about what you should have done differently.

You try to make sense of the confusing or upsetting situation by meticulously thinking it through. And normally, that kind of reflection can give you new insights, help you learn and improve, so it won’t happen a second time. But when rehashing the negative experience takes over your thoughts, like a broken record that plays the same lyrics again and again, it becomes a serious risk for your health and happiness.

Read more >How to Stop Ruminating: Thinking Things Through, Distraction or Mindfulness?