25 Quotes That Inspire Me to be Kind to Myself through Chronic Illness

“Kindness is a gift everyone can afford to give.” — unknown

As a chronic illness sufferer, you are bound to have bad days.

To cope, I’ve learned acceptance, found ways to reduce anxiety and taken time out for my health.

In essence, I’ve learned to be kinder to myself — to show myself love in the moments when I feel like I don’t deserve it.

But, it’s on those “bad days” that it takes extra effort.  Today, on World Kindness Day, I wanted to take the time to say it’s just as important to be kind to yourself as it is to be kind to others.

Kindness starts with YOU.

5 Winter Skin Care Secrets Revealed

What isn’t fair game though is winter skin care. If you haven’t hit the day when it feels like all the moisture has been sucked out your skin, then I applaud you for living in a humid climate — you’ve already won half the battle!

For the rest us, or those traveling to different climates, winter can wreak havoc on our skin. It can feel tight, dry, flaky, red, irritated, and the cold can worsen blemishes.

When the seasons change, it’s a good time to re-evaluate your skin care routine and make a few tweaks. It can be as simple as changing a product or stepping up your regime to get your glow back. If you don’t already have a skin care routine, it’s a good time to start!

I have five tips and tricks that I like to review every winter to make sure my skin is prepped for freezing temperatures, blizzards and even warm fires and increased indoor temperatures. And now, I’m ready to reveal my secrets to you!

Why it’s ok to take time out for your health (And why you should)

It all became too much.

Three years ago, almost exactly, I made a radical decision in my life.

It was time to focus on my health.

The decision didn’t come easily. I had a dream job, loved the people I worked with, was using the skills I attended university for and had just started a wonderful new relationship. Yet, my health was robbing me from the joy of experiencing it all.

I was in a constant cycle of migraines and anxiety. I wasn’t being a fair co-worker — my sick leaves put other people under more pressure. Adding on additional responsibility at work made me feel unworthy and useless instead of valued and respected because I was constantly worried I wasn’t doing a good enough job due to my health. 

Easy Baked Sweet Potato Bowl for Two

If you were a potato, you’d be a sweet one.

November always brings pictures of sweet potato casserole to mind. I’m pretty sure this is a conditioned response to marketing campaigns and the prevalence of sweet potato casseroles at American Thanksgiving dinners because as a Canadian, sweet potatoes don’t make a big appearance at our October holiday. Nonetheless, Halloween ends and I’m focused on less pumpkin and more sweet potatoes.

This dish is inspired by a few of the lunch bowls I’ve seen across Instagram. Easy to make, easy to transport and super healthy — I’m sure you’ve seen a few of these bowls on your feeds too.

10 Ways To Ease Anxiety When You’re Busy

 “Be gentle with yourself, you’re doing the best you can.”

I love this quote. It’s calming, reassuring and has one key word — doing.

A friend of mine recently contacted me about anxiety. After reading my blog she reached out because in her words, “I would love to just chat with someone who just gets it”. I completely understood where she was coming from. Talking to someone who doesn’t have anxiety about anxiety can feel like you’re talking to a brick wall, even if they’re working hard to understand. After messaging back and forth, she highlighted one of the hardest parts of learning to accept anxiety: the difference between trying and doing.

Accepting Chronic Illness: A Self-Reflection Worksheet

"You think you know ... but you have no idea."
– MTV’s Diary (2001-2014)

Last week’s post on acceptance had me thinking more deeply about what chronic illness looks like from an outsider’s perspective — even to another chronic illness warrior. Case in point: My reaction to a friend saying I cope well. It was a total shocker. I had NO idea I was being seen as a person with a chronic illness who wore rose-coloured glasses.

How Acceptance Taught Me to Cope with Chronic Illness

“How do you cope so well?”

Last week, I was taken aback when a close friend of mine texted me these words. My first thoughts were, “Me? Cope? What? I don’t do that!” My mouth gaped open.

Coping with chronic illness isn’t something that has come naturally to me. It was hard for me to look at my chronic illnesses from an outsider’s perspective and see what she was seeing. After a few moments of reflection, I worked up the courage to write her back. This is what I said:

8 Reasons I’m Thankful I HAVE a Chronic Illness

I know what you’re thinking, “How can someone be thankful they’re sick?”

It’s because when you have a chronic illness, you are forced to learn a lot — about a lot of different things. Some days I feel like I’m in school 24/7. From understanding myself, to navigating the medical system and working through life lessons — it’s all been beneficial to me. The lessons I have learned will apply to life when hopefully one day chronic illness isn’t the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning. They have made me stronger and more resilient, and will help carry me through any tough situation life might throw at me. So for that, I am thankful I have chronic migraine, depression and anxiety. They have made me who I am today.

My Migraine Story: The Beginning

I remember my first migraine like a strike of lightning.

Literally. I was 18 years old, and my family and I were camping. I had retreated to our rented motorhome to head to bed, take some Tylenol and pray that my “headache” would subside after a nap. Little did I know, a big storm was rolling in fast. Soon the rain started pelting the windows and I began counting the seconds between the thunder and lightening, while each blast echoed in my skull. I huddled under multiple blankets and pillows to deafen the tin can effect the rain was having on the motorhome and the resulting pain in my head. Tossing and turning, I instinctively knew my “headache” was connected to the storm but it wasn’t until years later I made the connection — This was my first migraine.

Pumpkin Spice Pancakes with Hemp Hearts

When I jokingly called these pancakes “basic” (another word mayyyy have been added on the end of that sentence), the look my boyfriend gave me was one of pure confusion.

But hey! We all make fun of pumpkin spice this time of year but we all LOVE it! So why not embrace the pumpkin spice life and have fun using it in recipes!

These pancakes are based off of my 3-Ingredient Banana Pancakes. The concept is the same, I just had to add a few more ingredients to bring pumpkin spice pancakes to life

Chai Apple Scones

They say an apple a day will keep the doctor away.

But I say a slice of this scone every day will keep my heart and soul happy. And that’s almost as good as keeping the doctor away.

When I collected a bag of apples from my parent’s backyard this month, I knew the first recipe I was going to make was these apple scones. Growing up, I remember coming home from school for lunch and smelling their aroma when I walked in the door. My mom often made them when she had the neighbourhood ladies over for coffee and I always kept my fingers crossed there was a slice left for me.

14 Ways to Survive a Migraine

What’s in my migraine survival toolkit?

Chronic illness warriors who have been around the block know to have a list/bag/box of things they need and make them feel better when things go south.

This list didn’t come to me overnight. It’s been a long three-year process to find out exactly what I need when the pain hits and it’s time to hunker down (And I’m still tweaking it). But, now that I have my toolkit prepped, it makes living with chronic migraine a bit easier. It also helps my family and friends get through the worst moments — they know where to go and what to do for me.