Sunday, 21 December 2014

Christmas - Help to get through the festive season


(Please excuse the ridiculous screenshot!)

A short film with guidance on coping during the festive season.

Blog post with more information: http://yourlifeinrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/merry-christmas-from-life-in-recovery.html

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” Dr Seuss - How The Grinch Stole Christmas!

I really hope you enjoy watching the videos and that they can help you or someone you know. I would love to hear from you if you have anything you would like to say.

How to get in touch:

YouTube - http://t.co/CGZBkZnWU2
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/Recovering_Life
Blog - http://yourlifeinrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/
Email - yourlifeinrecovery@gmail.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Recovering.Life

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Voting: UK Blog Awards #UKBA15

Amazingly I have been nominated in two categories of the UK Blog Awards  - more information is provided in my previous blog post on the awards here.
The two categories are Best Health Blog and Young Person Recognition (18-25.)

So now for the REALLY exciting part - voting is now open for the UK Blog Awards 2015.
Voting commenced on November 10th and closes on December 1st and I'd very much appreciate any of your support or votes.
 To vote for this site in the Health category click here or you can click on the lovely, shiny picture above!
You can also vote for me in the Young Person Recognition category here or again, click the fancy image above.

Here's an extract from the UK Blog Awards website describing the voting process:

"How to Register your Vote: Select the Blog entry you wish to vote for and fill out your Full Name and Email address in the required fields before pressing Submit!
Please note, if you vote more than once for the same Blog entry in the same category, your vote will be disregarded.
Some #UKBA15 entrants decided to enter their Blog into two different categories and we welcome you to vote for these Blogs across both of the categories.
All email addresses must be valid to register your vote effectively.
After voting, you will be redirected to the Public Vote page and will receive an email confirmation to the account you have chosen to vote with.
Don’t forget to help your favourite Blog gain more votes by sharing their Unique URL/s via Social Media."

There are some incredible individual/freelance bloggers (like me) plus some brilliant company blogs in the many categories and I would encourage you to have a browse on the UK Blog Awards site and see if any other blogs tickle your fancy!

As I said earlier I'd hugely appreciate your votes but also would love for you to share this blog post or the voting links with your family, friends, work colleagues, neighbours or anyone you think might be interested in showing their support for me and my site.

I want to say a huge thank you for all your wonderful feedback, comments and the lovely interactions so far. If just one person is helped through Life In Recovery I will have achieved what I set out to do.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Tower of London Poppies

Today I finally managed to see the installation of 888,246 ceramic poppies at the Tower of London that have been marking the centenary of the start of World War 1.


If you are unaware of who created the installation and what the sea of red poppies is all about then please read on for an extract from the official website.

"The major art installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London, marking one hundred years since the first full day of Britain's involvement in the First World War. Created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, 888,246 ceramic poppies will progressively fill the Tower's famous moat over the summer. Each poppy represents a British military fatality during the war.
The poppies will encircle the iconic landmark, creating not only a spectacular display visible from all around the Tower but also a location for personal reflection. The scale of the installation intends to reflect the magnitude of such an important centenary creating a powerful visual commemoration."

Below are some photos I took while visiting this incredible and moving sight.




If you can get to the Tower of London before they remove the installation then I urge you to do so. It is a powerful and evocative sight. The mass of poppies deftly show the scale of the loss while creating a resonant and iconic image. I believe the artists have managed to create both a visually stunning and touching commemoration to the lives that were lost during World War 1.

How to get in touch:

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

WEGO Health Activist Awards Nominee

Yet another announcement! You may be aware that Life In Recovery was recently entered into the UK Blog Awards and is up for Best Health Blog and the Young Person Recognition award too.
Further to this news I was delighted to learn that Life In Recovery has also been nominated for two WEGO Health Activist Awards.

The following is an excerpt from WEGO Health's website giving more information on the awards and the organisation.


"WEGO Health is a different kind of social network, built for the community leaders, bloggers and tweeters who are actively involved in health online. WEGO Health is a platform for committed Health Activists to foster new relationships, gain access to helpful resources, and grow their communities. Our goal is to equip our network with opportunities designed for the active contributor, relevant content, powerful educational resources and shareable interactive media."
"The WEGO Health Activist Awards were created to embody the mission of WEGO Health: to empower Health Activists. We connect with so many inspiring Health Activists who raise awareness, share information, support their communities, and much more - often without recognition. The WEGO Health network is centred around Health Activists, so we knew it was up to us to tell these leaders how great they are! We wanted to celebrate those who have made a difference and thus, the Awards were born. We've since found that these Awards are one of the best ways to introduce new Health Activists to the online community and have community members say "thank you" to the leaders they love."

Life In Recovery has been nominated for the Best In Show: YouTube and for Best Kept Secret awards. The way the awards work is that each individual or organisation creates a Nominee Profile once they have been nominated. People then have the opportunity to 'endorse' this profile.
An endorsement is a way to give nominees a visual show of support. The endorsement button is on each Nominee’s Profile and you can also see the number of endorsements that each nominee has received. The three nominees in each award category with the highest number of endorsements will automatically become finalists. You can select an award to endorse from a drop down menu. In Life In Recovery's case there is the option to endorse one or both awards and you can find the profile here: https://awards.wegohealth.com/nominees/7691



 
There are so many wonderful and inspiring individuals and organisations on the WEGO Health Activist Awards site, so please have a browse and feel free to endorse anybody who strikes a chord with you.

How to get in touch:

Friday, 10 October 2014

My UNA-UK article on the need for holistic healthcare

A few months ago I was asked if I would like to write an article for the United Nations Association - UK (UNA-UK) quarterly magazine New World. I jumped at the opportunity, of course! I'm happy to be able to say that the magazine and web exclusive articles have now been published.

If you've never heard of UNA-UK before then this little blurb taken from their website might help explain who they are and what they do. 



"The United Nations Association - UK (UNA-UK) is the UK's leading source of independent analysis on the UN, and a UK-wide grassroots movement.
UNA-UK believes that a strong, credible and effective UN is essential if we are to build a safer, fairer and more sustainable world. We advocate strong government support for the UN and demonstrate why the UN matters to people everywhere.
We pursue this mission by:
  • Connecting people to the work and values of the UN
  • Influencing decision-makers and opinion-shapers to support UN goals
  • Explaining how the UN works and what it can realistically achieve
  • Stimulating debate and action on how to make the UN more effective
  • Equipping our members and supporters to further all of these aims
UNA-UK derives great strength from its members and supporters, and UK-wide network of local, school and university branches. Together, they form a critical mass of support for the UN in the UK and beyond."

The Winter Issue of New World is a bumper double edition with one publication dedicated to looking at Britain's role on the world stage and the Autumn section addresses the field of global health, the world's major health concerns and the UN's efforts to tackle them. There are also articles published as web exclusives (which mine is one of.)




In both issues there are some incredible articles, essays and infographics. The subjects range from foreign policy to the Ebola virus, HIV/AIDS therapies to concerns about the access to healthcare in developing countries. The magazine also raises fundamental questions about the world we live in and I would strongly recommend giving the current and past issues a read as they are a gold-mine of information and eye-opening stories from people 'in-the-know' and on the front-lines of the issues being discussed.

If you wish to read the article I wrote on the need for a more holistic approach to health then I'd love for it to start a conversation about the importance of assessing and treating individuals' health as a 'whole.'


How to get in touch:

Thursday, 9 October 2014

UK Blog Awards 2015 - #UKBA15

I have a BIG announcement to make.... Life In Recovery has been entered into two categories for the National UK Blog Awards 2015. The two categories are Health and Young Person Recognition (18-25) This is obviously hugely exciting for me and I am very pleased to be involved in the awards.

The UK Blog Awards© are the only Blog Awards recognising a multitude of industry professional talent across the UK. The UK Blog Awards provide a unique opportunity for individual professionals from their sector and organisations to be recognised for their social media achievements through blogging, with the chance to network and be inspired by other industry bloggers.

Now comes the part where I need YOUR help. The blogs are short-listed based on a public vote. This vote opens on November 10th and closes December 1st. The lucky 20 finalists will be whittled down to the winners by a panel of expert judges. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony in April 2015. The theme of the 2015 awards is #BeBold.
So I'm going to Be Bold and say that when the public vote opens I would love to get a vote (or two) from you all. This is obviously only if you feel Life In Recovery is worthy of a vote in the categories. There will be lots of other amazing blogs and websites in all the categories that I'm sure would also appreciate your votes, so keep your eyes peeled and your fingertips at the ready on November 10th!
I'll update the blog to remind you when voting starts and I'm sure there will be some sort of countdown to polling time on Twitter!


Many thanks for all your wonderful feedback, comments and interactions so far. If just one person is helped through Life In Recovery I will have achieved what I set out to do.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Mood-boosting foods and the science behind them



A film on the importance of a healthy diet and the science behind mood-boosting, body-energising, immune-strengthening food.

'One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.' Virginia Woolf (British novelist) A Room of One's Own (essay)

'Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.' Dorothy Day (American journalist)

I really hope you enjoy watching the videos and that they can help you or someone you know. I would love to hear from you if you have anything you would like to say.

How to get in touch:

YouTube - http://t.co/CGZBkZnWU2
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/Recovering_Life
Blog - http://yourlifeinrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/
Email - yourlifeinrecovery@gmail.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Recovering.Life

Friday, 22 August 2014

Useful Sites/Links - Introducing you to GeesGang

I have recently become aware of a new website and charity called GeesGang.
Set up and run by someone who suffers from depression to help benefit those who are struggling and suffering under the weight of mental illness.

So what's GeesGang's mission? (Direct quote from their website) "To train as a Talking Therapist costs over a £1000.00 and our mission is to raise enough money to pay for people to train as therapists to help the 1 in 4 adults and kids that desperately need their help. We’d also like to open a free phone call centre where people can ring in privacy and know with confidence that the person at the other end of the line can help them. Get Therapists into schools and colleges to help the kids that may be struggling with everyday life."
I personally think this is a hugely admirable mission statement.

You can check out the GeesGang website here. They're also on Twitter and Facebook.

I have been lucky enough to be included on their site http://geesgang.com/recovery and am so pleased that they have lots of other useful information for people including diet, exercise and details on different therapies.

How to get in touch:

YouTube - http://t.co/CGZBkZnWU2
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/Recovering_Life
Blog - http://yourlifeinrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/
Email - yourlifeinrecovery@gmail.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Recovering.Life

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Increasing and Progressing Gym Workouts



A video on how best to increase and progress a gym workout with chronic illness.

“Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” Muhammad Ali (boxer)

I really hope you enjoy watching the videos and that they can help you or someone you know. I would love to hear from you if you have anything you would like to say.

How to get in touch:

YouTube - http://t.co/CGZBkZnWU2
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/Recovering_Life
Blog - http://yourlifeinrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/
Email - yourlifeinrecovery@gmail.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Recovering.Life

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Anniversary - One year on from hospital....

I have just written a 'status update' on my personal Facebook page to my friends and it occurred to me that I also want to say thank you to all of YOU. So I'm going to paste in what I wrote word-for-word on here.
This isn't something I thought I would ever feel comfortable doing. I try to keep Life In Recovery and my personal life reasonably separate. Not because I am ashamed of the blog but because I think it works better if I don't use this as a platform to air my private life and that I use my past and present experiences in a constructive way to help others who may be struggling. That won't be changing.

Keeping this blog, creating videos and posting little (or a lotta) bits on Twitter has been an absolutely wonderful experience. I hope to continue the work I have only just started and love interacting and discovering all of you 'out there.' This is why I felt it was relevant to post the message I sent to my friends and family to you all as well.

So here goes...

I don't normally do this on FB but it's a handy way to reach a lot of you all at once!

Some of you will already be aware of the significance of today's date to me but for those who aren't...Today (August 5th) marks exactly one year since I was discharged from hospital!

Words can't express how wonderful and incredible the last year has been. To be able to be writing this at all is mind-blowing!

I can't say thank you enough to those of you who helped me through the tough (!) times for so many years. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I wouldn't be here today without you. Your ongoing friendship means the world to me.

To the friends I've met more recently I also wish to thank you hugely. Your support, understanding and most of all your inclusion of me in your lives has been so amazing and life-enhancing.

I thought about how I wanted to mark today and decided very quickly that I wanted to go back to the hospital I was last in. So today I am off to pay a visit to the unit I spent my last few inpatient months in. Taking along a HUGE home-baked carrot cake, lots of tissues and a sack full of gratitude and news! I'm going to spend a couple of hours seeing some of the doctors and nurses who have made such an impact in my life and I’ll also be able to tell them that properly face-to-face.

Going back today will also be a chance to reflect on and try to digest the enormity of the past year and just be able to reflect on how much has changed for the better. The past year has been full of firsts (and seconds and thirds…) and it's been a roller-coaster ride of epic proportions to say the least.

I wish I could convey to you all how much I appreciate and value your presence. Sharing this new chapter in my life and revelling in the real chance of a happy, healthy and full life is the best I can do to show this. I know how lucky I am to have such excellent family and friends.

Here's to another blockbuster of a year!

With love, thanks and amazement.


How to get in touch:

YouTube - http://t.co/CGZBkZnWU2
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/Recovering_Life
Blog - http://yourlifeinrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/
Email - yourlifeinrecovery@gmail.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Recovering.Life

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Health Benefits and Power of Laughter



A video about the powerful health benefits of laughing and sharing laughter with others.

'Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.' Victor Hugo

'Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.' Mark Twain

I really hope you enjoy watching the videos and that they can help you or someone you know. I would love to hear from you if you have anything you would like to say.

How to get in touch:

YouTube - http://t.co/CGZBkZnWU2
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/Recovering_Life
Blog - http://yourlifeinrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/
Email - yourlifeinrecovery@gmail.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Recovering.Life

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Bitchy women: crescendo in catty culture

Near where I live there’s a very nice organic, home-made, yoga lifestyle sort of café. In essence it should be the kind of place I’d be naturally drawn to and want to frequent. 
However, I don’t. 
In fact when I pass it, as I do almost daily, I scuttle by and try to ignore its siren call. Why? Is the coffee awful? Or are the owners rude? Is it dirty/smelly/noisy? No. 
The issue isn’t with the café itself it’s with the people who choose to eat and drink there. It’s a yummy-mummy hangout which is fine in itself but the problem is that all these women seem to talk about is how, "Mrs F looked rough this morning", "Miss B is having trouble with the boyfriend" or that, "Mr and Mrs T are struggling financially". You can’t escape the conversations, however hard you try not to hear them. 

The first time I visited the café I very nearly walked over to the circle of gossiping women to point out that maybe their ‘friend’ was having so much trouble because, instead of trying to be there for her, they were choosing to spend their time ripping her life to pieces instead. The phrase “With friends like these, who needs enemies” hits the nail on the head.




I have stood on tube platforms, been in a queue or looked up from chatting with friends and received one of those up-and-down looks from another woman where you’re made to feel about as small and welcome as a cockroach. The American’s call it giving someone the ‘stink eye.’ This sums it up nicely. It’s hugely rude, disrespectful and hurtful to be judged purely on the way you look or just because you happen to be a fellow woman who might be competition.
However, it’s not just us as individuals who seem to enjoy bitching and sniping about other women; the media adds fuel to the already blazing fire by publishing articles that pit one woman against another. 
Did so-and-so wear it better? Is what’s-her-face the new ‘it’ girl? Ms X dethrones Ms Z as the new princess of pop/queen of our hearts/fashionista/media darling. 
It’s a human version of cock fighting. 
Yet instead of realising how barbaric, demeaning and destructive this trend for setting women against each other is we, as a society and a sex, are in the thick of the crowd egging the fight on!


I’m not asking that all women should link arms and walk off into the sunset together; that’s not realistic. We will have our differences and disagreements - that’s part of being individuals. All I ask is that we stop perpetuating a hate and vitriol-filled society where we seem to take pleasure from other people’s pain. Where we revel and crow over our neighbour’s failings and misfortunes. 

My wish is that we can accept other, respect choices, support our friends in rough times and not judge a book by its cover. My wish is that we can enjoy each others successes, not view people as a threat, or someone to 'take down' and that we can be confident enough in ourselves to build up and boost those around us.

Someone once said “When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself”. 

Do you feel the same way (as a man or as a woman)? Have you been on the receiving end of one of those 'stink eyes'? Do you feel that the media pit women against each other one minute and then berate the women who do "compete"?

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Health Activist Twitter Talk Results

I'd just like to say a huge thank you to everyone who joined in on Tuesday's #hachat. We had a great  mix of people and lots of interesting conversations took place.
I know there were a few people who were unable to join in and WEGO Health have put a run-down of the chat on their blog. Click here http://blog.wegohealth.com/2014/06/26/your-patient-journey-health-activist-twitter-chat/ if you want to go and see what we were talking about!

Many thanks to WEGO Health for asking me to guest host and providing a space for people to interact with like-minded individuals and share experiences.

How to get in touch:

YouTube - http://t.co/CGZBkZnWU2
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/Recovering_Life
Blog - http://yourlifeinrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/
Email - lifeinrecovery@mail.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Recovering.Life

Monday, 23 June 2014

I'm hosting a Twitter Talk for Health Activists!

I have been asked to guest host a Twitter Talk for Health Activists by WEGO Health. The Twitter Talk will tale place for an hour between 3pm-4pm EST and 8pm-9pm BST on Tuesday 24th June 2014.
I have created a list of questions that I hope everyone will find thought-provoking and will hopefully stimulate some good conversations between us all. The questions will be listed below so you can have a sneaky preview to get those 'little grey cells' and fingers ready to go this Tuesday.

If you are unsure what a Twitter Talk is then I'll try to explain what they're all about. Twitter Talks or Twitter Tweet Chats are conversations that have an allocated hashtag (HT, #) that helps link and group all the messages being sent, questions and answers. They usually take place at a prearranged time and sometimes have an agenda or list of questions to help engage and promote conversations between participants.

Come and join me (and many more) on Tuesday at 3pm EST/8pm BST

 
 
Questions for #HAChat Twitter Talk:
 
 
1.       What's the one thing you would like to change most about how medics have dealt/deal with your health condition?

            What do you think the most important attribute a medic ought to possess?
 
What is the most destructive/disappointing/upsetting attribute a medic can possess?
2.       What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given that has helped you cope with your illness?
What is some good/valuable advice you might give someone with a similar condition to you?
Do you feel it is important to you to share advice and support to other sufferer’s?
3.       Do you consider yourself 'ill'? Why/Why not?
Do people’s attitudes/opinions of and towards your health have an impact on your overall condition?
 
How do you cope with stigmas or judgements that might be made? 
4.       Do you struggle with keeping hope and positivity alive?
Do you have strategies for this?
If so, what are they?
 
5.       Do you make sure that you devote equal amounts of energy on 'feeding' your 'soul/spirit' and other interests?
 
            If not – why not?
 
If so does this cause difficulties/guilt/concern that you’re not focusing on ‘trying to get better’ or ‘managing your condition’?

Who are WEGO Health?
WEGO Health is a different kind of social network, built from the ground up for the community leaders, bloggers and tweeters who are actively involved in health online. WEGO Health is a platform for committed health advocates to foster new relationships, gain access to helpful resources, and to grow their communities.
If you'd like to read more about WEGO Health then click the following link to go to their website www.wegohealth.com which contains a whole host of exciting and interesting information and lots of opportunities to flex your health activism muscles.

I really hope you manage to join me and many others for this weeks Health Activist's Twitter Chat at 3pm EST/8pm BST.

How to get in touch:

YouTube - http://t.co/CGZBkZnWU2
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/Recovering_Life
Blog - http://yourlifeinrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/
Email - lifeinrecovery@mail.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Recovering.Life

Friday, 20 June 2014

I'm now on Bloglovin!!

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/12331033/?claim=2f9gcg5vm3z">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Walking for your Health



'All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.' Friedrich Nietzsche

Links to walking sites:

UK:
Britain On Foot - http://www.britainonfoot.co.uk/
Ramblers UK - http://www.ramblers.org.uk/
Walking For Health - http://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/

USA:
Trimble Outdoors - http://www.trimbleoutdoors.com/
Trails - http://www.trails.com/
Start Walking Now - http://www.startwalkingnow.org/

I really hope you enjoy watching the videos and that they can help you or someone you know. I would love to hear from you if you have anything you would like to say.

How to get in touch:

YouTube - http://t.co/CGZBkZnWU2
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/Recovering_Life
Blog - http://yourlifeinrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/
Email - lifeinrecovery@mail.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Recovering.Life

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Getting Your Forty Winks: How to Help Sleep Hygiene and Routine



Sleep disturbances and insomnia can all contribute to a feeling of ill health and can make you more susceptible to illness both in the long and short term.

This film contains a few hints and tips on how to create a good routine and prioritise your sleep so that you can feel healthier and happier.

'A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.' Irish Proverb

I really hope you enjoy watching the videos and that they can help you or someone you know. I would love to hear from you if you have anything you would like to say.

How to get in touch:

YouTube - http://t.co/CGZBkZnWU2
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/Recovering_Life
Blog - http://yourlifeinrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/
Email - lifeinrecovery@mail.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Recovering.Life

Monday, 19 May 2014

Discovering YOU series - Experience visiting The Guardian HQ

A bit of an unusual blog post. I actually wrote this as part of a class assignment (although I have removed some content before publishing it on here) I thought it might be of interest to those of you who are thinking about or starting to explore the world.  I've also included some photos from the area.
There are many opportunities and experiences just waiting to be seized and lived. I hope that this piece shows just a slice of ways to discover 'you' and what might excite and energise.

The clock strikes three on a beautifully sunny afternoon in London and I find myself gathered with my fellow classmates in The Guardian and Observer’s foyer waiting to be ushered up to the education centre. Surrounding us are walls lined with photographs taken by Jane Brown of many famous and brilliant people from Eartha Kitt to Lucian Freud. The photographs make up one of many exhibitions that take place in the airy and light-filled building found only a stone’s throw from the Victorian masterpiece that is St Pancras International. One of Jane Brown’s displayed photographs is coincidentally of Sir John Betjeman who famously advocated to save many buildings earmarked for demolition including St Pancras train station.
We head upstairs to the education centre and hear an engaging talk from Elli Narewska detailing the history of how The Guardian came into being, the legacy and ethos of the paper. Political machinations and local unrest in Manchester in the early 1800s motivated cotton merchant John Edward Taylor to borrow heavily from friends which enabled him to create The Manchester Guardian in 1821. Luckily, his debts could be repaid as the paper became an industry success story and has continued to be to this day. With the dawning of the technological age The Manchester Guardian became The Guardian and based itself in London. They still produce a newspaper everyday with around 200,000 people reading it but also The Guardian has been developing a huge online presence with their website. This site attracts more than 100 million readers each month and The Guardian enjoys their position in offering this content for no charge.
Our group then had the opportunity to put some questions to The Guardian’s environment production editor Jessica Aldred. She gamely and enthusiastically answered all our questions which ranged from good ways to enter into journalism, how an individual’s mood might affect the team, reader’s reactions and many more. It was very interesting and helpful to hear a working journalist’s attitude to their job and she had some excellent tips. I definitely came away from the Q&A session with a renewed vigour for writing and exploring other avenues and opportunities.

The whole experience of visiting The Guardian and Observer headquarters was an exciting and stimulating outing. I have been left with a sense of optimism about my journalism and feel energised to reach out and explore more chances to write and report on subjects I feel passionate about.
If you have any other stories of doing something a little different or learning something about yourself or your surroundings please leave a comment. I think we can all do with some pepping up from time to time and gaining new ideas about what's 'out there' might help people who are struggling with chronic conditions and recovery. 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Tackling the obstacles in getting active after being bedbound/bedridden



This is a video about some of the more obscure problems you may experience (and how you can deal with them) if you are slowly starting to get back on your feet after being bedridden or bed bound during a chronic illness.

'Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.' Thomas A. Edison

I really hope you enjoy watching the videos and that they can help you or someone you know. I would love to hear from you if you have anything you would like to say.

How to get in touch:

YouTube - http://t.co/CGZBkZnWU2
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/Recovering_Life
Blog - http://yourlifeinrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/
Email - lifeinrecovery@mail.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Recovering.Life

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Realities of Recovery: Navigating the sometimes treacherous waters of recovery

What is the best word to describe the opposite of illness? Health, wellness, being disease free are all great options to use. However, what if you’re not exactly ‘well’ and also not entirely ‘unwell’? I would imagine the words recovering, recuperating and healing might come to mind. But what does it really mean to experience them? Everybody knows what being well means and, unfortunately, many people also know what ill health involves however when you are going through a recovery process that can be months or years long it is harder to quantify. Obviously people’s experiences will all differ in many things but I'm going to try to cover some of the important things you may encounter if you are slowly regaining health after chronic illness. I felt moved to write this as I am experiencing exactly this phase and have come across many things that I didn't realise would be involved in recovery and many subtle elements that can all add up to make you feel overwhelmed, lost, tired, frustrated and a multitude of other unpleasant feelings that are not beneficial to overall good health.

·         Bruises – Six months on and I am still picking up bruises very easily. My guess would be that my body simply isn't used to going through the motions of everyday life yet. My knees and feet seem to always have bruises over them. Some people recommend rubbing arnica onto fresh bruises to speed up healing. I haven’t found a way to stop getting bruised (apart from never going near anything ever again!) but I think once my body has adjusted it won’t happen so much.

·         Forgetting to take your medication (for people who self-administer) – I found this happened to me for the first couple of weeks after I came out of hospital. When you’re an inpatient you have very set times for taking medication and a nurse will bring you them so there’s no chance of missing a dose. However once you’re home there’s usually no constant reminder. Obviously it’s very important to take anything you have been prescribed but I think it’s also important to take medication/supplements at the same time each day so your body can maintain it’s equilibrium more easily. Initially I set an alarm for each of the medicines I was taking (as I take them at different times throughout the day/night) and once I got into a good routine I stopped the alarm system and I haven’t missed a dose since! For those of you not so technologically minded then a note by the side of your bed may work or one by your kettle/toothbrush/front door may help to jog your memory.

·         Blisters and general feet issues – This has been one of those problems that I had never considered. I was bed-bound/bedridden for years and once I was starting to walk again I found that my feet couldn't tolerate shoes for a while. I wore slippers and then moved onto pumps and then trainers to help with support and comfort while getting used to walking again. Blisters and cuts were and still are a problem. When you haven’t walked for a long time your feet lose their calluses and hardened skin. Those of you who spend hours moisturising your feet to get them baby soft in the summer months will probably be wrinkling your noses in disgust but that tougher skin is there for a reason.  The parts of your feet that get the most pressure and wear need to be harder than the rest of the skin on your body. I found a good way of speeding up the calluses forming was to apply surgical spirit (rubbing alcohol) to the areas needed. The blisters are unavoidable but I have found that putting blister plasters over them is the most comfortable way to cushion them so that you don’t stop walking because of the discomfort. I tried many different types of plasters, bandages and surgical-grade dressings but the hands-down winner has to be Compeed blister plasters. The most important thing is to not stop walking when you are trying to relearn things like gait, pacing etc. Putting progress on hold while waiting for blisters to heal will only makes things more difficult and also the chances are you’ll immediately get another blister when you restart. I'm afraid it’s another case of grin and bear it or make that - slap a Compeed plaster on them and keep going!

·         Changes in the outside world and adjusting to life at a new level – this may seem like an obvious thing but I found that when I started getting out and about more I realised just how out of touch with the world I had become. There are so many seemingly inconsequential shifts that you become aware of that can create a feeling of disorientation and like you are in an unfamiliar environment that doesn't help you integrate. After my discharge from hospital I noticed things like plants that had been barely out of the ground when I had last been well were now great big trees, buildings had disappeared or been built, shops had moved locations. The list goes on! There were also the slightly more practical things that I had to get used to. I live in London and hadn't used an Oyster card before, being driven in a car at 50-70 mph felt like a white knuckle ride, getting back in touch with old friends, finding my way through the world of social media. I also found going into shops with their range of products quite overawing and I struggled to make decisions and choices. I am still finding that having not been in the loop for so many years in relation to current affairs, music, films, media news etc. can contribute to a sense of isolation or separation from your peers. Some of the new things are lovely like a lot of the ‘firsts’: first time you travel by yourself, first meal in a restaurant, first time you brush your teeth, first meal you prepare on your own, first bath…  However if you are feeling a little vulnerable (which you understandably would be) then all these adjustments can take their toll. I'm still experiencing firsts and attuning and adapting to my surroundings and new life but I think with time and the right people surrounding you that you will be able to absorb and digest all these changes and not feel disrupted or disturbed by them so much.

·         Rollercoaster of emotions – just because you may be feeling physically and/or mentally better doesn't always mean that you are going to be happy and smiling all the time. The process of recovery is a long, hard road and there are going to be bumps along the way. Please don’t be disheartened or concerned if you spend some time crying your eyes out or feeling very angry, hurt, guilty or confused. What I have found is that once your whole ‘self’ realises that things are looking up it’s almost as though something inside says “Okay, I can relax now, I don’t need to bottle all these emotions up anymore” Or in other words the barriers or walls you may have built up inside yourself so you could survive the worst times during your illness are starting to crumble. It may feel awful and you may feel as though you are lost at sea but in the end it will help you heal more completely if you can express and consciously feel those emotions.

·         Pacing activity and managing fatigue levels – I really think this deserves it’s own piece as it’s a tricky thing to address concisely because pacing is a very unique and particular thing to do and fatigue can be pretty subjective. However, from my experience I would say that recovering from anything be it an operation, a bereavement, a heart attack, a chronic condition like cancer needs care, self-love, understanding and a holistic approach. This includes pacing yourself and managing fatigue as best as you can. Somebody like an Occupational Therapist is very useful at helping guide you through increasing your activity and trying to assess fatigue states.

·         Family and friends - having enough support from friends, family, the community and the medical profession is vital and it’s sometimes the only thing that keeps you upright. You may be surprised by who is there to help you. I would like to address how best to access after-care in another article as it can be a huge problem.

·         Perspective - If your period of ill-health has lasted years or decades then how can you expect to attain good health in a matter of weeks or months? Keeping some perspective and remembering how far you have come is essential in recuperating as fully as you can.

These are just some of the points that I have learned on my journey towards health. I really hope that this article has helped you either during your recovery or to understand what someone else at this stage may be experiencing. I would like to put one last thing down in a hope that just one person reading this can learn where I have tripped up many times and that is that being kind to oneself, not getting frustrated and keeping expectations to a realistic level is essential when you are trying to navigate the rocky road to recovery. To anyone recovering from a long-term condition I salute you! Well done for getting through the worst intact and here’s to the light at the end of the tunnel. To anyone still in the depths of ill health I would like to say there is hope even if you think “Pah! What do they know?” there is hope. I believe in Cicero’s maxim ‘Where there’s life there’s hope.’

How to get in touch:


Thursday, 1 May 2014

Life In Recovery - Gym Workouts and Exercise - Chronic Illness



'Exercise to stimulate, not to annihilate. The world wasn't formed in a day, and neither were we. Set small goals and build upon them.'
Lee Haney

I really hope you enjoy watching the videos and that they can help you or someone you know. I would love to hear from you if you have anything you would like to say.

How to get in touch:

YouTube - http://t.co/CGZBkZnWU2
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/Recovering_Life
Blog - http://yourlifeinrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/
Email - lifeinrecovery@mail.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Recovering.Life

Monday, 28 April 2014

Creating an Emotional First Aid Kit and Self-Soothing Tips



Tips on how to create your own Emotional First Aid Kit for when you're feeling in need of a pick-me-up.

'In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.'
Albert Camus (French Nobel Prize winner, author and philosopher)

I really hope you enjoy watching the videos and that they can help you or someone you know. I would love to hear from you if you have anything you would like to say.

How to get in touch:

YouTube - http://t.co/CGZBkZnWU2
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/Recovering_Life
Blog - http://yourlifeinrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/
Email - lifeinrecovery@mail.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Recovering.Life

Saturday, 19 April 2014

How making a Bucket List or Wish List can invigorate your recovery from chronic illness



A video on how important it can be to think about compiling a wish list or bucket list in recovery. It is a useful tool for thinking about what exciting and interesting things you may wish to do or experience when you are able to.

Hope is a very useful and powerful feeling and in creating a wish list you can feed that hope with achievable targets and a sense of belief that you will be able to fulfil your wishes. This isn't supposed to be setting down in black and white your life plan or what you want to do for the next 50 years, but a compilation of your short term desires. Whether these wishes are as small as making a cup of tea or as grand as travelling to a far off country for a holiday or experiencing a feeling like sand squished beneath your feet or rain on your face they inspire and energise the people involved.

"To a resolute mind, wishing to do is the first step toward doing. But if we do not wish to do a thing it becomes impossible."
Robert Southey (1774 - 1843)

How to get in touch:

YouTube  - http://t.co/CGZBkZnWU2
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/Recovering_Life
Blog - http://yourlifeinrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/
Email - lifeinrecovery@mail.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Recovering.Life

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Why is Life In Recovery now on YouTube - Intro Part 2



A short explanation about why I felt Life In Recovery has graduated to making film content.
I really hope you enjoy watching the videos and that they
can help you or someone you know. I would love to hear from you if you have
anything you would like to say.


How to get in touch:

Friday, 11 April 2014

Videos on recovery from chronic conditions - YouTube, the final frontier.



After much consideration and deliberation I have taken a leap into the unknown by filming and uploading a video on YouTube. This film is to introduce Life In Recovery and explain what to expect.

(There will be an explanatory video following this one as to why I felt it necessary to take this step.)

I would massively appreciate it if you could subscribe, like and do all that helpful stuff so that Life In Recovery can get moving!

I really hope you enjoy watching the videos and that they
can help you or someone you know. I would love to hear from you if you have
anything you would like to say.
How to get in touch:
YouTube - http://t.co/CGZBkZnWU2
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/Recovering_Life

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Walking for your health: Suffolk in the sun

I spent a couple of days back in the county I grew up in last week and went for a much needed and desired country walk. I enjoyed the walk so much that I thought I would write a quick post about the different benefits that can be found through walking.
I have recently made my home in the city but was raised in a little village in the countryside so I do crave green, wide-open spaces to walk in or just 'be' sometimes. The gym is all well and good for working out more intensely but nothing can live up to breathing in fresh air, cocooning yourself in nature and exploring your surroundings. I think we should all try to incorporate a bit of a walk into our daily routines. Whether it be getting off the tube/bus/train one stop early, going to get your lunch at the shop further down the road or even going for a 20 minute stroll on your lunch break. It does (most) people a whole lot of good getting the body moving and it's also great for your psyche. I have found that, although I may feel more tired after a walk, I do feel more cheery and spritely. It can be a great way to switch off as well. By changing your environment you can also help to change your mindset and by paying attention and becoming more mindful of your new surroundings your brain will be able to let go more easily of what has been absorbing it beforehand.
Views from the Stour Valley: the raging river, Constable skies, village churches and country lanes.

From the sublime (clock-wise first three photos) to the ridiculous (getting stuck in the mud in the last photo.)

Wildlife out in force. From waterfowl to farm animals to hares...

For me, going on a proper 1-2 hour walk feels like a real indulgence especially when I'm in London as it can take some planning for me to think where would be a lovely place for a walk. However I have found so much pleasure and excitement from exploring the more built up areas of London just as much as taking a walk in one of the parks this city has to offer. I would imagine that those of you who also live in cities and bigger towns may feel the same way. The hustle and bustle of people, the mixture of the new and the old, the interesting and often surprising buildings that are waiting just around the corner, the hodgepodge of working and living spaces.
There can be beauty in graffiti just as there is beauty in a spray of cherry blossom. There can be pleasure in the sound of rain on pavements just as there's pleasure in birdsong. There are the delicious smells of cooking food which are as fragrant as the tang from fresh-cut grass and banks of flowers.  There is life in the people you pass on the streets just as there is life in the fields and hedges of the countryside.
Wherever you walk, however you walk and whoever you walk with, open your eyes and minds to what is before you. Not only may it surprise you but it will encourage you to continue walking towards that which you find attractive/energising/interesting/puzzling.
Walking isn't only good for the mind and the body but it's good for the soul too!