It was timely happenstance that this post, from Pete Moore of the Pain Toolkit, popped into my twitter feed a few weeks ago – Is pain self-management a habit or a hobby?
I had been struggling with my pain levels and fatigue over the past couple of months and was beginning to realise that I had been neglecting many of the self-care measures I know help keep many of my symptoms manageable.
My “problem”, I think, is that when I feel well and my energy levels are reasonably good I act as if I don’t have a chronic illness, as if I have been cured, and fail to follow my tried and tested programme of physiotherapy, pacing and prioritising.
I had felt well and my pain levels had been reasonably low during the final few months of last year, so it had been easy to succumb to the temptation of believing that I didn’t have to do my physio exercises every day, or take my (prescribed) supplements or think about pacing.
I started to have the occasional bad day after Christmas, which soon grew into a flare of pain and fatigue, and meant that, by February, I was struggling to function well. I had landed in the classic boom bust cycle.
I’ve been back to the drawing board and revisited The Pain Toolkit so that I can get myself back on track.
My self-care routine cannot be a hobby, it needs to be a habit, like (to use Pete Moore’s analogy) cleaning my teeth. I clean my teeth twice a day, every day. Cleaning my teeth is not dependent on how well I feel, it is something that is part of my day, non-negotiable – a habit.
“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.” Orson Welles
A brisk walk in the winter sunshine was just what I needed today. A busy Christmas and a very heavy cold over New Year have knocked my energy levels significantly, so exercise has been quite low on my list of priorities over the last week or so. Today was the first day I felt motivated to get back on track, so I donned my running gear at lunchtime and marched around a steep up and down three-mile loop, accompanied by my lovely husband and dog. Lunch needed to be quick, nourishing and warm. Soup! I made this creamy, wholesome and tasty soup for two in around 15/20 minutes.
A large potato, grated
1 carrot, grated
1 stick celery, grated
1 tin butter beans OR cannellini beans in water
1 cup frozen sweetcorn
1 teaspoon Swiss Bouillon powder (optional)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon ground pepper (I used white pepper)
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt to taste
I used my food processor to grate the potato, carrot and celery – speed is of the essence when you’re hungry.
Add the grated veg, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper and bouillon to a heavy bottomed sauce pan, cover with water (I used boiling water from the kettle to speed up the process) and simmer.
Blend the beans in a food processor into a thick liquid. I used the water from the can but you can rinse the beans and use fresh water if they are canned in salted water.
Add the beans, turmeric and sweetcorn to the soup. Heat through, serve and enjoy. I sprinkled a teaspoon of vegan parmesan on top of mine.