Lemons 'n Lyme

When life gives you lemons, use them to beat Lyme


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My Favorite Detox Baths

If you aren’t subscribed to me on Youtube, you should be. I haven’t been announcing here every time I post a video and if you don’t want to miss one, head on over to my channel and click that red subscribe button!

My Youtube is filled with tips and tricks for healing Lyme, some food stuff, and a few random videos for fun on occasion :).

I posted this video a few weeks back but wanted to make sure you all saw it. Detox baths are one of my favorite ways to, well, detox, also to relax and even help kill Lyme!


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From Plant-based to Paleo

I just posted a video on my youtube channel with a full explanation on why I returned to a paleo-style diet after being plant based vegan for over 9 months. I encourage you to watch it to not only understand my side but also to help you figure out what type of diet may be best for your body and health.


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Guest Post: Advice for the Newly Diagnosed Lyme Disease Patient

I’m really excited today to be sharing a guest post by Kerry from Body, Mind, Lyme. Kerry was diagnosed with two autoimmune disease before finally figuring out the root cause- Lyme disease. Today she is sharing some tips for those recently diagnosed with Lyme and how to handle the diagnosis.

Although both of us have been dealing with health issues for quite some time and many of you reading this have also been dealing with Lyme for awhile, Kerry’s advice still applies. I know I get many newly diagnosed with Lyme reading my blog, as well, so here is some great advice for everyone! Let me know in the comments what you wish you would have known when you were first diagnosed. And don’t forget to head on over and check out Body, Mind, Lyme!

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Advice for the Newly Diagnosed Lyme Disease Patient 

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I suppose the silver lining of a chronic Lyme disease diagnosis is that you have a diagnosis. So many of our ranks suffered for years with no answers. I know the sense of relief I felt when I finally knew what was wrong.

But that is just the first step. Now you must venture into the strange maze of chronic Lyme disease treatment. Here are a few things I wish I’d know when I asked the doctor, “So, you’re sure this is it?” and she confidently and reassuringly said, “yes.”

1. You are not alone. 

It is scary to receive a diagnosis of a “rare” disease, but Lyme disease is not rare. There are 300,000 new cases recognized by the CDC each year, and some estimate a much higher number that go unrecognized or unreported. In my small circle I know 2 other people who have been diagnosed with Lyme. Once you start telling people about your diagnosis you will start hearing the stories, “my cousin has that,” “my uncle’s sister’s best friend’s niece has that.”

Aside from connecting with people who are 2nd and 3rd degrees of separation, I would strongly suggest tapping into the vast Lyme community on the internet.

The first place I looked was on Facebook and I joined a closed group for female Lyme disease patients all over the world and a regional closed group for people in Illinois (where I live) to share resources and ask questions. Then, I tapped into the blog world looking for posts from people who have had similar experiences to mine. Finally, I started my own blog to connect with other bloggers and Lyme patients with the goal of being a positive place for Lyme patients to stumble upon, like I did with so many other blogs, including Lemons ‘N Lyme.

There are countless blogs and social media feeds related to Lyme disease. I would suggest finding a few that share your attitude and approach to illness. I follow blogs and social media feeds that focus on positivity and a modified diet. Some people may want to follow blogs with a focus on research or a certain treatment protocol. The good thing is whatever you are looking for, you will find it.

I truly don’t know how Lyme patients diagnosed over 10 years ago coped with this illness without the internet.

If possible I would also recommend talking to Lyme patients face-to-face. I eventually joined a Lyme disease support group and have found it to be extremely helpful. If there isn’t a support group in your area, I would suggest having coffee with another Lyme patient who lives close by. If you live in a small area and are unable to find any other Lyme patients near you there is the option of Skype or continuing to form connections online.

The good people of the chronic Lyme disease community are a wealth of support and information. We have to be, because besides some medical professionals, we are all that we’ve got.

2. It gets worse and then it gets better (and then it gets worse, better, worse). 

Now that you and your doctor have decided on a treatment plan, it is time for the roller coaster ride of Lyme recovery. I often describe the Lyme treatment process like an upward moving roller coaster. There are rises and falls, but slowly you will be making upward progress. It just doesn’t always feel that way.

I’ve found that on my bad days I can’t remember how I felt on my good days and on my good days I can’t remember how I felt on my bad days.

You’ve likely read up on Herxheimer reactions and if you haven’t here is a good post. You could feel better for weeks, then have a huge herx reaction as the bacteria die off and leave your body.

My doctor has a good strategy for showing me that things are slowly getting better. She documented all the symptoms I brought to her on our first visit (debilitating pain, headaches, dizziness, blurry vision, etc.) and each visit she asks if I still have those symptoms. Most are better, if not gone. I still feel sick, but she helps me see the progress.

This is a strategy you could do with your doctor or on your own. Write down all your symptoms and return to the list once a month to add new symptoms and track progress on your old symptoms.

3. Your treatment will not be like anyone else’s treatment. 

Dr. Richard Horowitz calls Lyme disease Multi Systemic Infectious Disease Syndrome or MSIDS. That is because Lyme usually comes with multiple coinfections (including parasitic and viral) and attacks multiple systems in your body. So depending on which coinfections you have and which systems they are going after you are going to present differently than any other Lyme patient.

There are common symptoms across most Lyme patients, like fatigue, brain fog, and pain, but there are hundreds of other ways the disease can manifest.

Other things that will affect your treatment plan are: autoimmune responses (such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis), food intolerances (gluten, dairy, etc.), gene mutations (MTHFR), and vitamin/mineral deficiencies (anemia).

When you look at the above list it is pretty clear why no treatment plans look alike.

Usually they include antibiotics and/or antimicrobials, supplements, and lifestyle changes, but it will always be a variation.

4. There is no right treatment, there is only the right treatment for you. 

In my first suggestion I tell you to tap into the Lyme community on the internet. In this suggestion, I’m going to tell you to take it with a grain of salt.

I tend to skip over any Facebook post that contains any negativity or controversial discussion. There are people who will say never take antibiotics and there are people who say antibiotics are the only thing that worked for them.

It is very difficult to land on a treatment that you are comfortable with. When I was undiagnosed, I said no to many different medications, including antibiotics. At the time, I just wasn’t comfortable with that particular treatment. I feel like at this stage of my disease I am on the right treatment for me, so I tend to take with a grain of salt advice on what to take or not take. I’m always open to a new approach, but it has to be something I am comfortable with or it will end up doing more harm than good.

5. There is hope. 

Lyme disease is a devastating diagnosis and will surely have many days where it feels like an impossible climb.

When you are feeling like you will never get better, go online and read one or two stories of recovery.

I’m 75% better than when I began treatment and I still have moments where I break down and cry. In these moments I use advice I heard on The Oprah Winfrey Show many years ago. There was a guest who had been hit by a drunk driver and had severe, disfiguring burns covering most of her body. She told Oprah that she allows herself 5 minutes a day to cry and after that she gets up and keep going. When I break down, I let it all out, then I get back up and keep going.

It’s all we can do.

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If we can figure out how to fly above the clouds over the middle of the ocean, we can heal

 


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All Natural Home Part 1: Hygiene Care

I’ve been wanting to do a series on how to keep your life “natural” aka non-toxic. So, I’m finally going to be doing a 3-part series on the products I use in my home and on me to maintain a non-toxic (or lower-toxic) life/environment.

Part 1: Hygiene/Body care- all the basics from soap to shampoo

Part 2: Household products- how to make cleaning products at home without the toxic load and how I lower my exposure to toxins from things like tap water

Part 3: Beauty- My tips and tricks for non-toxic make up, hair spray, and more.

This series will be spread over the next few months. So let’s get started with part 1 today! Not all of the products I use are the absolute cleanest, but I have to balance cost with toxic-load. Therefore, I try and find the cleanest products I can within my budget. I also like to make a lot of my own products but sometimes that can be more of a hassle, so I want to show you what you can find in the store. I’m sharing those products with you today and I hope you find it useful if you are also on a budget. All products are $10 or under.

Body:

1. Face Lotion: I have extremely sensitive skin and for a very long time I could only use one, very toxic, face lotion without breaking out. I finally found a brand I like that is less toxic AND gluten-free! This isn’t 100% the cleanest product on the market but it’s pretty good, free of some of the worst offenders, and my skin handles it alright.

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2. Body wash: Again, sensitive skin Sally here! I needed something that would minimize break outs, keep my skin from drying out, and get me clean. I like how simple this product is and it smells amazing! My favorite flavor is the tangerine or the vanilla.

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3. Body Lotion: This product does the trick but another favorite for me is straight up coconut oil! Coconut oil can feel a little greasy until it soaks in and sometimes you don’t have the time to wait, so using a body lotion can be easier. Coconut oil can also clog pores and since my skin is very sensitive, it isn’t always the best option for me. This one is pretty clean and seems to hydrate my skin well (another problem I have- very dry skin).

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4. Deodorant: The deodorant I use is made locally here in Santa Fe so I’m not going to share that brand (but for all of my Lymie Santa Feans, it’s the one sold at my doctors office ;)). I suggest making your own unless you have an awesome apothecary near by and they make deodorant (cough FORT COLLINS I LOVE YOU cough). Pretty much all deodorants in the store are filled with nasty chemicals that you shouldn’t been putting on your skin, especially directly on top of your lymph nodes. There are a few brands out there that you can get your hands on in the big grocery stores sometimes, though, like this one

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Hair:

1. Shampoo: This isn’t my favorite shampoo but it was on sale (2 for 1!) last month so I had to take advantage of it. I’ve struggled to find a non-toxic shampoo that actually works and isn’t a thousand dollars (I have hair that is SUPER greasy on top and SUPER dry on the bottom and is on the thinner side). If you have any suggestions shoot ’em at me! But, this stuff still does the trick and I found my hair has been better since I’ve worked to not shampoo every day and installed a shower filter. The water really does make all the difference. More on that in a later post 😉

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2. Conditioner: I’m pretty nonchalant about conditioner. If it’s non-toxic, I’ll take it. Conditioner is conditioner to me. This was another 2 for 1 deal. Again, any conditioner suggestions send them my way.

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3. Coconut oil: 1-2x/week I smother the ends of my hair in coconut oil, tie it up in a bun, and chill out for 30-60 minutes before washing the oil out. This helps protect my hair, add pack in some moisture (I do live in the desert), and keep it shiny and soft. Basically it’s a non-toxic deep conditioning treatment for your hair! You can feel free to really massage it into your scalp and whole head of hair if you have dry hair or dandruff. My scalp is quite oily so I avoid that and only put the oil on my ends.

Mouth:

1. Toothpaste: There are a handful of good toothpastes on the market these days. Yes, you can very easily make your own but sometimes you just don’t want to deal with the hassle of that. Whenever I buy toothpaste, I look out for fluoride, gums, and sugars on the ingredients label. I’ve always loved Dr. Bronner’s products (so clean!) so I was quite excited when they came out with a toothpaste. I’ve tried a lot of natural toothpastes and this is by far my favorite one.

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2. Coconut oil: I use coconut oil for oil pulling, an all-natural method for keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy! I plan to do a separate post or YouTube video about it but for now you can click on that link to learn more. Have you figured out yet that coconut oil is the miracle product?! If I was stuck on a desert island I’d want a roll of duct tape and a jar of coconut oil!

I hope this gives you all some ideas if you are struggling to transition your products from toxic to non-toxic ones.

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3! What are your favorite toxin-free products for staying clean? Are you sensitive like me?


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Treatment Update: April/May 2016

It’s about that time again. Time for a treatment update. I actually don’t believe I ever did an update when my IV’s changed in January but we will discuss that in a moment. I figured this would be the perfect time for a treatment update not only because my treatment has changed, but also because May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month.

Before we get into the treatment, I’d like to quickly provide 5 “fun” facts about Lyme in honor of May being what it is.

5 facts about Lyme that you should know:

1. Less than 50% of Lyme cases present with the typical bulls eye rash

2. The standard Quest lab test (western blot and Elisa) only test for one strain of Lyme while there are 100s all over the world, 12 of which are currently known to cause Lyme (no wonder so many test negative for Lyme!) 3. Lyme is more epidemic than AIDS, west Nile, and avian flu combined

4. Annual cases of Lyme disease far exceed the number of new cases of breast cancer each year

5. You can contract Lyme disease from almost any insect that bites, from spiders to horse flys, NOT JUST ticks .

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As many of you may already know, mid December-end of March, I was completing weekly IV’s, about 3 IV’s a week. And they were seriously kicking my a**! I felt miserable and come April, I knew I needed a break.

I don’t think the IV’s were necessarily a bad thing, I think they were just doing their job REALLY well and it was a lot for my body to handle. I reached a point where I couldn’t take it anymore and I had to back off. I was completing a mix of hydrogen peroxide, vitamin C, and ALA IV’s along with Argentyn 23 (silver) and glutathione pushes. Mind you, at baby doses of them all. Man, I’m a wimp…. or at least my body is. My doctor even took the time to make fun of me on occasion ;).

Surprisingly, I felt like vitamin C was kicking my ass the most. How odd? The one IV that was supposed to be the most nourishing made me feel like I had been hit by a bus. Have any of you experienced that? Any thoughts on why vit C, of all things, would make me feel that way? I mean, not to say that h202 wasn’t also kicking my butt.

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Throughout all of that, I, of course, continued my detoxing regimen and will continue to do so until the day I die (maybe just at a lighter load in the future… well, definitely hopefully!).  So let’s move on to what I’m doing currently.

We decided to put a break on IV’s for April and May, until I seem my doctor again at the end of May. Instead, I’ve been completing:

  1. 2 ozone sauna’s a week with the goal of staying in them for 30 minutes to get as much ozone into me as possible. I’m big on the ozone right now, but due to the fact that my blood could win an Oscar for clotting skills, I can’t do ozone IV’s at the moment. I’m trying to make up for it my getting ozone into my body every other way possible.
  2. Ozone insuflation… in every hole south of my mouth (Hey, I know ya’ll like when I’m honest). Like I said, gimme all the ozone!
  3. All the usual supplements. I am not taking any tinctures or supps designed to kill or break biofilms, just your usual dietary supplements and the prescription medications I “need.”
  4. All my usual detoxing.
  5. I just began seeing a Chinese Medicine doctor who works with my main LLMD. She is going to be addressing food allergy/intolerance issues using the NAET technique. I also will be completing some more testing and muscle testing with her to determine what else may be going on or what the biggest problem is (mold? parasites? Lyme? What is the first layer of the onion that needs to be addressed to get to the other layers?). I’ll keep you posted on how those appointments go, I just saw her for the first time last week.
  6. I also have been working hard on the emotional aspect of Lyme and treatment. This includes seeing a therapist (I have a great one who also has been through the Lyme tornado) and completing a session of Family Constellation therapy, which I hope to continue in the future if finances permit.
  7. I am still doing bee venom therapy but I have dropped down to once a week.
  8. I added in Cranial-Sacral therapy once a week. Although I can’t say I’ve noticed anything from it yet, I feel something there and my therapist is fantastic. I’m excited to keep working with her.
  9. Per usual, I’m working hard to try and keep my diet in check. DANG, is that hard when you feel like crap with no energy to cook and the sugar cravings are on high.
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Ozone Sauna

So, that’s the gist of it. Still working hard to get my life back. And to be honest, the life I had when I was 7 years old. That’s the energy and happiness I want back. What a puzzle Lyme is, am I right?! I feel like we are missing one tiny thing and once I figure out exactly what that is, everything else will fall into place. Fingers crossed.

 

I wanted to share a video I made about a day in my life. I posted it on my YouTube channel and I share what a day in the life of someone with Lyme disease, who is treating holistically and alternatively, looks like:

 

How are you all feeling? What treatments are you doing? What have you found works for you? How do you keep your diet on track when you aren’t feeling well? Let me know, I love reading comments and hearing from all you wonderful people!

 


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Evening Routine: How to Prepare for Sleep

Hello, allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Victoria and I am the Queen of Insomnia.

I can stay up… all night… staring at the ceiling.

Although I take sleep medication (I know I know. Yes, I absolutely hate that I need it. Trust me, I need it), I still can manage to spend the night awake. But, over the past month I’ve not only developed a morning routine, but a night routine that helps to calm my mind and allow me to both fall asleep easier and stay asleep (hopefully I don’t curse it with this post).

It’s usually anxiety and a racing mind that prevent me from falling asleep and I’m slowly learning to calm those thoughts. The tips I provide below help with all aspects of the falling asleep process, though. Sleep is a huge issue for me, so the tips I provide aren’t lame “relax your mind, breath, think happy thoughts” tips. They are legitimate tips that have helped me and I think can, hopefully, help you, too!

Last week I shared my tips for STARTING your day and today I’ll be sharing my tips for ENDING your day.

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1. Pick a Bedtime: This is crucial. You need to pick a reasonable time for you to go to sleep. This is important because, not only is routine important (as we are learning), but picking a time allows you to determine when you need to start your wind-down process each evening and lets your body know WHEN it needs to start winding down each evening. Pick a time that not only works with your schedule but also is plausible given your life and personality. Don’t choose 9 pm if you are used to staying up until 2 am. You can get it to 9, but it won’t happen the next night. If your ultimate goal is to be asleep by 10 pm every night and you are used to being up until midnight, start by setting your goal at 11 or 11:30 pm, then slowly work back.

2. Begin Your Evening Routine 30-60 minutes Before Bedtime:  You’ve got to get your body ready for sleep. You can’t be raging to metal music one minute then expect to fall asleep the next minute. 30-60 minutes before the bedtime you’ve chosen, begin preparing your body for sleep. If your mind knows that bedtime is approaching, it will begin to calm down. You have to give it time to prepare itself and your body for sleep.

3. Lithium: Melatonin is a popular sleep supplement. But if you are anything like me, melatonin ain’t yo thang. Okay, but seriously, melatonin KEEPS ME UP! I’ve found lithium to be a much better supplement for sleep and anxiety. I take a lithium supplement about an hour before sleep to calm my brain (anywhere from 2-5 pills).

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4. Download f.lux: By now you’ve already probably heard about how bad screen light (from your computer, phone, Tv, etc) is for you at night and how it interrupts your minds ability to relax for sleep. Let’s be honest, we live in a world dominated by screens. And we all feel the need to check our email/social media/texts right up until we physically can’t keep our eyes open anymore. But that interrupts your bodies ability to not keep your eyes open anymore. I’ve go the solution: f.lux. It’s an application that adjusts the light on your screen to match evening glow and lessen the disruption of screen time on sleep time. You’re welcome, now feel free to email until the minute you pass out ;).

5. Choose Relaxing Activities: I’m not going to tell you to read a book or meditate for an hour before going to bed. But I don’t advise you do high energy or demanding (physically or mentally)  activities in that 30-60 minutes before bed. Watch a movie or favorite TV show, but I suggest choosing one that isn’t super action packed or scary (nothing that is going to raise your adrenaline levels). Reading is always a great option, as well. And if meditating is your thing, perfect! But I highly doubt your unable to sleep and reading this post if you spend an hour meditating before bed each night. Just create a routine and pick activities each evening that aid in relaxation and don’t awaken your body and mind.

6. Evening Yoga/Stretching: I know you might be thinking, why would I want to be active before bed? Won’t that disrupt sleep? Not if you pick a stretching or yoga routine that is calming and designed to help you fall asleep. This has been a life changer in my ability to sleep! I notice a difference on the nights when I don’t do my yoga routine before bed (I have a harder time falling asleep, staying asleep, am in more pain, and wake up early but exhausted). I recently posted my evening yoga routine video on YouTube and I highly recommend giving it a shot. Otherwise, I suggest you pick a couple of deep, relaxing stretches to do. Hold them and breath into them rather then moving quickly between poses. I also suggest doing your yoga/stretching close to your bedtime. I usually do this yoga routine anywhere from 1-15 minutes before sleep.

 

I truly hope these tips help you. I don’t take this topic lightly, as insomnia is a huge problem for me, so I really believe these tips can help you.

What tips do you all have for helping with sleep? I’d love to hear them!


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Morning Routine: How to Start Your Day on the Right Foot

Let’s face it, everyday is not going to be perfect. Or even okay for that matter. Some days are really going to S-U-C-K! And when you have a chronic illness, a lot of days can feel like the end of the world.

This year I’ve been working hard to create a morning routine that either 1) puts me in a good mood, 2) gets me going in the morning, 3) relieves some of the tension I woke up with, or 4) makes me feel like I did something for the day if all I can do is get up, drink some water, and crawl back into bed.

I always thought “morning routines” were pointless. Changing little habits in the morning isn’t going to suddenly turn my life around! But, it could… Wait, hear me out! I have found that creating a morning routine, and not just any morning routine, has helped me cope with my health issues a little better (at least on some days) and work to change my overall mindset. So, today I’m going to share my tips on how to start YOUR day on a better note.

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1. Breathing: It’s not as simple as you think. I don’t just mean breath. I mean take 1-5 minutes to do some specific breathing. I always thought breathing was dumb. It never did what it was “supposed” to do. Deep breathing to calm my mind? HA. Focus on my breath to ease anxiety?  You’ve got to be kidding me, my anxiety is bigger then my breath! But I’ve found that breathing TAKES PRACTICE. At the start of the year I told myself I would practice breathing every morning for the month of January whether I felt like it was helping or not. As I did it more (practiced), I learned how to focus on my breath better and found that it actually could lessen my anxiety sometimes. I’ve found breathing first thing in the morning is a way to try and ground myself before I even step out of my bed.

I have a few different breathing options for you to try. The first is just to lay or sit comfortably in your bed and take some deep breaths, trying to bring your focus to your inhales and exhales instead of having your mind wander. I mean literally, focus on your inhales and exhales by telling your mind inhale (and notice what that feels like as you inhale) and the same as you exhale.

Option two is my favorite- 4/7/8 breathing. You inhale for 4 counts, hold for 7, and exhale for 8. I really enjoy this because it forces me to focus on my breathing (I have to count the inhales and exhales). I like to do anywhere from 3-10 rounds but I suggest a minimum of 3 rounds. Start with 1 if that’s all you can mentally handle.

The third technique can be combined with either of the first 2. Place one hand on your heart and one anywhere else you feel is in pain or needs love (I usually do my heart and gut). As you breath focus on those areas and send the energy of your breath there.

Now, I have to give some credit to my therapist for introducing me to these breathing methods!

If you feel up to it, you can take this time to set an intention for your day as well as verbally embrace your bodies strength in fighting whatever health issues you may have. It’s important to take a moment out of your day to remind your body that you are proud of the work it is doing (whether you truly feel that way or not. Fake it till you make it!).

2. Stretching/Yoga: I recently posted my favorite morning stretching routine to my YouTube channel. I encourage you to go check it out and give it a try. I’ve found that stretching in the morning gets my blood and lymphatic system moving, as well as my body and mind in general. Movement is SO important even for those healing from illness (a whole post on this to come). Completing even just a couple of minutes of stretching or yoga poses in the morning can be beneficial.

If you don’t know where to start I highly encourage you to give my routine a shot, even if you just do a couple minutes of it. The whole video is posted below! (Be sure to head over to YouTube to like and subscribe 😉 [shameless plug!])

 

3. Water/Lemon Water: Do I really have to go into detail about this one? How Many times have you heard it?! Really though, lemon water is great in the morning because it helps get your digestive system flowing, to detox and alkalize your body, and to hydrate your system after 7+ hours without water. So grab a glass of room temperature or warm water and squeeze some or all of a lemon into it. Even if you just drink a glass of plain water, Drink up!

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4. Wash Your Face: I have to say, I don’t really know anyone who doesn’t wash their face in the morning, but if you don’t you better start! If you’re not a morning shower person, make sure to wash your face every AM. Not only does it get the sleepy’s out of your eyes but it cleans your skin from the debris your pillows collect (from your hair, clothes, skin, and animals, if you let them in the bed). I suggest warm water and your favorite toxin-free soup/face wash and then finishing off with a splash of cold water to really wake you up and tighten your pores after cleansing.

5. Get On With Your Day: You’ve completed the first 4 tips? Great, now do your thing! Get ready, eat breakfast, go to work, or get back in bed for Netflix and a nap. Either way, I highly suggest creating a morning routine to both mentally and physically prepare for the day, especially if you are battling a chronic health condition. Creating not just any routine, but one specifically designed to support my mind and body in handling illness has been vital in my ability to mentally manage my current situation. And guess what? You may not complete your morning routine every morning or it may not help that day, but trust me when I say, in time it will make a difference (and you won’t necessarily notice it until one day you wake up and crave your routine because it really does help). FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT, PEOPLE!

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Pepper says, “Let’s do this!”

I hope you found these tips helpful and I’d love to hear what your morning routines look like, what you do to get your day started on the right foot, or what tips you use to help manage being sick! Sending love and healing ❤