My Experience of Bell’s Palsy – 7

As I said in an early post, at the beginning I knew nothing at all about Bell’s Palsy and it was hard at the start to find useful information. I gained a lot from reading a blog about someone’s experience so that is really why I decide to blog about what it had been like for me.

What I did learn, online mainly, is that it can strike at any age and that around 0.02% of the population worldwide contract Bell’s Palsy every year. Strangely very little seems to be known about what causes it. It is thought though that it might be caused by a virus, be post viral, a result of lyme disease, stress, hypertension, heart attacks, a million and one other things, or caused by nothing at all.  It is said to be best described as an event, a trauma to the nerve and recovery depends on how bad the initial trauma is.

This trauma takes place as a result of inflammation in the CN7 nerve (seventh cranial nerve) or its nerve sheath. This nerve runs behind the ear, connects to and controls the facial muscles. When this nerve is inflamed, or compressed by the sheath it can no longer control the facial muscles, hence facial paralysis on the affected side.

The inflammation is why high dose steroids are prescribed and the connection to a virus or post virus infection is why they also give high dose antivirals. One thing I also learnt was that the sooner these are taken the more chance there is of some recovery and that within 72hrs is the optimum time. I started taking both within 24hrs.

I know how lucky I have been with this and how unusual it is to have had nearly complete recovery within a few weeks. Everything I read said that any recovery can begin to take place from two weeks to three to six months after the initial paralysis but can continue for nine months or even years. I read posts online from people who had had complete recovery, partial recovery and no recovery at all. There seems to be no pattern to the recovery nor any one thing that made a difference.

So what may have helped me?

  • That I was lucky enough to have a Dr who responded quickly, got me to hospital quickly and that I began taking medication early.
  • That I had access to so many amazing distance Reiki and Shamanic healers. I knew I had this support and was being taken care of so could just relax.
  • That I knew what to take in terms of the Australian Bush Flower Essences Waratah and Crowea to help my body to release the trauma and shock so it could begin to heal.
  • That I knew how to work with nerve damage and a singing bowl and had someone who could help me as I couldn’t reach to do it myself.
  • That I did just stop. I gave myself permission to rest, to do nothing, initially for a month, in the knowledge that I could extend this complete rest if needed.
  • That I was somehow able to stay positive, not to worry or stress about what was happening.
  • That I treated myself to bluetooth headphones so it was easier to relax listening to audiobooks without all the wires. Doing something nice for me felt good.
  •  That I treated myself to something to look forward to by way of some dumbbells and new resistance bands. While I knew I couldn’t exercise in any way, not even a short walk I also told myself there would be a time when I could and whenever this was these were there for me.
  • Having good friends nearby who, at the beginning, both dropped off cakes, scones, chocolate, soup, vouchers for a take away for my husband and myself, along with bunches of flowers and who contacted me regularly to see how I was doing and if we needed anything.
  • Having a brilliant husband who took over everything, so all I had to do was rest up.
  • Walking bare foot in the garden, grounding myself in my body also felt as if it was both doing me good and was important all the time I was unwell.
  • And finally recognising that I was unwell, that this was me being sick and that it wasn’t something I could work through or shake off was definitely a huge factor in my healing.

I can’t say to anyone who goes through this do this or do that, it works. All I can say is what I feel helped me. At the first visit to my Dr I asked him about facial massage and exercises. His answer was that he really didn’t know. If my paralysis had continued I would have looked into these and also into seeing my cranio osteopath but for me neither were necessary. I read online about someone who found reflexology very helpful which of course could be another alternative. Another thing that was recommended to me was a TENS machine for pain relief but having looked into it ‘just in case’ it appears a more beneficial machine could be a TENS/EMS machine as the EMS function helps tone muscle groups and provides massage.

There were two websites that I did find useful early on when trying to understand a little of what was happening to me. These are The Bell’s Palsy website  and Southampton Universities site both carry comprehensive information and also useful links to information.

There are no photos accompanying any of my posts about Bell’s Palsy mainly because I was never inclined to take any. There was no reason for this, no thought behind it, although having come out the other side I realise I am glad that I do not have any. I remember quite clearly how my jaw felt that first night as well as how it looked and do not need to be reminded. Some sites recommend taking nine photos each day to assess the situation, and to see any improvements and for some this might be useful but I was simply never drawn to do so. Hence there are no photos.

One thing I was completely unprepared for was that there would be a point many weeks after I was back to normal where it would all catch up with me and that there would be a period where I felt stressed and overwhelmed, both mentally and physically. Presumably despite everything I had done to support myself, this was the shock of everything that had happened catching up with me. The other thing I hadn’t anticipated was how long it would take to get my energy back, how long I would feel physically tired for. It was over three months after the initial event that I began to feel someway back to ‘normal’ energy wise. Better energy levels and being able to get back into exercising and walking of course really helped dissipate any remaining stress, as did a birthday weekend away walking, relaxing and being totally spoilt. 🙂

My Experience of Bell’s Palsy – 5

Three weeks after the event I hit a wall. Up until then I had been able to see and feel the difference in my facial muscles as they began to work again but suddenly this changed. I think mentally this was the hardest part of the whole process. It was here I began to consider that this really might be ‘as good as it gets’. Despite this ‘as good as it gets’ being really good for three weeks of healing I could feel myself becoming a quite dispirited.

By this point I had almost all movement back in my mouth. My lower jaw was back to normal but there was still weakness in my upper lip. I could smile, show teeth, eat pretty much normally but if I yawned or tried to open my mouth fully I could see and feel it wasn’t right yet. I doubt anyone else could unless I pointed it out but I knew and that was enough.

My eye could close and blink but was still getting dry and so eye drops were my best friend. I could move my eyebrow and forehead to some extent by now but the muscles above my eye lid were not fully working still. Again I doubt anyone else would have noticed this but again I knew. I also recognised that I would have to make a decision within the next three weeks about whether to keep my follow up with the eye Dr at the hospital. I had been told I didn’t need to go back if my eye was ok but how would I really know?

I kept telling myself that as I could still feel crawling and tingling in my face and so healing was still taking place but not being able to see it, only what still wasn’t right, was hard. I assumed that the reason I couldn’t see any changes was because it was the fine muscle movement that was being reactivated and that a) this was less visible, b) would take much longer or c) would not happen. Did this help? Not really if I am honest.

I made the huge decision at the three week point to stop taping my eye at night. I was worried of course about my eye opening during the night, scratching the cornea on the pillow or eye mask but knew I had to be brave enough to do it at some point and not let it become a crutch. My eye was closing easily and staying closed so the sensible part of me knew there wasn’t any risk really. I continued to use the Vitamin A cream and the eye mask to protect the bed linen but the tape went.

This week was also the week I was easing my way off the high dose steroids, one less every day and a lot of how I was feeling in terms of my mental state might have been connected with this. I now appreciated why people might benefit from counselling during the recovery period especially if this phase lasted for months or years, or if there had been little or no improvement. I discovered an online weekly meditation group and joined that via Zoom. This helped me enormously as it was mindful, gentle, gave me time out each week and something I could use any time I needed to get out of my head and give myself a break.

As I came off the steroids I found I was able to do a little more each day. I wasn’t as bone wearily tired despite only getting 5-6 hrs sleep each night. Insomnia was listed as a side effect of both the steroids and antivirals so I suppose I was lucky to be getting this much sleep really.

My Experience of Bell’s Palsy – 4

My second visit to my Dr was two weeks after the initial event. By now I had about 80% of the movement back in my mouth, could close my eye and blink all of which were huge milestones. My Dr, happy with the progress began the task of running down my steroids slowly so my body could cope with the withdrawal. This was not pleasant as every morning my body felt wired until the lower dose kicked in, but was necessary as stopping steroids can actually be dangerous.

Since around five days after the event I had been having tiny ‘sparks’ in my face, around my mouth at first and then up my cheek and below my eye. By the second week my face was aching pretty much all the time as the nerve re-connected with muscles and my face gradually adjusted. My pain threshold is high and so I was never in actual pain but my skin was crawling 24/7 as things reawakened, around my mouth, in my cheek, inside my nose, back into my ear, below my eye, above my eye lid,  on one occasion a sharp transient headache vertically down my forehead on the affected side and on another a sharp pain through the back of both sides of my jaw.

Up until sixteen days after the event I had been cutting all my food into small bites but on day sixteen I discovered I could actually bite into a small peach and a small plum without needing to cut them up.

These various milestones, along with the crawling sensations in my face which told me something was happening, really helped keep me positive through all of this. I was determined not to put myself under any pressure or stress and so each day my thoughts were ‘If this is as good as it gets I can live with it’. This allowed me to get myself out of the way of my body’s own healing process and just allow it to do what it was capable of without my mind interfering.

My Experience of Bell’s Palsy – 2

The steroids and antivirals given me by the hospital made me debilitatingly tired and I could do nothing at all, however small, without needing to sit and rest. Unable to read I dug out some headphones and listened to audiobooks. I say listened to but in reality they played away while I dozed in the chair. It is quite a weird feeling being totally wiped out and wired all at the same time but that is the effect the medication had on me.

I couldn’t drink out of a cup at all without dribbling it down me but luckily a friend had given me a keep cup with a soft travel lid and this proved perfect. Eating was a nightmare. Everything had to be cut up in tiny pieces and ideally soft. I could swallow and chew but because my jaw didn’t move properly I could neither chew nor swallow easily. Moving food around my mouth was tricky and eating anything took about four times longer than usual. My sense of taste was unimpaired, which I now understand isn’t always the case, but I had no interest in food at all. I did know though that I needed to eat to keep my strength up so somehow managed to get through anything that was put in front of me however long to took.

For the first few days my eye was very sensitive and so I fashioned an eye patch from an airline mask and wore this under my prescription sunglasses. I also found some wrap round sunglasses which I wore whenever I didn’t have my glasses on. I was mindful of any air movement and the need to protect my eye at all costs. After about three days, when I had the smallest of movement back in my eye and it became uncomfortable to wear it, the eye patch went but the glasses in some form or other remained at all times. At night I slept with my eye taped closed as advised by the eye Dr and wore another airline eye mask.

At the start of the pandemic I had set up a WhatsApp group for some of my past and present Reiki Masters so that we could support each other if needed. Little did I know at the time it would be me needing support. The day I had been rushed into hospital I had been due to work via Skype with one of my Reiki Master students and three days later had been due to meet one of my Reiki Master friends for a socially distanced coffee. Once these two knew what had happened they began sending me Reiki and a request was made via WhatsApp for the others to send.  Another friend asked to send me healing and once I gave permission began doing distance shamanic healing. I knew then that I was being well supported and could just relax.

Dozing one day I slipped gently into a shamanic journey which provided both healing in non-ordinary reality and a place I could go to rest and recover. I rested in this place every night when I went to bed, safe in the knowledge of all the support I was receiving from my guides and allies

Having worked as an energy therapist and shamanic practitioner up until the start of this  year there are more than a few things I have in my toolkit that I can still draw upon. In the kitchen cupboard I always keep two Australian Bush Flower Essences; Waratah and Crowea. Waratah is described as being for the ‘black night of the soul’ and is brilliant for depression and stress. I was not depressed but knew that I had had a huge shock. The body cannot begin to heal until the shock and trauma have left it so it was important to do something quickly to help this happen. I had also been warned to mentally prepare for the fact that 30% are left with some symptoms and 30% have no recovery.  This meant that I was aware of the need to mind my mental health and so I took a double dose of Waratah for the first few days. Crowea is a rebalancing essence and I knew the shock had thrown everything out of balance and so again I took Crowea for a few days checking in with a quick bit of dowsing to see how much, how often and for how long.

In my work over the years I have, on many occasions, used a singing bowl to help clients with nerve damage. As Bells Palsy stems from inflammation in the CN7 nerve or its sheath my husband worked around my head with the singing bowl for me, allowing it to breaking up any blockages it found and reconnecting the energy. Sometimes the singing bowl works hard and fast, at other times like this it works oh so gently. It always knows what it needs to do as long as whoever is working with it gets themselves out of its way and allows it to work.

I also used the tiniest amount of Better You Magnesium Skin body lotion twice a day around the muscles on the affected side of my face. I had no reason for doing this other than the knowledge that our muscles need magnesium to repair and so trusted it would do no harm. I have very sensitive skin and would usually avoid using anything like this on my face but needs must and my skin coped perfectly.

Prior to the onset of Bell’s Palsy I had been taking Zinc  B12. Knowing both Zinc and B12 can help with nerve damage I continued taking these.

Nothing major or immediate happened but over a week, very gradually the numbness around my mouth began to wear off and my jaw became easier. My eye became easier to close a little and although there was still a lot I couldn’t do, there was some slight progress which again helped me cope mentally with all that was happening.

My Experience of Bell’s Palsy – 1

I’ve been thinking long and hard about whether or not to post about my experience of Bell’s Palsy but having been through it and come out the other side I have decided to do so in the hope that it may help anyone else going through it themselves.  There are seven posts and I will be adding one each day now.

It all started very unexpectedly really, although looking back my eye had been sore for a couple of days and my sinuses had been niggly which was setting my teeth on edge. This was nothing new though as I get hay fever which at times sets off my sinuses, ear and teeth and so have had this all happen before. Then late evening, shortly before heading to bed, I noticed my jaw didn’t seem to be moving properly. I have a friend who dislocated her jaw once and so all I remember thinking was that I hoped I hadn’t done something similar. No pain so I went to bed.

The next morning when cleaning my teeth I realised my jaw wasn’t right and that I couldn’t open my mouth properly so spent a few minutes pulling faces in the mirror. Dressed and downstairs I realised my mouth now felt as if I’d had an injection like at the dentist and was quite numb. After this it all happened very quickly. The right side of my face then started to feel numb and I discovered I couldn’t close my eye unless I closed both of them.

My Drs, during the Covid19 pandemic, had set up a consultation form for non urgent tele or video appointments. Was this urgent? I really didn’t know. So I emailed them listing all that had happened and saying I didn’t know if it was urgent. I then sat down with my coffee and promptly dribbled it down me. This definitely wasn’t ok so I rang the surgery.

There was no hesitation, they were making a home visit and shortly afterwards my Dr and one of the practice nurses arrived in the rapid response car with blue lights going having called an ambulance while on the way.

Within minutes I had an IV line in, bloods and blood pressure taken, had pulled lots of faces showing what I could and couldn’t do and my speech had begun to slur. The prognosis was either a stroke or Bell’s Palsy but whatever it was I needed a CT scan hence the ambulance.

It turns out that being taken to hospital during the Covid19 pandemic is actually a good thing. ED was quieter than it would have normally been, no-one was waiting on trolleys and as soon as I was out the ambulance I was in a cubical and being swept up by the stroke team.

What followed were a lot more tests, a CT scan, fortunately clear, and the decision that it was Bell’s Palsy not a stoke. I saw the eye doctor, was given eye drops, a Vitamin A cream for night, tape to keep my eye closed at night, advice on how to protect it from cornea damage and a follow up appointment in case I needed it. The ED Drs gave me more tests for coherence and cognisance and five hours after I’d arrived I was discharged back to my own Dr with a heavy dose of steroids and antivirals.

At this point I knew next to nothing about Bell’s Palsy.

Practicing Self Care

Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

This year has been a bit of a shock all round what with lockdown, social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, daily figures……….I could go on but you all know how it is and the effect it has on our mental health and in some cases on our physical health. Many of the avenues we would have used to practice self care have been closed off to us and where those have now reopened, or are in the process of doing so we may not wish to take the risk, however small of accessing them.

In the past when I needed to give myself some self care it would have quite likely taken the form of getting a hands on Reiki treatment as well as booking myself in for a massage, reflexology or something similar. Earlier this year though I had a health scare which occurred during lockdown so nothing like this was available to me which was difficult at a time when I was not well enough to fall back on my own resources.

One of the things that was gentle enough for me at the time was the free weekly guided meditation sessions via Zoom with Dzochen Beara. The other form of self care I used was to reach out to friends who could do distance healing with Reiki and Shamanic healing. Once I was feeling up to it I also began to join in a weekly Reiki self healing and found the group energy helped support me there.

Listening to my body, what it would allow me to do at any time, what it needed me to do come to that, focusing inward rather than outward and really paying attention to both my physical and mental health have been a really powerful form of self care. I used to always be reminding clients and students to do this and although it is something I have always tried to do I am not sure I have ever done so to this extent.

My self care so far has included, in no particular order:

  • walking barefoot in the garden
  • stepping outside to take in the fresh air
  • opening all the windows for fresh air
  • listening to audio books when I couldn’t read
  • reading ebooks once I could read again
  • allowing myself to sleep as often during the day as I needed to
  • going for very short walks that gradually increased in length over time
  • walking on the beach
  • listening to music
  • attempting not to get caught up in the news too much
  • painting or drawing for no reason
  • simply sitting and being still and not feeling I should be doing something
  • using Reiki to support me at all times
  • beginning to move my body again through gentle exercise – Feldenkrais, Somatic Yoga at first and now light resistance work
  • giving myself permission to do whatever was needed
  • recognising when I wasn’t ok
  • letting others help me
  • not reaching out to help others when I wasn’t really ok to do so
  • putting my own health before everything else

I am sure there are other things I have been doing as well but underpinning everything has simply been listening to what I really needed and still need rather than letting my mind try and dictate to me. Self care at its most fundamental.

The Strangest of Times – Staying at Home Week 9

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I like siting in the garden and quite enjoy doing ‘big’ things like building a new bed, a path or a wall, but hate the fiddly stuff, so as a non gardener I am fascinated by the fact that this year I am lovingly nurturing lettuce. They were purchased, planted in small pots and have now been transplanted to larger ones so they have room to grow. The photo is an early one and some are now big enough for us to be taking leaves for our tea. Some lettuce plants are also in a small bed in the garden and I visit daily monitoring their growth and comparing the potted ones with the garden ones. Now it seems it’s not only lettuce I am growing. A few weeks ago I had a conversation with some friends online about growing coriander from supermarket seeds. We all took a different approach. Both of them bruised their seeds as recommended by his Indian father, one soaked hers and planted hers in a pot, the other planted his straight in the pot. I researched online and placed mine between sheets of wet kitchen towel and waited for them to sprout. After about two weeks of nothing happening I got fed up with watering mine and with nothing happening, threw them away. At the weekend I was sent pictures of both sets of coriander plants, tiny little shoots peaking above the earth. So I have now bruised seeds and have them planted out in pots. Three weeks time all being well I should have tiny shoots appearing. If I am still writing this blog by then I will let you know.

This week I actually managed to do a live online yoga class. Really gentle yoga that worked on the psoas muscle. I have had an ongoing abdominal injury for well over a year now. The ‘it settles, I do something and it goes again’ kind of injury. Nothing serious but annoying enough to stop me doing lots of things such as a lot of exercises in the gym and also now Zumba which I am really sad about. Anyway, the psoas muscle connects to the abdominal muscles and by the end of the session of slow stretching, the right side of my body which is where the injury is, had felt tight at the start had loosened a little. So far so good 🙂 I woke up the next day and was aware my ribs were sore, by the end of the day I could hardly move. I couldn’t get out of the chair, cough or laugh without it hurting. Not an injury but muscles that hadn’t been used for the last months being woken up. So much for slow gentle yoga! I am doing it again as soon as this settles enough for me to move 😉

We are now a few days into Phase 1 of easing the lockdown. Online there were pictures of queues at DIY shops and MacDonald’s which opened 6 of its drive throughs in Dublin. For me though the only difference it made was that the small garage in my village opened and I was able to get my car serviced and so keep the warrantee valid 🙂

I tried to do Yoga Nidra this week, something I usually love but found it hard to settle in to. I am used to doing it at the end of a yoga session and not as a stand alone so this may have been part of it, maybe it wasn’t right for me today, or maybe I am just too scattered to relax in to it at the moment. I’m going to let it go for now and come back to it another time, see how I feel then. Like everything at the moment it seems best to simply acknowledge it, let it go and move on.

On a positive note I have managed to read not one but two books recently which is a huge improvement on how I was a few weeks ago. My concentration seems to be improving as far as reading is concerned at least.

I am still working with Air which is the energy that connects to the mind and so governs the intellect, reasoning, memory, thoughts, knowledge and comprehension. It is interesting that I have now begun working with yoga which focuses a lot on the use of the breath, the inhalation, the exhalation and the sigh, the cleansing breath to release as the body is allowed to settle.

I’m not sure how long my Air phase will last but I am certainly less ‘scratchy’ than I was last week, a little calmer and feeling a bit more like myself.

 

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 4

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I keep coming across the idea that having a routine is important when we’re stuck, safe at home. I was talking to a friend online the other day about this and she was saying how important having a routine is to her. This got me thinking about my own routine or rather lack of it, for about the only routine I have now is to sit and enjoy a coffee first thing in the morning followed by checking in to see how I feel and what, if anything, I need to be doing that will help with this. Feelings and emotions seem far more important to me at the moment than imposing a routine upon myself or those around me.

Maybe the need for routine depends on what we were doing before all of this and as I am self employed I was already working from home so probably already had a more flexible routine than others. I also balk at the idea of knowing what I am doing too far in advance after years of having had a full diary. I still enjoy the spontaneity of not having anything planned and even though I have no-where I can go I still enjoy the sense of having a ‘free’ day…….. every day 🙂

This enforced lockdown has really emphasised to me how lucky I am, for as a therapist I have all kinds of resources I can call upon to help shift any emotions quickly as soon as they arise. As well as this I have Reiki which I can use to support me at all times. I am very aware that by working on myself I improve the energy in the space around me i..e in my home, and so improve the health and wellbeing of those I live with too.

I also have Reiki friends who support each other and with them I am part of a WhatsApp group that joins with other groups around the works to send healing to the Earth and to each other at 8pm every day. It feels as if the longer this goes on the more important support networks of every kind are becoming.

I have been doing some distance work with a friend this week and so have been using my workspace to work rather than as a gym, which is a bit of a novelty at the moment. While I was out there I found myself drawn to a set of cards. Now I don’t work with cards very often but my favourite ones are the “Osho Zen Tarot’ which are not tarot in the strictest sense but are more to do with self awareness and self development. Drawing a card from this pack I got the card No-thingness. I drew it for myself but the summary of the card feels very fitting to share here as it is all about being in a space where there is nothing, no plans, no sense of direction and no idea what may lie ahead. A void if you will and like all voids it is full of potential, full of infinite possibility. It was a good reminder to me to just relax into this space,  to treasure each experience here, and to be aware that amazing things may come out of this time and space. In other words to make the most of it.

This week we ventured out in the car for an essential visit to the pharmacy 11 km away and a slightly less essential visit to the garden centre. We are lucky as the garden centres and hardware shops have been allowed to re-open since the Easter weekend, as long as they adhere to social distancing etc. The visit wasn’t strictly essential but was as far as our patio tubs are concerned and we came home with bedding plants, potting compost and some lettuce and rocket plants.  Enough to give us something beautiful to look at over the summer and something to supplement our online shopping, as long as we can keep the rabbits from eating them that is.

It’s felt a longer and to some extent more difficult week than other weeks have been. I had a couple of days where I felt really rushed and pressured. This was how it felt from my perspective anyway which was a crazy way to be feeling as there is nothing to be rushing for nowadays in any way. The feeling passed and I have had one whole day where I have done pretty much nothing at all, almost as if I needed to make it up to myself.

The weather isn’t helping at the moment either as the last couple of days have been been much cooler, darker and rainier.  With the sea mist rolling in, visibility is down to very little and so it feels as if everything is closing in, not back to winter but towards it anyway. We are even back to lighting the fire in the evenings which in itself is a little depressing. I know though that as soon as the sun shines and we can see the sky this will all change again.

I try to only read the news in the morning for a quick catch up and then check in the evening to get the latest Covid19 figures for Ireland. It is though getting increasingly hard to stay optimistic and positive through all of this when hearing that the lockdown is likely to continue for a long time (today I read the UK are suggesting a year) for those with underlying conditions and/or over 70. At the same time we are also being told that there doesn’t seem to be very little if any immunity for those contracting Covid19 and that the chances of finding an effective vaccine are low. I am really getting to the point where I need a little light at the end of the tunnel now and suspect I am not alone in this. If this is my life for the foreseeable future I don’t like it one bit.

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 2

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Monday 30th About eighteen months ago I stopped using shampoo completely and decided to wash my hair with water only, the benefits of this I am now realising are huge. I wash my hair far less, once a week, as opposed to the once every two days it needed previously, so save on water, I don’t need to be concerned about running out of shampoo or conditioner and more importantly, as it grew happily and healthily I just let it do its own thing. It is now someway down my back and while everyone else is worrying about the hairdressers being closed I am absolutely ok. I also decided years ago, when the first grey started to appear, never to bother to dye my hair, another unexpected bonus as it turns out now. My natural hair colour is my natural hair colour. Forward planning it now seems 🙂

I feel very tired today. I could be the hay fever or whatever it is or may be because I’ve unusually been a little stressed.  For the second time in the last few days I have discovered my mobile phone operators have taken money for mobile data that I haven’t used. Reduced staff mean it is harder to get hold of anyone and of course all their stores are closed, even if I was foolish enough to go out. I don’t usually get stressed by things like this but this time have been. Maybe it is the small things that usually would roll over me that are going to seem bigger than they really are. I must be mindful of this.

Tuesday 31st Neither of us felt like walking today  so we didn’t. One thing I am really learning now, is to go with how I am feeling at any given moment. No judgement, no pushing through anything, but just accepting it and allowing it.

Today we did an egg run to collect eggs from a nearby farm. It felt quite illicit as we took the car and we both went. It’s way easier to carry a tray of eggs when you can hold them and not have to mind them on the passenger seat while you drive, plus I only had to sanitise my hands when I got back in the car and not everything I’d touched in the car.

I am discovering loads about online food shopping now, such as the fact that, just like in physical shopping, the minute you get through the checkout you realise you have forgotten to buy something.

Wednesday 1st April A whole new month, it will be interesting to see what new things, what new insights this one brings.

More learning about online shopping – if you ask for spelt bread and they don’t have any they just don’t put anything in instead. Good job I make my own bread with oats and yoghurt. I am now hoping I have enough yoghurt to see us through another week as there is no nipping back to the shop just now.

Thursday 2nd For the whole of last week I did no art whatsoever, I just wasn’t in the right mood somehow. I was fine most days, just didn’t want to do art. Today something has changed and I spent a few hours working on the next Christmas’ Calendar painting for Bandon Art Group’s calendar.

Friday 3rd I’m wondering if anyone has, like me, opened their wardrobe and realised that a large percentage of the clothes in it will not get worn for the foreseeable future. I have winter jumpers that, if I was going out more would be worn, but I don’t need them indoors. I have ‘going out’ clothes that I wont be wearing as I am not ‘going out’ and I have travel clothes, quick dry ones I usually wear on the holiday I am no longer going on. First world problems here. I have way too many clothes I realise and so perhaps the thing to do is re-home a lot of them once this is over. I may though need to buy a new track suit for it is about the only thing on my body these days. I could I suppose always ‘dress up’ at home as I have seen others online doing but that really isn’t me somehow. Or it isn’t at the moment anyway.

Saturday 4th I was listening to someone on the radio talking about washing their hands mindfully and using those 20+ seconds to really be in the moment. I already sing ‘Baby Shark’ in my head while I am washing them but this does seem like it might be a big improvement so will try this the 100 or so times I wash my hands today.

I have also been realising just how important it is to laugh. My art group has a WhatsApp group and am discovering that we seldom talk about art, which may be true of us as a group now I stop to think about it,  but are sharing clips, gifs, jokes etc to make everyone laugh, to keep everyone’s spirits up. Social distancing at it’s most useful and I am grateful to be part of it.

Sunday 5th Gratitude is something that I frequently have to remind myself to be. I am grateful, but stopping and recognising it has never come naturally for some reason.

It is one of the five Reiki Principles:

Today only

  • Don’t be angry
  • Don’t worry
  • Be grateful
  • Work hard
  • Be kind to other people

and it is the one I always struggle with. The others frequently act as a reminder to me, pull me up sometimes but ‘be grateful’ somehow gets overlooked.

This week though, I have been realising how lucky I am and therefore how grateful I am for many things:

  • my home
  • the fact I have space
  • my garden
  • my stone circle (you can see this in the photo at the top of the page)
  • that I am not home alone but can be alone if I chose to be
  • that I am safe
  • that I live in a rural area and can easily go for a walk
  • that I am relatively fit and healthy
  • that I have broadband
  • WhatsApp and Facebook messenger
  • Friends who I now talk to online
  • my art
  • the gift of Reiki
  • Shamanic journeying which can take me anywhere

 

 

 

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 1

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 1

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This is not a diary since the start of the strangest of times but begins where my last blog left off. I have decided a general summing up each day is probably the best way to go….for now anyway. Maybe some of what I do can help others, who knows, for these days are all unknown.

Monday 23rd.  I am counting the days since I last had coffee with a friend. My friend was tested yesterday and is waiting for the results. I have read incubation is 2-14 days. Today is day 13. I have everything crossed. I get allergy asthma and have had a slight purr for a few days now so over the last days I have been watching every cough, wheeze, sneeze and washing my hands over and over again.

On the way to get our new rotary drier today we got diverted due to roadworks and ended up going a long way out of our way. During the detour we realised that a) we had no idea where we were b) we could easily have ignored the detour and gone a different way, a way we  knew and c) none of it actually mattered in any way as we had absolutely nothing else we needed to be doing at all.

Our holiday, as I said in my last blog was cancelled completely yesterday. Conversation has ranged from will we ever be able to go somewhere again, to if we had postponed it until next year we have no idea how our health will be (we are not getting any younger and are in the at risk age group after all) to, will we even be around when this is all over. We are allowed some doom and gloom sometimes although for some reason I really believe we will both be ok.

Tuesday 24th Today I wrote a catch up blog starting with when we first became impacted by the virus. This is something I had been thinking about doing and of course I do have the time now so no excuses.

Found myself coughing a lot this morning but then realised I had forgotten to use my inhaler. All good once I had. Had a good laugh to myself about it, panic over.

Gym: My real gym is still open having created timed slots, enough individual spaces for a small number of people to workout with small weights etc, time in between for disinfecting each workspace and any equipment used. They are doing their best but it is too much of a risk so I have set up a ‘gym’ in what was my treatment/teaching space, outside in my log cabin.

It is nothing special, simply foam roller, yoga mats, resistance bands and a pilates ball, all things I had at home anyway. I now think I should have picked up some light weights in Aldi a few weeks ago but I didn’t so I’ll manage. What this space gives me though, apart from chance to move, is some routine. I plan to go to it on days I would have gone to my real gym if I am not walking due to the weather plus maybe an extra day because at the moment there is no Zumba.  I have downloaded some Spotify gym playlists to my phone, and so I have music.

Today was my first real workout, just a warm up, resistance bands, squats, lunges and stretching cool down but I really enjoyed it. Could feel my body buzzing afterwards. We were so made to move.

Coming back into the house I saw a bee, yesterday when we went out we saw a butterfly and last evening there was the amazing sunset. It’s brilliant how nature can brighten up things for us isn’t it. Of course now we’ve slowed down maybe we will have more time to look and realise what is around us.

Wednesday 25th Today’s excitement has been getting our first online shop delivered. It arrived within the time slot booked, a couple of things substituted and a few things missing, mainly a few items of fruit and veg. I forget that so much of what we eat comes from elsewhere. Garlic from Spain, and Ginger from China I think, are nowhere to be seen. We were though missing blueberries, mange tout, and plums. I’ve no idea where these come from, perhaps I should know. Fish is also missing and is likely to be throughout as the fishing boats are no longer going to sea. This is a shame as fish is so good for us. I’m sure we’ll manage though as long as we can get other healthy forms of protein. It can’t be forever after all.

Thursday 26th Gym day again and new ways to use the resistance bands. So pleased I kept the insert in the box which has loads of instructions on. Great to have new things to try.

The sun was shining so we went for a walk on the beach. Lots of cars but not too many people, family groups all keeping to themselves, the odd picnic and some elderly friends who had travelled separately, brought chairs with them, set them up apart from each other by their cars and were having a good catch up. Everyone was being sensible and as the tide was way out we got a lovely long walk, lots of sea air and some sunshine. Simple things these days 🙂 The picture at the start is the beach. I can’t take you there but I can share this with you.

Friday 27th I have had an itchy, dry,  uncomfortable throat for a few days now and don’t feel 100%. I know it is most likely hay fever or allergy asthma so I am taking antihistamine and using my inhalers carefully. Easy to fear the worst. I looked up hay fever symptoms and early virus symptoms and guess what – they are the same! Oh well.  I’m fine 🙂 Best not to look things up, I really should know better.

There is so much being offered freely online, art lessons, dance, gym workouts, music, maths, languages that it’s beginning to be a little overwhelming. People are very kind sharing everything online, in WhatsApp groups etc etc but I think it’s time to start filtering things out and ignoring everything that doesn’t seem important or useful.

Beautiful weather again so we went for a walk from the house. I think this is something we will do every day it’s dry, along with opening all the windows, as fresh air suddenly seems vital.

4pm tonight was a live briefing and we now have more restrictions. A lockdown in all but name. Life is closing down even more but what we are being asked to do is pretty much what I have been doing anyway, so for me nothing much will change at this point, unless I have missed something.  For others though this brings yet more change.

Actually we have just found out all golf courses are closed now which means the 15 hrs or so a week I had to my self have just vanished. Luckily we have space in our home and we have the garden, it does seem important that we both make sure we have time to ourselves over the coming weeks so I guess there is change after all.

Tonight we stood in our back garden and watched the ISS fly over us followed by the starlinks. The sky was clear and we watched the stars slowly appear above us. Best of all was the bats that were flying around the garden. This is the first time we have seen them for ages. Have they been here all the time and we have just not noticed? What else have we missed through being too busy to stand still and look?

My husband just happened to look out of the window around 9.30pm and saw this,

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a red crescent moon. Someone said to me, when they saw the photo on Facebook, that our ancestors would have seen this as an bad omen, today though it feels like nature is showing us how amazing the world is despite everything that is going on.

Saturday 28th I feel really out of sorts today for some reason. Not sure what it is but recognise there are bound to be days like this. For now it’s best to sit with it, acknowledge it and try not to get caught up in it all. Eat well, exercise, sleep well and let it pass.

Sunday 29th My Zumba teacher has managed to work out Zoom and to test it out we had an impromptu dance around complete with all the laughter that goes with Zumba this morning which was just what I needed. Dancing bare foot on carpet, dressed in warm clothes is not the usual way I do Zumba but really who cares.

Looking back on this blog earlier this morning I found it hard to believe that it was only Friday that the deeper restrictions came in. Isn’t it amazing how quickly we adapt to new situations when we have no real choice and when instead of resisting them we allow ourselves to go with the flow and make the best of them.