Lupus and the Benefits of Journaling

I’m excited to announce that my most recent New Life Outlook article is now online! As a journaling junkie of 23 years, I jumped at the opportunity to explore the benefits of journal writing for people with lupus.

How do you purge your lupus lamentations? Are you a journaling junkie like me? Click below to read my full article on the healing potential of journaling:

I hope you enjoy the article! I’ll be writing about managing/ combating morning stiffness in my next NLO contribution.

As a teaser for my next post, I’ll share that the 14 year span of being on Constant P (plaquenil) without any noticeable side effects has recently come to a surprising end. Nothing serious, but definitely worth sharing! My Constant P revelations are coming soon!

Happy weekend, everyone. I hope it’s filled with long naps, delicious treats, and the space and time to fill a journal page… or two!

Goodbye, 2015!

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While writing my latest article for New Life Outlook on the benefits of journaling, I realized that when I reflect, I prefer the least amount of structure, and most often, I don’t journal at all. It’s just me, my cup of tea, and my random, scattered thoughts. So, I thought I would change it up and mark the end of 2015 with some structured contemplation. Yes, that’s right, the year-end questionnaire! After browsing a few sites, I decided to combine some of HubPages’ Year End Review health questions with their general review questions. Why? Because life isn’t just about managing lupus!

  1. What was your favorite exercise this year? Taking long walks in the park/forest (but not during peak sun hours, of course!)
  2. What medications are you currently taking? Plaquenil
  3. How did you manage your stress this year? Ginger tea, treats, a blanket, and a Netflix or reading binge
  4. What was your biggest health achievement this year? Discovering on December 23rd that due to my stable health, my next rheumatology appointment will be in ONE YEAR. It’s the longest I’ve gone between appointments!
  5. What do you wish you would have done differently in regards to your health this year? I wish I would have defeated my inner night owl more often, exercised more consistently, and said no to all that Halloween chocolate that led to two months of eating and feeling terrible.
  6. What did you do this year that you have never done before? I did a theatre performance in a moving elevator!
  7. What one word best sums up and describes your experience last year? Surrender
  8. What was the biggest risk you took? Quitting my job of over ten years.
  9. What are you most grateful for this past year? The fact that my lupus continues to be stable, the support and love of my family and friends, time with my nephews, the opportunities I’ve had to do what I love, and the freedoms I have living in Canada.
  10. What do you wish you had done more of? Writing
  11. What do you wish you had done less of? Procrastinating on the internet
  12. Knowing what you know now, if you could write a letter to yourself that would travel back in time so that you would receive exactly one year ago, what advice would you give yourself? Stop doing too many things at once! Don’t procrastinate. Be confident – you are on the right path. Don’t be afraid to let go.

What were you asking yourself as the year came to an end? Share your answer to your favourite question from the list above. I’d love to hear how you’ve been feeling about your triumphs and challenges from the last 365 days!

A quick update regarding the Make Great Light draw from last post. Unfortunately, there were no entries, which I assume is because you have the same problem as me and don’t have the right type of lighting to try out the filters! Regardless, I want to send out a big thank you to Make Great Light for generously offering a free filter and for offering a discount to people with UV-sensitive lupus.

Also, a head’s up that the New Life Outlook article I mentioned will be online in mid-January. As a huge journaling geek, I had a lot of fun writing this one. I can’t wait to share it with you!

There are also a few more additions to Face Forward’s Links page for you to check out. Are you writing about your lupus journey? Remember, getting your name added to the list is as simple as commenting on this post or emailing me at elena@lupusfacefoward.com!

Happy Day 1 of 2016, my friends. Wishing you all good health and happiness!

Indoor UV Effects (& Light Filter Giveaway!)

When I was working long hours in an office, I would squint suspiciously at the harsh fluorescent lighting above me. According to Molly’s Fund, 40-70% of those with lupus will notice an increase in lupus symptoms or the severity of symptoms after exposure to UV (ultraviolet) rays. This can come from both natural and artificial lighting – like fluorescent bulbs.

These days, I work out of my home, so when Make Great Light offered me an opportunity to try their fluorescent light filters, I didn’t have the right kind of lighting to test it out. Fortunately, thanks to the generosity of Make Great Light, I’m able to offer a special giveaway for one lucky reader to try it for themselves!

Make Great Light‘s fluorescent light filters convert harsh fluorescent light to full spectrum lighting, filter out UV, and eliminate glare. Here is a fun, short video that explains how they work:

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Make Great Light’s Tube Filters

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Make Great Light’s Overlay Panels

So, how does the giveaway work, you ask? Simply comment by clicking the speech bubble at the top of the post and tell me how fluorescent light affects you and where you would use your fluorescent filter if you won it. The winner will be drawn on December 9th, so you have one week to get your comment in. And if you don’t win the draw, Make Great Light happens to be a big supporter of their local lupus foundation chapter and offers a 20%  discount to anyone with lupus!

The giveaway starts now, so get your comments in for an awesome chance to try Make Great Light‘s fluorescent filters for free!

Set Your Lock Screen with Purpose!

How many times do you check your phone? According to an article posted by the Daily Mail, a New York-based screen lock app discovered that an average user checks their phone 110 times a day! This particular app (Locket) pays users in return for showing advertisements on their lock screens, but what if we used our lock screens to invest in our state of mind instead? What if we advertised well-being and positive thinking to ourselves 110 times a day?

I definitely don’t check my phone that often, but enough for me to feel that my lock screen can be a source of motivation, focus, and on particularly dark days, courage and comfort. If a quote really resonates with me, it has the power to redirect my thinking almost instantaneously. I’ve found great lock screen images and quotes on Pinterest and I’ve also created my own quote images on Canva (FF’s Healing Quote of the Moment graphic on the side bar is one example). This is what my lock screen looks like today:

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Changing your lock screen is a small thing you can do to inject some positive thinking into your day. I know that getting on the “positivity train” can cause a lot of eyeball rolling, especially if you are feeling hopeless, sick, and in pain. Believe me, I hear you and I’ve been there. It doesn’t work for everyone, but for me, it’s an exercise in self-awareness. Through the simple act of changing your lock screen image, you’ve assessed and acknowledged where you are at, and you’ve thought about what you need that day to move forward. It doesn’t solve any problem directly, but at least you’re taking a step to address how you feel about it. Small victories, right?

That being said, I propose a lock screen challenge: Set your lock screen with purpose for one day. Do you need inspiration? Focus? Courage? Joy? Carry that positive mojo with you and let me know how it goes. I would love to know what your fav picks would be for top notch lock screen motivation! Since my American readers are celebrating Thanksgiving today, I’ll share my favourite gratitude lock screen image courtesy of simplereminders.com. They have a killer instagram account, posting tons of thought provoking quotes several times a day. I’ve used several of their photos on my lock screen – this one reminds me to change my perspective when negative thoughts start hijacking my mind:

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And while we are on the topic of gratitude, I’d like to thank Lupus Chick for featuring my story as part of their Spotlight Series. Lupus Chick is a fun, stylin’ support site that is full of great resources – they even offer a college scholarship! Check out my Lupus Chick Spotlight Series interview here.

Oh, and I’m not sure if you can feel it, but I’m sending you healing vibes for a healthy and amazing week ahead! Here in Canada, we’ve already celebrated Thanksgiving, but I want to wish a very happy Thanksgiving holiday to all of you in the U.S.A. Till next post, my friends!