Take control of your social media habits.

The social side of social media can be very important when you have a chronic illness and are home much of the time. It is a helpful way to feel more connected to the outside world and to other people.

A downside is when social media makes you feel more alone. This can happen when you keep seeing the best bits of a lot of people’s lives all at once.  Social media quickly reminds you of the things you wish you could be doing and how different your life is because you have a chronic illness.  Of course you know it is a highlights reel, with a few complaints, and poor me comments thrown in- often quite mild issues compared to what you are coping with.

Here are some steps you can take to build good habits around how you use social media so you are in more control of what you see.  Pick one or two to try that you think might suit your needs.

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All about Australian Streaming Services for TV/Movies/Sport/Documentaries

With broadband internet today there are endless options to watch things online.  You may spend hours on YouTube, or already have Netflix but keep reading and you might find something you have missed or details that convince you to sign up to one of these options.  Most services have their own apps and special offers when you first sign up.  Below is an overview of Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Foxtel Now, Stan, BigPond Movies, and Google Play.

Amazon Prime Video

Right now, if you sign up for a Prime Video monthly subscription  you will receive a limited time introductory price of 2.99 per month for the first six months of the membership. The Prime Video membership automatically renews at 5.99 per month starting in the seventh month of the Prime Video subscription. (If you want to sign up, please go via this link and sign up within 24 hours of clicking and help me earn a small commission.)

You can turn off Auto-Renew from your Account & Settings to stop the recurring charge for your plan, and end your membership or free trial.
To turn off Auto-Renew on the Prime Video website:
1. Go to Account & Settings.
2. Look for the Your Membership section.
3. Select End Membership and confirm.
Once you turn off Auto-Renew, the renewal date for your membership becomes the end date. You can continue to access Prime Video up until this date.

What is available on Amazon Prime?
Documentary Movies
Anime TV & Movies
Bollywood Movies

Amazon Original Series such as American Gods (except USA), Fleabag (except UK), The Grand Tour (Top Gear 2.0), Transparent, Mozart in The Jungle, I love Dick (Kevin Bacon), Bosch (LA Detective series), The Man in the High Castle (American dystopian alternative history based on the novel by Philip K. Dick)

Netflix Australia

All plans offer unlimited TV shows and movies, on as many devices as you want. This means you can sign into your account on any device, for example your smartphone, iPad, computer, smart TV, friends TV when you are at their house.
1 screen: $9.99/month
Watch on 1 screen at a time in Standard Definition. Download videos on 1 phone or tablet.
2 screens: $11.99/month
Watch on 2 screens at a time. HD available. Download videos on 2 phones or tablets.
4 screens: $17.99/month
Watch on 4 screens at a time. HD and Ultra HD available. Download videos on 4 phones or tablets.

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Audible audiobook tips, plus get any 2 audiobooks free.

Audiobooks can be a game changer when you are chronically ill.  You can find yourself with endless hours to fill where you feel too unwell to do much apart from lie in bed or on the couch.  Much of this time might be spent on your own and I’m sure at least some of that time you need distraction.  The TV and internet are good distractions some of the time.  Other times just being able to listen can be exactly what you need.

Having an Audible membership means every month you get to choose a new audiobook title to add to your collection (which you get to keep forever, even if you cancel your membership).  This means you will always have access to something new to listen to.

You can choose if you have an Australian or US membership (or whichever Audible store your country offers).  The price is fairly similar between countries but the selection of books can vary a little so it is a good idea to do some searching of titles you want and make sure the site you choose has what you want. Some titles are not available in some regions of the world.

Audible Membership is about $15 charged monthly and allows you choose one book a month and reduces all the other audiobook prices by 30%.  If you want to get more than one book that month consider not using a credit for books that cost less than the monthly amount and buy that title upfront.  Then use your credits for the most expensive title. *Note links are affiliate.

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Tips to make your first Yoga class with a chronic illness a good experience.

Is one of your New Years resolutions to be more active despite your chronic illness, or to help manage or reduce your symptoms?  Yoga is one of the most suitable exercises for most chronic illnesses.  Following is my article with tips for starting yoga classes when you have a chronic illness.

Do you long to go jogging/to the gym/play netball/go hiking etc. but find these activities aren’t realistic for you at the moment?  We still need to find ways to move our bodies with a chronic illness and yoga is a gentle way to do this.  If you have the capacity to attend a yoga class I hope the following information will help you feel more ready to try.  Your mind and body benefit in endless ways from getting the blood flowing, the muscles and joints moving, and tuning into your breath.

Like with a lot of new things, the hardest part about starting yoga can be walking into a class for the very first time (or the first time since you’ve been ill).  When you have a chronic illness you may not be sure how your body will respond, or quite what your capacity for exercise is.  Your body may function differently to how it used to, your muscles may be stiff and tight and you may fatigue more quickly.

Part of the philosophy of yoga is to do what is right for your body at the time.  A good teacher will offer modifications for those with particular needs such as if they don’t have the flexibility or strength to do the next pose correctly.  Modifications are also offered to pregnant women as well as those with back problems.  While modifications aren’t typically voiced for those with chronic illness and symptoms like low energy and general aches and pains there is room to work within your boundaries.

It can be a good idea to meet the teacher before your first class in person, or you could email or phone  them.  If you want, you could print out some information for them about how your chronic illness might affect what you can do in class.  At least make some notes so you have decided how you might answer any questions.  You will most likely be asked in any class you try if you have done yoga before and if you have any injuries or things they should know about.  Continue reading here

Listened to Serial Season 1 & 2. Which podcast with a cult following to try next?

Podcasts help fill a lot of hours for me when I am stuck in bed resting or recovering.  I heard about Serial when it was first released with episode one  on This American Life.  I loved hearing people talk about it as it started growing in popularity and then developing a cult following.  The following podcasts have been big in 2017 with fans of Serial (including me!).

S-townJohn despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, sparking a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.” https://stownpodcast.org/

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How to fit enjoyable activities into your day when you have a chronic illness

There are 168 hours each and every week. When you are chronically ill this can alternate between seeming like forever and not nearly enough time. When you aren’t well tasks can take longer to get done, especially when much of the time you may be stuck in bed or on the couch biding your time till there is a window of lesser symptoms. It can be easier to make time to get non-negotiable tasks done or tasks for someone else buy much harder to devote time to less urgent personal things.  Life with a chronic illness is so much better when you can include activities you enjoy so life is more than the “tasks of daily living”, TV, and the internet.

I came up with the idea of “Quarter to Me” which involves finding small windows in our 168 hour week to prioritise doing some enjoyable activities.  The simple act of using quarter hour blocks for doing something meaningful to you allows you to spend time doing activities that otherwise wouldn’t happen.

The following steps will help guide you through incorporating “Quarter to Me” into your life. Continue reading

9 Tips to create a chronic illness friendly movie night at home

Do you miss going to the cinema?  It can be really frustrating when you have symptoms like fatigue and pain and don’t handle all the sensory stimulation of the movie theatre.  Going out to the cinema can be a long and tiring outing.  There is the car ride, the walk to the cinema, the ques for the tickets and candy bar, and lots of ads and trailers.  It is also expensive and when you are chronically ill you might be watching your spending.  You also have to deal with the weather when you leave your house, extreme heat or cold some days.

Instead of feeling disheartened that you can’t get to the cinema try re-creating the experience at home.  Enjoy the process of planning and organising, make it something to look forward to. Continue reading