3 Books That Will Change How You View Chronic Illness

When I began feeling sick, I was totally overwhelmed. I tried Googling all my symptoms and came up with nothing. I didn’t know what was wrong, and I didn’t know who to ask.

Receiving a diagnosis can be extremely valuable, as it’s helpful to be able to put a name to what you’re experiencing and to know how serious it is. Once you can name your illness, you can find other people who are going through the same thing and find a supportive community who understands what you’re going through.

However, there are resources that can help even if you don’t have a proper diagnosis. I’ve found books, podcasts, and practices that continue to guide me on my journey of self healing. It is possible to be optimistic about returning to health, whether or not you know exactly what’s “wrong”. Below, I’ll summarize the three books that have supported me most so far.

1. The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein
This book just makes me feel good. The entire time I read it I felt like there was a hand on my back, guiding me towards the life I want. Gabby teaches you how to ask the Universe for guidance and shows you that you’re never alone. The book is chock full of exercises to help you trust the timing of your life.

2. Becoming Supernatural by Dr. Joe Dispenza
Simply put, this book blew my mind. Dr. Dispenza shares tons and tons of scientific evidence that we can heal ourselves with just the power of our minds. I’ve always believed in the idea that what you focus on, you create, but here Dr. Dispenza is showing us that this is proven, not just a woo-woo concept. Through meditation, you will learn to change your brain waves and therefore your physical reality. This book is so empowering.

3. Mind Over Medicine by Dr. Lissa Rankin
This book might be considered a lighter version of Becoming Supernatural. Dr. Rankin tells stories of spontaneous remissions to give you hope. She explains that in order to heal, we need to train our bodies away from the stress response and into the relaxation response. Near the end, she helps you plan out your own healing by diagnosing which parts of your life are out of balance.

I truly hope these books empower you to take your healing into your own hands, even if your doctors are at a loss. The bottom line is you’re more powerful than you know, and healing is possible if you’re willing to do the work.

Sending you love on your journey,
Molly

3 Things to Do When You’re Super Bummed About Your Chronic Illness

I’m all about positive thinking. Our minds are extremely powerful, and I believe that we can use our brains to help us heal and live happy lives. That being said, sometimes there are days when you can’t stop thinking about your illness. Days where you feel hopeless, stuck in a negative spiral. If you have one of those days, the good news is you’re totally normal! Unfortunately, you probably can’t think yourself out of that place. Abraham-Hicks say that if you can’t find a positive thought about a subject, think about something else! So here are my tips to distract yourself out of your suffering and into a little more contentment.
 

1. Watch TV (The Right Kind)

This one is real easy: watch a funny or feel-good TV show. Don’t get me wrong, I love Scandal, but I don’t need to see political scheming and literal torture when I’m in a bad headspace. It’s just not going to help. Watch something that might have the power to make you laugh when you feel like crap! Laughter relaxes the body, releases endorphins, and increases blood flow. Basically, I’m telling you that watching The Office is good for your health.  

2. Get Creative! 

When I went through a particularly tough period this year, I ordered a pack of colored pencils and an adult coloring book full of mandalas. An activity like this can be meditative and peaceful. You might also try knitting, painting, or whatever brings you joy.

3. Bring a Book Outside 

Grab a good book that will make you forget about all the circumstances in your physical world. The fresh air will do you good, and bonus points if you do some grounding! Grounding, or earthing, is a technique where you connect your body to the earth (e.g. taking your shoes off and putting your feet in the grass). More research needs to be done, but studies suggest that it can help with chronic fatigue, chronic pain, depression, and sleep disorders!

If you’re still feeling down, trust that better days are coming and you’re not alone. Sending you love!

These 8 Tips Will Help You Manage Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)

I’ve been dealing with dysautonomia symptoms for about a year now. I may not be an expert, but I know SO much more than I did at the start! Here’s a quick overview of all the changes I’ve made in order to feel better. 

Hydration

While drinking water is important for everyone, it’s crucial for people dealing with POTS! You’ll want to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces.

Salt/Electrolytes

Salt intake, combined with proper hydration, helps keep the blood pressure up and the heart rate down. That’s what we want! Salt your food liberally, and keep salty snacks on hand. My favorite snacks are olives, pumpkin seeds, and veggie chips. Electrolyte drinks can also be great—just check the added sugar content. My favorite electrolyte product is Liquid IV (this is an affiliate link and I will receive compensation if you purchase).

Sleep

I don’t know about you, but when my POTS started, I had never been so fatigued. Try not to feel shame if you need more sleep than you used to! Right now I’m managing pretty well with around 9 hours, but I’m sure I could sleep more. 😉 Here’s a tip you might not know: going outside and getting direct sunlight within an hour of waking helps your body produce melatonin so you can fall asleep more easily.

Exercise

I have to admit, this one has been a challenge for me. But again and again I hear POTSies say that exercise has been the ONE thing that helped them the most. It’s best to start with light recumbent exercise. You’ll be able to slowly retrain your heart to understand that you’re just doing some light exercise and not running from a bear. You may want to check out Dysautonomia International’s guide to exercise. Above all, remember that your body needs to know that you want to use it, so any kind of movement is beneficial. 

Dietary Changes

I’ve been off of gluten and dairy for about six months now. It’s working pretty well for me, but everyone is different. I would certainly recommend giving it a try. And remember that the effects of gluten can stay with you for three months, so don’t try it for a few days and then bail when you can’t tell a difference. I also cut out caffeine because I found it was increasing my heart rate and making me feel worse. I recommend eating organic, unprocessed foods to keep your toxin load low.

Meditation

Our bodies need to be retrained to get out of fight or flight and into rest and digest mode. One of the best ways to do this is through meditation. I have a meditation app on my phone and I make sure to do at least one meditation each day. Focusing on your breathing helps you relax and slow your heart rate, signaling to the body that you’re safe. Meditation can calm symptoms in the moment, but it also helps our bodies better react to stress whenever it shows up. 

Compression

Compression socks, leggings, and shorts assist with blood flow. Personally, I like high waisted bike shorts and leggings because the abdominal compression seems to help more than socks.

Learning

Educating yourself is empowering. Learning about POTS and dysautonomia made me feel like I could take action to improve my situation. Find out what’s really going on with your body. I also recommend learning about alternative ways of healing. I encourage you to open your mind to the idea that you have power in your situation. Reading about people who have healed themselves outside of the realm of western medicine has been life changing for me. 

Keep on learning and growing. Sending you love on your journey!

Accountability Is Everything

Does anyone know what you’re up to? 

Sure, maybe you meet up with a friend for coffee and chat about what’s new in your life over the last month. Or maybe you get drinks and talk vaguely about the big project you’re working on right now. 

But does anyone know that you’re planning to write one song per week for the next 6 weeks? Or that you’re trying to go to the gym every other day? Because if you don’t tell anyone, chances are a lot higher that you won’t follow through. 

Having an accountability partner makes a HUGE difference in your success. 

There are so many ways to do this. You can have one accountability partner for all areas of your life, or have one person you talk to about health, one about creative endeavors, and one about relationships. Whatever works best for you. Set up a call or a meeting every other week to talk about the nitty gritty of what you’re working on. Discuss the specific deadlines or amount of time you’ll spend on these bite sized goals. If you know that you’ll have to tell someone you failed to do something, you have a much higher chance of succeeding!

I personally have video calls with my accountability partner every other week. We typically talk about business/creative endeavors, but we also sprinkle in some mindset and personal topics. I’ve been sticking to my goals, and I know it’s only because I don’t want to deal with the embarrassment of telling my friend that I didn’t do what I said I would. Sometimes the fear of looking bad to other people is just what we need to do better!

In addition to the accountability factor, having someone like this is awesome because they become a cheerleader for you! The two of you can support each other, and celebrate all your little wins that add up to a high performance life. 

In fact, I reached out to another friend while writing this post to ask him if he’ll be my gym accountability partner. I was ready to skip the gym today because I’m feeling tired, but I know I’m going to make it now so that I can tell him I did it!

The Most Underrated Productivity Hack

Are you feeling stuck? Not as productive as you know you can be? Do you feel like you can’t focus on anything for more than 5 minutes? 

There are tons of tips out there for time management, self care, striking while the iron is hot, etc. But my top tip for productivity is one that’s often overlooked. Ready for it? 

Go somewhere else!! Shake up your environment. As I type this, I’m on my first day of a trial at a coworking space. I’m on the 20th floor of a downtown building, surrounded by other people who are working hard at their dreams. And I’m so focused! 

This place may have free coffee drinks, fruit water, and beer on tap (awesome), but it’s about more than the perks. Putting yourself in a new environment stirs things up and gets your creativity flowing. 

If you work from home, you know the freedom is amazing, but it can be rife with distractions. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wandered away from my computer to do a load of laundry or chat with my fiancée. It’s crazy how I can convince myself that 2:36pm is the perfect time to fold clothes, even though I scheduled myself to batch instagram posts from 2-3!

If your productivity is stagnant, try leaving your familiar surroundings. Some ideas could be your favorite coffee shop, a chill bar with space to lounge, a coworking space, or even the pool! As long as the space is conducive to whatever it is you’re working on putting out into the world, give it a shot. 

Find a new spot for the day and watch the magic happen! And you know what? You’ll probably be more productive next time you work from your cozy home office where you can wear PJs all day without judgment. That’s life by design. 

6 Ways for Creatives to Make Extra Money

freelance photographer

As a creative person, it’s always a challenge to find a balance between doing what you love and actually making enough money. Some months you might be killing it with your art, and others you may be struggling for cash. But are there options you haven’t considered for making some quick cash? You might be surprised by how easy it is to start offering something you’re already good at to your friends and acquaintances. Once they start taking you up on your offer, they’ll be calling you back and likely paying you enough for you to thrive, even when your main work is slow.

Get thinking about your untapped talents, and start putting them to good use! 

Here are some ideas that might inspire you to start up a side hustle…

Calligraphy

Have you always had good handwriting? Do you still write in cursive for fun? Learning calligraphy isn’t as difficult as you might think! Purchase an affordable guide to calligraphy and get to practicing. Soon, everyone will be asking you to address their wedding invitations, decorate their sandwich boards, or write inspirational messages for them to hang in their homes. 

Making clothes

Are you handy with a sewing machine? People would love to wear clothes with your unique stamp on them. Purchase plain clothes from a resale shop and add patches, appliqués, or whatever you know how to do to spice up a garment. 

Baker
A friend who bakes is always popular.

Baking

If you’re a baker, you already know that people love you for it. Why not monetize that? Offer to bake for parties, intimate weddings, or anniversaries. Everyone loves to show up somewhere and find that there are treats!

Bartending 

Do your friends always ask you to make their drinks because you’re better at it? Offer to bartend a friend’s party and see how it goes. You’ll probably make even more friends, because everyone loves the bartender. And you may even come up with your signature drink! Of course you’ll want to pursue the proper licensing for formal events.

Videos

If you’re a creative person, that means you have a skill that other people are envious of. Can you share some tips about what you do? If so, people will want to see it! Try making YouTube videos about your talent, build an audience, and work on monetizing them.

Tutoring

Did you always have an affinity for a particular subject in school? If so, why not pass it on to the future generations? While formal school doesn’t always jive well with creative types, there are plenty of exceptions. If you love young people, this is a great option.