Pre-Winter Blues

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I woke up today and thought "just how am I going to enjoy my day" - I am in such a frustrating flare up. My body is aching from head to toe. This has been going on for a few weeks. I am also going through my weeks with tons of doctor appointments, lab tests, etc. Everyone here knows the drill. I am not looking forward to things - even my morning cup of tea isn't helping. Anybody got any suggestions as to how to snap out of this? And it's not even winter....... - Ann

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It's getting serious when even a cup of tea doesn't do it, Ann!


Hmmm, I guess I tend to go totally self-indulgent for a while. I have one corner of the house that I try to keep de-cluttered and comfortable and I retreat there with my favorite blanket (I guess I haven't grown out of the 'blue blanky' stage), a book I've had stashed away for just such an occasion, a plate of hot buttered cinnamon toast, and a mug of something hot and rich tasting - hot chocolate or hot milk with honey. I put my favorite music on and then lie back and enjoy it. By the end of an hour or two, I'm either snoring, totally relaxed and feeling a lot better, or bored out of my tiny mind and have to get up and doing no matter how rotten I feel. I try to make as many pleasant associations with that spot as possible so that just being in it helps.


It's already winter here, so I've been assembling my winter comfort things. One of the things I do is make sure all the light bulbs in the house put out a warm golden light. Sounds silly, but in the winter I crave warmth and light and warm spectrum light seems to fool my brain into feeling warmer. Another thing I do is have a pretty potted flowering plant on the table by my chair (memories of summer in the garden maybe?)


I think it's those weeks when we are too busy and just have to keep pushing on, no matter what, that really take a toll on energy and enthusiasm. Sometimes we really need to say no any non-essential activities. There's a great link in the Coping page to an article called The Spoon Theory. It was written by a woman who was trying to explain to a friend what it was like to have a chronic illness and the necessity to husband one's energy, etc. I had a hard time justifying to myself the changes I needed to make in order to get the most out of every day until I read the article. I thinks it's worth a look.


Warm hugs,

Jeannie McClelland

(Retired) ISN Director of Support Services

(Retired) ISN Sclero Forums Manager

(Retired) ISN Blog Manager

(Retired) ISN Assistant News Guide

(Retired) ISN Artist

International Scleroderma Network

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Thanks for the link to the spoons theory, Jeannie, its brilliant, and may help explain to friends and family who don't understand what its like living with a chronic condition (or 6 like me).


Oh Ann, I'm sorry that you feel so rough that even a cup of tea didn't help. Its my morning life-saver, and I bless my husband every morning he brings one up to me so I can take my meds and begin my day.


I wish you well for the endless round of appointments. I'm sorry I can't suggest any coping advice at the moment, as I'm in the depths of sadness after losing my beloved pet dog today. I can't think straight.

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Hi Deb - I am so sorry to hear about your dog. I am a dog lover and have a rescue dog named Rocky. I know how difficult it is to lose a four legged companion - they are amazing and loyal. I'm sending big hugs your way. There are a few people here who get the "tea" thing. It is so comforting. I'm trying to perk up a bit but right now it's difficult. Today I go to the eye doctor. I am having unusual vision problems. Cloudy vision. I just had a test 6 months ago.


Jeannie - I too love the spoon theory. I want to thank you for your words of wisdom. Sometimes things just come in waves and I know that there will be better times. One foot in front of the next (if only I could stop tripping over them <_< .



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Hi Ann,


I have many favorite things to do to deal with achiness. One thing I love to do is just float -- float, nothing else -- in a very warm pool for about an hour, once a week. While I'm laying there, I imagine all the stress just flowing out of my fingers and toes. Inhale relaxation and peace, exhale stress, just concentrating on breathing.


Another thing we do to break out of the wintery doldrums is to go to our local flower nurseries. We have one that even has an indoor cafe amongst the plants and the effect is very summery. We went there for a break today as it was sleeting/snowing here in Minnesota.


And I'm totally with Jeannie regarding the lights. We have full-spectrum lights for our reading lights and work areas, to lift our spirits all winter. Resting, refreshing and relaxing is my most favorite activity of all, so I could go on forever with this topic. But it sounds like its time to stretch your relaxation routine beyond just a cup of tea -- explore hot packs, moist baths, floating, deep breathing, a "mosey" in the malls or bundled up well outdoors, a good book, hobbies, gentle stretching to soft music, distraction (new surroundings or activities of any sort).


If you discover something old, or new, that helps you cope a little better with it all right now, will you let us know what it is?

Warm Hugs,


Shelley Ensz

Founder and President

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099


The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is

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Hello Ann


As you can see from the replies most of us have been there at some time and know we'll be going there again at some point! You've already had lots of great advice and I can't really add to it other than to say take it easy on yourself for as long as is necessary. :flowers:


Jeannie I read the spoon theory and thought it was excellent, I wait for the opportunity to use it!


Take care.

Amanda Thorpe

ISN Sclero Forums Senior Support Specialist

ISN Video Presentations Manager

ISN Blogger

(Retired) ISN Sclero Forums Assistant Manager

(Retired) ISN Email Support Specialist

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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