how to get on top of your pain with headache journaling

Headaches are right up there with taxes regarding things that happen in life that people can’t avoid.  For some people, if they had to pay taxes as frequently as they suffer from headache pain, they would be bankrupt many times over.

There are many reasons people suffer from headache pain, including chronic headaches and migraines.  One of the most frustrating parts of dealing with headache pain is not knowing their direct (or indirect) cause.  In fact, many people suffer from headaches as a result of unknown food allergies and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

So, here is a proactive tip for how you can better investigate the source of the pain you may be experiencing.

Keep a ‘headache journal’ – I know, that sounds so fun, doesn’t it?

But hear me out.

One of the best ways to communicate your symptoms to a health care practitioner is to keep track of any patterns or changes you encounter.  Keeping track not only gives you the power to make changes on your own but gives your doctor or therapist the best chance of taking control of your symptoms.

To maintain an efficient symptom diary, you’ll need to track the following:

  1. Time of day.  Do you get your headaches first thing in the morning?  At 3 pm?  Jot them down, whenever they happen.
  2. What you’re eating.  Keep track of the foods you are eating.  You might start to notice that after that scoop of peanut butter at breakfast, you start to experience your pain.  If you see a dietary connection, take a few days off from the foods you ate and see if you can start to narrow down any foods that might be triggering your headaches.
  3. Activities you performed up to three hours before a headache began.  Were you writing up a work assignment?  Working out?  Again, this will help you narrow down what activities might be triggering your headache pain.
  4. The time once your headache goes away.  Once your pain has subsided, write down the time to better assess the duration (and intensity) of your pain.

Also, some of the most common food allergies linked to headaches are:

  • Wheat
  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Peanuts

 

If you suffer from two or more headaches per week, the first step to getting to the source of your pain is to catch its pattern.

Have you ever started a journal to take control of your chronic pain?

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Lucky 7s Black Friday Workout

I hope those of you who celebrated Thanksgiving had a good one.  I did not celebrate this year, and it was depressing, but I live in the UK now, and it’s not a thing here.  I couldn’t even find a turkey.  Apparently, they exist in greater frequency after December 1st.

Interestingly, Black Friday IS a thing here.  I guess Black Friday is a happy thing?  Unless you had to work at 4 am today.

Black Friday is not my thing – it’s kinda gross, in my opinion.  You can read all about how I feel about malls, department stores, and shopping here.

Did you miss me?  Did you notice?  It’s okay if you didn’t, it’s been a minute, and there has been much else of greater importance going on in the world.

So, for those of you who might be interested/noticed my absence, you might be wondering why?

To sum it up… 2016.

If you follow me on Instagram or IRL or whatever you know that my thoughts on this year can be summed up in two words:  DUMPSTER.  FIRE.

Ugh.  I’m going to be real right now because that’s me.  I have been avoiding blogging (on all of my blogs) over the past 5-6 months because, quite frankly, I couldn’t deal with the shitshow of the election and the atrocities taking place in the world.  I’ve been super discouraged, angry, and, if I’m honest, DISGUSTED.

I talk about positive thinking and empowerment.  I believe in these things significantly.  But I cannot deny that it’s been tough to wade through the dumpster fire without getting burned.  We have to put it out.

I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I also wear my conscience on that sleeve.

It’s difficult for the things going on in the world to not leak into how I feel about literally everything around me.  It’s been tough to worry about creating content when I’ve wanted to shout from the rooftops about things that have been, as Michelle Obama says, ‘shaking me to my core.’

However, throughout all of this year, I have remembered that there are a lot of good people in the world and that I cannot let the focus of the bad apples and negativeness cloud my entire life.

In other news, I am back in school.  I am pursuing a new degree (to add to the collection) in an attempt to find new career opportunities here in Scotland.  I don’t know what to expect between Brexit and the recent election, but I’m remaining optimistic and hoping for the best.

NOW for better news.  I have been working on a new fitness jumpstart program which is a sign that I am getting on with things, and I will not continue to let the uncertainties of the world cloud my days.

I am aware that my privilege allows me to do so and I do not take this for granted.  

Here’s a post-Thanksgiving quick and effective workout – check it out, share it, etc.!

Sweat out some of the drama with me!

 

Lucky 7s Black Friday Workout

How have things been going for you? Are you ready to send 2016 off and welcome a new year?

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National Cancer Survivors Day 2016

Though it’s not advocated as much as it should be, National Cancer Survivor Awareness is recognized during the month of June.  More specifically, National Cancer Survivor Awareness Day was on June 5th.

We’re usually told stories of loss when it comes to cancer awareness, so, it is touching to when we can hear stories and advocacy straight from those who have fought a personal battle against this disease.  If you are a survivor of cancer or know and care about somebody who has survived this awful disease, then you can imagine that their cancer survival is mostly likely celebrated every day.

As many readers of this blog already know, I lost my father to colon cancer in October 2011.  I would love nothing more than to be writing today about my dad the survivor rather than my late father, another victim to the nightmare that is cancer.  Those of us who survive after the loss of a loved one to cancer move forward to bring awareness and spend time dedicated to preserving memories through advocacy.  But what about those who survive cancer personally?  Survivors continue to tell their stories and educate others about the disease as they know it.  And it is through their stories that we move closer to a genuine human experience of what it means to live with and survive a serious illness.

Heather Von St. James contacted me to share her story of survival. Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma shortly after the birth of her daughter.  She, like many others (including my father), was given a less than hopeful prognosis.  Heather’s doctor told her that if she did not act on her cancer right away, she would have fifteen months to live.  She had a three-month-old daughter the day she heard this news.  Can you imagine this?

Mesothelioma is a severe form of cancer associated with asbestos exposure.  So you may ask, how did a young woman, three months a new mother, develop this illness? Heather’s illness was most likely the result of years of exposure to asbestos debris attached to her father’s work clothes.   Asbestos is a lethal toxic substance that is still legal to use in the United States. In fact, there have been traces of asbestos found in crayons and finger paint kits currently sold in stores throughout the country.  It is an absolute outrage to learn that asbestos – the known cause of mesothelioma – is still being utilized and sold to unknowing consumers.

After an aggressive cycle of treatments, Heather was very fortunate to have been given a positive prognosis and a clean bill of health. She has lived ten years cancer-free, despite being given a much less promising initial mesothelioma prognosis.  Her struggle with her illness went beyond the treatments and hospital visits, however — it carried on through her battles with PTSD and anxiety as a result of her intensive and extensive treatments.

Heather had a choice to put her illness behind her and move forward, but instead, she decided that she could not let her story go untold.  And she could not let the voices of other asbestos victims go unheard.  As a result,  Heather has been working tirelessly to ban the import and use of asbestos in the United States. She regularly goes to Washington with The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization and The Environmental Working Group to tell her story, and she vows to continue to educate, inform, and fight until there is a ban.

Unfortunately, Heather’s story is not typical.  Not only is she one of the younger people to be diagnosed with mesothelioma and to receive treatment for her particular form of cancer, but she is one of the minority of individuals who have defied the odds and survived.

When it comes to cancer, often stories are told by people who have lost a loved one.  And though the voices of cancer’s indirect victims are harrowing to hear, nothing speaks louder than the voices of survivors themselves.

Heather’s story is uniquely optimistic, and one of many I hope gets told.  Her courage and dedication to seeking justice for other individuals and families who have fallen victim to asbestos exposure and mesothelioma are truly admirable.

I hope you will share Heather’s story and help her in her quest for a ban on the use of asbestos as well as spread awareness for those diagnosed with mesothelioma.

Please take the time to acknowledge those in your life who have beaten cancer and continue to tell their stories and enrich our lives.

For more information on Heather, her fight, and her mission, please visit her page on how she beat the odds and continues to fight.

You can also follow Heather Von St. James on social media:

[Tweet “June is National Cancer Survivors Awareness Month visit the blog to read a courageous story of survival @HeatherVSJ #NCSD2016”]

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I have not always loved my body.  In fact, I have spent the overwhelming majority of my life less than kind to myself.

I was indoctrinated into diet culture since childhood and have worked in the health and fitness industry for the past several years.  Because it is a commonplace to believe that we all must adhere to the rules and standards of beauty manufactured to make us believe our bodies are not good enough.

And these standards are being pushed onto women at younger ages than ever before as this recent magazine’s “bathing suit” chart proves.

I spent most of my teenage life (and a good portion of my twenties) wearing clothes that hid my body, and if I wasn’t doing that, I was wearing something over my clothes to protect my body from unwanted viewing.

However, there was one place that I never seemed to have any issue with losing the layers, and that was at the beach.

Most people find the prospect of having to wear a swimsuit completely nerve racking and the ultimate in body exposure.   And, of course, why shouldn’t people feel anxiety about rocking a bathing suit?  The mainstream media has drilled it into our heads for literal decades that the only women who should be visible in a bikini are women with bodies that fit into a VERY particular mold.

In fact, I remember a particular yogurt company’s commercial and the “itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini” song, which had to be one of the most offensive weight loss ads in TV history.   It’s been years since I’ve seen that awful commercial, and I’m sure they come up with a new one each year because with every passing year comes another “bikini” season for them to cash in.  Also, it’s technically called Summer the last time I checked.

My friends always found it funny that for somebody who dissected every inch of her physique with such unrelenting criticism that I would always be the first one to be excited to strip down to my swimwear with absolutely no hesitation.  Because despite all of my body hangups, I never felt ashamed or self-conscious in my bikini.    I love swimming, and I love the freedom of wearing my bikini.  I love the way it makes me feel so weightless and how the water feels splashing up against my tummy.  I love the ocean. In fact, even now, if you asked me where I would love to be if I could be anywhere it would be on a beach, in my bikini without a care in the world.  Not one.  Well, except maybe when I was going to receive my next margarita!

Summertime is one of the most pleasurable times of the year, and nobody should have to feel they need to sit on the sidelines because their body doesn’t “fit” a b-s standard.  Once that time is gone, we can’t get it back, so we need to embrace our bodies and enjoy life right now.

That’s why I’m loving that more and more women are rejecting the idea that there’s only one type of body that is worthy of wearing sassy swimwear.  I love seeing women of all shapes and sizes rocking swimwear and redefining the “bikini body” for all of us! Many swimwear lines are taking notice of this growing and trend giving us all, even more, reason to love hitting the beach again!   I love the swimsuit collection by Adore Me. They carry affordable, cute, fresh swimwear ranging in sizes XS to 3X —  they totally want to see everybody taking advantage of the summertime!  My personal fave is the Kendra.

[Tweet “All bodies are bikini ready! #BoPo #BodyLove #Happiness via @ BeetsPerMinute @AdoreMe”]

Happy sun and fun, lovelies!

This post originally appeared on erintuition.com.  

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upper-body-cardio-boot-camp-workout

Happy Monday, guys!  I know I’ve been a bit MIA, but it’s because I have been expanding my writing career over the past two months.  I have been contributing my writing to some new sites (including my first published Huffington Post essay!).

I also started a second blog, which is quite different from this one.  It’s called ErIntuition, and it’s a much, much lighter side to yours truly.  It’s not a blog about wellness; it’s just a place where I blow off steam and talk about things like hair, tv shows, and anything that comes to mind.

I love writing about fitness, mental health, and nutrition, but I’ve got another side to me that sometimes needs to blow off steam and I thought this blog might not be the best place for it.  If you like my sense of humour, however, you should give it a read!

Anyhoo, back to today’s post!  I’ve been super duper busy, so my personal workouts have become a bit more intense and fast-paced.  Honestly, even trainers get the blues and winters are just the damn pits.  I don’t know how the weather is where you are, but here in Glasgow, I am so over it.  It’s cold, rainy, windy (I’m talking, like, Dorthy’s house is about to fly to Oz windy) and just slippery.  I love doing my workouts outdoors, so, for me, this weather is just awful!

For this reason, I have created a series of 25-minute workouts that can be done indoors with little space and equipment.  These exercises may look simple enough, but they work up a serious amount of sweat and burn a phenomenal amount of calories.  Today’s workout is an Upper Body + Cardio Boot Camp workout.
Bootcamp Cardio Workout

[Tweet “Need a quick and effective indoor workout? Try this Upper Body + Cardio Boot Camp Workout #FitFluential #MondayMotivation via @BeetsPerMinute”]

 

Please consult your physician before starting this or any workout program!

What’s your favourite weatherproof indoor workout?

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