La vie epanouie – in pursuit of happiness

[su_dropcap style=”simple” size=”5″]S[/su_dropcap]o, life has been a little stressful in recent months, and if you drop by to visit us more regularly, you might have noticed the scarcity of blog posts (apologies!!)

If, like M, you live with a chronic illness, stress can easily turn life into a living hell. To escape this hell, to share some positive inspiration, and for the sheer joy of dwelling on the lovely things in life, here are some of our favourite de-stressors…

1. LISTENING TO AUDIO BOOKS OR PODCASTS – particularly good for days, when noise isn’t an issue, but light hurts, and working and sitting in front of a computer screen isn’t a possibility

A couple of our current favourites are:

[su_quote cite=”Ce ne sont pas nos capacités qui déterminent ce que nous sommes, Harry, ce sont nos choix !”][/su_quote]

Harry Potter à l’École des Sorciers – actually all of the Harry Potter books. We’ve been listening to them in French, and they are incredibly well-read. M grew up speaking French, so it feels like a small piece of childhood, and I was in need of improving my French, so having a single reader read a book I know is absolutely ideal.

The Beat with Ari Melber – one of a number of 1-hour long MSNBC political shows that’s available on podcast. Politics in the US are crazy right now, and listening to how the chaos ensues from day to day goes quite a long way towards 1) staying informed and 2) being distracted from the troubles in our own corner of the world…

2. WALKS WITH #MICROTHEDOG – although rather challenging on days when M feels poorly, it’s ever so good to get out and see some green and trees… or even the sea! Especially on days where other dogs don’t have tennis balls that can be nicked by Micro…

3. A LONG SOAK IN THE BATHTUB – only if there is time to really switch off and rest, since they are as relaxing as they let every last jot of strength dissipate.

It doesn’t take an expensive bath soak or oil… something like this feels like the ultimate luxury when all your muscles are hurting!

4. HAVE SOME FRESH FLOWERS IN THE HOUSE – we’re definitely on a budget – you have to be if you want to survive in London on a normal salary. However, we always make sure that we have some fresh flowers in the house… they just make life that little bit brighter. While I strongly believe in supporting local businesses, sometimes the budget just won’t allow it. Try Lidl if the florist around the corner isn’t affordable!

 5. GENTLE YOGA IN THE MORNING – getting to a gym sometimes isn’t an option – even on a ‘normal’ day with chronic illness, the energy used to make your way to the gym might already use up all the reserves you have for the day. But 20 minutes of gentle yoga in the morning can really help to let your body settle into the day.

There are a number of free yoga video podcasts. We quite like using this one. You just have to find a session that works with your energy level.

6. LEISURELY BREAKFASTS – not always possible during the week, although we try to at least have a coffee together in the morning – but definitely a favourite on weekends.

 7. CUDDLING AND SNUGGLING UP WITH THE DOG – there is hardly anything better than this one on a difficult day.

In all honesty, who could resist this face? I can’t! When I leave for work in the morning, I usually tell Micro to watch over M, to take care of her, and not let her work too much (since I know she has a tendency to ignore her body’s rest signals since it’s hard to get anything done otherwise…). Micro takes this job very seriously! When he thinks she’s done enough, he just sits on her 🙂 What a great #personalsupportdog!

What de-stresses and cheers you up?

Now that I’ve shared our current top 7…. what are your favourite de-stressors and ways to feel more relaxed, fulfilled and happy amongst the challenges of life and illness? We’d love to hear from you!