Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Refreshing Exercise

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Lavoview/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Lavoview/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

True confession: I was never fond of exercise. In fact, I used every excuse not to exercise way back in high school. Now, of course, I understand the benefits much better than I did then, and I also like exercising – really and truly! If you haven’t quite gotten to that point, yet, here are some of the things that helped me get over my aversion and get into an exercise groove:

1) Chronic pain and illness pose unique issues to each of us when it comes to exercise. It’s vital that each of us work with our doctors and, if needed, a good physical therapist, to find the plan that will work safely and healthfully. Banish “No pain, no gain” from your vocabulary, and work with your medical team closely on what’s right for you.

2) Whether in steps or stretches, each move we make toward better health is progress. Try to envision these “little victories,” as you exercise, and watch as they form a big picture of better form and function.

3) Make exercise meaningful. Jesus walked. Paul ran a race. If your routine is boring, make it your prayer time. Or, think of it as a way to reduce stress. Plan out your day’s schedule with each rep.

4) Do something social. Golf, tennis, power walking – these can all be done with friends, and can become ways to bond in otherwise isolated and busy lives.

5) Break it up into smaller chunks. If a 3-hour marathon to the gym four days a week is too much of a commitment, find exercises that take less time and are closer to home. Again, work with a physical therapist to discover new ways to go for the same fitness goals you might have thought were unattainable unless you put in full-time hours.

6) Change it up. Tired of the same old routine? Explore new possibilities with your medical team and add something new.

7) Make exercise a tool. I was intrigued by a recent newspaper article that described a pre-game routine by UCLA football coach Jim Mora. Before the fans stream into the Rose Bowl, he runs up and down the steps of the stadium to reduce his pre-game jitters. In doing so, he also gets a great workout! There are lots of other ways that exercise can be a useful tool for other daily activities – walking to the store, taking stairs instead of the elevator, stretching between emails. Work with a good doc and physical therapist to find what’s right for you.

Yes, I now like exercise, and have reaped many benefits from keeping constant with it. It’s not easy to do, and there are days when lupus and pain and other complications prevent me from enjoying “full range of motion,” but I no longer make excuses as I once did. Rather, I make up my mind that, when I can, I will!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

TLC Tuesday: Slow down!

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicIt’s TLC Tuesday, again. But it’s also probably the heart of “Back to…” season. Back to school, back to work, back to lots and lots of activities.

Yes, activities, and, probably, a lot more stress, a lot more “Hurry up!” But we know that our illnesses and pain often react negatively to “Hurry up!” So…

Today’s TLC Suggestion: Slow down!  In the midst of your busy day, as you feel yourself tensing, invite yourself to ease up a little, to slow down, to take last week’s deep breath and allow yourself to bring comfort to stressful schedules and an easier flow to the river of responsibilities in your life.

We all need a little more TLC. Why not Tuesday?

Chronic Pain: Lost and Found

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicSomewhere, amid the pain and the frustration we feel over lost health and today’s health trials, there are bright, uplifting memories we’ve lost track of, times when life was easier or days when we heard and enjoyed laughter, did good things and had good times. There are people and places that brought us peace, and accomplishments however small that gave us a sense of control, gratitude, and purpose.

As “lost” as these things seem, in the midst of all the other problems, they are not altogether gone. No, they are there in a kind of scrapbook in your heart and mind, and in mine, too. And they serve a  purpose, especially on bad days, the very bad days.

We can open our eyes and remember these times and people and blessings, and have faith that, if they happened once, if they came into our life once, they can do so again. If God moved a mountain in our lives once, He can do so again. If we felt uplifted, comforted, calmed, joy-filled, we can do so, again.

These memories, positive memories, are not meant to be forever lost. They are meant to stay, forever found, and of value in our present struggle. They are God-given and, as we all know, the good that God gives can never be taken away.

Blessings for the day!

Maureen

Chronic Illness: Embracing smooth sailing!

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicLike the calm before the storm, or the comfort before the next flare, the period of relatively “smooth sailing” can be a bit nerve-wracking. We know that “chronic” means ongoing, and have had flares rise up unexpectedly in the past. So, a period of quiet, when the illness is not so active, might make us fretful, waiting for the next “shoe to drop.”

Oh, yes, we are all-too-human!

Just as God gives us the strength during the tough times, and the wisdom to know how to navigate choppy seas, He gives us these quiet times, and I’m sure He’s watching us, waiting for us to, yes, enjoy them! Embrace them! And thank Him for the respite. And, you know what, there’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, there’s something wonderful about this.

We go through the difficult flares and other trials thinking, “Be not afraid.” The same holds true – REALLY true! – for the “good” periods, the “good” days.

Be not afraid of the gems of calm and grace! Embrace them – and sail smoothly, storing up these blessings as each gentle wave rolls on.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

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