Category Archives: living well

A day in the life of chronic pain

It’s Wednesday today and I thought I would take a break from articles and share some personal tidbits about my daily life. What it’s like being on disability and how I cope with having too much time and not enough to fill in the hours.

My mornings start by waking up anywhere between 7:30 am and 9:00 am. Sometimes I linger in bed and read or watch Tik-Tok. It depends on how bad the pain is in my knees, or how much sleep I got the night before.

Next, I make my coffee and breakfast. Lately, breakfast consists of two pieces of toast, some jam, and a piece of fruit. Sometimes I’ll make eggs for added protein.

While sipping coffee, I hop onto youtube and catch up on my subscribed videos. Today, I’m watching my favorite witchy channels about celebrating Imbolc. I’m currently watching The Cottage Fairy who also suffers from anxiety and is an introvert. These are the people that I’m drawn to. Her videos are calming and soup for the soul.

Then I spent some time responding to emails, and catch up with friends on social media sites. Sometimes this goes on for too long and before I know it – it’s almost noon.

Today, I’m getting lost in the YouTube algorithm of Fairytale cottages and dream homes. What I wouldn’t give to live in a rural place like this.

I’ll take a break, exercise, do my stretches, maybe sit outside if it’s a nice warm day. It’s been too cold and windy for this lately. Or I’ll do some tidying up in the kitchen. Today, I need to take out the garbage. Later, I’ll see my dad.

Every couple of weeks, I order in groceries and will spend an afternoon in the kitchen doing food prep and plan meals for the week. I’m trying to get better at using up all the food in my fridge before shopping again. I’m also trying to grow some of my own herbs. Because every penny counts.

Afternoons vary. Sometimes I’ll have a nap if I was up all night due to insomnia. Sometimes I’ll write or work on blog posts. Sometimes I’ll stream music and work on art. It really just depends on how I’m feeling.

My hands have lost dexterity, so I don’t work on crafts nearly as much as I’d like. Arthritis is often a crippling disease.

Evenings are sometimes the worst when you live alone. I used to entertain weekly or sometimes twice a week. It gave me motivation to keep my condo clean. It gave me something to look forward to. I’ll get to that again in the spring once I’m social again. For now, the isolation is needed.

I’ll do more reading in bed, or stream my favorite shows. Or watch movies. Or hop onto Discord and chat with new friends. Or twitter to chat with local friends. Sometimes I’ll order in dinner. Sometimes I’ll get the fireplace going.

Other times I have a very long bath which helps with the chronic pain and sore muscles. And every night, I try and get into my office and do a Tarot reading. Sometimes I’ll work on meditation and intentions. Sometimes I’ll write in my journal.

I’m looking forward to longer days. Where I can sit outside and read again. Or have a nap on the sofa. Or entertain friends for drinks. Or just go for walks again without worrying about ice.

I do what I can as pain allows for it. Pain rules my life but it doesn’t define my life. I do the best I can.

This blog — has kept me going through dark times. And now, I love the direction it’s heading in and the content I’m working on. I’m excited to share this new chapter of my life with you.

Thank you for being here with me.

If you’re on disability or medical retirement – what do you do to pass the time?

Spring(ish) cleaning

The worst part of depression episodes and what I’ve learned from living with depression — it’s usually worse in winter months.

It isn’t that you want to sleep all the time which you do. Sometimes from 8 hours, to 12 hours, to 36 hours and you’re still tired.

It isn’t that you isolate yourself and sabotage relationships, though that can happen. The thought of talking to another human being takes a lot of effort some days.

It isn’t like there’s a button you can turn it on and off at will. Depression comes and goes when it wants to. Some have it easier than others. For others, there’s no turning it off. Ever.

It isn’t the fact that even though you know you need a shower, just mustering up the energy to have one can take up ALL the energy you have for that day.

It isn’t the fact that even eating or sitting outside can make you feel better, but it feels like a chore. Eventually you lose your appetite too.

It isn’t the fact that you do lose friends over it – and it happens again and again. But new ones will come along. They always do.

It’s the fact that you can’t clean and let basic day to day tasks slide. My place has been such a disaster. Having regular company kept me motivated to clean. Now…I’m finally doing a massive clean up for the first time since before Christmas. Because I finally have the energy to do so.

It’s all energy. Either you have it. Or you don’t. And when you don’t have it, the simplest of tasks can’t be done.

I call it post-depressive episode cleaning. And today, it feels good.

Decluttering the home. And the mind too.

There is a light at the end of what seemed like a long and dark tunnel. Today was a good day. I hope this energy lasts. The longer days are helping and they’ll get longer and longer too.

Make the most of those good days. You just gotta take it day by day.

Anxiety Healing Bath: Rose & lavender

The other night I had one of the most amazing and relaxing baths that I’ve ever had. I’ll be honest – the bathrooms and tubs in this place were the main selling point when I moved to this condo in the spring of 2021. I loved how quiet the building is, my balcony but really – it was the tub.

My last condo where I lived for six years had issues with mice and I could never really relax – especially towards the end. The walls were thin and I could hear everything. I still have flashbacks to the mice in the bedroom in the last month. Oof. I don’t want to be in that position again.

When I started dating again this spring, I started having weekly baths and then it was almost every other night. Then I stopped doing that when I stopped dating, opting for showers instead. But the thing is, baths can feel so good for so many reasons.

The pros of having a warm bath:

  • Soothes chronic joint pain or sore muscles after a hard day
  • The right products can help with improving your skin
  • Can help quiet the mind and reduce sleep
  • Can help with sleep issues or insomnia

Disclaimer: if you have skin that dries out easily, you may want to opt for warm water instead of hot. You may also want to research what products are better for sensitive skin. Hard water can also dry out the skin, so if you own your own home – get your water checked.

Rose & Lavender Healing Bath

For Christmas, I gifted myself a set of dried herbs and candles that I’ve used a few times. I also picked up some essential oils and can’t wait to use them in future baths.

There are several methods you can use to prepare this bath. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to use a cloth tea bag for the dried herbs. It can help to prevent clogged drains as well. I used just a pinch of rose petals for this bath.

Make sure to practice fire safety when using candles. If you have a shower curtain, move them out of the way completely. And don’t let the candle burn for more than an hour or so.

Photo by Monstera on

Preparation and Ingredients

  • Epsom salt bathing foam
  • About 1 tablespoon of pink Himalayan salt
  • A few drops of lavender oil
  • Optional: dried rose petals, sprinkled on top of bubbles
  • Optional: lavender incense or
  • Candle: pink or red

There really is no right or wrong way to run a bath for yourself. I typically add the water first and then a few drops of foaming bath, essential oil, and the petals last. Another option is to brew tea (chamomile for instance) and add the brewed tea to the hot water. I can’t have a bath now without candles. It just sets the mood. I have a few playlists too that I listen for added ambiance and will share those later with you.

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How to incorporate mindfulness to your daily routine

Mindfulness is described as being the state of being aware or a state that keeps you in the present moment – instead of dwelling on the past, or worrying about future events that you have no control over.

As someone who struggles with anxiety, this is difficult for me but also a necessary part of healing and moving forward in life. In addition to incorporating daily spiritual practices, I thought I would share some ideas and tips on how you can practice mindfulness in your daily life.

These are things you can do from anywhere – even if you’re on the road or traveling. It won’t cost you anything and you only need minimal supplies.

My spiritual workings involve a lot of meditation, journaling and doing a lot of these things already – so, don’t be surprised if some of my advice is overlapping in some areas.

Start your day with intent

Something I’ve always done as an anxious person, is wake up in the morning and run through a list of things that I need to get done for the day. I keep calendars and sticky notes with reminders of important tasks or appointments that I can’t miss. I run through plans multiple times in my head to make sure that I won’t be late or miss anything I need to do.

Now that I’m not working, my to do list is a lot shorter. So, it’s important for me to find things to do during the day that fill up the time and give me a sense of purpose (as health and symptoms allow for). Some days, all I can do is sleep if I have a migraine or in a lot of pain. On those good days, like today – I feel motivated and try to be productive where I can.

  • Take some time after you wake up, or during your morning routine to think about what you want to accomplish that day. Whether it’s finding time for yourself to meditate. Or get that workout in. Or go for a walk. Visit with a friend. Whatever it may be – set an intention for you that brings you joy. Even if it’s something like buying a coffee and drinking it while listening to music.
  • Check in with yourself during the day. Make adjustments if necessary to fit it in with your schedule. Remind yourself why this is important to you and why it is needed. The more you do this, the easier it will become a habit for you.
  • Rinse and repeat – every day, until this becomes second nature to you. Soon, you won’t even need a journal or to write things down. You’ll train yourself to be able to just follow through. The important thing is not to give up on those down days when you’re feeling low. Don’t be too hard on yourself. And don’t set unrealistic intentions. Start small and work your way up.

Mindful Eating and Exercise

Too often, I find myself eating meals at my computer while watching my favorite YouTube channels or binge watching shows in the evening. Sometimes, I eat so fast, that I feel hungry within an hour or two, and then crave junk food which always makes me feel worse.

One thing that can help with weight loss and improving eating habits in general, is to be more mindful of how you eat – now just what you eat.

  • Take a few deep breaths before eating. Calm your mind. This works better if you eat meals alone or on your breaks. Eat slower, chew slowly. Enjoy every bite you take.
  • Eat the foods you love – don’t force yourself to eat foods you’re not a fan of. Eating should be pleasurable. If weight loss is your goal. do research into healthy meals – there are lots of foods out there that can help you meet your goals, you just have to put a little time and effort into them.
  • Listen to your body. Pay attention to how hungry you are. If your stomach is getting full, don’t force yourself to eat all the food in front of you. Package some of it up for later. Or eat smaller meals throughout the day. This will depend greatly on any medical conditions you have or special diet requirements. Eat to sustain your energy, not because you are bored or feeling sad.
  • Look at your relationship with food – do you have healthy eating habits? Do you often forget to eat or skip meals? Do you eat out of boredom or to help with grief or strong feelings? Once you recognize your eating patterns, you can work on your relationship with food. You may need to recruit a professional therapist or counsellor if you really struggle with it.
  • Move a little every day – You don’t have to get an expensive gym membership or build a full gym at home to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Start small. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Go for a walk on your break. Go to the mall and walk the halls in winter months. You can do things like yoga or pilates at home. As long as you move at least 15-20 minutes daily, you’ll notice a shift in how you feel overall.

Meditation to strengthen your focus

As someone with undiagnosed ADD, I struggle a lot with focusing on specific intentions or tasks. I easily get distracted or become disinterested in things the moment I get started on. Even with this article, I started on it five hours ago – and have worked out, cooked dinner and completed other tasks that I could have waited on.

Meditation can really help strengthen your focus. This can be done by focusing on your breathing, listening to music, or doing something physical like yoga. For me, music is my meditation. Or I have to force myself to lie down and try and clear out thoughts that are running a mile a minute in my busy and anxious brain.

Here are some types of meditations you can do, to help “slow your roll” and that may help to strengthen your focus.

  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Body scan meditation (lay down, relax, focus on breathing)
  • Sitting meditation (with intent)
  • Walking meditation (connect with nature)
  • Music meditations – binaural beats, alpha, or theta (I’ll write another article on this)

Bullet journaling or practicing or writing

This is something that is new to me and I have a private journal I write in often, especially on those low days where I want to keep thoughts to myself. On good days, I’ll write a post here or share with my friends.

Using a daily bullet style journal is a very useful tool for practicing the art of mindfulness. It’s about self-exploration, writing down thoughts that come to you or questions that might come up. You can jot down your feelings about certain events or situations. Or you can create lists of intentions and things you want to accomplish.

You can do this the old fashioned way, on pen and paper. Or you can download journals from sites like Etsy and use on your tablets. Journaling has come a long way and you can tailor something to help meet your bulleting needs.

I try and write a little every day. Whether in this blog, my private journals, or working on my short stories and books. This is a hobby for me, and helps me relax.

Why is mindfulness is important?

If you’re a person like me that struggles with anxiety, adding these practices to my daily life can not only give me something positive to focus on, but also can greatly reduce the number of panic attacks or anxiety attacks I might have in a given day.

Living with chronic pain and a disability can be difficult to manage – especially on those days where it seems like just getting out of a bed can be a chore. I felt a lot of guilt for not being able to work, and now, I’m accepting this is life now. And I’m making the most of the time I have here. This blog is a hobby for me and I’m writing about issues that bring me joy.

Mindfulness can help manage illnesses like generalized anxiety, depression and other mental health issues that you might struggle with. If you live with daily pain like I do, it might even help boost your serotonin (the happy hormone) or dopamine, and give you energy needed to get your daily tasks done.

You may even find over time, that your relationships become easier to manage as you learn new coping techniques for stressful events. You learn what’s worth fighting for, and what’s worth letting go of – even if it hurts.

Learning to work with things you can control, and letting go of what you cannot control, is honestly a game changer when it comes to mindfulness. Knowing that you’re doing the best you can, in extraordinary circumstances, focusing on what you can do, while letting the universe take the wheel for the rest.

What are some ways that you incorporate mindfulness into your busy routine?

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Living Well: Joint hypermobility and dislocations

I know I said I wasn’t going to post today but after a minor disagreement with a family member this morning about attending a birthday party, I thought I would share some information on joint instability and what it’s like to live with chronic joint pain and dislocations.

This is one of the reasons that I started this blog – not only to vent about daily issues but also to promote awareness around this horrible disease.

Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders

As a small child, I was diagnosed with hypermobility joint syndrome. Or back then, they called it “knock knees.” It was through recent research and chatting with other “Zebras,” that I learned the this term is outdated. People who live with hypermobile joints are now diagnosed with Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders or Hypermobility Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (hEDS).

Here’s a picture of me in 1985 after corrective knee surgery to stabilize my right knee. It was such a traumatic experience that I’ve been afraid of surgeries since.

What is HSD?

Joint hypermobility in layman’s terms means having overly flexible or extendable joints. Some people may experience full dislocations – where the joint pops completely out of place. Or partial dislocations, also called subluxation of the joints. Others may experience locking or popping of the joints which is equally as painful, if not more frustating.

However, hypermobility doesn’t just affect the joints. There are many symptoms and comorbidities that come with hypermobile disorders. There are some lucky individuals that have minor or very few symptoms with HSD. And then there are others like me, who win the “joint lotto” and have a multitude of health problems.

Common symptoms of HSD

The more common symptoms that affect patients with HSD include the following (but not limited to):

  • Chronic joint pain: and fatigue with early signs of osteoarthritis or osteoporosis and constant state of brain fog (memory loss, poor concentration or sleep)
  • Trauma: frequent dislocations or subluxations – usually the knees or fingers and toes. Those who experience dislocations in more than one area of the body (fingers, knees, toes, shoulders) may also be diagnosed with hEDS.
  • Physical markers: other musculoskeletal disorders can also be an indicator of hypermobile joints. These include flat feet, misaligned bones, mild scoliosis, and reduced bone mass that can result in compression fractures.

Common symptoms of hEDS

(Ehlers Danlos Syndrome)

The following is a list of symptoms that I’ve gathered from online support groups. It came as quite a shock as I suffer from quite a few of these issues myself. This list has been gathered from chatting with other hEDS patients and months of my own research.

  • Stretchy or elastic skin that is slow to heal from cuts and bruises or skin that is prone to bruising without trauma.
  • Velvety skin or translucent skin where veins are more visible.
  • Small or non-existent earlobes that often result in chronic ear infections or popping and clicking of the ears
  • Vitamin deficiencies or the body is unable to process vitamins naturally. More commonly iron (anemia), vitamin c and vitamin D3.
  • Prone to bleeding conditions or after surgical procedures.
  • POTS – a condition that causes lightheadedness when standing up or lying down, or just moving too quickly.
  • IBS or chronic GI issues; bladder issues and loss of bladder control
  • MCAS – mass cell activation that exasperates ear, nose and throat infections or activity. This includes frequent incidents with hives, edema, or low blood pressure. Asthma is not uncommon with hEDS.
  • Organ prolapse – my uterus collapsed in 2013 and I can’t have children because of it. For others, they might lose a kidney or gallbladder – also true for me. I lost my gallbladder in 2000.
  • Mental health and neuro: Anxiety and depression, chronic migraines and headaches

What causes hypermobility?

Joint hypermobility is often heredity and can run in the family. In my case, there is a family history of protein disorders and musculoskeletal disorders like scoliosis. But for me, I’m the only one who has hypermobile joints. So, what causes it?

Collagen is a protein that is found all over the body in skin and ligaments. These ligaments help to protect your joints from serious injuries or trauma. People with hypermobile joints tend to have weaker collagen or another more serious connective tissue disorder.

If the collagen is weaker than it should be, this can present problems later in life with dislocations and subluxations. Popping or clicking of joints are also common issues that result in chronic and widespread pain and fatigue.

Living with HSD or hEDS

Unfortunately, there is no cure for hypermobility or hEDS and the prognosis is often poor. There are some people that are lucky and have only a few symptoms or very minor subluxations that don’t cause pain. But for people like me that suffer from full dislocations – this can seriously impact daily life.

Many patients with hypermobility are often misdiagnosed with Fibromyalgia. This was the case for me back in 2012-2013 I was finally referred to a rheumatologist. The guy was nice enough to deal with. He spent some time with me to cover all my issues and even referred me to a pain clinic. I had some help. But the misdiagnosis led to what possibly might be a missed diagnosis of osteoporosis. It wasn’t until I switched family doctors that I finally got a referral to a geneticist.

For me, it’s a bit too late. I’m almost forty-five and have multiple compression fractures throughout my body, evidence of bone degeneration and bone growth on my knee and shoulder. It’s been a hard diagnosis to accept. But it also makes a lot of sense.

Diagnosis and treatment

For others who get a diagnosis early on, the many comorbidities of hEDS and HSD can be managed by seeing the right specialists. What really helps is to gather as much documentation as you can with x-ray results, lab results or chart notes with diagnoses. Other useful information might be family history, and a complete list of your symptoms, no matter how small they might be.

I should have changed doctors when I presented a carefully thought out list to my family doc of more than 15 years and she was insulted. “What am I going to do with this?” I thought that was a normal reaction. Turns out I was wrong – it was unprofessional of her. She also got mad when I did any research on my own. I should have sought out a second opinion long ago.

  • Geneticist (diagnosis)
  • Rheumatology (pain and joints issues)
  • Neurology (migraines, headaches, neuro issues)
  • Orthopedist (feet issues)
  • Physio therapy or occupational therapist
  • Family doctor (for referrals, medications,etc)

For treatment, that will depend on the severity of symptoms. For me, I’m in constant pain. There are varying levels of pain that change from day to day. A compression fracture in my spine has resulted in wedging (arthritis). I also have bone degeneration in my left shoulder and bone spurs in my right knee. I only just learned of this in September 2021.

This past weekend, I also wiped out on a patch of ice and fully dislocated my left knee. It wasn’t my first bad fall and it won’t be my last.

The point is, the earlier you get a diagnosis, the more chances you might have of a healthier life. A healthy diet. Healthy weight loss. Regular and low impact exercise like swimming, or resistance training can help to keep joints healthy.

Seeing the right doctor who takes the time to listen to you and is willing to make referrals is also key.

If your doctor dismisses your concerns and tells you it’s all in your head or to lose weight like my doctor did for many years — it’s time to see a new doctor.

memes for days


Throughout my research, I was able to find a plethora of resources and supports. This research has helped to learn about my disability and how I can work on getting as healthy as I can.

If you are in the process of getting a diagnosis and need assistance, please feel free to reach out to me in the comments. I’m more than happy to offer advice. It can be a frustrating process – I know. But you are not alone. That’s what this blog is for. To share my experiences and to inform. And also to bring awareness to rarer diseases that many people don’t know about!

Living Well Series

If you’d like to learn more about the comorbidities of hEDS, then please feel free to check out my Living Well series. It’s definitely not a new idea – I’m just sharing my own personal experiences to help others like me.


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Living Well: the benefits of herbal tea

So, this is something I’ve never mentioned here in this blog in the three years I’ve run it. It’s not a new discovery for me – but as part of my “getting healthy” journey, I have rediscovered my love for herbal teas.

As the granddaughter of a proud British man, I learned early on in life, that tea was the staple drink in our house. I still remember the smell of freshly brewed Red Rose tea when he came over for visits. I wasn’t a fan of black tea and didn’t start drinking coffee until I was in my mid-20’s. But after mum died, we marveled at how amazing tea was if made in her favorite tea pot.

Is it weird to say that drinking tea sometimes makes me feel closer to her now? I always think of her sipping tea out of her favorite blue tea cups with a smile.

Coffee for me is a must have morning drink. But in an effort to cut back on caffeinated drinks, I switched to drinking at least one or two cups of herbal teas before bed. But the real reason that I switched back to drinking herbal teas is two-fold.

I’m tired of being sick. All medications have stopped working for the migraines and nausea. I got tired of popping pills every night which are often hard on the stomach. And so, about two weeks ago, I started drinking herbal teas. And thankfully, it has really helped with the nausea.

Years ago, when I studied Wiccan practices and rituals out of pure curiosity, I discovered a love for herbs and herbal remedies. I learned that most herbs could be used for medicinal purposes. And the easiest way to ingest these herbs safely – was through drinking tea.

Today, I’m going to share some of my favorite herbal teas with you and why I believe they can be beneficial to your overall health.

Chamomile Tea

At the top of my list is chamomile. I have a pot of chamomile trying to grow in my kitchen right now. The plant isn’t doing so well. I love the smell of chamomile. It’s like a combination of apples and flowers.

Chamomile has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. It’s main use has been to calm anxiety, induce sleep, and settle upset stomach. The easiest way to ingest chamomile is by brewing or steeping as a tea.

The reason I started drinking chamomile tea again was two-fold. I thought it might help with the nausea I’ve been struggling with, but it also helps with relaxation. The medications stopped working for my insomnia, so I’ve switched to taking a ginger gravol in combination with a cup of chamomile tea before bed. And I sleep like a baby.

If you suffer from skin issues like dry and itchy skin or eczema, you can take a chamomile tea bath or use ice cold tea on your skin as a rinse.

Be careful not to drink too much chamomile tea. 1 to 2 cups daily should suffice to help aid with stomach issues. If you take sedatives or blood thinners, there is a small chance that chamomile could interact with them. If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor.

I would recommend buying tea bags like Twinings or Tetley as these can be safer to drink than brewing the tea yourself.

8 benefits of chamomile tea
Chamomile Tea – Medical News Today

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint is a popular herb used as flavouring in breath mints, candy and some recipes. It contains menthol, menthone and limonene. Not only does peppermint tea taste delicious, but it also has several health benefits.

If you’re a fellow IBS sufferer, then peppermint can help aid in easing gassy pain, bloating and digestive issues. In addition to helping with digestive problems, this tea can provide some relief to migraines and headaches. This was a huge bonus for me and I can’t help but wonder if it’s the reason I’ve experienced less migraines this week. And not to be a bragger, but peppermint tea has also been said to help with menstrual cramps and pain.

Plugged up with a stuffy nose or got the sniffles? Peppermint can also be used to help relieve clogged sinuses. Now that allergy season is in full bloom, you might want to keep a stash of peppermint tea on hand along with broth or clear soup.

The list of benefits that comes with peppermint tea ranges from sleep, migraines, reduction in cramps, but it doesn’t stop there. This glorious and refreshing tea has also been known to aid in weight loss and to help boost your concentration and memory.

Peppermint tea might just be the tea of all herbal teas. And it’s definitely on the top of my tea list! I actually tried to order a peppermint plant but the plant shop was out 😦

Peppermint Tea –

Lemon Tea

Lemon trees are small evergreen plants that predominately grow in southern Asian countries. However, lemons are also grown in southern US states like Florida and California. Lemons are part of the citrus fruit family like oranges and grapefruits.

Like oranges, lemons are packed with vitamin C which helps boost the body’s defense against infections. They are also loaded with calcium and magnesium which are essential nutrients.

Vitamin C is known to boost immunity and helps improve reproductive health. Lemon teas are usually paired with ginger, which can also promote healthy digestion.

Lemon tea can also help boost your digestive function, battle infections, reduce inflammation (joint pain or stiffness), enhance skin health, and heart health.

If you struggle with inflamed gums, lemon can help reduce the inflammation in between your dental visits. Other benefits include reduction of migraines, regulating blood sugar levels, alleviating depression and anxiety.

Not only does lemon tea provide you with all these great health benefits, but adding lemon juice to your favorite recipes gives it that extra punch for flavour. So, it makes sense that lemon tea is so popular!

Clear Glass Bowl With Brown Liquid
Pexel Library

Green Tea

Green tea is one of the most popular teas in North America and can found in many forms and flavours. It’s loaded with antioxidants that have an abundance of health benefits.

This tea is named for its color as unlike other teas – it becomes a beautiful shade of green when brewed. Steamed green teas taste bittersweet while other teas come out sweet. It could be why I like it so much. There is a science behind getting the right flavour for green tea – and it’s all about hitting the right temperature and sleeping time.

Like peppermint tea, green tea has a multitude of health benefits. It’s been proven that green tea can help improve brain function, speed up fat loss, protect the body against cancer and aid in lowering the risk for heart disease.

Green tea contains healthy bioactive compounds like polyphenols which is useful in reducing inflammation and fighting cancer. Other antioxidants can help prevent cells and molecules from damage.

This tea contains caffeine so it is not recommended to drink at night time. If you’re not a fan of coffee, consider drinking green tea in the morning to start your day. It is said that green tea can help improve brain function, and can improve your mood, reaction time and even memory. But one of the more popular benefits of green tea is that it can speed up the process for fat loss which is great if you’re trying to lose weight.

So for me, green tea is delicious but I’m placing it in the fourth spot of this list because it does contain caffeine.

Green Tea –

Popular Herbal Teas

These are just a few of my favorite teas. Other popular tea flavours include:

  • Matcha Green
  • Ginger
  • Hibiscus
  • Echinacea
  • Sage
  • Lemon Balm
  • Rooibos
  • Rosehip
  • Licorice Root
  • Sleepy Time Tea

I haven’t tried these teas yet. I’m shopping on Amazon for tea samplers so I can have a variety of tea flavours on hand. Many of my friends are tea drinkers so it is the right thing to do!

I can tell you that my cupboards are now stocked with green tea, peppermint tea, lemon tea, earl grey, chamomile and now – matcha tea. Which I think I brewed wrong because I was not a fan of the flavour.

Popular Brand Teas

I’m partial to brands like Twining and Tetly. If I can’t find something in Twinning packaging, then I’ll go with Tetly. These are definitely my top choices. When it comes to tea, I try to get the “good stuff” and not cheap out.

David’s Tea is a popular store to visit at Christmas time and for birthdays in our family. Everyone loves the gift of tea. And everyone loves a good tea sampler.

Peppermint, Peppermint Tea, Mint, Tee

What are your favorite herbal teas? Have you tried them cold as a summer drink? If so, let me know in the comments!

Living Well Series

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Love this kind of content? Then stay tuned. Mostly Single is transitioning into a health and wellness blog with a strong focus on herbal, and natural remedies. Join me as I embark on this chapter of my life – that I call spiritual awakening.

Living Well: Indoor herbs and plants

I decided to take a few days break from posting and it felt good. I focused on some products for my Etsy store, watched some 90’s action movies and got some work done on my condo. I also slept a lot. These migraines as always, are vicious. But now, as I’m typing this on Saturday night, I’m feeling pretty good and energized.

My sister and her husband dropped off some gorgeous flowers for my balcony. She made some suggestions on how to rearrange my living room. I’ve been struggling with this as normally I have a couch. Once you have a couch, that’s a focal point and easy to decorate around. Now, I just have two red chairs and the recliner. So, I moved things around again – and my back is complaining about it – but I’m really liking the set up.

I just need to order a new computer chair and get rid of my old one. Moving is so expensive. The upgrades and updates don’t seem to stop. But this way I don’t have to buy a new tv for a while which is what I’ve been wanting to do.

And I’m so excited because I just ordered in some plants. I’ve never really had real plants except for those that were gifted to me. It wasn’t possible in my last condo due to the amount of dust and then the mice. But this place is perfect for it. I face the sun during the day and I think they should do all right.

Here are the flowers my sister dropped off. They’re also going to buy me a floor mat. I feel spoiled. But I am not complaining. I dropped a lot of money on this move and still paying for it.

I’ve wanted to plant indoor herbs for a long time. I’m not sure why I’m itching to get back to planting. Maybe it’s my never ending need to connect with nature. I’ve been pretty much holed up in the condo with the migraines. And the weather. The one good day I had it poured with rain.

Here’s a list of what I ordered and why!

Aloe Vera Plant

Aloe Vera is a natural plant that has been used as a medicine by shamans for hundreds of thousands of years. I love the smell of the plant. Most of my skin care products contain aloe vera. I was excited to see this plant on sale.

Aloe Vera 4 in

Herbal plants – chamomile, mint and sage

I love Chamomile. It’s a sweeter smell and it’s also my favorite tea flavour. Herbs grow easily indoors with little light. They just need good potting soil and water. I plan on keeping these in my kitchen in the big window sill. It will look so pretty. And speaking of great smells, mint and sage are lovely smelling plants that you can use in summer drinks or recipes.

Herb, Chamomile German 4 in

Schefflera, Arboricola

I’ve never heard of this type of plant. I mainly chose it because it was cheap, but also I have two plant pots on my shelves that need filling. I think this will do nicely. This little house plant is native to Taiwan but does well in Northern American climates. It’s typically used for Bonsai – so my living room will be very multi-cultural!

Boston Fern

No home would be complete without a fern. Unfortunately, I can’t find any hanging hooks in the living room. So, I think this lovely plant will hang on one of my shelves. The great thing about ferns is they will grow just about anywhere, require very little light and can thrive indoors.

Fern, Boston 4 in

So, that’s where we are this Saturday night. I’m enjoying some 90’s sci-fi movies. Got a bowl of popcorn. I’m about to make some tea. Putting together a grocery order. And thinking about more products for my Etsy store.

All in all, migraine aside, not a bad day.

Happy long weekend to my Canadian friends!

Do you need a little more self-care in your life? Then check out this new product on my Etsy store. It’s a “self-care journal” where you can make monthly, weekly or daily goals. Also included – coloring pages! Because who doesn’t love to color?

Want to know more about how I’m spending a summer at home? I have lots of home projects planned. Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out!

Living Well – Skin care for winter’s itch

Yes, you’re reading this right. It’s before 8 am and I’m up with my first cup of coffee for the day. Mostly because I’ve been up all night again. But I made the mistake of having a nap last night. Sometime during the night, I looked down at my feet and marveled at how dirty they were. I’ve been cleaning my condo like mad. My condo is all laminate flooring and no matter how much I clean it, my feet always seem to pick up dirt. I hate socks for the most part.

This is one thing I’m looking forward to – is having carpet again when I move. There is nothing better than a freshly cleaned carpet to sink your bare feet into. Am I right? I’m also looking forward to having a proper bath. And if all goes well tomorrow, I’ll have a fitness centre too. All good things.

I decided to take some time and really wash my feet. Like scrub between the toes. Got the toenails done. I forgot how good that feels. I’m not a feet person. I hate looking at feet. I hate touching feet. Even my own. But there’s nothing quite as satisfying as giving yourself a food and toe massage, and then lathering your dry winter skin with some aloe vera skin cream.

For me, I notice that the end of winter usually brings dry and itchy skin. We had a very dry winter this year with very little snow. This climate can be harsh on all skin types. And so, I’ve learned a few tricks that I’ll share with you on how to keep your skin healthy, moisturized and also how to fix cracked heels.

What causes dry and itchy skin?

Dermatitis is usually the culprit behind dry and itchy skin. But there can be other causes too like exposure to harsh cleaning chemicals, allergic reactions, changes in diet (rare), dehydration and of course, winter itch. This is common in places like Alberta that suffer with long and cold winters.

Winter itch can hit anyone, at any age with any skin type. I have sensitive and pale skin – it often turns red this time of year. If I neglect or get lazy with my skin care, then my skin becomes super flaky and itchy, very fast. Some people develop bumps or spots or even a pink or reddish rash.

Hard water can also cause your skin to become dry and itchy.

Where does winter itch strike?

More commonly, winter itch can affect the feet, legs, hands and arms. The degree in which it affects people depends on multiple factors from other health conditions, skin problems, aging or being overweight. Hormonal imbalances can also wreck havoc on your skin.

What can I do for winter itch and dry skin?

The good news is there are lots of great home remedies that can be used to help combat the icky feeling of dry skin. I know my skin often looks like leather when really cold or dry.

I have a few products that I go to for all my skin care needs. The combination of a really good facial wash, body hygiene (regular showers or baths) and skin lotion usually is enough for me.

The most important thing you can do for your skin is to practice good hygiene. I’ve been slacking in this area since being at home. I’ll shower every other day instead of every day like when I was working. I’m trying to get back into the habit of getting up in the morning, showering and having some kind of normal routine. This is so crucial for problematic skin.

The other thing is to eat a healthy and well balanced diet, avoid foods high in sugar or cut back on caffeine and pop. Reduce your alcohol consumption. Wine for example is terrible for people with Rosacea.

Stay hydrated! Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses or cups of water each day. Not only is this great for the skin, but it can help to leave you feeling full longer after your meals, and can aid in weight loss.

Home Remedies

CeraVe Facial Wash or lotion

I love CeraVe products. The facial wash helps to keep my Rosacea at bay and leaves my skin feeling so soft after use. I found that leaving the bottle of facial wash in the shower helped to remind me to use it daily. I use it for my face, neck and chest area – and even behind the ears. Follow up with an application of either CeraVe skin lotion or something like Aloe Vera lotion will really help reduce symptoms of winter itch.

I swear by Nivea products. It’s what I use daily on my face. I use the Aloe Vera Refreshing Nivea Cream for my skin and it really lives up to its name. My mum used Nivea too – so it’s a trusted brand in our family.

I cannot recommend Aloe Vera based products enough. It comes from a natural plant that has been used for healing various ailments for thousands of years. There is also a great Vaseline Aloe Vera skin lotion too.


This is an old trick my mom used to make us do for our feet. I remember my brother had a heck of a time with cracked heels. Use good old fashioned vaseline on your feet. Rub a generous amount on your skin before bedtime. Really rub it in. Give yourself a bit of a massage. Of course this feels better after a good soak in the tub. Then take a pair of cotton socks and wrap up your feet for the night. Do this for a few days and the itching should subside.

The key to skincare is repetition – and getting into a daily routine.


When I was younger, I used oatmeal mixes on my face for my acne but it also made a huge mess and dried out my skin. Apparently, colloidal oatmeal has known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which can help with itchy skin. You can buy the ground powder and it to your bath – or you can purchase a lotion with oatmeal in it.

Baking Soda

Not only will soaking in a bath with baking soda in it will help clean your bathroom – but it can also help to reduce inflammation in your skin. Baking soda is a natural ingredient without harsh chemicals and can be a great remedy for winter itch.

Skin Treatments

About once a year, I have to visit my doctor for a prescription for my skin. I don’t get breakouts often anymore, maybe twice a year now. The meds help with that. If you’ve tried various home remedies without relief, then I suggest a trip to your doctor. The issue may not be winter’s itch at all – it could be another form of dermatitis or something else all together.

One thing I used to do when I had the money, was go for a massage every spring. It was a steam massage that used sea salts for exfoliating the skin. I can’t tell how you amazing this made me feel. Exfoliation is a great way to help remove dead skin cells which can also contribute to the irritating itch.

You can easily do this treatment at home by using a sea salt scrub and applying it to your body. Let it sit on the skin for 10-15 minutes before climbing into a hot bath. If you’re lucky enough to have a steam room – then try it in the steam room. It will help to open your pores like they’ve never been opened before.

I think I’ve convinced myself to book one of these as soon as personal services are available!

Are you a dry skin sufferer? What do you do for your winter’s itch? Let me know in the comments!

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Living Well: The importance of a good night’s sleep

Regulating sleep schedules without the use of medicine or supplements

Sleep plays a vital role in our overall health. Not only is sleep crucial for daily life, but it is also an important part of weight loss and fitness. In continuation of my fitness challenge theme; and this week’s goal to improve my sleep habits, I’ve decided to share some of my favorite tips that help you “rest well.”

As mentioned previously, I am a chronic insomniac. The worst experience was back in 2014 when I was ill. Two months went by and I was surviving on very little sleep. I had been off work for several months and doctors could not figure out what was causing it. I remember one day I was so tired that I felt asleep on the toilet. I was burnt out.

That’s how important sleep is. You can’t function without it.

My longest stretch was about 120 hours without sleep. So, I visited a sleep clinic as suggested by my physician. I learned some valuable information and feel compelled to share it with you.

By the end of the 120 hour stretch, I was completely delusional. I couldn’t form proper sentences. I was seeing and hearing things that weren’t there. I was paranoid and thought the world was out to get me. My career and personal relationships suffered because of it. It led to really bad decision making – decisions that I can’t take back.

Why sleep is so important

According to my research from multiple sources, eight hours of sleep seems to be what the majority of health professionals agree on. If you’re trying to lose weight, getting enough sleep is crucial. Having a regular sleep schedule helps our bodies in many ways to heal and lose weight.

From a recent article by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute:

Sleep plays a vital role in keeping your brain healthy.

“During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. In children and teens, sleep also helps support growth and development.”

Why can't you fall asleep in quarantine? A sleep expert weighs in ...

Sleep helps us to stay mentally fit and perform day to day tasks. Not getting enough sleep will impact your ability to drive a car, work on heavy machinery or even basic life skills like cooking, reading or writing. Even thinking can seem impossible with a foggy brain.

Sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems and can have a real impact on your personal life, your job and your relationships. Your energy levels will bottom-out and you  may even lose interest in doing things you once loved. This is why fitness and exercise really helps to regulate your sleep schedule.

Some tips to help regulate your sleep schedule

For me, there are a few things that help me regulate my sleep schedule so I can get at least six to seven hours of non-interrupted sleep.

  1. Set a regular sleep schedule – in bed by midnight every night
  2. No naps during the week
  3. Daily exercise – but not past nine pm at night
  4. Plenty of sunshine and fresh air
  5. Drink lots of water during the day. No coffee past four pm

Clean your room and bedding often

Nothing beats clean sheets and a fluffy pillow – I sleep best when the bed-sheets are fresh out of the dryer. Keeping your bed clean and free of clutter will help you to relax and be comfortable when you lie down. I need to work on cleaning my room as well. If the room is cluttered or messy, I find at times I can’t relax enough to sleep. Invest in a large hamper for your dirty clothes and look into tools for organizing your closet like shelf hangers or racks.

Without spending a lot of money, you can “feng shui” your bedroom to help you sleep better. Get some blackout curtains, use a humidifier for dry homes, get some scented candles, diffusers – or use calming colors like pastel green, blue, yellows to calm your busy mind.

Pintrest has a lot of great ideas for bedroom makeovers.


No screen time – at least one hour before bed

This means no phone, computer or electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime. It’s time to shut off your electronic devices and trade your I-pad in for a paper book. The glare of the screens can be hard on the eyes at night time. Give your eyes and your brain at least an hour to relax before bed. This is why I find being in bed early is crucial. I need to make sure I get at least six to seven hours of sleep to feel refreshed and alert in the morning.

Tablet and iPad Buying Guide | Best Buy Blog

Have a cup of sleepy time tea

One or two cups of chamomile tea with a dash of milk and honey really helps to calm the nerves and puts me in the right frame of mind for sleep. Chamomile is a natural herb that helps you sleep. It is caffeine free which is what you want to drink at night time. I’m a coffee drinker. Not a tea drinker. But the sweet taste of chamomile is a guilty pleasure.

This is something I really need to get back into. It’s June 2020 and I can’t remember the last cup of tea I had!

Does Drinking Chamomile Tea Help People Fall Asleep? | Live Science

Listen to white noise or nature sounds

While some people like me listen to music to fall asleep; I find listening to white noise or nature sounds can really put me to sleep fast. The low hum of  a fan in winter months or humidifier often does the trick for people. Sometimes I listen to nature music.

Hypnosis or “Talk Down” Videos 

The Honest Guys on YouTube have some great videos that can help you fall asleep to. I really like the twenty minute talk-down sleep videos. If you’re looking for more music suggestions, check out my post on music for relaxation.

Deep breathing exercises or “bedtime” yoga

Deep breathing while lying down at night time is a great way to prepare the mind and body for sleep. Yoga and meditation before bed can help with calming anxiety. Here’s a video on how to combine deep breathing and yoga for sleep.

There are many other things I’ve learned over the years to help with my sleep problems. Insomnia can really drag you down mentally and physically. But don’t let sleep ruin your life.

If I can change my life long sleep disorders – there’s hope for you too.

Regular exercise, getting plenty of sunshine (vitamin D), and fresh air really is an amazing way to help regulate your sleep schedule. I can count the number of nights I’ve had interrupted sleep on one hand. On those nights, I either went on a long nature hike, or spent a lot of time outdoors – or I took a fitness class like Aqua Fit.

Thanks for reading!

Hope you enjoyed this post on how to regulate your sleep schedule. What works for you? What methods have you tried to help you sleep at night time?

Thanks for all the comments and re-shares. If you’d like to use any of the information from this blog, please, I ask that you refer to my website in your post.

(this is a repost from September 2019 – but good information to share)

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Living Well: Skin care and treatments for adult acne

For those of you who have followed my blog for a while, you know that I live with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome which is a disease that affects hormones. What also happens with PCOS, is living as an adult in my forties with acne. Sometimes I look like an overgrown teenager with skin problems.

And I hate it.

As a teenager, I never had skin issues. It wasn’t until later in life when I started experiencing hormonal issues, that I really started experiencing adult acne. When you’re a professional trying to work in a professional office setting – people often stared at me when I had bad breakouts. I often wonder if it was a reason why I didn’t move as far as I wanted to in my career at the time.

Over the years, my doctor and I have tried all kinds of creams and medications. I even saw a few dermatologists. One thought I had a good case of Rosacea. While another doctor, didn’t think it was Rosacea, but thought it was something wrong with my blood vessels. Which kind of made sense, since I also have Factor V Leiden.

Yes, I’m a complex patient – even though my doctor doesn’t think so. That’s just because she’s treated me for so long.

Because we also have winter eight months of the year, our air can get so dry in winter months that it really wrecks havoc on our skin.

As you can imagine, the cost of skin products can add up over time. I’m always looking for natural products to use and have found some success with Aloe Vera based creams and a good face wash. That said, when breakouts are bad, I have to take Minocycline which is an antibiotic for fungal infections. It seems to get rid of the acne – and the great thing is, usually keeps the acne away for six months to a year.

So, today’s post is going to be dedicated to skin care and products I’ve found to be helpful for keeping my acne breakouts at bay.

NOTE: this is not a paid sponsorship – but hey, Cerave or Nivea, feel free to reach out!

Cera Ve

Face Wash – budget friendly

It was my family physician who recommend this brand to me and I have used it for a couple of years now. It feels great and refreshing on my skin too – especially after a long day.

I started using the face wash in the shower in the mornings and at night time as well about a month ago. I can already feel the difference in my skin.

I’ve also combined this treatment with Omega 3 – fish pills – and it’s a great combination for dry or acne prone skin.

You can pick this up at just about any pharmacy, or order from Amazon. Cera Ve also makes face creams and lotions.

Nivea Skin Cream

Nivea Soft Refreshingly Soft Moisturizing Cream - 25ml | London Drugs

A soft and soothing hydrating lotion

My mum introduced me to Nivea creams when I was a child. She used it for things like rashes, dry skin or sunburns. As an adult, I started using Nivea Soft cream which felt less greasy on my skin.

I wear this product daily – apply once in the morning and before applying foundation, which is the only makeup I apply to my skin.

A 200 mL container usually lasts me about two months and you can buy it at any pharmacy or visit Amazon.

Aloe Vera Lotion

NIVEA Aloe Vera Body Lotion, 16.9 OZ (with Photos, Prices & Reviews) - CVS  Pharmacy

A natural product that comes in many forms to help hydrate your skin.

Aloe Vera is another great natural plant that is used for medicinal purposes. You can buy many aloe vera based products from oils, creams, gels and even in beverage form.

I switched to the Aloe Vera Nivea Soft cream for body lotion and it feels amazing on my skin. The first time I put the lotion on my legs, I breathed a sigh of relief. It felt like I had just stepped in the shower.

You can buy these bottles from any pharmacy – or on Amazon. One bottle will last me several months.

Tea Tree Oil

Nature's Bounty Tea Tree Oil | Walmart Canada

A natural remedy for dry and acne prone skin

Tea Tree Oil, in combination with Coconut Oil or Olive Oil, can make for a great product to help combat acne.

This Oil is also known as melaleuca oil, and is an essential oil that comes from steaming leaves of Australian tea trees. It is believed that the tea tree oil is antibacterial and can help fight fungal infections. It is often used to treat acne, athlete’s foot and other skin problems.

The oil should never be used on its own as it can burn skin. It is suggested to mix a few drops of the oil in with a base like coconut oil or olive oil.

If you already have oily skin, you may want to avoid this treatment. Tea tree oil should not be taken orally. There are a number of options to purchase. I recently tried this brand which you can get on Amazon.

Honeywell Humidifier

Review: Honeywell MistMate Cool Mist Humidifier - Today's Parent

A quiet humidifier to help keep your skin hydrated

I love this humidifier. I bought it in the fall when I was struggling badly with allergies. What I noticed after a few nights of use was how great my skin was starting to feel.

Even the bags under my eyes were starting to lighten up and I felt better overall.

A humidifier is an easy solution if you’re living in an extremely dry home or live in a dry climate province like Alberta.

It’s important to keep this machine clean as fungus and bacterias can get trapped inside the machine. I have this model and have not had any issues with it. It’s also very quiet.

I should take my own advice and clean this machine out and use it again.

Trial and Error

So, if you’re like me and you have acne prone skin, I hope that at least one of these products may help you. Winter is coming fast and I’m cringing already at the thought of how the weather affects my skin. I’ve stocked up on my daily vitamins and skin care products – and hope to beat the acne breakouts this year.

My doctor and I tried so many products over the years for my acne breakouts. I’ve finally found something that really works. And hope it continues working!

Sometimes the only thing that works for bad breakouts, is prescription medicine. I tried a gel during the summer that actually burned my skin. It did nothing for the acne spots. I turned to my pharmacist and she sent me a month supply of Minocycline, and my skin is back to normal – thankfully!

Also, I will add – that a healthy diet, regular exercise, natural vitamin D (sunshine) – and drinking plenty of water – will help improve your skin health.

What is your daily skin care regime? Let me know in the comments!

Living Well!

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