Tag: distractions

Pain Exhibit-A Chronic Pain Gallery

I stumbled across the Pain Exhibit website one day while doing a search for organizations that help those with chronic pain.

The Pain Exhibit “is an online educational, visual arts exhibit from artists with chronic pain with their art expressing some facet of the pain experience. The mission is to educate healthcare providers and the public about chronic pain through art, and to give voice to the many who suffer in silence.” (from their website).  You can find out more about their organization, how to participate or even how to support their initiatives by clicking here.

I’m thrilled to announce the the Pain Exhibit has accepted two of my art pieces for their online galleries. I feel so excited to be part of this organization in some small way.

The two pieces they accepted:

Pain Exhibit


This piece speaks to what feels like my daily meals. I take many medications each and every day to manage my pain and my mental health. This “meal” includes the four “food” groups – medications for: pain, inflammation, anxiety and depression


Pain Exhibit

Zentangled Spine

I have strong feelings of hate towards my body. Especially my back. It brings so much pain. But in this moment I tried to think of it as beautiful and this is the image I created. (I’ve zentangled other “parts” as well you can check them out here.)

I hope you’ll take the time to check out their website and online galleries. Lot’s of incredibly inspirational art there.

I use art as an outlet for my pain and emotions. Have you ever tried a creative form to express yourself? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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My Bag of Tricks: Self-Care Must Haves

self care


One of the many things I learned while at the hospital was the importance of self-care. We were encouraged from the very beginning of our stay to establish a self- care routine. But what is self-care?

When I’m overcome with anxiety I  use something called grounding techniques. These are ways that I bring myself back into the moment so that I can find calm again. Grounding is a big part of self-care. It’s also a big part of maintaining good mental health.

In order to take care of myself during anxious times I’ve put together a list of things that I find helpful.  Maybe you’ll find this list helpful too.

Here’s what’s in my bag of tricks:

1. Rocks- I find rocks grounding. The colours, their texture, their weight. I always carry a couple of them with me.


2.  Ice Packs- Ice packs work the best for me when it comes to grounding. It’s like they snap me out of a bad dream.

self-care3. Colouring- I’ve always loved to colour so when the adult colouring craze began I hopped right on board. I wrote a post about it here.


4. The Alphabet- I know sounds silly, but it takes some time to say the alphabet backwards. Sometimes its all I need to refocus.


5.  Lavender -The scent of lavender relaxes me. I like to put it in a diffuser, use a a few drops in my bath or even smell it right from the vial.


6. Wedding Ring- My wedding ring reminds me that I am loved.  It reminds me that I am not alone and that I am safe. It’s a great grounding item because I always have it on.



7. Music- I love making playlists.


The playlist I use for grounding is below.

  1. All of the Stars by Ed Sheeran
  2. Annies Song by John Denver
  3. Ava’s Song by Adrian Raso
  4. Better Be Home Soon by Crowded House
  5. Brake by Melissa McClelland
  6. Cowboy Take Me Away by The Dixie Chicks
  7. Everything Has Changed by Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran
  8. Falling Slowly by Once Soundtrack
  9. Ghosttown by Madonna
  10. Gravity by Sara Bareilles
  11. Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen
  12. Harvest Moon by Neil Young
  13. It Aint Me Babe by Jesse Cook
  14. Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson
  15. Let Go by Frou Frou
  16. Looking Back by Adrian Raso
  17. My Mind is Clear by David Young
  18. Take it Easy by Jetta

What songs ease your state of mind?

It took me a while to figure out what would work and what didn’t, but now all of the items on this list help me daily.

What do you have in your bag of tricks? Let me know in the comments!

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Is There Such A Thing As A Therapy Cat?

Therapy Cat

    Is there such a thing as a therapy cat? I’d like to think so.  I’d like to introduce you to Fiona. The latest addition to our family and my newest sidekick. She’s 12 weeks old, adorable, and of course a bit of a handful.

   We thought long and hard about adding a pet to our family. It was hard losing our dog Blue last year. I still miss him every day. I miss having company, especially now that I am not working, I spend so much time on my own. We did think about a dog, even looked into the possibility of getting a trained dog for PTSD. However, the care a dog requires was going to be too much for me. On bad pain days getting out for a walk isn’t always possible. Although there aren’t therapy cats, a cat can be a little more independent. And so we brought Fiona home yesterday.  Aside from having company I’m looking forward to looking after her, playing with her and watching her grow.  I’ve read that pets can be healing for mental illness. I think that she’ll be good for me.

Do you have a pet? How have they impacted your life?

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A New Skill and Distraction

For the past few months I’ve been uninspired. Dealing with my illnesses has taken over my life and it has felt like I’m merely existing day to day instead of really living.  You know that feeling of facing the same, day in and day out. For some people it’s the job they face daily only to be too exhausted to doing anything productive at night. For me it’s pain and appointments, pain and appointments.

A month or so ago, I decided that things just had to change. I wanted to learn something new. I needed a distraction, something to keep my mind busy.  My aunt had taught herself to crochet  just before Christmas so I enlisted her help to learn how.  And I haven’t stopped since.  It has become my new distraction, but not only that, it’s a true exercise in mindfulness. I get lost in the stitches, the repetition, and definitely the concentration that’s needed. I can’t think of anything else while stitching, as any project I’m working on takes my full attention, and there has been such freedom in that.  For a little while I’m not thinking about how much pain I’m in, or how much more might be on the way.  I feel like I have some control over my own life experience even if it’s short lived. (my new change purse is below)

Crochet inspirationI’m still in pain, but I can still create, I can still be inspired, I can still be productive in my own small way. I’ve learned a new skill and found a new distraction.

Have you learned anything new lately? What have you always wanted to try?

Here’s the pattern for the change purse: http://www.oneartsymama.com/2014/12/simple-crochet-pouch.html


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