I need more spoons!

This morning I am looking for tips from those of you who know what it means to not have enough spoons! I’m feeling a bit short of them this morning, and I’m interested in how others re-stock the spoon pile. Yoga and meditation always help, and sometimes I just need to sleep, or to curl up with a good book and several cups of tea, and just be on my own. As an introvert I know that my me time is not something I can do without, and often this is how I build up energy levels.

But there are also times when I think more spoons can come from actually doing something. It can feel counterintuitive, when energy levels are already low, but sometimes getting out in the fresh air and doing some gentle exercise can help rather than deplete me further.

It feels like today might be one of those days, so I’m about to go out for a short walk. It’s a fine line, and I’ve got to remember not to push myself too far, but I’m hoping that it’ll help me have a good day. As well as the things I’ve already mentioned, other things that can help include listening to music, dark chocolate, pet therapy with George, connecting with friends and family, a long soak in the bath, relaxing herbal tea, journaling…..and other things I’ve probably forgotten!

What do you find helps when you’re a bit low on spoons? Would love to hear what works for others!spoons-colorful-plastic-color-39076.jpeg


Turn down the volume


We live in such a  busy, noisy, switched on world, with so many things competing for our attention. I live in a beautiful part of the world, in the Devon countryside, but wherever we are it’s important to find opportunities to slow down and switch off. This quote from the wonderful Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us why:

Silence is essential. We need silence just as much as we need air, just as much as plants need light. If our minds are crowded with words and thoughts, there is no space for us.’



‘Don’t lose that childhood sense of wonder.’

pexels-photo-293029.jpegI haven’t blogged for ages, not because I haven’t wanted to, but lots of other things are occupying my time: sorting things out in my lovely new home; teaching yoga in my new studio – all my regulars have started again, and I’ve had seven new students in the last few weeks too :), and writing essays and case studies for my yoga course. I keep on planning to write something for the blog, and then other things take up too much energy. (I follow some amazing MS/chronic illness blogs, and am not sure how you find so much energy to write such good posts!)

However, I do want to carry on, so have decided to do at least one post a week, and to keep them short. (Am also going to try to write in the mornings before I run out of spoons!) On the days when I don’t have too much time or energy to write more, I’ll simply share a quote that has resonated with me. Today’s is from Headspace (I’d recommend it for some fantastic mindfulness meditations), and it seemed very relevant for the snow week we’ve just had:

‘Don’t lose that childhood sense of wonder; notice it wherever you can.’

It also reminded me of a lovely comment from @alisonbattye when she read my post about resolutions. She said she would add ‘play’ to my list which makes perfect sense, and was a good reminder that even when I have lots to do, and MS is playing up, that a lighthearted approach is good medicine.

So whatever you’re doing today, try to take some time to play, whatever that might mean for you, and look at the world through the eyes of a child 🙂




The Yin and Yang of resolutions

I haven’t written anything for a few weeks, mainly because I moved house just before Christmas, so things have been just a little bit busy. Pleased to say that I am feeling settled in my new home and am now enjoying settling back into healthy routines post-Christmas, New Year and my birthday.

Things are really good right now, in all areas of my life, and so when I was thinking about New Year’s resolutions, I started to reflect not on what I would like to change or do differently, but on what I would like to continue; things I already have which I would like to cultivate and develop. I then read a really interesting article in a yoga journal about the yin and yang nature of resolutions.

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Photo by Alex on Unsplash

The article explains how New Year’s resolutions are yang in nature – about changing something about yourself or your life, and come from the ‘…unspoken assumption that the way we are right now is not good enough…’, that something needs fixing. In the society we live in, we are constantly encouraged to change – jobs, relationships, moving to another area, the products that we buy, what we eat and drink. And yet we keep making the same resolutions and not sticking to them and then blaming ourselves; until we see the next ‘answer’, set another resolution, break it, and repeat ad infinitum.


Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Of course there are times when these yang resolutions are appropriate, but they can also just end up making us feel bad about ourselves, so the yang needs to be balanced by yin, a different energy and in relation to resolutions, we could ask ourselves what can we simply accept and not try to change?


Photo by Anastasia Taioglou on Unsplash

We need both yin and yang energies at different times and in different situations, but reading this article came just at the right time for me. Patanjali’s Yamas and Niyamas also remind us of this with Santosha, or contentment.

It’s not that there won’t be things I’ll want to change or do differently through the year (I expect ‘eat less chocolate’ will be something I decide I need to do at some point!), but so far the first few days of January haven’t been about change, but rather accepting and appreciating things as they are.

Hoping that the new year has started well for you, and I’d love to hear of any resolutions or intentions which are more yin than yang! x





Reflections and moving forward


Three years ago today I was lying in a hospital bed having just been told that I had multiple sclerosis. I was in shock; I’d just thought I was tired and stressed.  I hadn’t made the connection between the random symptoms I’d been experiencing for years, and a serious incurable neurological disease. Since then,  life has been a roller coaster of ups and downs, and I can’t pretend that sometimes it’s anything but shit: the pain, fatigue and numerous other daily symptoms, having to cancel plans yet again, not having the energy of my peers, having to stop working,  feeling so run down most of the time…. If I let myself, I could go on and on with this list of negatives, but one of the things I’m understanding more and more is how this can easily bring me down further still, and that a more positive (but still realistic) attitude has a huge impact on how I feel, how my day goes, and my relationships with those around me.

So even though I think it’s important to be realistic, I also think that grumbling and moaning don’t do us much good, whether that’s out loud or just our internal monologue.

Perhaps coincidentally, yesterday I started reading the meditation chapter of Prof George Jelinek’s Overcoming MS, and it felt like such good timing as I reflect back on the last 3 years, how much life has changed and how I want to move forward from here. Two words from what I’ve read so far really stuck out and are making a difference to me already: Empowerment and Hope. 



Photo by sydney zentz on Unsplash

I don’t think I’d heard the word empowerment before in the context of health. Professor Jelinek explains that:

‘…empowerment really means becoming the captain of one’s own ship. It means that, through our own efforts, actions and changes, we not only get back a sense of controlling our own health destiny, but also see tangible improvements in our health as a result of our actions.’

I’ll be honest, ‘controlling our own health destiny’ seems to go a little too far for me, but I do understand the underlying message: be proactive rather than sitting back and giving all responsibility to your doctors. The book mentions the following ways in which we can do this:

  • What to eat and drink
  • How much exercise to do
  • How much sun exposure to get (and vitamin D)
  • Eliminating risk factors such as smoking
  • Being actively involved in stress reduction
  • Deciding whether or not to take medication

‘People who are proactive in their health achieve better outcomes than those taking a more passive approach.’



Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The book goes on to describe how this empowerment ‘reinforces a person’s hope for the future, and having greater hope is thought to improve one’s ability to adjust or cope with MS.’

 ‘Hope has an important protective effect for the health of people with MS.’

I think this refers to how we deal with stress, and that an empowered and hopeful perspective can place us in a stronger position to deal resiliently with stressful events. Anyone who knows anything about MS knows how much stress affects it and so building resilience can only be a good thing (and as those of you who read my last post will know, I have a house move coming up in three weeks’ time, so this is very relevant right now!).

Today on my 3 year anniversary, it feels like I am moving turning another corner with how I am living with my illness.  I expect there will be lots more to come, and more ups and downs on the roller coaster. Of course I’ll let things get on top of me some times and feel fed up, but whatever happens, however many bad days I have, I want to continue building my resilience, learning about MS, about myself and how I can continue to make a positive difference. I have brainstormed a few of the things which I find helpful, and would love to hear of different ideas which work for you. The more things in the toolkit the better!

What brings me a sense of empowerment and hope?

  • Friends and family who are there for me no matter what xxx
  • Having a fab GP who always takes the time to listen. I feel very understood by her, and it always feels like she is on my side
  • Being careful with what I eat and drink; reading up about MS and diet, and then making my own choices based on this and the Sattvic diet which yoga teaches us about
  • Exercise: as some of you know, I have been trying to increase my walking –  I did 27 minutes today! Increase from the 10 which had become my normal walk up until a few weeks ago 🙂
  • Yoga: I practise every day, and usually teach 5 times a week. Both help on lots of levels, physical, mental and spiritual, and teaching gives me that sense of making a difference which I mentioned earlier
  • Meditation: my own practice usually in the morning helps me start the day positively, and I also use the popular mindfulness meditations from Headspace which I love.

What else would you add to this list? x

Featured image: photo by Jeremy Vessey on Unsplash

A feline guide to moving house (and staying sane!) 


Written by George 😉

Cats are very observant creatures, and over the last couple of weeks at home, things have definitely been going on! Angela (or mum as I call her, as she is a bit of a mad cat woman!) has started leaving boxes of things in random places (they’re often in my way, but also good for exploring!), piles of recycling (ditto!), and stacks of paper on the kitchen table which are apparently too important for me to sleep on (but she knows I love lying on top of paper!)

….but anyway, I’ve put my detective hat on (luckily she didn’t have her camera at the ready!), and I have worked it out: I think we are about to move house AGAIN (that’s five times in five years, for goodness sake!) And I’ve heard that it’s only three weeks to go until moving date (hope she’s already bought my Christmas presents!)

I feel so at home here in the barn we’ve been in for the last 18 months; I love it (especially the mice!) and I’ll be sad to leave. However, she keeps telling me that I’m going to love the new house and new garden, so I am secretly just a little bit excited. But I also know that moving house is stressful for everyone, even before you take an illness like MS into account, and the last thing I want is for my mum to overdo it and trigger another relapse. Even the doctor at the hospital warned her about this (and as well as the risk of  a relapse, she can be a bit grumpy if she does too much!)  😉

So I’ve put together this simple feline perspective on moving house and staying sane. Hope you enjoy it!

  1. Accept help from others; you don’t have to do it all yourself, and lots of lovely family and friends have offered to help with packing, moving furniture, cleaning xx
What do you mean, this isn’t helping?
I’ll be in charge of making sure we don’t forget the Dreamies!



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That’s enough emailing…..solicitors and estate agents can wait!

2. Keep having breaks rather than trying to do too much in one go. She’s not a big TV fan, but sometimes it’s good just to watch something and switch off, so we’ve a watch list of TV shows lined up (nothing too serious, so she doesn’t have to really concentrate!)



3. Keep stopping to put the kettle on and make tea!

Thanks, I’ll have mine with milk! And I mean proper dairy cow’s milk, none of this vegan stuff you drink! 😉


4. Keep yoga-ing! Tune into your body and mind; stay grounded, focused; release tension, feel energised..…just a few of the benefits of rolling out the mat (and just ignore those cat hairs!)

Happycatsavasana! 🙂

5. Get some fresh air! The rest of the packing can wait, the boxes will still be here when you get back! (She’s always in such a better mood when she’s been out, even the days when she thinks she’s too tired or too ill)



6. Write lists and have them all in one place so that when new things pop into your mind you can jot them down straight away and not worry about forgetting them (just don’t lose the notebook!)



  1. Even though you’ve got lots to do, it’s still ok to go back to bed if you need to! Got to keep replenishing those spoons! 


  1. Even when it feels like too much, just chill; keep looking forward and trusting that everything will be ok!

just chill


  1. Don’t worry about me, I’m already packed and ready to go!

bags packed


  1. Even though I love it here, I just know I’m going to be just as content in our new home (there will be mice, won’t there?!)
Hang on a sec, we did remember to pack the biscuits, didn’t we? And the tins of fish? And the Dreamies? And my favourite blanket?!

What would you add to George’s moving house survival guide?! It can be stressful for anyone at any time of year, so please share anything that has helped you! x

This photo was taken before we moved house last time; I told you it would be ok, didn’t I?!

Exercise update

Just a quick update following on from my previous posts about exercise and health, in particular MS. One of the ways my MS affects me is that my legs hurt all the time; it feels like someone is pressing against them and so it take a lot of effort and energy to walk, especially in busy places. My walking has been quite slow and only for short distances, usually just 10 minutes, but since reading the exercise chapter in Professor Jelinek’s Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis, I set myself the target of walking further, and also to try to raise my heart rate. It’s going really well so far; my Fitbit stats for the last few days say it all 🙂