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Posts tagged ‘fibromyalgia’

The Evolution of A Balancing Act Life Coaching

When I started the blog: Just Breathe- Slow Deep Breaths in February 2012, my goal was to use the blog as a venue to share the insights that I gained during my healing journey .  During that process, I realized that even though it is unlikely that my physical symptoms will completely diminish I still had control over my emotional self.  One of the tougher things that I learned was that my mind was still  filled with knowledge and it was constantly nudging me  to share that knowledge with others just like I did prior to having a chronic condition.  This caused a tremendous emotional struggle.


To illustrate what I mean –  picture a seasoned ballerina who starts to do a beautiful leap across the stage, only to be thwarted mid-air, feeling as if she were running into a brick wall.  She continued to practice the leap over & over again  but the result was always the same.  Feeling frustrated and full of bruises,  the ballerina suddenly realizes that maybe her days of leaping across the stage  have ended or at least put off for a bit.  Sadly, she leaves the stage feeling hopeless, and thinking that her life is over.  After a brief period of self- indulgence, the ballerina realizes she has 2 choices:

  • one (the easiest), is to continue her current behavior – staying in  bed all day  with the remote control until her body becomes so weak & tired that she can barely walk, let alone leap or
  • two (the harder, but better choice) is to spend her days   focusing on what she can do both physically and emotionally to live the best life possible.  Most importantly, she needs to be patient by not to expecting things to change overnight – it will take time, but it can happen!

I used the metaphor about the ballerina because I have always loved to dance.  I often tell myself that I will know I am better when I can dance, any kind of dance except maybe  for ballet – I gave up the ballerina dream long ago!   Anyways, I have come a long way emotionally since being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2007 and winning the battle against breast cancer in 2010.  It wasn’t easy – especially during the time I was still working as an Instructor at a technical college.  Everyday was a struggle.  I felt like in order to fulfill my duties I had to work every waking hour.  There were more days than not that I drove home with tears running down my face.  I loved my job and I was pretty good at it if I do say so myself.  I  always felt that I would still be working long after retirement age – that’s how much I loved my job!  Unfortunately, after a year off on a sick leave I accepted the fact that it was time for me to retire (at age 55) .  Retiring early was bittersweet.  It was hard to end a great career, yet it was a relief not to have to  push myself  to tears.

Fortunately for me, my skills and talents did not need to be showcased on a stage like a ballerina’s, (although teaching can be like being on stage).  I have accomplished a lot throughout my career.  I have amassed a great deal of knowledge & skills.   The problem is that I could  no longer showcase my attributes  in the manner I was accustomed to. I needed a different venue to use and share what I have learned.   A venue that would work with my physical limitations rather than against them. The blog has helped me to accomplish this.  I have learned a lot in the process.  it has allowed be to share my insights and gave me the chance to hone my writing  skills – something I have wanted to do for a long time. Writing for the blog has been very cathartic for me, but I still needed more. I needed to feel needed.

This past year,  I was given the opportunity of working with two different coaches who offered complimentary coaching sessions  After working with them I realized that Life Coaching was a career that I would love and could manage despite my physical limitations.  It took me a while to find a school to get my life coach training, but it wasn’t because there is a shortage of colleges.  The problem was that  the programs are not designed for people with chronic pain and fatigue.   It was frustrating for me to learn that many of the training programs were either conducted  as  monthly marathon sessions (F, Sat,Su) or were offered only in the evening.  You may be asking yourself – why is that an issue?  It is an issue because I would consider myself lucky if I could sit through one full day of class  without exacerbating my symptoms and because I  avoid night driving as my ability to focus wanes as the day progresses due to chronic fatigue. With alot of patience and persistence, I eventually  found a program that is perfect for my needs http://www.coachtrainingalliance.com/  – the classes are all taught over the phone!  I didn’t have to go anywhere &  I wouldn’t have to sit for  long periods of time .

In my capacity as a Life CoachI am able to conduct my coaching sessions by phone.  Being my own boss will allow me to take care of my health by working only a few hours a week and only a couple of hours at a time.  This is so important because it’s  difficult for me and most people with chronic pain  to commit to an employer.  We can’t predict how much pain, fatigue or other symptoms  will influence our performance.  Unfortunately, people with chronic illness often get fired because of poor performance and/or  excessive sick days.

I am excited to embark on this new chapter in my life.  It is even more exciting to be able to share with my readers. To learn more about A Balancing Act Life Coaching  – visit my chronic condiiton blog  @  www,justbreatheslowdeepbreathes.com  and don’t forget to like ABA on facebook.


Why I Chose Life Coaching

I had been off of work on a sick leave for a year when I realized that I would no longer be able to handle the rigors of my position as an adult educator. I felt a lot of remorse about having to resign from a coveted position. I always felt that I would work for as long as physically possible even if I worked until I was 100, (okay, maybe not until 100), but here I am at 55. At 55, I not only was leaving my current job but I felt doubtful that I would be able work again. So, I took early retirement. I thought to myself: ok, I’m retired, with health problems -now what?

Fortunately I had spent the year of my medical leave wisely. I began journaling, reading daily reflections and practicing meditation and guided imagery. I took advantage of the area resources for healing by attending free classes for people with chronic illness, participating in support groups, yoga, and warm water exercise classes. I had the opportunity to sample complimentary healing techniques such as energy healing and dream work. Additionally I had some sessions with a life coach.

  • The time spent during that year was well spent. I realized:
  • That looking back is not helpful, talking about what I “used to” be able do is counterproductive.
  • My time would be better spent focusing on learning how to live as I am now.
  • The importance of living in the present moment/practice mindfulness.
  • How essential it is to listen to my body so as not to overdo and
  • Most importantly the value creating a balanced life.

These life lessons have made a big difference in my life. For someone with a chronic illness, balance is essential. In the beginning I wanted to try everything, which I did, but doing everything increased my fatigue. Once I made the decision to alternate activities to allow for rest time, my days became much more productive- even if the day was spent resting up for the next day’s activities.

I have learned so much these past two years as well as throughout my career. Sharing what I have learned is so important to me, but the health challenges I experience put limitations on what I can actually handle physically. It took a lot of soul searching and research but eventually I came up with three ways that I can use the skills I have always had (see my bio) and combine them the life lessons I have learned.

The first venue I used to illustrate what I have learned on my wellness journey was the internet – I started a blog about some of the life lessons I have learned. You can access the blog through the links section on this site.

Secondly, after participating in various support groups I decided to undergo training in support group facilitation. This training is still in progress. Once this training is completed my goal is to offer small group coaching sessions. Stay tuned for details.

And lastly, if you haven’t already figured it out, I decided to become a Life Coach. The sessions in which I worked with Life Coaches were very beneficial for two reasons: they helped me get to the core of what goals I needed to set for myself and two, they held me accountable so that I would eventually reach my goals. These coaching sessions made me realize that coaching was exactly the venue in which I could, in fact, use the knowledge and skills I already have and combine them with the new information and skills I have recently acquired. It was the perfect match!

It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” Lena Horne

for Lori’s Professional bio visit: http://lorikatz.efoliomn.com/

A New Venture

New Venture

Living with a chronic illness is always a challenge.  For me, it meant leaving a career that I loved and  retiring at age 55.  I never wanted to retire – thinking I would work forever.  Since then I have been searching for a purpose, or a job that I could do where I didn’t have to worry about  being fired when  I had to call in sick frequently because of a flare-up or a sleepless night or  a job where I would only have to work 1-2 hours at a time and those hours have to be during my “best” times of the day. My first endeavor was starting this blog. Which I enjoy,  but what else can I do?

I decided to learn the art of Life Coaching. I was excited about making this decision, but disappointment set in when it seemed that my options for schooling were not tailored to someone with Fibromyalgia.  The initial programs i researched  were either taught at night ( I am not alert enough at night to drive let alone stay awake) or as marathon 3 day weekend sessions once a month ( I’d be lucky if i made it past the first couple of hours.)  Then I discovered that I could receive the training  once a week over the telephone.

This  is program and profession are a  perfect match for me.  Once I complete the course I can be my own boss and work with clients by phone.  I will be able limit my hours so as not to cause flare-ups of my Fibro.  It meets all of my criteria. for a part-time career that I can be passionate.

Related Article:  http://roots2blossom.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/could-my-life-be-too-boring-for-me/#comment-1337

Energy and Emotion

Part 1 – Energy

Energy: a word I’ve heard many times throughout my wellness journey.  Energy comes in many forms; there is energy that is within us, energy that is around us, personal energy, good energy or bad energy.  Merriam Webster defines energy as “a usually positive spiritual force.”  
Energy doesn’t come easily to those of us who suffer with chronic pain, fatigue and a variety of other symptoms.   We need to harvest every ounce of energy possible and use it carefully.  This takes time, patience and awareness.    Here are some tips to help you gain an understanding own of how you could determine ways to maximize your energy.

  • Determine how your body clock works. 
    • What time of day are you most alert and focused?
    • What time of day are you the most tired are and less focused?
    • Are you a “day person” or a “night person?”
  • Schedule tasks, appointment and etc.  for the time of day when you are most alert.
    • If you have important paper work or appointments to handle, scheduling them for a time when you are at your best is a good time saving.   Being tired and unable to focus can make an otherwise easy task seem difficult.
    • If driving is affected by your “body clock,”   take that into consideration when scheduling appointments.  Your safety & the safety of others could be at risk, if you are unable to give full attention to your driving. Get plenty of rest.
    • If possible, go to bed at the same time every night. 
    • If you have problems sleeping, be sure to allow some time in the morning to get some extra sleep
  • Be flexible when planning your daily activities.  
    • Make friends and loved know that you love to spend time with them, but you may need to reschedule if you are not feeling well.
    • If you are invited to something that is scheduled at a time that doesn’t work well with your body clock – plan ahead by resting or napping before the event.
    • Do not schedule too many activities in a day.  Doing too much may cause a setback that could affect you for a couple of days.


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From the Fog

One man's journey through life dealing with Fibromyalgia.

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