5 Things I Can't Live Without - Life with Chronic Illness

If you follow me on Twitter or have read my past health diary posts, you'll know I have a Chronic Illness called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. The condition (of which there is more than 1 type) causes extreme joint pain, chronic fatigue and is often linked with many other health conditions and complications. Although my condition cannot be cured, there are aids that help with everyday life that I now just simply couldn't live without. I thought it would be great to share my tips with other Chronic Illness warriors or anyone struggling with their health.

TENS Machine A TENS machine is a small electronic device which emits electrical impulses through electrodes and into the body. It works by sending pulses along the nerve strands which help prevent pain signals reaching the brain. You're likely to experience a tingly sensation which can feel strange for first time, newbie users.

I use a TENS machine regularly on my back, shoulders and lower abdomen and it really helps to lessen muscle pain around the joints and ease period cramping. You're able to adjust the machine from 1 to 10 depending on your level of pain. The machine I purchased has variable pulse rates and pulse widths so you're able to adjust to your specific needs. Most come with different modes including constant & modulation which gives you even more control. The machine can be clipped to your clothing and worn throughout the day, under clothes discreetly. I rely on my TENS so much as it helps keep me away from taking prescribed painkillers everyday. I purchased mine here.

Electric Heat Pad Heat helps ease my joint pain more than anything else and before I discovered heat pads, I was getting fed up of having to refill a hot water bottle every 15 minutes. A heat pad presents the same comfort and warmth of a hot water bottle with the benefit of lasting heat. They're usually rectangle in shape although there are others on the market targeted to specific areas of the body. Often quilted, they are super comfortable to hold close, lay on or wrap around you. 

I've worked my way through a couple of brands over the last couple of years and because of the great amount of use, they last no longer than 2/3 months.

I'm currently using this Heat Pad and I love how comfortable the outer fleece cover is. The control panel is large in size making it incredibly user friendly for anyone who suffers finger joint pain or Arthritis. I honestly cannot recommend Heat Pads enough, they are magical!

Tisserand Aromatherapy Roller Balls I received a set of roller balls as a gift last Christmas and I've made good use of them in the last 6 months. I received De-Stress, Pause and Harmony. As the names suggest, they all have a unique blend that is suited to the bodies specific "need". Due to anxiety and joint pain, I often find it difficult to fall asleep and the De-Stress blend helps me to relax and to forget about the days woes. I apply this to my temples, wrists and behind my ears just before going to bed.

Tisserand have many other blends on the market, you won't struggle to find a blend that suits your needs.

Magnesium Bath Flakes It's no secret that over 90% of us have some sort of Magnesium deficiency and a quick online search will show you the many symptoms related to low levels. It's crazy to think that one mineral can affect the body in so many ways. As someone who lives with Chronic Illness, Magnesium plays a big part in my life and basically, keeps me going. I add a handful of flakes with a few drops of essential oils (whatever I fancy!) to a hot bath and relax. For me, it works wonders with joint pain, chronic fatigue and headaches. You can buy flakes from most online health shops and if you're quick, you can sometimes pick them up in TK Maxx for a really reasonable price.

Memory Foam Pillow This may be an obvious one but I'm still going to shout about it. Neck and back pain is a real struggle for me when I'm trying to fall asleep. I often found myself waking up with an incredibly stiff neck, unable to move freely which then caused tension headaches. Since I switched over to a memory foam pillow, I've seen a significant improvement and I feel a lot more supported. I think sometimes we get "attached" to our old, limp pillows but the reality is, they offer little or no support to our neck and shoulders. Nowadays, memory foam is a lot more affordable and I picked mine up from Matalan for a very reasonable price. It's time to let go of that old pillow!

I would love to hear what works for you, please leave a comment below!

Laidbare Skincare Review

Subscribing to a monthly Cruelty Free beauty box means I get to try out a variety of products and brands. I have been subscribed to the Love Lula beauty box for around a year and during this time, I have discovered so many lovely products. You often see the same brands popping up and that's great if you enjoyed one of their products from a previous box. These Laidbare products were all from the Love Lula box over the last year and I've saved these to write an honest review.

I've never been a massive fan of facial toner's but I couldn't praise this 2 in 1 enough. On a full coverage make-up day, I use the Kat Von D Tattoo Lock-It Foundation and if you have worn this foundation, you'll know the staying power of it and that includes trying to wash it off! This gel formula cuts through the foundation and you're instantly able to wipe it away. I love the juicy subtle apple scent. You really don't need a lot of product so I imagine this tube will last a good while. I use this once a day and finish off with a facial moisturiser. I will certainly be repurchasing once this runs out.

This product contains Brazil Nut Extract so if you have a nut allergy, please bare this in mind. 

I'm a big fan of face masks and for me, it's the ultimate treat and a great way to relax. This mask is definitely more gentle than others I've used. It's creamy, soft consistency glides onto the face and neck with ease. It has a natural, gentle exfoliant which I think is the Japanese Seaweed. As for pore minimisation, I haven't really noticed a difference. I have very large pores and I prefer a harder exfoliation for this area. Although the mask says it suits Oily/Combo skin, it's great for dry skin as well as it's so moisturising. This is a good everyday, gentle face mask to help replenish moisture.

This product contains Palm Oil, see my thoughts below.

As a Chronic Illness sufferer, I often have sleepless nights and the dark eye circles to go with it. I have sensitive under eyes and in the past, certain eye creams have stung and caused redness. This eye cream is gentle and soaks in quickly, offering intense moisture. The magic ingredient, Buckwheat is known to help reduce puffiness and lighten dark circles. I dab a small amount underneath my eyes and towards the corners every night and it really does help to diminish the dark circles.

Please note this product contains Palm Oil, see my thoughts below.

Sadly, as the Eye Cream and Face Mask both contain Palm Oil (which is a massive shame), I will not be repurchasing as I'm starting to reduce the use of Palm Oil in my home. Unfortunately it's used widely in food and beauty products so it can be very difficult to completely cut it out of our lives. This shouldn't and isn't meant to discourage you, every small change helps and I hope by making these changes that unethical Palm Oil will one day be a thing of the past.

I'd love to hear you thoughts on the products I've reviewed and your views on Palm Oil. Please leave a comment below.