Posted in Blog posts, COVID-19, Educational, Fibromyalgia, Getting social, Guest Speaker, Sharing Circle, Social events, ZOOM

I went to a #Zoom meeting and this happened…

Is it really July 2020?!?
“Time flies like an arrow,
fruit flies like a banana.”
~Groucho Marx

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES/EVENTS:

We’re staying connected, we’re just doing it virtually instead of in person. We hope current members will keep in touch.
Reach out.
Stay connected.
Take part in our FREE online activities (you don’t even need to change out of your PJs,just relax, enjoy, eat, drink, be merry!).

“Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone.
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.”

~Adam Lindsay Gordon

Monday July 13th, 2020 at 7pm ET and Monday July 27th, 2020 7pm ET on ZOOM! – Free Caregivers Support Group for those who love and/or care for those with chronic illness. Rick, our facilitator is a loved one/caregiver of a group member and understands. Completely confidential and no members of Fibromyalgia London Group will be in the free Zoom meeting and it’s not recorded. Register so we can send you the free Zoom link (you don’t need a ZOOM account, we have one): Email: fmgroup.london@gmail.com ~ or Tel: 519-453-3198 ~Read, Enjoy, Learn, Share on Social Media —— Website: www.fibrolondongroup.ca Please also find us and share us (Fibromyalgia London Group) @fmlondongroup on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

TUESDAY TRIVIA TIME! Tuesday July 14th, 2020 11am ET and Tuesday July 28th, 2020 at 11am ET! Join us on Zoom (free!) for laughter, trivia questions (and even some answers), bring (virtually) your own trivia questions and/or answers ours, prizes (porch delivery or pick-up, contactless) and more! Join in the fun. Please Register via Email: fmgroup.london@gmail.com ~ or Tel: 519-453-3198 ~Read, Enjoy, Learn, Share on Social Media —- Visit our Website: www.fibrolondongroup.ca for more information (it’s always changing to help you. Please also find us and share us (Fibromyalgia London Group) @fmlondongroup on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Remember to register for EACH FREE Zoom meeting/event/activity at: fmgroup.london@gmail.com or darcyyada@gmail.com We’ll send you a free and safe link and other information about Zoom and the meetings . You do NOT have to have a Zoom account to be a participant, FLG has the account. This is a user-friendly platform.

NEW!!! FREE!!! “All Abilities Tai Chi”, on ZOOM!!! Offered weekly Wednesday July 15th, 2020 1pm ET; July 22nd, 2020 at 1pm ET and July 29th, 2020 1pm ET). Instructor Susan Katz will teach this slow and gentle online exercise activity, for sitting, standing and/or reclining participation. The classes emphasize body and energy levels awareness and pacing skills, as well as gentle movement exercises.  **Participants will be required to fill in and sign a waiver and submit it back via email (scans acceptable) or mail, prior to receiving the ZOOM link, and before joining their first class.  Use the dropdown menu in your pdf viewer to create your own signature to add–no printing needed!**

About Instructor Susan Katz: Sifu Susan Katz has studied and taught Traditional Chinese Exercise, Internal Martial Arts and Philosophy since 1980 and was presented with her Instructors Certificate from the Southern Tai Chi Chu’an Society in 1984. Susan has taught Tai Chi Chu’an and Chi Kung for people with MS at the Coquitlam Chimo Achievement Group, at the Vancouver Kensington Hospital long-term care home, at the Coquitlam Dogwood Pavilion Seniors Centre, as well as Simon Fraser University and various recreational facilities. Her teachers include: Sifu Lou Crockett, Master Alejandro Wang, Grand Master Raymond Cheung, and Dr. Titus Yu. Susan lives in Toronto and has ME/CFS. Practicing Tai Chi is an essential part of her wellness routine.

Register so we can send you the free Zoom link (you don’t need a ZOOM account, we have one): Email: fmgroup.london@gmail.com ~ or Tel: 519-453-3198 ~ Read, Enjoy, Learn, Share on Social Media —— Website: www.fibrolondongroup.ca Please also find us and share us (Fibromyalgia London Group) @fmlondongroup on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Please consult with your physician before starting any new exercise regime.

Thursday July 16th, 2020 at 11am ET and July 30th, 2020 at 11am ET are Sharing Circle Sessions free (all are welcome!) on ZOOM! Listen, Share. Talk. Ask. Tell. Inform. Be informed. No topic is off-limits as long as everyone treats each other with respect. 🙂 And remember, what happens in the virtual sharing circle stays in the virtual sharing circle. Register so we can send you the free Zoom link (you don’t need a ZOOM account, we have one): Email: fmgroup.london@gmail.com ~ or Tel: 519-453-3198 ~ Read, Enjoy, Learn, Share on Social Media —— Website: www.fibrolondongroup.ca Please also find us and share us (Fibromyalgia London Group) @fmlondongroup on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

NEW!!! FREE!!! “Gentle Yoga with Breath Work and Meditation” offered bi-weekly Friday July 17th, 2020 at 1pm ET, Friday July 31st, 2020 at 1pm ET. All for free!Come join Instructor Andrea Pearson who will be teaching an inclusive, online, bi-weekly gentle yoga class, designed for those who suffer from chronic pain and fatigue. Classes will include breathing exercises and meditation and are great for anyone looking to improve stiffness, mobility, and living with a chronic illness or disability. Classes will focus on the rheumatoid yoga sequence which helps to maintain mobility in the joints and reduce toxins and inflammation within the body. Classes are suitable for all ages, genders and abilities. Postures can be modified to suit individual needs, so you can enjoy the class regardless if you are a complete beginner or seasoned yogi. Before joining the call, ensure you are in comfortable clothing, have somewhere comfortable to lay down during meditation (sofa, mat) and pillows and/or blanket if you need them. Hope to see you on the mat! About Instructor Andrea Pearson: Andrea is a fully qualified 300 hour Hatha Yoga Instructor. She first started her yoga journey 15 years ago after being diagnosed with Lupus, Fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Her yoga journey was slow at first but she quickly felt the healing powers this practice offered, and it became a part of her daily routine. Andrea decided to participate in a fully accredited yoga teacher training program to be able to deepen her practice and personal growth and learning. Since qualifying a little over two years ago, Andrea has taught yoga in a variety of venues from formal yoga studios, at chronic pain clinics, and corporate offices. Register so we can send you the free Zoom link (you don’t need a ZOOM account, we have one): Email: fmgroup.london@gmail.com ~ or Tel: 519-453-3198 ~ Read, Enjoy, Learn, Share on Social Media —— Website: www.fibrolondongroup.ca Please also find us and share us (Fibromyalgia London Group) @fmlondongroup on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Please consult with your physician before starting any new exercise regime.

Tuesday July 21st, 2020 11am ET on Zoom B2C2 (Brown Bag Chat Club). Join us to talk about anything and everything but mostly what distracts us from pain, helps with pain, etc.Recommend, discuss, learn about: movies, streaming, TV, books, ebooks, e-audio, pets, card games, computer games, video games, board games, crafts, gardening, Tai Chi/Qigong, knitting, YouTube, yoga, camping, TED Talks, podcasts, drawing, hobbies, writing, blogging, sewing, volunteering, music, fishing, hiking, painting, swimming, and more! Any questions? Contact Donna at: darcyyada@gmail.com Bringing your lunch is optional, fun is not! Please register so we can send you the free Zoom link (you don’t need a ZOOM account, we have one): Email: fmgroup.london@gmail.com ~ or Tel: 519-453-3198 ~ Read, Enjoy, Learn, Share on Social Media —— Website: www.fibrolondongroup.ca Please also find us and share us (Fibromyalgia London Group) @fmlondongroup on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Thursday July 23rd, 2020 at 11am ET is when KNIT HAPPENS! on ZOOM! Please join us for free therapeutic knitting (or crocheting, tatting, or any craft) w/ Jedi master knitter, Janice Sumpton, who has ingeniously found a way to teach knitting and help with knitting on ZOOM! The Force is strong is this one! It’s free and fun, fair warning, there is a lot of laughter, it could leave you in stitches… If you do not wish to participant in activities good for your heart, soul and mind, this is not for you! Don’t tie yourself in knots worrying, knit your cares away!Register so we can send you the free Zoom link (you don’t need a ZOOM account, we have one): Email: fmgroup.london@gmail.com ~ or Tel: 519-453-3198 ~ Read, Enjoy, Learn, Share on Social Media —— Website: www.fibrolondongroup.ca Please also find us and share us (Fibromyalgia London Group) @fmlondongroup on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Monday July 27th, 2020 11am ET – Soul to Soul Convo on Zoom where Fibromyalgia London Group members (members only at this time, if you wish to join, please contact us, $20 donation/year (or more if you wish to/can help our grassroots, volunteer-driven group); please note, we are not a registered charity at this time – we accept cheques, etransfers or cash at this time. We discuss spirituality, hope, love, peace, caring, change, religion, philosophy, meditation, mindfulness, motivation, courage, spiritual harmony, spiritual activism, kindness and so much more. So join us, Soul to Soulers, take a break from the chaos of the world, turn off your devices (except the device you’re using to access Zoom lol), turn off social media, the news, and tune into to your inner calm.

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PLEASE register for any or all activities so we can send you the free Zoom link (you don’t need an account, we have one): Email: fmgroup.london@gmail.com ~ or darcyyada@gmail.com ~ or Tel: 519-453-3198 ~ Also, please read, enjoy, learn, share on Social Media —— Website: www.fibrolondongroup.ca You can always find us and share us (Fibromyalgia London Group) @fmlondongroup on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Since the beginning of this historic pandemic, a lot of things have changed, especially with Fibromyalgia London Group,
but a lot has stayed the same.
Our commitment to our members.
Our commitment to staying connected.
Our commitment to being there for each other.
Our commitment to supporting ourselves by helping others.
None of that has changed.

Drum roll please!!! Missing yard/garage sales? Need some stuff…for FREE??? Our new Facebook group page, “Free For the Taking/Giving” https://www.facebook.com/groups/550486615667745/ !!! Everything for FREE (love love love that word, Free) for the taking or giving!!! Many of us have been decluttering, readjusting, rethinking during lockdown so here’s chance to give your gently-loved and/or new items a new home! Here’s how it works: I post an item (or items) I wish to “Gift”/donate, then you type back you want it, then we Private Message (PM) and arrange a contactless pickup. Easy peasy lemony squeezy! AND/OR you post an item (or items) you wish to “gift”/donate and myself or someone else says, “Yahoo! I’d love that!” and arrange contactless pickup/delivery and so on and so and so on… You can even ask/offer services like but not limited to: picking up groceries/household items if you know the person has mobility or transportation issues; cooking/delivering meals/baking; helping teach computers, Zoom, social media, smartphones, streaming services, devices or any kind, etc.; cutting grass/gardening; picking up city garbage tags, or seriously, whatever – use your heart and your imagination! Check it out https://www.facebook.com/groups/550486615667745/

Both our group and Zoom have taken extra precautions so we won’t be Zoombombed (just FYI, I hear a lot of people calling it “hacking”, it’s not really hacking, it’s obnoxious people getting hold of a meeting’s info and jumping in, kind of like “photobombing”; it’s silly, rude, immature, yes, but we’re doing everything we can to avoid it) and to date, out of all our Zoom activities, and there have been dozens, we’ve had zero problems, with that.So join us.
It’s safe.
It’s fun.
It’s helpful.
It’s here, for you, from Fibromyalgia London Group, for FREE!!!!
And you don’t even have to leave your house!!! If you have any questions, please email me (Donna Parker) at: darcyyada@gmail.com – I’m here to help (or at least try).
We have sooooooo many activities,
there must be something that interests you!!!

While all these activities have been free, so far (all activities are always free for members and a caregiver/supporter/loved one), we encourage those who have not YET signed up or renewed their FLG membership to do so now, please.It’s $20 (or more if you can/wish to further support our grassroots, volunteer-driven efforts)) goodwill donation per year/per person and a caregiver/support person!!! This includes everything (yes, everything) we offer – resources, support, help, as well as: any/all activities, meetings, guest speakers, events, well, everything!!!

Fibromyalgia London Group
(we also welcome anyone with CFS, ME, chronic pain and/or fatigue) is a extremely dedicated, active grassroots,
volunteer-driven chapter, always there for it’s members,
but we need help too…

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Not just help with a small goodwill donation, $20 or if you wish to/can, once a year (much appreciated!!! Thank you!),
but help w/ support, volunteering, ideas, connecting to resources/information, etc.
It’s much harder to concentrate on your pain, your fatigue, your worries, troubles, woes, etc. when you’re helping others. This is a group for those who want not just survive the trials and tribulations we face, but to thrive (with some help).

Help us help you!
Join our wonderful activities!!!
Join the group itself!!!

Others say they “get it”,
we actually “get it”.
Let’s be here for each other.

Thank you for your time, these having been trying times, let’s get through them together (apart but connected). Thanks again and hope this week treats you kindly. Stay Safe. Stay Home. Stay connected. Wash Your Hands. Stay in touch. And when in doubt, Zoom it out!!!

Posted in Blog posts, COVID-19, Educational, Fibromyalgia, Guest Speaker

A “Grounding Technique” to Decrease #Worry During These Uncertain Times

“A ‘grounding technique’ to decrease worry during these uncertain times” by guest blogger and Fibromyalgia London Group member, Dr. Rhonda Gilby, mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia, and clinical psychologist for over 30 years, helping people cope with the various problems that they are experiencing. Rhonda has taught psychology courses at Western University (UWO) and its affiliates, worked with troubled children and provided psychological counselling to University students. Dr. Gilby recognizes that “it’s not always easy” and writes about how findings and ideas from the field of psychology can be applied to help everyone to cope better in their day-to-day lives.

Managing Uncertainty in Product Development - ProductCoalition.com

Life is full of uncertainty, and the current pandemic has only added to that uncertainty. We are unsure of what is going to happen. When will be out of this lockdown situation? Will there be enough tests, enough food? What will happen with our finances and the economy? Will I and my loved ones stay healthy? As human beings, we crave security. We want to feel safe and have a sense of control over our lives and well-being. Fear and uncertainty can leave us feeling stressed, anxious, and powerless.

Whereas most species are stressed by threats and dangers as they are occurring, our species can also be stressed by potential dangers that MAY lie in the future (but MAY NOT). We may go over the situation in our mind , imagining everything that might go wrong (catastrophizing), and worrying about how we might handle it. We begin to dwell in that future experience, which can interfere with what we our able to accomplish at the present time.

Imagine that someone comes to you, requesting some money from you. You ask them what the money’s for.  They tell you, it’s the interest you need to pay on a loan that you MAY take out in the future. You tell them that you haven’t borrowed any money from them. But you might, they say, you could owe me money in the future.  Would you pay them the interest?

It’s very similar with worry. Worry is the interest you pay in advance on a debt you may never owe. The thing that you’re worrying about may never happen. You’re wasting important mental energy on something that may never happen, when your energy would be better spent in preparing for what needs to be done now.

So what can you do so that you don’t worry as much. One helpful tip is to return your mind to the present.  That’s where you should be focused. Worry is, by definition, about the future, so placing your attention on the present is a powerful way to reduce your worries. One straightforward way to do this is called “grounding”.

Grounding brings you back to the here-and-now, helping you to let go of the worry, calm down and bring your focus to what’s happening right now. Grounding techniques often use the five senses—sound, touch, smell, taste, and sight—to immediately bring all your attention to the present moment. Hold a favourite object in your hand and notice all the details about it, blast your favourite song and really listen to it, massage your temples and notice how it feels, smell a perfume or lotion that you enjoy, taste a piece of chocolate slowly melting in your mouth. Through these actions, you are strongly engaging with the present.

5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique

Another commonly used grounding technique makes use of all five senses at the same time. It is called the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique. It starts with you sitting comfortably, closing your eyes and taking a couple of deep calming breaths (in slowly through your nose, hold, out slowly through your mouth, hold). Imagine letting your worry go. Now open your eyes and look around you.

5 senses

Find 5 things around you that you can see.

Notice 4 things that you can feel right now.

Listen for 3 things that you can hear.

Find 2 things that you can smell.

Notice 1 taste in your mouth (maybe put something in there to taste).

Then, finish with a deep breath.

By re-focusing on your body and what you’re physically feeling, you get out of your head and divert your mind away from anxious thoughts about the future.  Now that you are back to the present, you can focus on what it is that you need to be doing right now. Like any other skill, if you practice grounding techniques initially when you are calm, they will be more available to use when get caught up in your worries.

Take care, and don’t let your mind run away with worries during this difficult time.

Dr. Rhonda Gilby is the mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia, and has been a clinical psychologist for over 30 years, helping people cope with the various problems that they are experiencing. She’s taught psychology courses at Western University and its affiliates, worked with troubled children and provided psychological counselling to University students. She recognizes that “it’s not always easy” and writes about how findings and ideas from the field of psychology can be applied to help everyone to cope better in their day-to-day lives. Contact/Connect: ngilby@rogers.com

Posted in Blog posts, COVID-19, Educational, Fibromyalgia

Some Tips for Coping During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Some Tips for Coping During the Covid-19 Pandemic” by guest blogger and Fibromyalgia London Group member, Dr. Rhonda Gilby, mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia, and clinical psychologist for over 30 years, helping people cope with the various problems that they are experiencing. Rhonda has taught psychology courses at Western University (UWO) and its affiliates, worked with troubled children and provided psychological counselling to University students. Dr. Gilby recognizes that “it’s not always easy” and writes about how findings and ideas from the field of psychology can be applied to help everyone to cope better in their day-to-day lives.

To say that these are unprecedented times is an understatement!  Living through a pandemic is something that very few people today have any experience with, and facing a crisis of this magnitude with little knowledge or understanding of what is required of us undoubtedly can lead to many difficult feelings – fear, sadness, anxiety, exhaustion. These kinds of painful emotions are natural at a time like this. It’s important that you give yourself permission to be human! We are all feeling unsettled under the present circumstances. That’s normal. Be kind to yourself.

Many of us are feeling worried. Worry is not necessarily a bad thing, if it leads you to engage in activities that help keep you safe. But worrying about things that are out of your control only forces your mind to dwell on difficulties, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and wasting your valuable emotional energy. For things that are outside of your control, worry is not going to make a difference or solve any problems. Figure out how to let those worries go.

Instead, realistically focus on those things that you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy – and there are many. Wash your hands frequently, stay home as much as possible, maintain appropriate physical distancing when out, and wear a mask. Stay connected with others remotely (the Fibromyalgia London Group is doing an excellent job of creating opportunities for staying in touch with other people and providing occasions for social interaction). Make sure that you are getting both physical and mental exercise. Fill your days with lots of activities that you enjoy. Add structure into your day – perhaps you want to maintain a regular wake up time and bedtime or add some rituals to your day (e.g. a specific morning routine, a definite time for reading or exercising, etc.). Limit the amount of news that you are exposing yourself to and make sure that you are only using reputable news sources.                                                  

We don’t have to be at the mercy of our negative feelings. There are many things that we can do to lessen painful emotions and cope more comfortably as we all progress through this difficult pandemic journey.   

I’m a clinical psychologist. One type of therapy that frequently makes a lot of sense to me is cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). Cognitive behaviour therapy is based on the idea that our thoughts and beliefs about a situation affect how we feel about it, and what we subsequently do about it. This means that the same event can produce very different reactions in different people, depending upon how they think about and interpret the experience. When thoughts about a situation change, emotions can change, too.  Even a small shift in the way that you think about a situation can have a big impact on how you feel.   

We all talk to ourselves, sometimes out loud, most often in our heads, and that’s perfectly natural. In fact, self-talk can help us to understand and organize our experiences, to plan, to learn, to think through problems to find a solution. But it’s important to pay attention to what it is that we are saying to ourselves. Not all of the conversations we have with ourselves are helpful. While positive self-talk can increase our confidence and positive mood, when self-talk is negative, it becomes unhelpful, and can have a very negative impact on how we feel.

A number of unhelpful thinking styles (also referred to as cognitive distortions) have been identified by psychiatrists and psychologists. One common, unhelpful thinking style that has been identified is called “catastrophizing”. Catastrophizing refers to worrying about and imagining worst case outcomes of situations, expecting terrible consequences, and believing that you won’t be able to cope.

Letting your thoughts spiral out of control like this is not helpful. Replacing these negative thoughts with more realistic, more reasonable thoughts is a much better way to live.  So, how do you do that?

Start by paying attention to what you are saying to yourself. Often, we are unaware of our thoughts. Figure out “What am I thinking right now?, What am I saying to myself that is upsetting me? What bad thing do I expect to happen?”

Remember that catastrophic thinking is just your guess (usually wrong) about what will happen, and not a certainty. Negative thoughts, beliefs and expectations are not facts, and are often not accurate.

Remember that there is a difference between possibility and probability. For example, yes, it is possible that you or your loved one may become ill with the coronavirus, but the probability is quite low. Don’t upset yourself worrying about things that probably won’t happen.

Evaluate the evidence for and against your thought. Just because you think it, doesn’t mean it’s true. “How likely is it that this will happen?”.  “What’s most likely to happen?”. “Is there another way of looking at this, one that won’t leave me feeling as stressed?”. Use logical thinking. Try to find facts, as opposed to relying on guesses and exaggerated beliefs.  Perhaps voicing your fears to someone you trust will help you to gain a more realistic perspective.

Look for more realistic ways to think about the outcome of the situation you’re in – something less extreme, something that is more likely to happen.  Outcomes in life typically fall somewhere in the middle – not black or white, but shades of gray. Ask yourself “Is there another, more realistic thought that I can have that is a more likely outcome and won’t make me feel so upset.”.  For example, instead of thinking, “This is terrible – this will never end, things will never be normal again, I can’t stand it anymore”, a less extreme thought might be, “These are difficult times and the world may never quite be the same, but this will end and I will cope with whatever is to come, just as I have with all of the things that life has thrown at me in the past.”.

Coronavirus/COVID-19 illness is certainly serious and it is appropriate and necessary to take it seriously. But catastrophizing does not help us to cope. Be on the lookout for self-talk that involves catastrophizing, and challenge this unhelpful self-talk when it occurs.  It may take practice and time because catastrophizing can be a habit for some. You can choose to work on a more positive, more realistic and less stress-inducing way to talk to yourself.

Dr. Rhonda Gilby is the mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia, and has been a clinical psychologist for over 30 years, helping people cope with the various problems that they are experiencing. She’s taught psychology courses at Western University and its affiliates, worked with troubled children and provided psychological counselling to University students. She recognizes that “it’s not always easy” and writes about how findings and ideas from the field of psychology can be applied to help everyone to cope better in their day-to-day lives. Contact/Connect: ngilby@rogers.com

Posted in Blog posts, COVID-19, Fibromyalgia, Sharing Circle

What Happens in the Virtual Sharing Circle Stays in the Virtual Sharing Circle

Staying home but want/need to attend the Fibromyalgia London Group (also CFS/ME, and other chronic illnesses) Sharing Circle Session this Thursday April 16th, 2020? You can!!! We’re doing a virtual Sharing Circle Session
Thursday, April 16, 2020; 11:00am (ET).
FREE ~ OPEN TO ALL

Email fmgroup.london@gmail.com to register!
You’ll be sent an email with the link that will Zoom you right to a virtual meeting room (if they ask you for a password, it’s rare, but it happens, we’re going to send you that too. We’ll send you the time, date, Meeting ID, password, link, everything you need. You just need a device that has audio (and video if you want to be seen too) – laptop, tablet/iPad, desktop, smartphone, iPhone.
As a participant, you don’t need to have an account. You can “Mute” or “Unmute” any time you wish. You can use video or not. You can come and go from the meeting whenever you wish. You can add, or share, or listen – whatever makes you feel most comfortable. This is a safe space. No pressure. No judgement. No COVID-19. Just friendly faces who understand. People say they understand chronic pain and chronic fatigue and everything that goes with it and I’m sure they want to understand. We understand. We live it. We want to help. Fibromyalgia London Group (FLG) is a grassroots, community-based, volunteer-driven, self-help and wellness support group for London, St. Thomas and Middlesex County (and on the internet, the world! Hello world!). https://fibrolondongroup.ca/ Join us for companionship, information, resources, caring, sharing, kindness and compassion. Stay home. Stay safe. Save lives. And remember to Thank those who are putting their lives on the line to keep us safe. https://fibrolondongroup.ca/2020/03/27/even-covid19-cant-beat-our-ldnont-spirit/

ZOOM virtual meetings hosted by Fibromyalgia London Group!!! Easy, free, fun, informative, a perfect way to stay in touch during these unprecedented, difficult times. If you have any questions, contact me (Donna) at: darcyyada@gmail.com or Jacqueline at: fmgroup.london@gmail.com There’s no place like home!

Posted in Blog posts, COVID-19, Educational, Fibromyalgia, Getting social, Social events

KNIT Happens! on #ZOOM

NEW!!! Join members of the Fibromyalgia London Group (and others with chronic illnesses) on Zoom for the Knit Happens!

Dress Code: Quarantine Fashion (Sissy that Zoom!) – Daytime PJs, Loungers, plaid shirts and sweats are also welcome. Hair? Who even cares? Make-up? What’s up with that? We’re chronically fabulous.

What is ZOOM?  Zoom is free for participants, you don’t even have to have a Zoom account, only the people HOLDING the virtual meetings need an account (free or paid), not you as a participant, you don’t need to sign in to be part of the meeting, you just need to follow the link the host sends you. Zoom is a cloud based service which offers organizations and groups of 3 or more people to meet virtually by using its video conferencing capability. Again, it is a FREE app (application) you download onto your: tablet, iPAD, laptop, smartphone/iPhone, or any desktop computer. Again, there is no need for you to have a Zoom account to attend a Zoom meeting, as a participant, you just click on the link the host of the chat sends you and ZOOM, you’re in the virtual meeting ROOM! The person/organization holding the meeting will send you a link you can follow and you will be there in the meeting room, virtually so you can #StaySafe #StayAtHome, (and/or the Meeting ID and password). It’s really easy and user-friendly. You can use video or not, your choice. Same goes for audio, you can “Mute” or “Unmute” (just remember “Mute” is on when you arrive in the chat, just in case…), or you can just listen. You can also enter or leave the chat at any time. You can also type information or comments in the chat area. Seriously, it’s that simple and that fun!

All three levels of Canadian government continue their efforts to contain COVID-19 and “flatten the curve”/“plank the curve” – all Canadians are required to continue practicing self-isolation, by staying at home (only going out for necessities, think about that word, look it up in a dictionary, what is “needed”, not visiting, not for Easter, not to babysit, not to gather in crowds including standing in line at Costco, seriously. If you’re displaying any symptoms: dry cough, fever, shortness of breath, loss of smell and/or taste, unusual headaches, hallucinations, malaise, etc. stay at home or go to see a doctor, don’t drop by Walmart and/or Tim Horton’s drive-thru and/or KFC and/or Loblaws while you’re on your way to the doctor or on the way back from the doctor – they are working in dangerous conditions with a highly contagious illness so you can be well, don’t be selfish; #StayHome or see a doctor. If you have returned from traveling, #StayHome for 14 days, even if you have no symptoms, remember, asymptomatic people can spread the virus. And of course, #WashYourHands frequently!!! #StayHomeSaveLives #StaySafe #StayAtHome ) Peer Leaders of FLG agreed this is a fantastic time for our Group to use, ZOOM, a popular communication tool as an alternative way to connect with our members and potential members and be available to those seeking advice, emotional support, education and resource information on living with Fibromyalgia and/or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or any chronic illness). So far it has been amazing. We’ve had several online meetings/activities and have found we can stay in touch at a safe physical distance (online and in the real world remember, it’s not a shopping cart length away, it’s 2 or more metres or 6.5 or more feet apart; also remember wearing a mask doesn’t protect you, it protects others from you).

During these unprecedented times, yes, we’re going to self-isolate, we’re going to #StayHome to Save Lives from the Coronavirus (COVID-19), but we’re still going to be here to support each other during this Quarantine. We’re pleased to announce that FLG will host ZOOM VIRTUAL meetings in the month of April as follows:

Thursday (if you know what day it is, I think today is Wednesday?!?), April 9th, 1pm (Eastern Time)  – Knit Happens! now on Zoom but still with the amazing Janice Sumpton as our knitting guru (thank you Janice!). REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Please email Jacqueline fmgroup.london@gmail.com if you wish to participate so we can send you a link to the meeting. 

But wait, there’s more! Thursday April 16th, 11am (Eastern Time) – Sharing Circle for those w/ chronic pain, chronic fatigue, chronic illness, really just chronic suckage https://fibrolondongroup.ca/2019/12/06/chronic-suckage/.

Mon, April 20th, 1pm (Eastern Time) – Brown Bag Chat Club (B2C2) where we discuss, in a fun, informal, light-hearted way (no pressure, no judgement) anything and everything: self-care, books, ebooks, e-audio, TV, movies, streaming, crafts, hobbies, music, fashion (even Quarantine fashion, I see you rocking those sweats!), coping techniques and mechanisms, stress relievers, ways to relieve pain, yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, dancing, singing, exercise, card games, board games, video games, cooking, baking, de-cluttering, gardening, sewing, knitting, art, writing, blogging, cleaning, chocolate…

Thursday, April 23rd, 1pm (Eastern Time) – Knit Happens!

Monday, April 27th, 1pm (Eastern Time) – Brown Bag Chat Club (B2C2)

Thursday, April 30th, 1pm (Eastern Time) – Knit Happens!

PLEASE NOTE: All our VIRTUAL activities/meetings are FREE (yes, that’s an actual thing!) and OPEN TO ALL members and their guests, as well as visitors, regardless of where you live in Canada…join us! Here’s how! ADVANCE REGISTRATION is required to participate in all VIRTUAL meetings.  Just send an email to fmgroup.london@gmail.com to confirm your interest in participating.  You’ll then receive an email with instructions on how to join the meeting, just click on the link in the email and whoosh, you’ll be right in the meeting room, no need to have a Zoom account, no need to pay, we’ll send you the link (meeting ID and password).
WATCH FOR EMAIL ANNOUNCEMENTS, from Donna or Jacqueline, on when registration for each virtual meeting is open.

Also, don’t forget about our essential workers!!! Seriously folks, what would we do without: doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, pharmacists, radiologists, porters, clerks, truck drivers, farmers, plumbers, restaurant staff, electricians, hydro workers, payroll clerks, government workers, police officers, firefighters, energy workers, maintenance, social services, research, agriculture, food production, manufacturing and Telecommunications and IT infrastructure/service providers (you want to see panic, let the internet go down!!!) and so many more! We care! We’re Thankful! You have our gratitude! They’re putting their life on the line so we can stay home and “flatten the curve”/”plank the curve” so as not to overwhelm our healthcare system. Here’s what you can do to say “Thank You” here in London and everywhere!!! https://fibrolondongroup.ca/2020/03/27/even-covid19-cant-beat-our-ldnont-spirit/ #StayHomeSavesLives #WashYourHands

Don’t Forget (so easy with Fibrofog, I know), join us this Thursday, April 9th, 1pm (Eastern Time) – Knit Happens! – REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Please email Jacqueline at: fmgroup.london@gmail.com if you wish to participate so we can send you a link to the meeting.

Can’t wait to chat with you soon! #StaySafe #StayHome Spread the love not the virus!!!

Posted in Blog posts, COVID-19, Fibromyalgia, Getting social, Social events

There’s No Place Like Home, Zoom with Us!

The Covid19 Pandemic Crisis in Canada continues. By staying home, we are saving lives. We’re not “stuck” at home, we’re “safe” at home.

Though Fibromyalgia London Group (also for those with: CFS/ME, any chronic illness) cannot meet in person, we’re going to ZOOM! Yes, FLG is on Zoom now and so although we can’t meet, can’t knit, share, cook, chat, hug, etc. we don’t have to touch to stay in touch.

We’re having our very first virtual Sharing Circle! Please join us tomorrow, Saturday April 4th, 2020 at 1pm Eastern Time (USA and Canada) on Zoom!

All you need is a laptop, desktop, tablet or phone, preferably working well (download the Zoom app, it’s quick and so easy, this one is user-friendly to the extreme!), with audio and a camera (if you wish to do the video portion, if you have “Scopophobia” aka a phobia of cameras; or a fear of electronics, or whatever, no worries, we understand.

If it’s “Quarantine Fashion” you’re worried about, bring it on, we’re all in this together. Sissy That Walk. Wear sweats. Dress up. No pressure. No judgements. Bring your own refreshments! Tea, coffee, water, smoothies…wine, cheese, medical cannabis, Quarantini (shaken not stirred); brownies, cake, veggies, nachos, fruit, lasagna – this is informal, you’re among friends. The good thing about Zoom, you can come and go from the chat whenever you want to. Or mute if you want to go to the washroom, burp, crunch on a celery stick (sure, or chicken leg or cookie)… Turn video on or off (remember your Mute button is on when you first enter the chat, turn it off to “talk”). Put your own name up, or a nickname, or an aspiration name. We’re just going with the #StayHomeSaveLives flow here at FLG trying to “Support Ourselves by Helping Others” and the best way we can help is #StayingHome with you.

It’s FREE! Please join us tomorrow, Saturday April 4th, 2020 at 1pm Eastern Time (USA and Canada) on Zoom!!! You don’t have to get dressed up. Hair not done, that’s what hats are for. No make-up, no problem. We’re here to Sur-Thrive (survive while thriving with chronic illnesses)!

The situation will continue to be reassessed and we know it seems wild out there sometimes, but until then, you’re safe in here with us, we can meet and greet in the virtual world!! Please join us tomorrow, Saturday April 4th, 2020 at 1pm Eastern Time (USA and Canada) on Zoom!

WANT TO PARTICIPATE? Just send me an email fmgroup.london@gmail.com confirming your attendance, and we’ll send you the chat link AND simple instructions on how to download the Zoom app, and join the meeting, tomorrow, Saturday April 4th, 2020 at 1pm Eastern Time (USA and Canada) on Zoom!

Just FYI, Monday April 6th at 1pm we’re having another Zoom chat, B2C2: COVID-19 Edition. B2C2 (Brown Bag Chat Club) is where members would, under normal circumstances, meet, bring our lunches (or not, your choice) and we sit and chat about:
books, movies, TV shows, streaming, TED Talks,
ebooks, audiobooks, hobbies, You Tube, crafts,
games, sports, dreams, anything and everything,
but especially what distracted us from pain.

It’s like a lunch hour at work.
Just chatting while eating our lunches.
But COVID-19 happened and so we’ve decided to go ahead with it anyway, online, on Zoom. We’re going to virtually meet and just talk about anything from your latest binge show to Jason Momoa (might be me who brings him up)
to what motivates us, inspires us, helps us get by. Anything. We’d love for you to join us at B2C2: COVID-19 Edition. I suspect it will be fun, informal and quite possibly silly.

Also, don’t forget about our essential workers! What would we do without doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, pharmacists, radiologists, porters, clerks, truck drivers, farmers, plumbers, restaurant staff, electricians, hydro workers, payroll clerks, government workers, police officers, firefighters, energy workers, maintenance, social services, research, agriculture, food production, manufacturing and Telecommunications and IT infrastructure/service providers (you want to see panic, don’t let the internet go down!) and so many more! We care! We’re Thankful! You have our gratitude! You’re putting your life on the line so we can stay home and “flatten the curve” so as not to overwhelm our healthcare system. Here’s what you can do to say “Thank You” here in London and everywhere!!! https://fibrolondongroup.ca/2020/03/27/even-covid19-cant-beat-our-ldnont-spirit/ #StayHomeSavesLives #WashYourHands

 

Posted in Blog posts, COVID-19, Fibromyalgia

Even #COVID19 Can’t Beat Our #LdnOnt Spirit!

We are living in unprecedented times. Now more than ever we need to be here for each other. Please help spread the word by sharing this post on: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, any or all social media platforms. Also, please, tell other Londoners (London, Ontario, #LdnOnt) about this – by text, phone, email, Facetime, Zoom, Skype, snail mail – anyway you can share the gratitude for those essential workers who are putting their lives on the line so we can stay safe! Even COVID-19 can’t beat The London Spirit! Share the gratitude! Thank you!!!

Dear Londoners!
Several grassroots-led, community-wide efforts are underway hoping to lift and keep morale among Londoners high, especially front-line healthcare and essential service workers, during this extraordinary time in all our lives. Please join us in saying “Thank You” to those putting their lives on the line for us. You can participate through a number of ways explained below, to demonstrate your individual/group support, express gratitude, and cheer on these workers for as long as it takes.

Here’s a few ways in which you can support your neighbourhood, your London community, your friends, and neighbours:

1. Window Signs – Here are some signs you can print in colour or black & white, or get creative, make your own, heartfelt “Thank You” signs. Display these signs in your front windows, mailbox, front door, fence, railings, tress, garage door, etc.  You can also spread the word by printing then inserting into a sheet protector, and placing on the sides of the Canada Post postal boxes or to the poles of street signs (just like you would display garage sale signage) – please be careful to damage anything.  Print and put them up for the duration of this crisis in London!

2. Hearts in Windows – Children and adults alike can have some fun drawing, painting and/or cutting out hearts in all colours and sticking them in your front windows as another way to express support to front-line workers. There is a nationwide movement, originating from British Columbia, calling on all Canadians to participate in this activity.

3.Ribbons – Tie RED RIBBONS around the trees and shrubs in your front lawn, fences, railings, the front of your apartment building (with permission), on the tree trunks of the trees along your street. That way those who are required to go into work during these challenging times know “you have their back”.  Why red? The colour red symbolizes courage, strength, confidence, compassion and love – all things we want and wish for our front-line healthcare and essential service workers!

4.Facebook & Twitter – we have set up a new community page, The London Spirit – Covid19 Crisis or @thelondonspirit, and a Twitter account, @londoncovid19, which are both safe, open social media spaces for anyone to post…

Messages of hope! Messages of gratitude! Acknowledgement of essential workers. Sharing positive stories. Sharing inspirational stories of how specific front-line healthcare and all essential service workers have helped you, your family, organization, neighbourhood, etc. during this contagious and dangerous pandemic. Please, please, please share tales of courage and/or kindness by our local heroes: healthcare workers, grocery workers, pharmacy workers, store clerks, maintenance workers, bus drivers, public service workers, and everyone working so we can stay safe at home! Please, feel free to express your expressions of gratitude, motivation and encouragement to front-line healthcare and all essential service workers!
EVERYONE, please take a few minutes of your time to participate in one or more of these easy-to-do, inexpensive, grassroots, community-driven activities! They can help boost the morale of so many who fear for their own families, but are serving Canada by going into their workplaces everyday, in spite of the risk to themselves.  
Let’s demonstrate how STRONG and ALIVE our community spirit, The London Spirit is by participating  in all of these activities TODAY.  Now, more than ever, we’re all in this together, so let’s support those risking their lives to save ours!

Even COVID-19 can’t beat The London Spirit!

https://www.facebook.com/thelondonspirit/

Posted in Blog posts, Fibromyalgia

Now I Wanna Feed Your Dog?

Tomorrow is the first day of Spring so here’s a simple, no-bake recipe that’s sure to please everyone who is #Stayinghome to help everyone stay well. This is a tough time for everyone and those with chronic illnesses are vulnerable. For the safety of our members we’ve cancelled all Fibromyalgia London Group activities, for now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still connect!!! Here are some ways to connect! Here on the blog https://fibrolondongroup.ca/ ; and/or on Twitter @fmlondongroup ; and/or on Instagram @fmlondongroup ; and/or on Facebook @fmlondongroup ; and/or via phone: 519-453-3198 , and/or text; and/or Skype/Facetime; and/or Netflix Party (on Chrome); and/or email fmgroup.london@gmail.com  or darcyyada@gmail.com. And here’s a fun, simple way to pass part of the day. This is one of our family favs, it might be yours too! My paternal Grandmother named it “Dog Food” (when you’re in the process of mixing, you’ll know why) and we’ve kept the name.

Ingredients: 45 choc wafers (approx 1 package if you don’t snack, I mean, who would do that, just grab a cookie and start munching away…er, anyway) – this is another recipe where you can substitute other cookies, but they must be tap-on-the-counter-hard or frozen; 1/2 package of mini marshmallows; 1 cup coconut (sweetened or unsweetened, but you know which tastes better) and 1 can Eagle Brand or other condensed milk. Wash your hands.

Crush wafers/cookies in a bowl; I’ve always found the bottom of a cup or potato masher works well. Then mix in marshmallows, add the condensed milk and stir well (there it is, now you’ll understand the name, “Dog Food”). Butter 9-inch pan, then sprinkle coconut on all surfaces of the pan so it sticks to the buttered sides/bottom. Spread the mixture evenly. Then sprinkle the remaining coconut on top and press it all down together. Seriously, that’s it, it’s done! Cover well. Place in fridge for a few hours, then, try (I triple dog dare you!) not to eat it all before giving it away. It also freezes beautifully, but really, how often will you have any left to freeze?

#StayHome #SafeHands #WashYourHands #StaySafe (from COVID-19 and everything else too!) and Enjoy!

Posted in Blog posts, Fibromyalgia, Getting social

“C” is for Cookie, That’s Good Enough For Me

“I want to take all our best moments,
put them in a jar, and take them out like cookies
and savor each one of them forever.”
~ Crystal Woods

Do you have fond memories of smelling cookies baking?
Do you drool when you think of that first bite of a cookie?
Do you remember the seasons by when Girls Scouts sell cookies?

Don’t let people make you believe that you have a cookie “problem” or a cookie “addiction”, it’s simply #cookielove.

“Count your cookies, not your problems.”
~ Cookie Monster

“C” is for Cookies, That’s Good Enough For Me
(and the Cookie Monster, a role model for some).
If you’re trying to kick a cookie habit love,
then stop reading right now!
Warning:
Do Not Read Any Further!
What’s coming up next
can not be unseen!!!

The first bite of these cookies and you won’t know whether to thank or curse (or both), Lynn, an amazing, kind, and supportive Peer Leader/member of the Fibromyalgia London Group, for introducing you to these delicious, mouth-watering morsels. I thank her, but my waist may not. Where’s that button to stop “cookie” pop-ups?

This simple (read, not too tiring) yet magnificent recipe has been used as a staple cookie recipe in Lynn’s family since 1980’s. Based on a Canadian Living Classic recipe from her first cookbook as a young wife and mother, this recipe proves that simple can be best.

“Home is where heart is. Heart where cookie is. Math clear: Home is cookie.” ~Cookie Monster

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
(or your choice, or gluten-free flour)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups rolled oats

Raisins, seeds, cranberries,
and/ or chocolate chips optional
(when is chocolate ever optional?)

Preheat your oven to 350 (180C)

In a large bowl cream together butter and brown sugar.
Beat in egg and vanilla.
In separate bowl mix your salt, baking soda, cinnamon and flour.
Add together and blend into a creamy mixture.

It’s a very versatile batter, sometimes
Lynn adds both chocolate chips and raisins
(and sometimes white and dark chocolate chips)
but you could also add nuts, dried cranberries,
pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds…if so desired.

On a well-greased cookie sheet (or parchment paper or non-stick), make little mountains of dough (approx. 1 tsp), leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Flour the bottom of a glass and gently flatten each cookie to about 1/4 inch thickness.

“Early bird gets the worm. But cookie taste better than worm. So me sleep in.” ~ Cookie Monster

Bake for about 8-9 or until golden brown. Let them cool down on a baking sheets for about 2 minutes (if you can wait that long without eating one, for testing purposes only, of course) then remove to baking rack to cool completely. Makes about 40 cookies.

This recipe can be kept for a few days in sealed container and can be frozen for up to a month (either the baked cookies or the dough)….if they last that long.

What’s your favourite cookie or cookie recipe? Share the cookie love by sharing this on: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and/or in the comment box below and/or email to me (D. Parker – Mom, blogger https://yadadarcyyada.com/ , silliness coordinator, Peer Leader/ member of FLG and cookie addict lover): darcyyada@gmail.com I should have warned you, dear readers, that this website uses “cookies”…Nom Nom Nom!

“No cry because cookie is finished. Smile because cookie happened.” ~Cookie Monster

Posted in Blog posts, Fibromyalgia, Guest Speaker

IT’S NOT ALWAYS EASY: COPING TIPS FROM PSYCHOLOGY

Dr. Rhonda Gilby is a blogger, member of Fibromyalgia London Group and the mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia. Dr. Gilby has been a clinical psychologist for over 30 years, helping people cope with the various problems that they are experiencing. She has taught psychology courses at Western University and its affiliates, worked with troubled children, and provided psychological counselling to University students. Dr. Gilby recognizes that “it’s not always easy” and writes about how findings and ideas from the field of psychology can be applied to help everyone to cope better in their day-to-day lives. ngilby@rogers.com

Savouring the positive – where are you shining your flashlight?

Our lives are filled with many, many different experiences. At any given time, there can be many wonderful things going on in your life, at the same time as you are dealing with some “not-so-wonderful” things.  What do you focus on?

Imagine that you live in darkness, always holding a flashlight in your hand. Where do you shine that flashlight? How much of your time do you spend focusing on the negative, shining your flashlight into a dark corner where some unpleasant experiences or painful feelings reside, and how much of your time are you using your flashlight to search for and focus on the happier, more pleasurable things that are also happening for you right now.

Life can (and will) hit you with all kinds of challenges and disappointments. Nobody gets a perfectly smooth ride on their journey through life. But you do have some choice in how those setbacks will affect you. You can take control of your flashlight, and redirect its beam to the delightful things that are also around you, despite those challenges, and focus on the richness that your life also offers.

bumpyroad

Choose to savour the small pleasures that life offers – making a deliberate effort to notice and appreciate the positive aspects of life. Psychologists Fred Bryant and Joseph Veroff have explored the concept of savouring, noting that we sometimes we can experience positive feelings or experiences in our lives, and be too busy or too wrapped up in our negative emotions to pay much attention to them.

Happiness isn’t just about having the positive experiences, it’s also about noticing them, enjoying them, trying to prolong them, shining your flashlight on them. For example, rather than eating your morning muffin mindlessly, linger over it, appreciate the aroma, the sweetness or crunch, the blueberries as they burst in your mouth. 

blueberry muffin

Rather than just walking to get from A to B, notice the warmth of the sunshine on your face, feel the crispness of the air, or observe the beauty of the clean, white snow on a winter’s day.

Riverside walk on a snowy winter's day Stock Photo - 4218141

Instead of feeling like you really didn’t do anything tonight, even a quiet evening with family or friends can be savoured, for the comfort, calm, and feeling of care that it provides. If you make the effort, there is lots of positive in every life to focus on. You can savour a memory of a past experience, savour an experience as it is happening  or look forward to an anticipated enjoyable future experience.

Remember that good moments pass quickly, so make an effort to consciously appreciate them, and be careful about where you shine your flashlight.

Take care and be good to yourselves.

Dr. Rhonda Gilby, guest blogger, member of Fibromyalgia London Group. teacher, clinical psychologist for over 30 years, and the mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia.  ngilby@rogers.com