This is the third post in my series exploring my journey living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)/ME, where I share my daily healing routine to help my recovery.
Part One explores what CFS is, what it is like for me, how it first developed in my life and the journey I have been on since. Part Two walks through all the things I’m doing to recover and to help manage life with CFS (encompassing mind, body and soul), as well as the improvements I’ve experienced since implementing this advice a year ago.
This post (Part Three) is best read in conjunction with Part Two, which provides more detail on why I’m doing these things.
As you will know from Part Two, I’m incorporating a lot of different practices in my life to help with my healing journey. Quite a few of them have to be done in a specific order, some before food, some after food, some with a certain time gap between them, etc. It was a lot to get my head around at first, so I found developing a routine that I followed every day really helped me. It meant I didn’t have to give up precious energy thinking or worrying about it all, and could just get on and do it. I’m also someone who loves routine - having a plan comforts me and puts me at ease, and reassures me that it is do-able. I’m constantly tweaking it and it has evolved along with me. Over time, I’ve dropped things off the list and added new things in, and I expect this to continue as my needs change.
I’m always fascinated to see other people’s daily healing routines. In the beginning, especially, it really helped me to figure out what order to do things in, how to fit it all into a day, with ideas to save time. So I thought you might be interested to see what I do. But it goes without saying, of course, that we are all different, and what works for me, might not work for you. You will very likely have different priorities and issues and circumstances. I’m not able to work at present due to my health limitations (hence the reason I am focussing so much on my healing routine) so I have more time than most. I also don’t have children. I know my routine will have to shift as I start to incorporate more work in my life - but that will hopefully be balanced with more energy and the ability to do more in the evenings, for example.
I follow the routine below on weekdays. I like to keep weekends fluid, so I can spend more time with my husband, work in the garden, rest and read or go out on small trips and do things just for fun (as well as the inevitable chores and house maintenance!). Whilst I still try to follow most of the routine that relates to food/drink/supplements, I don’t do yoga or rebounding at the weekend.
I should also say that on low energy days when my fatigue and aches are strong, I don’t do everything on this list. I try to stick to the food/drinks/supplements and some gentle yoga and meditation if I can, but will drop the work at my computer and take this as rest time instead. There are usually several days a month when my energy is severely impacted by my period and I need much more rest than usual. I don’t do rebounding or practice yoga when I have my period and I try and be extra kind to myself and generous with rest time.
My Daily Healing Routine (Monday - Friday)
My alarm goes off at 7am. I keep my phone in another room so I’m not disturbed by the EMF overnight - this also means I have to get up to turn it off!
Oral healthcare routine. I rinse my mouth out with a brushing rinse (a weak solution of food grade hydrogen peroxide with essential oils) to remove the bacteria that have built up overnight. I then do some tongue scraping and brush my teeth. You can read more about tongue scraping in this Instagram post by @holistichart
I make lemon water (900ml filtered water, juice of 1 lemon, spoon of honey) and drink it all to help flush out the toxins that my body has processed during the night.
I take my dog for her morning walk - about 30-40 minutes.
When I get back from my walk I take my empty stomach supplements: liquid B12 and then a few minutes later, liquid Zinc. I also air the house and make the bed and put a wash on if I need to.
I make celery juice and drink it (2 bunches of celery juiced by themselves).
Whilst I have the juicer out, I then make my ginger, garlic, turmeric, orange juice. This is incredibly potent and a wonderful natural anti-viral. As my celery juice is still digesting, I put this in a glass air-tight container and store it in the fridge for a few hours, so I can drink it later.
I clean my juicer - always best to do this straight away!
I rinse all of my sprouting seeds and harvest any that are ready. I usually have 4 jars on the go.
I make my second lemon water (another 900ml) and sip on this throughout the day. When I finish it, I’ll often make another one, or sometimes some water with lime juice, or just plain water. Staying hydrated is really important.
I do 10-15 minutes of rebounding, whilst talking through my healing affirmations and visualisations about my future happy healthy self. I describe this in more detail in Part Two.
I do my yoga practice. I usually do the standing sequence of the Ashtanga yoga primary series, as this is what I know and what feels good (I have modified poses to suit my energy levels). This usually takes me about 35 minutes or so.
I lie in Savasana (corpse pose) for 15 minutes and do my meditation practice with Headspace (I use the semi-guided meditation most days). My plan is to slowly increase this meditation time by 5 minutes a week until I reach 30 minutes.
I drink my ginger, garlic, turmeric, orange juice.
I dry skin brush and then shower.
I have a piece of fruit (usually mango or papaya).
I make the Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie and drink it. I have my vitamin C (Ester C) and herbal tinctures at the same time.
I clear up and make a pot of Raspberry Leaf and Nettle tea (a great tonic for the reproductive system). I also snack on some dates and a banana to supplement the smoothie.
I get to sit down at my computer and do some work for a couple of hours or so. Often it is 1-30-2pm by now, depending on how many chores I have squeezed in as well. On Mondays and Tuesdays I focus on household management and life admin tasks (weekly shopping, meal planning, finances, sorting emails, to do lists, laundry, cleaning etc.). Wednesdays to Fridays I focus on my blog, photography, and soon, my Etsy shop.
I make my “lunch” salad (often at 3.30pm!) with lots of spinach, other lettuce (Romaine, Butterleaf or mixed leaves), a decent bunch of coriander, half a cucumber, lots of sprouted seeds (usually Red Clover or Alfalfa plus some kind of Radish), fresh herbs from my garden (Lemon Balm, Oregano, Sage), a small handful of raisins (or fresh grapes if I’m lucky), and a grapefruit. I make a dressing with the juice of half a lime, 1-2 cloves of raw garlic and some maple syrup (seriously good - and it complements the grapefruit really well). I take my second vitamin C (Ester C) with lunch. Making, eating and clearing up after lunch takes me a good hour, if not more.
I make a pot of Red Clover tea with Dandelion Root and Burdock Root (a great tonic for the liver).
I’m back at my computer for about another hour or so to continue what I was working on before (and sometimes post to Instagram). It never feels like long enough though! I often snack on an apple and a banana if I’m feeling hungry.
I take my dog for her second walk, about 30-40 minutes. The time for this varies throughout the year - at the moment we are walking quite late once it is cooler - in the winter we have to go much earlier before it gets dark.
I make dinner. At the moment it’s a cooked meal for my husband and a raw meal for me. I’m currently experimenting with eating 100% raw again, so am eating lots of salads and trying out lots of different dressings. I’m also fond of a dip with raw veggies - the Sweet Pea dip by Medical Medium is delicious. Or sometimes it’s a green juice with some fruit, or sometimes just a bowl of spinach with mango and banana and sprouted seeds with a squeeze of lime. I’m still working on my raw meals repertoire - I don’t have time or energy for anything fancy and like to keep things super simple, especially when I’m making two meals. This is still very much a work in progress. I also take my second lot of herbal tinctures with my dinner.
We clear up and wash up and often need to water the garden.
I make a pot of Thyme, Lemon Balm and Fennel tea (aka the Medical Medium Thyroid Healing Tea), and sit down for the evening (with a glass of water too) - it’s usually about 9pm by now, so I don’t have long before it’s time for bed.
I write 3 things I’m thankful for that day in my Gratitude Journal.
I write in my journal with some thoughts and reflections for the day, or notes on things I’ve changed or done differently or lessons learned.
I often spend some time on Instagram or sometimes we watch some TV or read before going to bed. In an ideal world, I’d do some meditation before bed, but there just doesn’t seem to be enough time for it all. I’ve been pondering a lot about my evening routine lately, and feel strongly at the moment that I need to keep it free and flexible to do what I feel like doing. The rest of my day is mapped out so much, I don’t want to feel trapped and then start to resent what I’m doing. I’m also experimenting to find the best time in my day to spend on Instagram. I love it and find it an inspirational place and somewhere I learn a lot from others about healing from chronic illness. It’s also my main form of social interaction (as I only see my husband and a few other random dog walkers in the day) and increasingly an important platform for me to build my profile and business as I move forward. So it’s lots of things rolled into one. It’s also a big time suck! So as always, it’s about finding the right balance.
I try to head to bed by 10.15pm, but sometimes it’s later. I know the magic sleep window is 10pm - 2am and I would love to be asleep by 10pm - but my routine still needs some work to allow that to happen! It takes me a while to get ready for bed as I need to defrost my frozen wild blueberries for the next day, often soak some seeds, sterilise my tongue scraper, clean my face and teeth, etc., so I need to allow time for this.
So there you have it, my daily healing routine. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to do everything I want, but my healing remains my priority and my focus. So this means less time to spend working and moving business plans forward than I would like (about 9 hours in total a week), but I know the balance will shift as I get stronger and able to handle more. For now, this balance feels right for where I am currently at in my healing journey. Although I would really like a magic extra hour a day for a good Instagram session….
Do let me know in the comments or over on Instagram if you have found any helpful ways to manage your routine - or the mindset approach that goes with it - I’d love to hear from you.