Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas from Life In Recovery: Help coping during the Festive Season

I would like to wish you all a very happy Christmastime. If you are spending this festive season with your friends and family then I hope you manage to enjoy their company to the fullest.
For my household this is an extra special Yuletide as we are spending time together and are all the healthiest and heartiest for over a decade.
With so many years and anniversaries spent unwell I am well aware that this time of year can prove hard for people who are not at their full health. Whether you can't travel to meet family, leave your bed to join in with the festivities around you or get stuck in with the whirlwind of activity surrounding this period I really hope and wish that you are able to feel some of the love and good wishes from your nearest and dearest. 
I also understand that not everyone will have their loved ones with them and because of this Christmas can feel a lonely, frightening and isolating time. Also with lots of people coming together over the next couple of weeks there may be the odd clash of personalities or egos. When there are simmering tensions between people it can make the time rather awful and you go around walking on eggshells. My only advice is to not feel you are responsible for everyone else's happiness and that if there are problems that need resolving to allow them to be aired as in the long run it's a much healthier thing than to suppress any niggling issues. Pushing things down inside you, letting things fester and quietly seething about such-and-such/so-and-so is not the way to find peace within yourself or with others. It may be an uncomfortable experience to be open about things with others but try to be honest about how things are affecting you.
If you are dreading Christmas and New Year this year for any reason (be it for health, family or lifestyle reasons) then I hope that this message might help you feel less alone. I was in a rather poor state health-wise this time last year and if things can improve for me then they can improve for you too.
Please feel free to leave a comment below if you feel there is anything you can contribute to this short post whether it's advice, personal experiences or just a hello. I have found a few articles online that address specific issues around coping during Christmas. Here are the links.
Divorce or Separation: http://familylives.org.uk/advice/divorce-and-separation/coping-with-holidays/coping-with-christmas-when-your-divorced-or-separated/

Depression and Stress: http://www.webmd.boots.com/depression/guide/christmas-depression-stress

Christmas alone: http://www.webmd.boots.com/depression/features/lonely-this-christmas

Again I wish you a Happy Christmas 2013 wherever you are and whoever you are with.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Dorset in December: Who says the seaside is only for the summertime?

Here are a few pictures from my trip to Dorset a couple of weeks ago. I was visiting some family who live down there and I had almost forgotten what a lovely county it is. They live on the Jurassic Coast which is home to some of the most beautiful beaches, hills and towns in England. The oldest of the cliffs date back to 250 million years ago!

Looking down the coast towards Devon at West Bay, Dorset

View towards the iconic cliffs of West Bay, Dorset

Lyme Regis, Dorset

Showing the stretch of Jurassic Coast

Incredibly dynamic sky at Lyme Regis, Dorset

Pretty streets and shops in Lyme Regis, Dorset

View of Golden Cap (Dorset's highest peak) from Lyme Regis, Dorset

The Cobb at Lyme Regis, Dorset

The Cobb (of Persuasion and The French Lieutenant's Woman fame) at Lyme Regis, Dorset
I'm a massive Jane Austen-ite so this was lovely to spot.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

A Healthy Start to the Day - Breakfast Granola/Muesli Recipe

I adapted this recipe by merging a few different ones I found online at a time when I needed a muesli-like breakfast whilst knowing that I’m not a fan of normal mueslis and this is what I came up with. This recipe is great if you want to try out an easy recipe at home that doesn’t require too much time and energy spent on it. This cereal is healthy, sustaining and delicious and ingredients can be swapped if you have a particular aversion to any of them or a hankering for something else. This granola is also great for mid-afternoon snacks instead of crisps or biscuits.

My very delicious morning bowl of cereal!

  • 2 tbsps. rapeseed oil
  • 125ml agave syrup
  • 2 tsps. vanilla extract
  • 300g porridge oats
  • 50g sunflower seeds
  • 4 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 100g flaked almonds
  • 100g dried berries (as sugar and preservative free as possible)
  • 50g desiccated coconut


  1. Preheat your oven to 150 C if you have a fan oven or 160 C if you don’t.
  2. Mix the oil, agave syrup and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, omitting the dried fruit and coconut, and mix together well making sure that the mixture is fully coated in the syrup etc.
  3. Tip the granola onto two baking sheets (this is important so that the cereal mix can get nice and brown and crunchy) and spread evenly.
  4. Bake for 15 mins, then mix in the coconut and dried fruit, and bake for 10-15 mins more.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before storing in an airtight container.

This mixture should last well for up to a month. It is yummy with milk or natural bio live yoghurt and can be mixed with fresh fruit for extra flavour and benefits.


Monday, 9 December 2013

10 Things I want to do this Festive season

I am very excited to be able (health-wise) to make a list of what I would ideally like to do in December this year. I'm especially happy about it as there's a real chance I'm going to be able to achieve all 10 of them by January 1st! I haven't been this well for 11 years and I'm embracing this time of year to the full. Here's a short and provisional list:

  1. Make mulled wine
  2. Go ice skating - preferably at Somerset House or the British Museum
  3. Sing some Christmas Carols
  4. Go to a Christmas Market
  5. Pick some wild mistletoe 
  6. Toast marshmallows on an open fire
  7. Attend Midnight Mass at cathedral - should be an incredibly festive atmosphere and a way to fulfil no. 3!
  8. Go out for New Year's Eve
  9. Spend lots of time with my family and friends
  10. Look forward with genuine excitement and interest (and without dread/despondency/apathy) to 2014

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Welcome to Life In Recovery!

So, what can you expect from this blog and what exactly does Life In Recovery mean?

Life In Recovery is all about how to regain a happy, healthy and fulfilling life during recovery. I think some people have a distorted view of ill health and recovery in that they think you go from being ‘actively’ unwell to completely better and there’s no middle ground or grey area. That is where Life In Recovery comes in and what this blog will be (mostly) dedicated to. I’ll cover my personal recovery, how I’m coping, links to other sites/blogs that may prove helpful. I’ll also throw in the odd recipe, news items and there will also be general fitness and wellbeing related items. Hopefully there’ll also be some guest contributions eventually.

I really hope you enjoy reading this blog and that it can help you or someone you know. I would love to hear from you if you have anything you would like to say. Life In Recovery’s email is lifeinrecovery@mail.com. We can also be found on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/Recovering_Life and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Recovering.Life