No matter what challenges we go through in life, I believe there is always a way to not only manage them, but to find a way to thrive. In order to do that, we need to understand what we’re dealing with and what recourse we have. That’s why episode 24 of The Positively Living Podcast is about handling and coping with chronic illness.

Chronic illness. I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase before, but do you know what it means – not only what it is but how it impacts lives? For those who live with chronic illness, these two words may weigh heavy on them and likely bring up many emotions. For those who don’t, the words may bring up confusion, skepticism, sympathy, frustration, or even no reaction.

Today, my hope is that this conversation will help us all explore and empathize. We’ll talk about what it means to live with chronic illness, day in and day out, and you can walk away inspired to live your best life, whether you’re the one coping or the one supporting. This will be a good episode to share if you have a chronic illness and want to promote understanding and this will be an even better episode to hear if you want to help someone you love to heal.

No matter what challenges we go through in life, I believe there is always a way to not only manage them, but find a way to thrive. But first we need to understand what we’re dealing with and what recourse we have. That is why I’ve invited Martha Garland to join me on the Positively Living Podcast.

Martha Garland is a Certified Holistic Practitioner. After years of living with strange and increasingly debilitating symptoms, Martha was finally told she might have chronic Lyme disease. She got significantly better with holistic treatment and this inspired her to focus her practice on clients with Lyme disease and complex, chronic illness. Having lived with chronic Lyme disease herself, Martha believes that, for everyone who feels alone and helpless in their illness, there are just as many opportunities to restore their health and their life.

How encouraging is that? She’s been a holistic practitioner for over 20 years, with the last 4 focused on navigating Lyme disease, which makes her one of the best kinds of resources. She knows how to employ holistic remedies, but she’s also lived it and continues to live it. In Episode 13 “Stress Relief through Self-acceptance” my guest Jane Tornatore shared the term “Wounded Healer”. Martha and I both resonate with that phase. It means our desire to help comes from a special place of understanding, having lived it. 

In today’s conversation, Martha shares her story including various symptoms she experienced but reminds us that there isn’t a consistent list of symptoms for everyone. Therefore, listening to your body and *trusting* yourself is paramount in exploring what’s best for you. Self-awareness is a repeat topic for nearly every episode of the Positively Living Podcast and it is a constant part of my work with clients for a reason. Not everyone is going to understand, believe, or be able to help you. You are your own best advocate. In addition to self-awareness, I am adding self-compassion to the list. As Martha says, there is much to re-learn and UN-learn when dealing with chronic illness. Relationships are key — with your body, your illness, and with others.

Martha is well-versed in a variety of holistic treatments including essential oils, liposomals, and flower remedies. But today, we focused on the foundational things we can ALL do. These are the starting points for everyone no matter the diagnosis or preferred approach.

You’ll notice some of the most basic things that benefit us all are mission-critical for those with chronic illness: good nutrition, hydration, sleep. In episode 19 with Dr. Orlena Kerek, we talk about those pillars of wellness to ensure we feel fit and fabulous. Although the stakes are higher for someone with a chronic illness, these habits are still the starting point. Another simple solution we discussed is reducing stress. Chronic stress can contribute significantly to chronic illness and finding ways to reduce stress is one of the best first steps you can take. As I record this episode, we continue to feel the effects of COVID-19, which cannot be discounted. I suspect it has caused significant flare-ups for many. For those with chronic illness, stress reduction is imperative to create a foundation for healing. If you go to my website, you can sign up for my 10 Steps to Stress Less Checklist

In terms of resources, Martha says it’s important to filter what you seek depending upon your own situation. The film “Under My Skin” is very helpful to share with others so that they understand the struggle of Lyme disease. And a helpful place to start is with the Horowitz questionnaire. I am linking to both in the show notes. I would recommend you check out the questionnaire and then reach out to Martha. 

While I always welcome your feedback, it’s especially important for this episode. This is a topic that is so very personal. If you have resources or suggestions or you found this especially helpful and encouraging, I’d love to know. Even better, please leave a review and let others know about the episode.

Thank you for listening! Be sure to tune in to all the episodes to receive tons of practical tips to create space for what really matters in your life

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Work with Lisa! 


Stress Less Checklist

Stress Relief through Self Acceptance with Jane Tornatore – Ep 13

Fit and Fun Family Habits with Dr. Orlena Kerek – Ep 19

Horowitz Questionnaire

Tara Brach Podcast

Under Our Skin (Movie)

Music by Ian and Jeff Zawrotny