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Dear one,

I’m really sorry to hear about this difficult time and I’m sending you so much love. At my non-profit organisation, Healing Boxes, we have plenty of experience helping people support their loved ones when they’re hurting. And I’d like to share some ideas and skills with you today:

So, your loved one is hurting, what can you do?


1. Press Pause.

If you’ve just received a phone call, you are googling on your way to the hospital, you are lying awake at night thinking about your dear one sick and in pain… I’d like you to take a moment. Press pause.

Take a deep breath in and let it out. When in doubt, breathe out.

You will be better able to support your loved one, better able to move, act and make decisions if you are not in crisis mode. Crisis mode is great for running away from tigers but not so great for making decisions about care and treatment. So give yourself a breather and a break.


2. Put on Your Oxygen Mask

“In the event of an emergency, please put on your oxygen mask before assisting others.” – It’s a message most of us have learned to tune out — take care of yourself in order to be effective especially in high crunch situations — and yet, one which can make a significant difference in our effectiveness.” – Huffington Post.

I know it’s hard, and I know it feels counter-intuitive. But if you don’t get enough sleep, and food then you aren’t able to help your loved one.

Being the one who is ill is very hard, and one of the most painful parts can be watching the process affect our loved ones. When you take care of yourself, the ill person no longer has to worry about how much their illness may be hurting you.

And if you’d like to learn how to build resilience and a toolkit so you are fuelled during a crisis, head here.


3. Gather Information and Convene a Healing Team

If you don’t understand what the doctor is talking about, politely ask them to explain further.

Write down and ask for the spellings of any terms or diagnoses they use so you can look them up later.

Ask for recommendations and resources. In the UK, you can get books on prescription, so ask.


4. Create Comfort and Cheer

Illness can be devastating, scary and painful. But it can also be depressing, boring and serious. When someone is very ill it’s easy to get into the habit of treating them medically and forgetting about the fun, human things that make life bright.

– Can you bring some nail varnish into the hospital, and get them a pretty pedicure?

– How about getting a new, exciting book and reading it aloud, or listening to the audio version together?

– Maybe watching your favourite childhood films again would be a fun distraction?

– Or ordering a Healing Box full of helpful goodies to make their day?

Sign up to the newsletter on Healing-Boxes.com to get the full guide to supporting your loved one when they are ill as well as 10% off your first Healing Box!

What are your coping strategies? Share in the comments!

Image Copyright | Originally published on The Healing Blog



Veronique started yoga in 2000, at the age of 34, when she was diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting MS. At the time, she was addicted to the gym. She loved aerobics, steps, spinning and spent 8 to 10 hours per week in the gym – but still smoked 25 cigarettes a day.

Even though she was convinced that Yoga would be boring, she decided to join an Iyengar and an Ashtanga class a week. She now knows that doing yoga and sticking to it was one of the best decision she ever made.

Over the years, she studied and practiced different types of yoga with different teachers: Iyengar, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Forrest Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Therapy Yoga… She has been teaching yoga since 2009.

MOTTO: “Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and think of what could go right!” (Click to Tweet!)

In this Trail Blazer Interview we talk about:

– What is Taming the Walrus, and how can we tame our own?

– The 3 main challenges Veronique faces living with MS, and how she manages them

– What wellness looks like with a relapsing condition

– How to integrate a holistic approach to living with MS at home

Subscribe below for more Trail Blazer interviews and check out Veronique’s work here, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


Guest PostI hope you enjoy this fabulous guest post from June, one of our amazing Trail Blazers in the Trail Blazers’ Cafe.  A huge thank you to June for sharing her arty suggestions with us here. See you next week, darlings. Grace xx

1. Draw what you see: I’ve been inspired by a visit to the David Hockney exhibition in Saltaire where there was a sequence of artwork on a big screen where he had drawn the view from his window using his iPad. It doesn’t have to be digital – it could be a pencil drawing with highlights done in coloured pencils, or using pastels or paints.

2. Artistic endeavours are a good excuse to buy yourself some flowers, then you can draw or paint them. Try drawing a single flower first – look very closely at the details, then go to the vase of followers. Remember when the flowers are gone, no-one will know how accurate your creation is – so don’t get hung up on creating an exact image. Also, try drawing the flowers from varying angles or in a different medium.

3. Have you got a favourite artist? Try creating your artwork in the style of…. Van Gogh or Henri Matisse?

4. Next time you are going in to town how about working a trip to the library into your plans? I’m very lucky that my library has a good arts & crafts section. I quite like to browse whenever I go anywhere with a good bookshop – especially the ones that provide comfy chairs & encouraging browsing!

5. Do you knit, or crochet? Or do you enjoy sewing or embroidery? Have you checked out to see if there are any groups locally? The town I live in has several Knit & Natter groups at libraries & cafes. I’m part of two groups at different libraries as they are free! Attending groups are a great way to stimulate creativity & share ideas & successes. If you can’t always get out to groups there are some great groups on Facebook where you can share images of your work & be part of an online experience.

6. Paint your nails! Create nail art – you don’t necessarily need expensive equipment – a simple pin head is great for creating polka dots!

7. If you’d like to learn a new technique or practise with a new medium, YouTube provides some great tutorials – though try not to get sucked into spending too much time online, get practising!

8. Try creating illustrations to go with a favourite book or poem.

9. Stuck for ideas for something to draw? How about a piece of jewellery, an ornament in your house, a bowl of fruit, your mug from a cup of tea or coffee, a pet, a dining chair (so Van Gough!) or how about your own hand, your mobile phone? Really look closely, study the details.

10. Get a mirror & create a self portrait – try a different hairstyle on your image, or put yourself in a scene of something you fancy – could be an exotic destination or dressed up for ladies day at the races?

11. Take some photos, go for a walk if you can. Look for beauty in unusual places. Try editing your photos on the computer.

12. Try something then you’ve never tried before, possibly Zentangles if you love to doodle, or Mandalas if you love neatness & structure.

13. Check out Pinterest, or Flickr.com for inspiration. I particularly like Pinterest as you can get your favourite images in subject or category groups.

14. Research World Art for inspiration, how about Aboriginal Dot paintingsAfrican textilesCeltic artOriental artMexican or Moroccan art.

15. Have a go at origami.

16. Fancy pottery or ceramics but think you need a kiln? Well how about creating clay work using air hardening clay, you don’t even need a specialist art shop to find it! Many high street stationers sell it very reasonably.

17. Start a collection of things to use in a collage – I’ve been saving postage stamps for years knowing I’d find a creative purpose for them. I stuck them onto plain white paper & cut them into heart shapes & made them into door hangers.

18. Try embellishing your work using sequins, embroidery thread or buttons.

19. If you get chance to go to the beach, how about a bit of sand sculpture? The key is to keep it wet. If you can’t get out, how about sending someone to get some play sand. You can use a pencil to draw in the sand. Photograph your work & start again.

20. Have a go at print making, you can make marks with the polyester packaging that apples are sometimes packed in using a pen or pencil & use it as a printing block.

21. Choose a colour, add varying amounts of white to create a range of tones of that colour & create artwork using just this range.

22. Learn about colour theory, paint your own colour wheel to use for future reference.

23. Create some art work using just warm or cold colours.

24. Create an image to help you create a specific mood or feel; yellow for positivity, green to soothe, blue to calm, purple to uplift, pink for energy, red for enthusiasm, and shades of white for clarity.


*The featured image is a painting I did inspired by Kandinksy’s Concentric Circles and goes along with tip #3 above.