FiMunro

love, light and mermaid tails


1 Comment

Is Social Media Making Us Less Social?

Recently I took the plunge of deactivating my person facebook page. I didn’t think much about it…I just knew I was using it too much and decided a break could be of benefit to my health.

Wow, was I surprised my the reactions I got.

  • “Are you ok?”
  • “How are you feeling emotionally?”
  • “What’s the matter with you?”
  • “Why don’t you want to talk to people any more?”

These are just some of the comments I received to my very personal decision and it got me thinking: when did social media start to define how social we are?; and when did our use of social media become an indication of our mental health?

In fact, if anything, it could be said that social media not only makes us less social but also negatively affects our mental health as we get sucked into the ‘comparison mentality’. There are increasing studies that show it negatively affects our stress levels, sleep patterns and anxiety (to name a few aspects).

After a week of no facebook I realised that I – the person who previously had used it like a drug – actually didn’t miss it at all. So I deleted my account completely (as much as facebook will allow anyway…those terms and conditions are ‘interesting’). Then, a week later I went on holiday with my hubby and didn’t take my phone, instead leaving it in our house.

I made the decision to be completely offline. For three weeks!

It.was.incredible!

While I appreciate the prospect of not having a phone for three weeks will have made many of you gasp in horror, I want to share with you some of the wonderful lessons I learned and some tips for you to take this learning Ito your own lives – don’t worry, at no point do I suggest you bin your phone.

What I Gained When I Went Offline For Three Week’s

  1. I Fell Back in Love With My Husband – Now of course I have always loved my husband – he is an angel! However, I had forgotten what it was like to truly connect with him like when we first started dating. Primarily I had forgotten how f*cking hilarious he is and how much I enjoy his company. It is so easy when you have been in a relationship for a number of years for your life together to become habit, for each day to be the same as the one before and to not really connect. Add in a life-threatening illness like mine and it is easy for what made you fall in love in the first place to move to the bottom of the pile. Talk of work, hospital tests and mindless chat about social media can very quickly and easily take over. When I stepped back from this I realised that perhaps we were not as connected as I might have thought. For instance, I spend most evenings with Ewan, however many are spent watching a film or both of us on our phones. Now, in many ways we have always recognised this and we consciously make time every week for adventures, walks and days out together yet still, in the day-to-day, screen time can take over from face-to-face communication. What I realised when we were away together was that we were interacting with one another; we were laughing; connecting and stimulating each other’s conversation constantly. It was like setting the reset button on our relationship. After all, can you imagine a first date with someone who just sat looking at their phone?…
  2. Mental Clarity and Improved Memory – My mind become much clearer and more focused. Each day I would journal ideas for my second book and rather than my thoughts being stunted or blocked, they flowed freely. A surprising addition to this was old memories started coming back to me. A traumatic relationship in my twenties has meant that I struggle with memories in my school and university years. This was worsened by six doses of chemotherapy in 2016. However, I found that as my mental clarity improved, so did my memory and, as a result, many happy memories that had stayed just out of my mental reach for years, started to return. It’s as if my mind began to completely let go and relax and my inner knowing/guide/intuition/soul (whatever you want to call it) was no longer being silenced by the constant stream of information on social media.
  3. Time and Productivity – It was so insightful to me how much time I would normally spend on my phone looking at various apps. As soon as my phone was no longer part of my life I suddenly gained a ridiculous amount of time to do things that really matter to me (ideas for you to try are listed later in this post).
  4. A Sense of Calm – I am an inherently anxious, a-type personality who always has to be ‘doing’. However, the longer I was without my phone the more calm I began to feel. I no longer felt like I had to ‘do’ all of the time and instead found myself day dreaming, wondering and reflecting in ways I don’t remember doing since I was a child. The result was a deep sense of peace and calm. I hadn’t realised how much the constraint stream of information had influenced my anxiety levels.
  5. Better Connections – it’s ironic really that not using your phone would make you feel more connected, but it’s true. When you don’t have a phone, you spend more quality time with the people you are actually with because you aren’t constantly being distracted by conversations with other people through your phones.

How My Relationship With Technology Changed

Of course, I did miss some aspects of having a phone. For instance, I greatly missed being able to speak to the people in my life that I love dearly. However, I have noticed that as a result of this personal experience, my relationship with technology has changed – in particular my tolerance and patience.

  1. Group Chats – I am in many group chats. Some are where my family connects and shares as a group. Some are with friends who are stimulating, funny and supportive. Other are, well, not. The constant buzz of conversation that is mindless and not adding anything to my life suddenly felt suffocating and toxic. Having gained insight into how draining social media can be, and having a life-threatening illness has made me realise how important it is that all of the social interactions we have, whether face-to-face or online, need add value. Fortunately some apps allow you to mute groups.
  2. Multiple Conversations – social media allows you to be engaged in multiple conversations simultaneously, across various platforms. How can you truly connect with what a person is saying if you are having a conversation with 10 other people at the same time? The answer is, you can’t. As a result, it is very hard to have a deep and meaningful conversation with people through text on a screen. I should know, after all, I am the person who sent the message “it’s f*cking cancer” to several people simultaneous the day after I was diagnosed. What ever happened to picking up the phone? (I ask myself as much as I ask you).
  3. Society pressure – It is really hard to step away from social media because nearly everyone is on it. This creates a ‘sheep mentality’ meaning that if you decide to be the one who doesn’t follow the flock you can feel like you are missing out. Fortunately I have some amazing friends who send me the photos of their children that they would ordinarily just post on social media – this makes me feel extra special as I know they want me to specifically see them, and not just their whole friends list (I don’t doubt they think I’m a pain in the arse).

Things to Do Instead of Mindlessly Checking Social Media

Now you may be wondering, if I’m not on social media how am I meant to relax/connect/veg-out/and so on? Well, don’t worry, I’ve got your back…

1. Dance – dancing to a song that makes you happy not only stretches out your body but it also helps to lower your stress hormones and allows you to move from a state of ‘fight or flight’ to a healthier state of ‘rest and digest’. The same can be said for yoga.

2. Go For a Walk – even if it is just for a short walk around your neighbourhood, going outside and breathing in fresh air reduces feelings of depression; burns calories and improves your cardiovascular health.

3. Create – when was the last time you did something creative? Creativity is a form of meditation and mindful living and allows your mind to wonder and your brain to rest. Take some time to draw, doodle, colour or write.

4. Take Some Me Time – busy has become a badge people are proud to wear. Instead of constantly stimulating your mind, allow it to rest and relax with a bath (with you phone left in the hall!), massage, reiki, sauna, meditation or anything else that takes your fancy…

5. Phone Someone – how many of us send mindless messages to people without picking up the phone and having an actual conversation? I just had a two hour phone call with a friend in London and it was so stimulating for my soul (and hopefully hers). Take some time to have an actual conversation with someone you care about, rather than sending the ‘how you doing?’ message.

6. Speak to the Person/People You Live With – you’ve had a busy day at work and the last thing you want to do is speak to another person. It is so much ‘easier’ to mindlessly look at your phone and start scrolling. How about instead, you pause, take yourself to a quiet place (I have a friend with three children who’s ‘quiet place’ is meditating on her bathroom floor – so no excuses!) and when you feel ready, start actually speaking to the people in your home, rather than reading the text on your phone.

7. Journal – I had heard of journaling and I didn’t really ‘get it’, thinking it was for ‘other people’. However, I spent a lot of my trip journaling and it was mind opening. Simply sitting down with a notebook and a pen and taking a few moments to yourself (or longer if you have the time – which you do if you aren’t on social media) to write down your thoughts is very illuminating. You can even search online for some ‘journal questions’ to give you some things to contemplate if you are struggling. I’ve learned more about myself, my values and my thoughts since I started journaling than I ever have in the past. Now I know why the people I know who have journaled for a while are so interesting, self-aware and enlightening to be around.

8. Read a Book – In those first two weeks I didn’t have facebook (before I went completely without my phone) I read two books without making any extra time for reading. I simply always carried a book with me and whenever I had a moment where I would have previously reached for my phone, I instead reached for my book. I even bought a new handbag that fits a book in it (any excuse for a shopping trip). Stop making the excuse ‘I never have time to read’.

9. Have a Nap – who doesn’t like a 10 minute nap…enough said.

But We Live In A ‘Digital Age’…I hear you cry

Of course, since I came home there has been a need for me to use social media and technology. For instance, I run a business that relies, in part, on social media and me being contactable by phone. The difference now, however, is that I engage with social media in a mindful manner:

  • My business facebook is run by a facebook account which I don’t have any friends on and I still don’t have a personal facebook (it’s been over 2 months now).
  • I check twitter once a week – my blogs are set to automatically post there.
  • I check instagram once a month.
  • I only check my business facebook during working hours.
  • I only check emails during working hours.
  • I don’t have any social media apps on my phone…no business facebook, no twitter, no instagram, no emails. This means that I have to go on a computer to check these. This takes away the mindless habit…it is a lot more effort to go into my office just to scroll through social media.

By taking some simple steps to mindfully reduce your use of technology you will begin to notice dramatic changes in your life. Maybe you will even take a compete break as I did – if you do, I’d love to hear your reflections (once you are back online of course).

I believe it’s time for us to unplug from mindless online activity and instead plug into our souls, our hearts and our intuition.

Love and light, Fi xxx

Advertisements


4 Comments

What Would You Wish For?

“What Would You Wish For?”

This morning I woke from a very vivid dream with tears in my eyes.

In my dream, someone had stood before me and said ‘I can take it all away, I can make it so you never had stage four cancer.’ I remained silent as they went on ‘You would never have had the chemotherapy; your hair would still be intact and you never would have suffered the distress it had caused you. Your surgery wouldn’t have happened; your scar would vanish, your colostomy wouldn’t exist and the trauma you experienced would disappear from your mind.’
In my dream I silently stared at them as they spoke and finally muttered ‘would I remember the lessons?’

‘Only if you wanted to’ they replied.

‘Would I be teaching yoga?’ I asked, slightly bewildered.

‘No, you would still be in your previous job.’

Then, somewhere between the dream and awakening I began to think about what this would mean….

I would never have taught a single child yoga and, as a result, I would never have witnessed the magic that happens when a child is gifted the ability to self sooth, or the wonder in their eyes when they learn about chakras, or the softening of their spirit as I teach them the mantra of ‘I am kind, I am loved, I am safe, I am enough….’

I would have never made the friends I have through cancer and, as a result, so many people I cherish deeply would still be strangers.

I, of course, also never would have lost the dear friends that I parted ways with during my journey (some through death and some through anger), but perhaps our story together was over and that, as painful as it was, is OK. The memories we shared will always be carried in my heart.

I never would have written my book or personally had the honour of connecting with hundreds of people as they go through their own cancer journey or who are supporting a loved one with cancer. I never would have shared the tears and felt the connection when people wrote to me about a loved one passing away from cancer, or the joy when someone survived against all the odds.

I wouldn’t have known what it’s like to have everything I thought was ‘me’ stripped away to leave the raw reality upon which I could rebuild the person I have become….no, the warrior I have become!

I never would have met, nor witnessed, the incredible medical staff who I have had the absolute privilgde of receiving care from. My oncologist, my surgeons, the nurses (oh the wonderful nurses), the porter, the cleaning staff, the volunteers and the doctors would all remain strangers and I would never know what it is like to witness, nor recieve, the passionate, person-centred care that they offer.

I wouldn’t place the value I do on time away with my hubby, on days with my family or on adventures with friends. Instead, perhaps I would have kept working long days and commuting long hours, unaware that my precious life was slipping past me in a blur.

I wouldn’t have handed out a single random act of kindness and, sadly, I wouldn’t have connected with the lives and stories of so many beautiful strangers, some of whom have become dear friends and, all of whom, have taught me some of the most valuable lessons in life.

And I realised something; I wouldn’t trade a single second of my diagnosis, of my treatment, of my surgery or of my recovery if it meant that I would miss out on any of the wonderful gifts it had brought me.

In that moment I knew that, while my cancer may never be cured, I can say now, without a shadow of doubt in my mind, that I am completely ‘healed’ in every sense of the word and that is the greatest gift of all.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds, neither do any of us, but I do know that because of (not in spite of) my cancer, that I will be living my life with kindness, with gratitude and, above all, with love.

Look for the beauty, embrace the gifts and I promise you cancer can heal us all.

Love and light, Fi xxx

‘Health Blogger of the Year 2017’

Author of ‘Love, Light and Mermaid Tails: One Woman’s Healing Journey Back to Wholeness Through Stage Four Cancer’


1 Comment

The Innate Ability to be Kind

Today I met my Uncle for a cuppa and he gave me this beautiful teal dream catcher.

When I got back to my car I noticed that the car in front had a parking fine on their windscreen. We’ve all been there – it’s the worse feeling coming back to your car to an unexpected bill to add to the list. I felt for the person and wondered about their reaction. Whilst doing so I noted that they had not ‘just’ missed the end of their paid time by a few moments. Their parking had been up for nearly three hours!

As I sat in my own car I began to wonder why someone would be so late for their car. I knew immediately what I had to do. I reached for something in my bag, leapt out of my car and slipped one of my blue envelopes under their windscreen wiper. Inside was a random act of kindness. At least now they now have some money to help with the bill 💖

Doing these random acts of kindness never fails to brighten my day. The simple gesture of touching a stranger’s life in a beautiful way with no expectation of their reaction is one of the most beautiful things we can all do. It doesn’t have to cost a penny. A smile costs nothing and yet it can make a huge difference to someone’s life.

How lucky we are to all have this innate gift to help others.

Love and light, Fi xxx

You can read more about my random acts of kindness and where the money comes from.


Leave a comment

Are you eating enough calories – raw food day 4

Are you eating enough calories – raw food day 4

It’s my fourth day of eating only raw food and all people keep asking me is ‘can you eat enough calories on a raw diet?”

Well, this is my take on it. If I was just eating carrot sticks then no! However, by eating a well balanced diet of a range of fruit, veg, greens, nuts and seeds then yes!

The idea behind a raw diet isn’t to cut calories…it’s to replace the calories from cooked food with calories from raw food. The most awesome part of this is you get to eat even more than before!

It may only be day four but I have loads of energy and I am feeling unstoppable. Today I’ve done an ashtanga yoga session and two walks and normally I’d spend a Friday resting after 5+hrs of teaching yoga on a Thursday. Not today!

Also, despite being told about the many ‘detox side affects’ of going raw all I have experienced is a slight headache and I’ve noticed I’m not sleeping as well but that it doesn’t matter because I don’t feel like I need as much sleep anyway. However, maybe the side affects will start tomorrow?

Happy eating.

Love and light, Fi xx

Follow me on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

⭐️I’ve been shortlisted for ‘The Health Blogger of the Year’. ⭐️

It would be super awesome if you could head here and vote to help me win.

In August 2017 I published a book about my story and how I strive to live an incredible life with ‘terminal’ cancer — Love, Light and Mermaid Tails: One Woman’s Healing Journey Back to Wholeness Through Stage Four Cancer 


Leave a comment

Raw Food for Post Cancer Holistic Health – Day One

Hello and happy Tuesday!
I’ve been thinking over my health lately and realised that it’s not quite where I want it to be…it’s been nearly 18months since I was diagnosed with stage four cancer and after months of being sugar free, vegan (except for occasional fish) and not eating processed food (plus 8 years of being gluten free) I still feel my diet isn’t optimal.

This weekend I went away with my family and found myself slipping easily into old habits of sugar and processed food. Not where I want to be at all!

The result? Today I woke feeling sluggish, tired and all in all a bit ‘meh’. And my skin has broken out again too! Eeek!

So what to do?

Well, after months of researching I’ve decided to embrace a raw food diet under the belief that live food is best for our health.

Now, let’s get one things clear, I’m not doing this for weight loss! I am a happy and healthy size 10/12 and I walk/practice yoga/run ever day. This is about achieving optimal health and helping my body to heal from the inside out.

So, today begins my journey with raw food. I’m under no illusions that it will be easy but hey, it can’t be as bad as high dose chemotherapy and major surgery can it?

I’m a complete novice so I’ve decided to share my story with you all in a ‘video diary’. If you have any advice or tips please let me know!

Here goes!

Love and light, Fi xx
Follow me on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

⭐️VOTING IS NOW OPEN!⭐️

I’ve been shortlisted for ‘The Health Blogger of the Year’. It would be super awesome if you could head here and vote to help me win.

You don’t need to provide any details (not even your name!), you just have to tick a box!

The winner receives a prize of £600 and if I win then I pledge to use it all for my random act of kindness to help spread more joy and raise awareness for ovarian cancer!
With your help I can reach more people and help to spread awareness of ovarian cancer; living with stage four cancer; invisible disabilities and so much more! 💜💜💜

New to my page? In Jan 2016 , at the age of just 30, I was diagnosed with non-genetic, stage four ovarian cancer. There is no stage five. Since then I’ve been campaigning to raise awareness of ovarian cancer in the hope that my diagnosis will help save lives. I have been handing out random acts of kindness to strangers as envelopes containing £20 and a card with the symptoms of ovarian cancer. I do this in the hope of spreading kindness and joy whilst also helping to get people to take about ovarian cancer! 💜⭐️🌈

In August 2017 I published a book entitled “Love, Light and Mermaid Tails” about my story and how I strive to live an incredible life with ‘terminal’ cancer. Get it here.


Leave a comment

Reaching the Other Side of the Doors

Today I approached a set of automatic doors that I’ve passed through many times before. As I strode through their entrance I was greeted with mental images of the woman I had been before, weak and afraid as she made her way to her first chemo; I saw the woman I became, weaker still with no hair, her body frail from muscle loss; I felt the memory of the ambulance gurney, hard beneath my body as I was wheeled through those doors only months ago; I felt the memory of every time these doors had opened before me; I felt the changes I’d been through, some physical and some emotional and, with a smile, I acknowledged the many friendships I’d made on the other side of those doors.I suddenly realised how much I had changed. I’d had the honour and blessing of being reborn and, in that moment, none of those previous moments mattered anymore because today I was striding, my head was held high, my back was straight and I felt incredible, healthy and happy.

I don’t know how long my new life will be but I do know that I intend to cherish every single moment with gratitude for the people on the other side of those doors for their support, kindness and care 💜💕

How lucky I am to be here. Thank you 🙏🏻⭐️🌈

Love and light, Fi xx

Please vote here. You don’t need to provide any details, just a few clicks.


1 Comment

Chase Your Dreams 

I could have missed my run today. I could have looked at the bad weather and thought ‘nah I’ll stay in tonight’.

But instead I remembered the old me, the me lying in a hospital bed after surgery to remove half my organs. The me with stage four cancer fighting for her life. The me that would have given anything to be able to walk across the room unaided.

So I got into my running gear and I went for a run.

Was it tough? Absolutely!

But was it worth it realising how incredible my body is, how wonderfully well it has healed and how powerful it is to not only recover from cancer but to be able to run in the rain? Hell yeah!

I used to run to burn calories. I used to run to lose weight. I used to run to beat my personal best. Now I run for the old me. I run for my fellow warriors to show them that anything is possible. I run for health. I run for my future self! I run so that when I next see my oncologist I can tell her how amazing I feel!

I don’t know how far I ran. I don’t know how fast I ran. I don’t know how many calories I burnt. And I don’t care! What I do know is that I did something I once thought I’d never be able to do and that is the best feeling in the world!

Tonight I will be celebrating with a curry at a friend’s house – not because I ‘earned it’ but because life is too short to worry how many calories you eat as long as you are eating the right food! The main word being ‘food’ – not highly processed or ‘low fat’ bullsh*t!

Have a great weekend everyone! Go and do something you once only dreamed of!

Love and light, Fi xx

—-

You can now buy my new book on Amazon – “Love, Light and Mermaid Tails”