Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Local Stroke Recovery Association was on the News

I often talk about what an important place my local Stroke Recovery Association has been for me. I was not getting out of the house and I was not really sure what was to become of me. I was isolated and uninformed. One night, at about 3 am, I was awake as usual and being miserable. I saw an advertisement for a national stroke recovery organization, Stroke Recovery Canada, -- and it gave their web address. I looked it up and was really surprised to find there was a group here in Winnipeg. It took me a couple of weeks and a lot of staring at the web site before I finally got up the nerve to phone. I had a nice chat with the director and I was encouraged to come to a little tea that was planned to celebrate Stroke Recovery Month in Manitoba. I told my eldest daughter about my phone call and she hauled me off to the stroke recovery center for a quick visit to check the place out. It was much smaller than I expected but very welcoming.
The following event  I went to was their BBQ fundraiser. I thought it wouldn't hurt to support this organization that I suddenly seemed to have some kind of connection with. I thought the least I could do was buy a hot-dog from them and I actually had fun.

That was three and a half years ago. Thanks to the Manitoba Stroke Recovery Association I have been able to push myself forward in a safe and supportive atmosphere. I have learned to laugh at some of my issues with other stroke survivors who are living through similar experiences. I have received lots of good advice, shared resources and occasionally I have had people hug me through a few tears. I have regained some of my shattered self-esteem and I have made wonderful new friends.

Recently a local news station came down and did a video at our office. They interviewed my friend Candace about her personal experience with Stroke Recovery and she gave a lovely and touching interview. Candace had recovery problems similar to mine and she always encouraged me to keep trying.  I saw her progress and I too had hopes for a better future. If you watch the video you will see a lot of my other friends in the background and you will see what my home away from home looks like. You will also see a very short clip of the Tai Ji exercise group I attend most Fridays. I missed being there when the film crew was at the center.

I was not able to embed the video into my blog, so I really hope you will click on over and watch this short news video. Please look for the article called "Community Connection: Stroke Recovery Association" and this picture of Candace. 
CTV television in Winnipeg

Friday, January 20, 2012

Reasons to Exercise

I am posting this video while missing my beloved Tai Ji class. I have a cold, feel rotten and I am probably contagious.

Here is a video that puts health improvement so simply!
 I wish I could draw like that!

Does anyone else have a free half hour a day?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Goal Setting

I read that New Year's resolutions are not good things because they often lead to disappointment.  Your firm decision to change something is not enough by itself; you need to set actual goals and not just any kind of goal either. You need to make... "SMART ones".  A resolution is not worth much without a plan behind it.
The graphic summarizes this form of goal setting very nicely.

Most of my occupational therapy sessions involved setting and achieving goals and I think I got pretty good at it. I completed a lot of goals while moving toward recovery, goals like walking and learning how to cook again. At one point I even had a goal to use the computer to made myself cute worksheets to help me set goals!

Moving forward with recovery and self-improvement projects on my own is a little more challenging. My life is increasingly busy with the details of everyday life and I no longer have my weekly appointment with my OT to help focus on my goals. I liked having my regular appointments with small deadlines to work toward and I liked having someone listen to me share my accomplishments. Basically I like feedback and a little bit of praise once in a while. Trying to keep up the momentum on my own is much harder, but I know that I now have the ability and the tools to move toward my next goals.

Pete Levine recently wrote a post about task specific training for recovery.  He states, "don't let survivors forget what most motivates them. The most powerful tools live inside the survivor." Pete's whole article is very interesting but that particular phrase caught my attention. I was intrigued with the idea of reflecting on why I would choosing certain goals in the first place and what motivates me to keep working toward those goals.  I think it starts with how you see yourself and on your personal values and aptitudes but such self-awareness takes thought. I think my values have not changed much over the years but how I see myself has changed through the process of recovery.  I never would have called myself determined before, and I never though of myself as hard working but I am proud to have discovered these and other strengths over the past few years. This new awareness gives me the courage to try even more new things.

The real value in New Year's resolutions might be that you have an opportunity to review what you want to change. Hopefully you will also have an opportunity to reflect with pride on what you have accomplished in the past year. If you know what motivates you I think you can determine your goals and then find strategies that will keep you moving forward towards accomplishing your objectives and perhaps even few dreams.

For more information about Smart Goals and for the source of the above graphic please see
It has a free "smarter goals template" on that page that is pretty useful.

Linda's Goals for 2012

Exercise Goal --- continue with my weekly group water therapy and Tai Ji and add in active living sessions 3 times a week

Nutrition Goal --- plan meals and food ahead of time and record what I eat.  My weight is an issue.

Guitar --- practice 5 days a week and NOT have expectations for how much I can progress

Computer Skills --- work through the Photo-shop textbook I have and hopefully later this year I can register for the community college course I was forced to drop when I got sick.

Photography Skills --- I am trying to take pictures every week and I want to try and do some online theme challenges.

Job Rehabilitation --- I am not sure where this is going yet but I will continue to work with the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities and see where that leads me.

Home Organization --- I still need to make a plan for this one, but we have a lot of clutter to deal with in our home.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Computer Class Began

I started the computer course  at the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities today. It is really a low key kind of approach for our group of about 8 students with a teacher and a volunteer helper. Today we started with Word to make a series of posters. I have not used a PC in a long time and you could certainly tell that I was not using my beloved MAC laptop.  I was surprised at what a hard time I had just going back to using a mouse! 

I definitely had trouble following anything the teacher was doing on the screen at the front of the class. By time I looked up and focused on the screen I missed whatever the heck he was trying to show us, but fortunately that was a very minor part of the class.  The class assistant was right there and ready to point things out to me.

Once I got home I rested for a half hour, reviewed my music, and then I headed off  to my guitar lesson. I am making some very gradual progress there too.

After we finally got back to the house I aimed straight at the couch. I was exhausted.  I turned on The Biggest Looser ... I needed inspiration to just get back up off the couch again.

Tomorrow is aquatic therapy at 9 am and computer from 1 to 4 pm. 

Wish me luck.

Clipart from
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