March 31, 2017
It’s often so hard to travel on a daily basis as a spoonie, let alone make sure that you have everything you need in order to adapt and function to your health struggles each and every day…Even harder, not to feel the need to carry a massive duffle bag everywhere you go!
For a long time, I’m always asked what are my essentials, my go-to tools and gadgets that I always carry with me, the “spoonie boss lady necessities” as one of our InvisiYouth supporters wrote to me.
So, it seemed about time that I finally reveal what I carry in my bag me, my own personal “What’s in my Bag” segment of this founder’s blog, but it’ll be the boss lady edition with a RSD-inflicted flare.
What’s typically in my bag is a range of products:
- Precut KT Tape
- Hand warmers
- Mini Tylenol bottle
- Bandage dispenser
- Pens with multiple sizes
- Calendar with to-do list
- Portable charger
- Business cards
- Mini lavender lotion
- Motivational quote
Besides the typical license and money additions that are always in any bag I take, I can break down the items I carry with me into three categories: my mini-medical toolkit, my boss girl life and my random necessities.
When it comes to my mini-medical toolkit, I bring the most compact versions of everything that I need with me. Since I have residual RSD, my needs are more for pain management and reduction of muscular swelling and spasms. I have to sort of premeditate what are the possible injuries and flare-ups that can happen during and typically for me, these are the main helpers to get me through the day to keep pushing forward.
I ALWAYS carry hand warmers on me! They are a literal piece of heaven that can lower my pain super quickly. When it is cold out, or my limbs are freezing up, or my muscles lock up and I cannot move my hand or foot, I rip open the bag and let the warmth take over. It has always given me a bit of solace to have the warmth. Next, I bring precut strips of KT Tape. This is amazing for the swelling and nerve pain that I have on a constant basis, especially when it spikes from overuse or injury. I wear different patterns to reduce swelling and allow me to move my hand or foot more easily. With it being precut, all I have to do is stick and apply!
The natural medical necessity is to make sure to carry a pain reliever like a mini Tylenol bottle, and while RSD nerve pain doesn’t improve with any ibuprofen, it helps with the natural side effects that come along with RSD for the rest of my body. Muscle stiffness, soreness from overusing my right side to compensate, migraines that only affect my left side of my head…this mini Tylenol bottle is a must-have to get through the day. Last, but definitely not least is the bandage dispenser (which is InvisiYouth merchandise with our logo!!). While odd for RSD spoonies, you have to look at the side effects that happen with nerve damage. When my hand spasms and I drop things, or my foot goes numb temporarily and I trip, minor injuries can happen and a Band-Aid is a definite necessity.
My next group of items that are always in my purse will help out my daily life as a boss…that is a charity founder boss. The most obvious thing I carry with me is my cell phone. Whether it’s checking in on our social media accounts, responding to emails, or marking out reminders through our calendar…my phone has become more of an electronic personal assistant instead of the device I use to call or text. But I cannot always rely on my phone to remember everything, and that is why I carry a mini calendar with a to-do list in my bag. It is so important for me as a charity owner to remember all of my appointments, conference calls, Skype meetings and project deadlines so a calendar is vital to InvisiYouth consistent momentum forward. And for each week, I keep a to-do list so I can cross off the different tasks at hand for the week; it keeps me on task, while also helping me remember what I need to do!
Next up is a notepad that is small and compact, with lots of blank pages. With the natural brain fog that unfortunately plagues my day as an RSD side-effect, I have a hard time remembering all the different ideas and moments of inspiration that come my way throughout the day. Want to remember a new charity or company to contact for collaboration or fiscal sponsorship? Hear a teen that wants to work with us on advocacy? Think of a new founder’s blog topic? I keep a notepad to help me remember all the ideas that pop into my brain and prevent them from being forgotten. But to write down in my calendar or notepad means I need to carry pens (hope you like our InvisiYouth merchandise specialized, and recycled material, pens!!) in my bag. To help with my nerve damage, I always carry pens and pencils that are different sizes, some super thin, other jumbo-kindergartener sized. This helps because oftentimes my grip changes each day with swelling and muscular pain/stiffness so it helps to always walk into meetings with multiple pens so no matter how I’m feeling, I can find one that will fit my grip in that moment. And last, but definitely not least…you CANNOT be a boss lady without carrying a bunch of your own business cards! It’s required, and needed, and honestly, there is a silent power that comes along with handing over that card for work!
The last bunch of items I keep in my purse all seem super random to most people, but somehow no matter how many times I clean out my bad, they end up in every bag. First off…obviously since I mentioned my overuse of my cell phone, it is only obvious that I would bring a portable charger with me as well. I have to make sure that this phone is constantly charged and ready to use, and this portable charger is small and sleek to fit with in a clutch or massive duffle bag. Next, I always bring a mini lotion with me in my bag, but not just any lotion. I always bring either a lavender lotion (my favorite is L’occitane Lavender hand cream) or I bring a eucalyptus-blended lotion (something like aromatherapy eucalyptus spearmint from Bath and Body Works). For me, the scent of lavender is a quick stress relief so if I’m every feeling stressed or anxious, I rub on some lavender lotion and the aromatic scent brings a quick level of ease.
Along that line of helping with stress, I usually carry a tea bag with me in all my bag. In a lot of meetings that I go to, they usually ask if I want some coffee, tea or water to drink, and while I ADORE coffee, you want to stay nice and calm, not shaking from too much caffeine, especially if you have meetings all day long. There are dozens of flavors you can have (just like my chamomile flavor from Stash) and you can typically get hot water in most delicatessens or coffee houses so it’s a go-to in any scenario. Next, I will almost always carry a pair of sunglasses with me because with having residual RSD in the left side of my next and head, I can get spontaneous migraines that afflict only the left side of my head, and that can make me sensitive to the light. To prevent me having any problems going to work, or hanging out with friends, I have sunglasses to dim the brightness. And if that means I need to be ‘that girl’ who wears her shades indoors…well I will be that person on occasion for the sake of my health. Last, but certainly not least, I like to carry a motivational quote with me wherever I go. Usually I have an inspiring quote engraved on a rock, like my favorite quote “This Too Shall Pass” that slips into any purse pocket. It’s small, but just this little thing can give me that mental push to keep going when the work load piles up or my health starts to stumble.
What I carry is not just assisting me or improving my quality of life, but it’s simply empowering. By having all of this in my bag, I empower my life and the woman, the charity owner, the spoonie that I am because I take control of each choice in this very small part of my life.
It is my actions and my decisions on what to bring that motivate me because I hold all the power in what I bring which will help me during the day to make sure I can strong and achieve my daily goals.