joy of nesting

joy of nesting
Shiree Hanson Segerstrom Design and Wellness for Women with Arthritis and Other Chronic Pain.

How to Look and Feel Amazing With Arthritis and Other Chronic Pain

Hi, I'm Shiree' and I'm an interior designer, design columnist, author, blogger and... I have been diagnosed with six different bone conditions including osteopenia and osteoarthritis! 

This is an except from my new book. Enjoy!

Living in a beautiful home has many benefits right?  But if you’re unhappy with how you look and uncomfortable in your own body, no amount of beautiful furniture or custom window treatments are going to make you feel better. Good interior design will enhance a healthy, balanced lifestyle but it won’t make a difference if you don’t feel good about yourself. What affects the bones also affects the skin, hair and nails. So if you have degenerative bone conditions like me, your skin will definitely need the extra attention to look it’s best.

When you are uncomfortable, in pain, miserable with your appearance, when you have low energy, when you are cranky, even the smallest things can put you in a foul mood. But… if you are balanced, happy, attractive and energetic you will vibrate at your highest level and that’s a pretty intoxicating way to live! Trust me. I live this way not every day, but five or six out of seven! I’m going to share with you what you can do right now on a daily rotational basis to create super beautiful, healthy skin, eyes and hair.

Talk about upping your game. Rotate these total game changing, health and beauty techniques into your weekly schedule and people will be commenting on your vibrant appearance. I kid you not ladies. Total game changers.

I hope you’re already doing some of these. Don’t stress about them but slowly add them one at a time over a period you feel comfortable with. This is a new lifestyle you’re learning. You are in school! You can’t fit two semesters of learning into a three day weekend so don’t even try! Right now I just want you to experience each one of these things three times. When you’ve tried the first one three times, move to the second one and so on.

All natural beauty products

These beauty techniques are a whole new way of thinking about skin care. You won’t be buying or using on your skin any products that are not safe to eat! Yes, you heard me right! No jars of crèmes. No toners. No serums. Whatever you put on your skin goes directly into your blood stream.

Go ahead and buy your preferred cosmetics such as foundation, mascara, lipstick. You most likely don’t use them every day anyway. But skin care will come solely from pure castile soap, virgin raw organic coconut oil and raw unfiltered organic local honey.

If you have problem skin such as sensitive skin, rosacea or acne, it is most likely your diet. When you switch to the eating plan I shared in chapter six those issues will greatly lessen.

Coconut oil has several benefits when used topically. It’s antimicrobial and makes an excellent night time cleanser. Simply remove eye make up with coconut oil and wash entire face with warm water and a tiny bit of castile soap. After final rinse, apply coconut oil to a damp face and remove excess with a warm wet washcloth, leaving a bit of residue on your face as moisturizer. If you’re a back sleeper like me, you can leave on a generous amount without the probability of getting it in your hair.

Back sleeping

If you have neck pain, back sleeping will change your life. I’ve been diagnosed with osteopenia in my neck, sclerosis of the hips and scoliosis in my spine, in two different directions! Sleeping flat on my back without a pillow was too far-fetched an idea with sinus issues like mine. But once I gave up cow’s milk and most cheeses the sinus issues lessened and back sleeping became a great way for me to align my spine for 7 to 9 hours as well as wake up with beautiful smooth skin. Sleeping flat also enables the blood to circulate to your facial skin easier than if your head is elevated. It’s true that you’ll wake up puffy if you’re not eating right or drinking wine and other alcoholic beverages, but let me assure you that won’t happen, because you are going to eat right. Right?

If you find back sleeping impossible, I have a sweet little hack for you…satin pillowcases. They lessen the wrinkling that is caused by cotton and polyester sheeting by allowing your facial skin to slip across the sheet instead of being tugged.


Exfoliate daily. I know there are conflicting reports about this but they are just wrong. Exfoliation is imperative as we age to encourage cell division to turn over. One caveat to this is you must eat right and sleep well in order for it to work right. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells allowing new, healthy skin cells to take over. But it also does something that’s called controlled damage. Controlled damage is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s the opposite. Acid peels are too much damage. They are toxic and should be avoided. Instead, exfoliate manually every day. If you are eating right and sleeping well, these are healing mechanisms and they will take care of the rest.

There are product exfoliators such as apricot kernel washes and exfoliating tools such as exfoliating gloves. I much prefer the latter. I don’t like using store bought products because the ingredients are not good for the skin in the long run. Gloves require cleansing because they can carry mildew and bacteria that cause skin irritation and breakouts but if you buy several pair and launder them after each use, this won’t be an issue.

Like all the techniques in this book, begin slowly by exfoliating twice a week, then three times a week, then four, then five and so on until you are exfoliating at least five to seven days a week. I’m an aggressive, daily exfoliator. Your skin will never look amazing if you do not get enough dark and light leafy greens, raw colorful veggies and fruits, raw nuts, plenty of water and daily exfoliation. If I miss even one day of exfoliation my skin doesn’t look it’s best.

Exfoliate before bedtime or late in the day when you won’t be going anywhere in public. There is about a fifteen to twenty five minute window where the face appears red. This is the blood being drawn to the surface, cleaning out impurities and feeding the skin with fresh red blood cells!

Always, always apply a lavish amount of coconut oil to the skin immediately after exfoliation while skin is still damp. Blot off with a wash cloth or towel. If you have time, leave the coconut oil on for ten to twenty minutes before blotting off. Coconut oil absorbs nicely into the skin.


There are two types of facials I give myself at least two to three days a week. Daily is best but I seldom do them that often. These are massages I learned from reading Tonya Zavasta’s books. One is a deep massage with your knuckles. After your shower, slather plenty of organic raw coconut oil on your face and throat. With the knuckles of both hands, gently but firmly and deeply massage your entire face and throat applying more pressure to the lower cheek area to massage any comma shaped or deep marionette creases. Massage the creases between the brows. Use caution around the eye area. Take about 7 minutes to do this properly. This type of massage applies pressure while the next massage decompresses, or “lifts” the skin outward. Both are effective in their own unique way. Word of caution: go slow! You have to do all of these techniques gradually to train the skin. Once it’s trained you’ll be so pleased with the results.

The other is Tonya’s honey massage using organic, raw, unfiltered honey. Apply a small amount of honey to your entire face avoiding the upper and lower eyelid areas. Firmly pat the entire face, throat and neck and as the honey becomes tacky your skin will spring out and back. This lifts impurities, circulates the blood and softens fine lines beautifully! You’re going to love how your skin looks. Again, use caution and proceed slowly.

One more little trick I learned. Slather your face with organic extra virgin olive oil. Take a wet facial washcloth and warm it in the microwave about twenty seconds. Caution… test it before picking it up and before placing it on your face. Experiment with the degrees of heat and only use what you can comfortably tolerate. Place on face for twenty seconds then reheat. You can get the same results if not better with a facial steamer too, if you prefer.

Live Beautifully. Eat Beautifully, Shiree'

Click "Pain Free Design and Wellness" for a free chapter of my powerful new book that helps women with arthritis create beautiful, functional homes and take better care of themselves every day because home is where it all begins.

Saying Good Night to Arthritis

Does your pain level worsen with fluctuations in the weather? Mine sure does. When the weather turns extremely cold or extremely hot (104 here last week!) my pain increased dramatically. I’ve learned to counteract those periods by preparing for them in advance and you can too.

Bedroom Design Carter Kay and Nancy Hoof

Maintaining a consistent exercise schedule, staying on the arthritis diet six out of seven days, keeping up with your morning green juice, and maintaining a highly functional home all help you to stay on top of the curves degenerative illness throws your way.

Your bedroom is of particular importance during times like these.


What makes you feel super pampered on days when you have an inordinate amount of pain? Cool, cotton sheets with the highly prized, high thread count of course!

I love white. White paper towels, white napkins, white t.p., white towels, and white sheets. White is clean looking and versatile. And I love the faint smell of lavender on my linens. When my sheets are freshly changed and smell good, all seems well with the world. A cozy bed is really an investment in yourself because you and your mate are the only ones who will enjoy these small luxuries. It’s a nice way to express “self-care”: to make you feel balanced and well.

The softest, most comfortable sheets are Egyptian cotton or Pima cotton. A 400 thread count is sufficient for a quality, comfortable bed sheet. Anything higher is overkill. Remember there is more to sheets than just thread count. If the cotton is poor quality they will wrinkle. And who has time to iron their sheets or hang them outside to damp dry.


Most beds benefit from the following components: two weights of comforters (one light weight for warm weather and one heavier weight for cold weather), one decorative duvet cover (it’s like a giant pillow case that protects your comforter), two foam pillows for bolstering, two decorative pillow shams, two down or synthetic-down sleeping pillows, two decorative rectangular throw pillows (also called kidney pillows because they support your kidneys when you sit against them), one throw blanket for over the foot of the bed, and one bed skirt. If you don’t have a head board, consider getting an upholstered one. They are functional additions especially if you enjoy reading in bed. Most designers can have these made-to-order for you. They are available in a wide range of prices and styles and are comparatively priced to wood or wicker ones.


There are many options for window coverings. In the bedroom your main concern will be light and privacy control. These issues are best addressed before aesthetics but I know… we all want our bedroom to look pretty too! The good news is one doesn’t have to preclude the other.

In the master bedroom, you want to plan on at least one room darkening treatment “layer”. These could be lined Roman shades, lined woven shades, wooden blinds or shutters. I know you probably don’t care for fabric window treatments but the hard truth is your home doesn’t feel done without them. The noise level without window coverings doesn’t lend itself to a very comforting environment and with arthritis we are all about comfort!

For those of us with chronic pain, a good night’s sleep is IMPERATIVE.  Believe it when someone tells you “the darker the room the better”! I didn’t know what I was missing until I had this huge game changer in my own home. Check into an expensive hotel and see what I mean.

To ensure darkness do what we call in the industry an ‘outside mount’.  If you mount them inside the window frame, the gaps will allow light to seep through.  Add an additional inch or two in width for better light control.

Fabric treatments don’t have to be busy. You will grow to love them, as I have, tailored and tasteful.


Table lamps on the night stands are standard fare. Putting them on dimmer switches is a nice, ambient touch. Dimmer switches for lamps are available at many lighting stores. The lamp dimmer concept is great because you simply plug the dimmer cord into the wall and plug the lamp into the dimmer cord. In this way, you can control the level of light as well as access the dimmer cord’s on/off switch without even sitting up in bed. You will love how easy it is! No more twisting your neck and shoulder!


Choosing a mattress is a matter of personal requirements but my favorite, most luxuriant night sleep is on the Simmons Heavenly Bed System pillow top mattress and box spring, the one Westin Hotels use. The mattress thickness is about 12 or 13 inches and the box spring, about 8 to 9 inches. 


When decorating your own bedroom, as in all decorating for chronic pain keep in mind what the room is for: relaxation. Reds, oranges, and other vibrant colors are not conducive to this and for some reason consumers LOVE a red bedroom. Color theory is a topic unto itself but follow these easy tips to understand how you can make color work well for you in your bedroom.

Keep the amount of colors in your bedroom to a minimum. Stick with restful colors like greens, blues, and violet. I know you love black, white and gray but honestly there is no comfort to be found there. White is sterile. Black is maudlin. Gray is … well… gray. It’s not a color and therefore it’s not going to nurture you anytime soon. However, using black, white and gray as back drops and accents is an opportunity to create a beautiful, highly comforting design scheme. Muted versions of warm colors like blush and light flesh tones also work nicely if chosen well. When doing rooms with neutral color schemes, try to think outside the box. Neutral design schemes in formal settings have been overdone. Instead, add interest to your neutral scheme with rustic antiques and textures, as seen in Swedish and Belgian design schemes.

In the bedroom, less is more. Incorporate tactile elements like soft throws and pillows, pre-warmed sheets in the winter, and light dimming options for bedtime. The quality of furnishings in the master bedroom should be notably better than in the childrens’ rooms and guests’ rooms. Choose quality fabrics, original artwork (or good reproductions), and unique furniture and accessories. Keep surfaces clean and dust free. Enjoy your retreat and remember what it’s there for, to replenish your tired spirit. 

My new book has a whole chapter devoted  to making your bedroom a soul soothing place for healing! For a free chapter click here:  “Pain Free Decorating: Creating Nurturing Spaces for WomenWith Arthritis” .

Live beautifully. Eat beautifully, Shiree’

New Decorating and Wellness Book Written Especially For Women With Arthritis

You want a comfortable, beautiful home that will help you live at a more functional level; you want it to inspire you to take better care of yourself each day.

Taking care of yourself has so much to do with feeling balanced or “centered”. It has a huge effect on your psyche, work, relationships, appearance, mood and more. But unfortunately, only a small percentage of us girls follow through with this self-care. You break agreements with yourself, you postpone exercise and you waste precious time buffering with social media. We all do! Me included at times.

Living well with arthritis is all about striving for that sweet spot, right? That balance of work, exercise, home, family and preparing healthy foods. To stay on top of things you need an inspiring, nurturing home life and a highly effective self-care program. You need a deeper understanding of what it takes for you to thrive and how you want your home to feel and perform for you in the coming years while you learn to manage your symptoms.

I learned all of these things the hard way and now I’m going to share them with you so you have an easier time being super effective, not only in creating a beautiful home, but also… creating a beautiful, grounded and deeply contented you.

I can’t wait to show you what I’ve spent so many years learning, because I have been an interior designer for almost twenty years. And I’m an arthritis sufferer just like you. I have been studying wellness and nutrition for over ten years and have been reading books by the best arthritis doctors and certified nutritionists. Teaching and inspiring other women with arthritis to live a beautiful life is my passion project.

The book includes chapters on decorating the Pain Free way ; using soft textures and soothing colors to cool heat generating arthritis; restful bedrooms that revitalize you; irresistible self-care spaces; how to budget with the good, better, best method; the only eating plan that works for arthritis; and tools to make your efforts easier.

I want to inspire you to create a home you love so you can live a better, more beautiful life while managing your arthritis at the heart of where self-care begins: at home.

Click here for a free chapter!

Live beautifully. Eat beautifully, Shiree’

Hey Women with Arthritis! What is the One Crucial Room in Your Home?

amy bartlam, photo credit

Do you know what’s really important to you? Do you know what things to value in your life above all others? Is it a happy family? A beautiful home? A healthy mind and body? I want to talk today about some ways to stay on top of the things in life that are super important to you such as self-care, your home’s functionality and appearance (yes appearance, it has a huge effect on your psyche!), and the importance of keeping agreements with yourself.

Living a life with arthritis is an incredible challenge. I know because I’ve been diagnosed with several forms of it myself. To avoid overwhelm and achieve balance it’s actually easier if we do the work and manage it earlier rather than later. Remember that famous Ben Franklin quote, “a stitch in time saves nine”? As a child I loved Franklin and this quote was one of my favorites. Well it truly applies to those of us with arthritis and other chronic pain. Managing your life, your symptoms, your eating plan (notice I didn’t say diet…if you ever hear me say the D-word please call me out!) your stress levels etc. are all imperative so that they don’t manage you.

Self-care really begins at home, right? And much of it happens in the morning, in your kitchen with that first cup of coffee or green tea. But how does your kitchen work in the morning? Does it support you and your special needs? Does it inspire you to begin your day in a healthy, proactive way? If it drains you as early in the day as breakfast, I can tell you exactly how you’ll feel by dinner: burned out! Maybe your dinner won’t be burnt but your psyche will be for sure!

Let’s tackle some of this tough stuff together.

Kitchen: The Hub of the Home

First of all, the kitchen. I get that not everyone wants to fully remodel their kitchen just because she’s been diagnosed with arthritis. Now if you’re building a home, yes it’s a great opportunity to design it right the first time and I have strategy sessions available for just that contingency. But for now, let’s look at things that can be done without a big, expensive set of blue prints.

I just painted the kitchen of my new home, upgraded all my door and drawer pulls and I’m in the process of purchasing a new gas stove and dishwasher. But do I want to gut it and start over? Absolutely not. This house is a downsizing home for me and I have no intention of sinking my funds on a remodel that the value of my home might not realize. But I love my new cabinet paint and pulls! The shiny, soft gray cabinets make me feel at ease and the drawer pulls are large, easy to grasp D-shaped pulls in a beautiful brushed nickel finish.

Ease of Access

All of my most often used tools are out on my baking center counter for easy access such as my VitaMix, KitchenAid mixer, Breville juicer and my proper new Dualit tea kettle! No more straining my wrist and hands to pull them out of hard to reach cabinets. Getting up in the morning, surrounded by the colors that nurture me and items I love inspires me to create a better morning for myself, which leads to me making better choices all day long and you can too.

New Beginnings 

How do you start your day? Is it with a cup of organic green tea with organic, raw unfiltered honey or hot water with a squeeze of lemon juice? Or is it artificially flavored coffees and a chemical laden bottled creamer? These are incredibly important choices you make each day when you have arthritis because arthritis requires a clean diet free from dairy, chemicals and sugar to live your best life daily. If you are not aware of this or if you don’t practice these things at least six out of seven days a week, managing your pain and subsequent joint degeneration will be an uphill struggle at best.

There are some fairly easy steps to take and upgrades to make to your home now to ease your everyday life. But we also want beauty in our home to feed our soul right? Fortunately for the most part, there is no need to sacrifice beauty for functionality. Why can’t we have both? Well…we can!

Function and Beauty Co-Exist

Round doorknobs, jars, potato chip bags, and those little honey packets you get with your green tea at Starbucks. These are the bane of my existence! If these are the worst things I have going on in my life I’ve got it made but not having functional, opposing thumbs is really upsetting when you’ve dropped and broken yet another cherished “keepsake”.

The truth is potato chip bags and honey packets are easily solved with a pair of scissors. And if you have round doorknobs in your home, lever style knobs are a great upgrade. There are plenty of attractive styles to choose from so you won’t have to sacrifice beauty for function. A less expensive option is adding rubberized “sleeves” to your round door knobs to aid traction. Little round cabinet knobs are the worst for arthritic hands. Opt for larger, D-shaped pulls instead. Again, there are plenty of great looking styles to choose from. I love my new modern looking 5 inch pulls!

I also love my single lever kitchen sink faucet. I can nudge it off and on with my elbow and it extends and retracts too.

Rocker style light switches are so much easier than traditional toggle light switches. These are standard in new homes. They often come outfitted with sliding dimmers, also easier than the old round style dimmers.

For the tech lover, smart refrigerators create grocery shopping lists, share calendars, inter family notes and photos, and even stream movies and music. The latest smart faucets measure the amount of water dispensed and even control the temperature.

If your counter space is limited, install an under the counter pull down or pop up shelves for your juicer, blender, etc. If your kitchen is equipped with shallow, full height pantry style cabinets the middle, arm height shelves are perfect for heavy pots and skillets. There are quite a few price options for DIY, custom and semi-custom projects.

If your kitchen is ready for a remodel, employ one of the most important and often overlooked tenants of kitchen design, the work triangle. Simply stated, the work triangle refers to the distance between the three main work stations: the stove, the sink and the refrigerator. It is ideally around 27 feet in diameter. Each leg of the triangle should consist of roughly 9 feet. That’s nine feet from the sink to the refrigerator, nine feet from the refrigerator to the stove, and nine feet from the stove back to the sink.

It's in the Details

Little things can be such a joy can’t they? Before unpacking my kitchen, my helpers lined my cabinet and drawer shelves and installed bamboo divider trays in my drawers and every time I open them I feel special. It’s easy for me to keep things organized when my drawer and cabinet interiors look so pretty! I also love having fresh tea towels for drying hands, clean white flour sack towels for drying glasses and dishes (aren’t they the softest and most absorbent towel ever?) and cotton wash cloths for wiping the counter. The little tools you keep around your kitchen sink like special dish soaps and scrub brushes are not a big expense but add a little joy to your day. With arthritis, we must really limit our exposure to toxins so choose your cleaning products with care. Remember your skin absorbs everything… but more on that another time.

Self Care Priorities for Arthritis Management

The most important tasks that take place in my kitchen “hands down” are related to managing my arthritis and they are juicing and salad making. Fresh green juices and big raw salads are the optimal arthritis eating plan! I’m committed to making these two essentials happen each and every day. They help me live at a much higher quality level, give me endless energy, manage my inflammation, improve my mood, make my skin, hair and nails look their best and they slow down aging. I will repeatedly share with you the importance of adding daily juicing and raw foods to your arthritis eating plan.

Let your kitchen inspire you to make great choices every morning. Getting off to a good start in the morning will make it easier to keep that ball rolling all day. If you eat clean and exercise consistently five days in a row, reward yourself with a new set of tea towels!

If you suffer from arthritis like me, and found this lesson helpful but need that little extra push to get started with self-care and design, check out this free ebook chapter from my new book “Pain Free Decorating: Creating NurturingSpaces for Women with Arthritis”! It’s packed with great ideas to live better at home with arthritis!

Live beautifully. Eat beautifully, Shiree’

Does Arthritis Keep You From Having a Functional Home?

Welcome back to Joy of Nesting! This post is going to be a huge game changer for you! Few people realize that the home has the ability to either revitalize or drain you. What do you “tolerate” in your home?  Is it a master bedroom that was never finished? Is it a sectional sofa that’s too big for your family room? Here’s a hint. Having a fully decorated, million or multi-million dollar home isn’t the answer either. That kind of home can drain you just as easily if not more than a smaller, less expensive home.

As a designer, home retailer and design columnist I’ve had call to ponder this for years and find it so fascinating that we humans overlook one of the most important aspects of adding balance and joy to our lives: a well-planned, attractive, nicely maintained home. With arthritis and other chronic pain, you are especially vulnerable to the “creep of dysfunctional spaces”! It sneaks right up on you, yet it is imperative to have a home that inspires and supports you and your self-care efforts. 

If your home fills you with energy and joy on a daily and weekly basis then read no further. But if you find yourself filled with dread when returning home at the end of the day or if you dread coming home from vacation, there is a problem you really need to address.

The Clean Sweep

I want to share something extremely helpful with you that one of my life coaches taught me. It literally changed my life. It’s called The Clean Sweep and it is a great tool for tackling your greatest challenges, “sky rocketing” your energy and improving any aspect of your life, personally and professionally.

You write down all the things you are tolerating: the things that drain your energy such as a tear in your bathrobe, a ding in your car door, or a dead shrub by the front door and one by one you address them. We each have around 100 items on our list of "tolerations" at any given time. Some of the items that drain your energy can be addressed quickly such as “I want a cleaner kitchen” or “I want to start walking thirty minutes a day”. Write those down. Some items can’t be resolved immediately such as “I need a new car”. But definitely write that down too! So you address each of the items that can be addressed right now, one by one on a daily basis and keep the other long term problems on the list for now. They need to be written down though because just having long term problems on a written list is a small burden lifted from your mind. Having them on a list that you will be looking every day, aids you in mentally prioritizing them later, when such resources are available. This helps you mentally prepare for uncomfortable task, in a way that is less of a drain on your energy. 

So back to my question about your home, what about it drains your energy? Does your master bedroom provide you with a nurturing respite? Do you have an inspiring and supportive self-care space? Is your kitchen a place where you want to spend time, creating the big raw salads and fresh green juices so integral to managing your symptoms? Does your master bathroom work well and look beautiful? How are the paint, wood and fabric colors in your home? Are they soothing to the eye? Arthritis is a painful, heat generating condition and surrounding yourself with cool, soothing colors and soft, comforting textures is a huge relief to your frayed psyche.

The good news is there is usually more than one solution to every challenge and home design is no different. So often times I’m called into a client’s home to help replace a sofa or help her choose paint yet when I get there I know right away a new sofa or paint isn’t what she needs at all. People know when something in their home isn’t right but they don’t always know what it is!

Get out your calendar right now and schedule an hour this week to create your own list of toleration's and the following day begin addressing them one by one. For me, Monday’s are the perfect day to add new things to my list. It gives me 3-5 days to prepare mentally for the challenges and provides me with a point of action. And please, once you make the agreement with yourself be sure to keep it! Nothing corrodes your self-esteem quicker than breaking agreements with yourself! You are so worth it my friend.

And if you need more design and wellness guidance on space planning, furniture styles, colors, fabrics and all the goodness my twenty years in the design industry has to offer, hop on a ninety minute strategy session with me so we can create a home that inspires and supports you through the many degenerative changes of arthritis. 

Live beautifully. Eat beautifully. Shiree 

Click "Pain Free Design and Wellness" for a free chapter of my powerful new book that helps women with arthritis create beautiful, functional homes and take better care of themselves every day because home is where it all begins.

Living a Vibrant Life with Arthritis

Have you lost some of the joy in your life? Do the smallest tasks seem like a chore even if completing those means you’ll have a happier set of circumstances? Would you like to live a life full of meaning and purpose? Do you know what that looks like? And let’s be truthful, do you even know what ignites your spirit anymore?
I’m talking to you today about living a vibrant, rich and full life while managing the pain and degenerative changes of arthritis and this is how it looks!

You enjoy life. You heart overflows with love for your circle of friends and family. You have the energy and enthusiasm to meet your responsibilities, you give back and you still have plenty of energy left over for play. Your home is beautiful and functional and supports your lifestyle and your self-care systems. It’s a comfortable haven for gathering friends and family. Your skin, body and hair glow from the great nutrition, exercise, down time and sleep you lavish on it. But man, it’s almost impossible to achieve or even maintain these things when you live a life with pain! I get it because I have been diagnosed with half a dozen degenerative bone conditions myself! You most likely take medications and if we can be truthful once more, they add to your problem. Cutting edge arthritis specialists now know that bone builders and pain killers create more problems than they solve! I’m not saying go off your medication, but if your doctor doesn’t know this by now, maybe it’s time to begin searching for one who does.

Let’s talk about the key things that will get your joy levels humming, help you feel happy in your own skin and in your relationships. These stem from three things… how you live in your community; how you live at home; and how you take care of yourself while there.”

Living at a higher frequency, looking gorgeously healthy in your own unique way and living a richer life is at its roots, about taking excellent care of you. It’s about valuing yourself enough to keep agreements with yourself. It’s about offering yourself the best lifestyle choices. In your case those are a plant based, 75% raw, organic eating plan, devoting yourself to the right kind of exercise for arthritis sufferers; and plenty of rest and rejuvenation.
Let’s talk a bit about the steps to take to make them happen for you. I’m not talking about perfection. In fact, perfection is a joy killer! But there is a certain level of advance planning and implementation that goes into designing a life you love. Let’s get started.

Develop a plan

Living with higher levels of joy requires some planning and implementation. These steps should be exciting for you. They should get you to stretch your comfort zones a bit, like going on vacation to a foreign land. But please don’t go on a labor intense mission that’s going to make everyone around you miserable! That’s counterproductive.

These plans should be enjoyable in themselves. When you take a vacation, you have to put yourself out there to experience new things and explore. So remember these words, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”! This is a new experience you are exploring. Strive for balance!

Action Steps for Home Design

Develop a budget.

Develop a timeline.

Develop a solid furniture layout with one or two great anchoring, large scale pieces that give you a strong sense of stability.

Use cooling colors like light grayish taupe, pale gray, light lavender, pale skin-toned “blush”, muted celadon green and pale cool blue.

Use warming textures and soothing elements like throw blankets, books, baskets and feather pillows into your plan.

Action Steps for Excellent Eating

Identify all the areas in your eating plan where you most often fall short. Is it morning, afternoon or evening? Breakfast, lunch or dinner? Eating out or attending a social event?

Identify what tools you will need to inspire you and give you the daily impetus you’ll need to follow through with them such as an easy to clean, easy to use juicer for green juicing, a sink basket for washing produce, a beautiful, well planned, well equipped kitchen etc.

Develop a sustainable eating plan that you will stick to and then hold yourself accountable!

Action Steps to Help You Prioritize Exercise

Identify all the areas in your exercise plan where you most often fall short.
Identify what tools you will need to inspire you and give you the daily impetus you’ll need to follow through with them such as a stationary bike, a rebounder, two or three days a week with a personal trainer.

Develop an exercise schedule that you will stick to and then hold yourself accountable! I love to break mine up, rebounding or stay-biking in the morning, Yoga in late afternoon before dinner, weights on alternating afternoons. Having the right balance of discipline and flexibility is tremendously helpful.

Schedule Rest and Rejuvenation Time

The body’s healing mechanism is sleep and rest. With arthritis, it’s imperative that you get a good night’s sleep. The best sleep comes from keeping your room as a place for rest. Cool, restful colors, comforting elements and textures like throw blankets, feather pillows, books, good reading lamps, light blocking window coverings, and the thermostat set at a cool temperature create an ideal environment for a good night’s sleep.

Mindset tips

Once you have identified what a joyful life looks like to you, only then can you implement and sustain it. Nothing will gel until you know what that looks.
Finally, once you have achieved it, be happy with what you have my friend and maintain it joyfully! Gratitude is energizing for you and everyone around you!
If you’d like a free chapter from my new book “Pain Free Decorating: Creating Nurturing Spaces for Women with Arthritis” send me an email at

Live Beautifully. Eat Beautifully!

Best, Shiree

Click "Pain Free Design and Wellness" for a free chapter of my powerful new book that helps women with arthritis create beautiful, functional homes and take better care of themselves every day because home is where it all begins.

The Power of Mondays

How many people dread Mondays? Most of us, right? Not me. I love them.

The reason I love Mondays is because no matter what I did the week, or worse yet, weekend before, I get a fresh start. On Mondays I know I will eat right and exercise for my arthritis because I’ve done it long enough that it’s become a habit. I don’t eat pizza or potato salad or pie very often but when I do, I know on Monday I'll be back to taking excellent care of myself because I’ve conditioned myself to this unwavering resolve. Monday is my own personal reset button day and I never break agreements with myself on Monday.

The Importance of Keeping Agreements with Ourselves

For each of us, each new week brings about the ongoing responsibilities of work and family as well as the also ongoing commitments we make to ourselves like following a healthy eating plan and getting daily exercise. If on top of those responsibilities and commitments you suffer from arthritis like I do, it's sometimes easier to keep bare minimal obligations with the former and completely avoid the latter! And not following through with the latter is called ‘breaking agreements with ourselves’. But having arthritis is exactly why you can't avoid commitments like healthy eating and exercise.

Train Your Brain

Another reason Power Monday's are so helpful is they give your brain the added advantage of "expectation". Telling your brain about your plans to eat right and exercise at least three days in advance gives it (your brain) time to prepare you for a commitment. 

Perfect Your Monday 

If you have arthritis or other chronic pain, you absolutely must commit to a healthier lifestyle. Think of Mondays as your days of steel. They are the one day of the week you commit to to make up for any damage you may have done over the weekend. If you commit to a perfect Monday consistently for a few months it will be a habit you can always rely on.

Don’t overdo it eating inflammatory foods on Saturday and Sunday and use Monday as a fall back plan. That’s not what I’m saying. Strive every day to follow an anti-inflammatory eating plan and exercise plan knowing this will help you manage your pain levels and live a happier, healthier life.

Don't Even Try to Be Perfect 

Know in advance you won’t be perfect and sincerely tell yourself that’s okay. Don't even try to be perfect. Just prepare to do your best seven days of the week and if you only manage five and a half or six days that will still go a long way towards alleviating your pain level.

Eat the Good Stuff First

Always eat the good stuff first then if you still want to have a slice of your husband’s pizza you’ll be full and satiated and won’t eat nearly as much. Encourage family members to save pizza day for Saturday and see if they’ll have a big raw salad with you prior to pizza. 

Always Find a Way to Move

With arthritis it’s harder to exercise on some days than others. This is another area to give yourself grace. If Monday rolls around and your knees won’t tolerate Yoga or the Elliptical, please… do not beat yourself up! Get on the stationery bike instead. There is nothing wrong with altering the plan. Remember some type of activity is imperative every day (especially Monday) and the bike is a perfectly acceptable, enjoyable way to achieve movement.

Systems and Support

Having arthritis is a vicious cycle because you need to take care of yourself so you won’t hurt but… you hurt so you can’t take care of yourself.

The answer I’ve come up with is to have all my systems in place to inspire and support me to take care of myself every day like a beautiful, well planned home and kitchen, a refrigerator stocked with lots of organic fresh raw vegetables and fruits, and a great self-care space to encourage you to take excellent care of yourself, right where self-care begins, at home.

Live beautifully. eat beautifully, Shiree'

Click "Pain Free Design and Wellness" for a free chapter of my powerful new book that helps women with arthritis create beautiful, functional homes and take better care of themselves every day because home is where it all begins.


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