Toni Bernhard is the author of the award-winning How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers (now in a revised and updated edition), How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow, and How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness: A Mindful Guide. Before becoming ill, she was a law professor and dean of students at the University of California—Davis. Her popular blog, “Turning Straw Into Gold” is hosted by Psychology Today online.
My Goal of the Day: To remember to pay attention to my present moment experience as opposed to being lost in stressful thoughts about the past or the future.
My Thought of the Day: Despite being housebound with chronic illness, let this day be a new beginning for me. Every day truly is the first day of the rest of my life.
My Action of the Day: To be sure that my speech and actions are kind and helpful to myself and others.
My Deed of the Day: To do what I can within my severe limitations and not to get frustrated by those limitations. This is the life I’ve been given. It’s a good and fulfilling life when I don’t fight the way things are.
My Tip of the Day: Self-compassion should be everyone’s number one priority. There’s so little we control in this life, but being kind to ourselves is one thing we can control. One benefit of self-compassion is that this kind and caring attitude has a positive affect on others in our lives, meaning that once you begin treating yourself with compassion, you’ll naturally start treating others that way.
My Pic of the Day:
(Arthur Hughes, “In the Grass” 1865)
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about Your City?
I love that it’s a college town, a family town, and a retirement town so that people of all different ages, backgrounds, and interests live here.
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?
I always have a banana smoothie for breakfast, with a big scoop of protein isolate and a spoonful of organic cocoa powder thrown in.
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – I’m waking up, pulling my laptop over to my bed so I can check my emails and catch up with any news I might have missed overnight.
10:00 AM – I’m answering several of the many emails that people have sent me about my books and my online writing. I also might be writing or working on embroidery while listening to an audiobook.
12:00 PM - Favorite Lunch spot/meal?
I rarely eat lunch. I eat breakfast late and, aside from a healthy snack in the afternoon, I don’t eat again until dinner. This helps me control my weight, especially since, due to chronic illness, I’m not able to engage in regular exercise.
7:00 PM - I’ve retired to my bedroom to listen to an audiobook, crochet or embroider if I feel well enough, or watch something on TV. I’m not able to socialize in the evenings, so I try to enjoy myself in the bedroom.
11:00 PM – Sleeping! (although sometimes the symptoms of my illness make it hard to fall asleep).
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
The only drink I consider essential is that breakfast smoothie. I do also drink water throughout the day.
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?
I have a lot of social media pages that came about because of my books. The apps for those are the ones I use the most so I can post, respond to comments, etc. My favorite Instagram account is my daughter’s because she lives about 600 miles away, so I keep up with her life through the photos she posts (and through texting!).
What should everyone try at least once?
Everyone should try doing something creative that’s not “screen” based, meaning not on the computer or smart phone. It could anything: photography, embroidery, creative writing, building ship models, painting or drawing. People will be surprised to discover creative skills they didn’t realize they had if they’d just given it a try. Doing something creative for yourself is a wonderful antidote to the non-tactile “screen world” we live in most of the time.
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
Since I’m mostly housebound, I enjoy getting lost in a good audiobook. A good audiobook is not only a well-written book, but is also a well-narrated one. I often buy an audiobook based on who is narrating it. I chose the narrator for the audio versions of my books myself. I picked someone who reads them the way I would had I the skill!
Social media sites: