CHERYL GIBBS: I’m tackling me stress levels head-on

Cheryl's painful mouth condition is caused by stress - which she is trying to treat with mindfulness Picture: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos

You may or may not have heard about me being diagnosed with a condition called oral lichen planus (OLP).

It is essentially a stress-related (or so they think) mouth condition that causes immense pain.

Stress is one of those things where it’s very difficult to pinpoint what’s causing it and how to treat it.

Sometimes the sufferer is unaware they are stressed.

I do have enough self-awareness to know that I can be seen as a stressy person.

I’m always dashing here, there and everywhere and I have quite a stressful job.

However, I’m also genuinely good at relaxing and unwinding. I love spending all Sunday at home, lounging in front of the television.

Obviously only if the sun isn’t shining – I do have some standards.

But this condition really has dominated my life over the past eight months.

There is no cure, I will always have it. So I have spent some time researching possible ways to help combat my stress levels.

I am now into my second week of a nine-week mindfulness course at Southsea Mindfulness.

The aim is that by the end of it I will have learnt some techniques that will allow me not only to cope better with stress, but also to become more present in the day.

For example, how many of you have ever felt that while you’ve enjoyed an experience or had fun doing something, your mind often wonders away with thoughts of things to do, conversations had, and to-do lists for the next day? I know I have.

I’m only into week two and while I won’t pretend my life has changed overnight what I am finding through the various techniques is that I am becoming more aware of things around me. I’m more aware of sensations that I wouldn’t have felt before, and generally more aware of my breathing.

So I’m hopeful that it’s going to help.

I’m trying not to load the course with too many expectations, but at the moment I can genuinely say I am enjoying the process.

Watch this space.


My goodness, this country doesn’t cope with severe weather, does it? Or rather, I don’t.

Last Friday evening just as we were preparing for the weekend ahead, our blinking boiler decided it was the right time to pack up, leaving us without heating for three days.

I am not the type of person who is okay with being cold. I am a big baby when it comes to being warm and I can’t think straight if I’m too cold.

Despite my sister lending me her two plug-in heaters and wearing four layers of clothing to bed (including a thermal vest and two pairs of socks) and three blankets on top of the quilt and two dressing gowns, I was still cold.

Thankfully the heating is back on and I will never take feeling warm for granted again.


I’ve been at it again – decorating, that is.

It’s a big problem in our house if I decide to start decorating, because I’m an-all-or-nothing kind of person which means once I set my mind on something, that’s it. I’m full steam ahead.

This may not sound like a problem to most people, but in our house it is, because I didn’t inform my hubby of my intentions.

He has OCD and hates the mess that decorating creates and I knew he’d try and talk me out of it.

So when he was having a long lie-in last weekend I decided it was the perfect time to get out the tins of paint and brushes and go to work.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s looking better already, but I’ve traded in a nicer hallway for a grumpier husband.

Ah well, you cant have it all.

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