There have been many times in my life when I’ve wanted to just hit the reset button on life and start over. Living with chronic illnesses I’d really love to hit that reset button. I’d love to go back to the “before” time and see if I could find a way to keep it from happening. Or better yet, just hit the reset button where I stand to undo the health issues altogether. Sadly, there is not reset button, there are some things we just can’t undo. I’m stuck with these illnesses, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t aspects of my life that I can’t hit a reset button on. There are ways I can start over right where I’m at.
1. Accept reality – I can stop fighting what is real. I can stop wishing for the fantasy reset and I can start looking around at my life and looking for the good in it. When we accept life as it is, things suddenly feel a lot better. Sure, the health issues will remain but we can feel a lot better about them. Constantly fighting a diagnosis or spinning your wheels trying to fix what can’t be changed does no good and just leaves you anxious, confused, and angry. I’m terrible about going in cycles with this one. I’ll hit a point where I know I need to stop fighting and I will for a while, then some new symptom comes along and I start all over. It’s frustrating as hell, but it doesn’t need to be.
This also means accepting the emotions I am feeling and allowing myself to feel them. Often there are bad days or down days and it’s easy to fight them. But, much like a flare when I fight the negative means it just means that they last longer. If I just allow myself to feel them, accept the reality of how I feel and work through it and with it, then they will pass and I can move on to better feelings.
2. Love yourself and be kind to yourself – There’s an old adage that no one else can love you if you don’t love yourself. I believe it’s probably true. What I find interesting is that this is another thing I go in circles with and what I’m starting to realize is that perhaps it’s not that others can’t love me if I don’t love myself but that I don’t see their love of me if I don’t love myself. They still love me, but instead of seeing their actions as acts of love I see them as defiance or aggression, or distress. I see all the negative sides of their actions rather than seeing their positive intentions. When I do this I’m doing myself a disservice (and them as well). I have to stop looking for the bad in their actions and in that way love myself. I have to be kind to myself which means remembering my limits and finding the small ways to show myself the love that I would show others, or expect others to show me.Remember to be kind to yourself, for if you can't treat yourself well how you can expect others to do so? Click To Tweet
3. Remember that most things are temporary – “this too shall pass” is hard to hold onto when you live with chronic illness. And, while by definition your chronic illness isn’t going away, most things that you encounter will pass, they will be temporary. The bad times, the bad moods – they can all be worked through. If someone says some terrible thing to you that makes it clear that they don’t understand what you are going through remember that it’s temporary. If possible, remove yourself from those negative people to ensure that their negative effect on you is only temporary. If you can’t do your best to set boundaries so that they can impact you as little as possible.
4. Find a reason to be grateful – there is always a reason that we can be grateful. There is a roof over our head (even if it’s leaking), there is someone willing to help (even if it’s not exactly the help we’d like), there is Netflix to keep us occupied when we don’t have the energy to do anything else, there’s a hummingbird outside the window, even if it’s too hot to go outside or we don’t have the energy. There are always small things and when we focus on the small things, the things we can be grateful for and find reasons for happiness, happiness will come. The next time you are feeling really terrible look around and write down three things you have to be thankful for.Look around - now quick name 3 things you can be grateful for in this moment. Click To Tweet
5. Simplify Life – There are a lot of things I’d love to get rid of in my house. There are days I’d love to just have one of those big dumpster things dropped off and load everything up and start over again (in a house about half this size). But, I can’t. There are, however, other ways that I can simplify life. For me that often comes through my to do list. I’m the queen over over-packing my to do list with too many things. When I see it happening I have to remember and acknowledge what I’m doing. Then it’s time to simplify, to take that list down to bare bones and start over again. There are other ways we can simplify life, as often it’s the clutter in our homes and in our brains that add anxiety and stress that only make the chronic pain and fatigue even worse.
It’s time for me to go and hit a reset button, to love myself again, to simplify, and to be grateful. How about you?