Chronic illness is fatiguing enough. Yet, sometimes we do things (often unknowingly) that zap our energy, create stress, and leave us even more fatigued. Below are seven habits that are increasing your stress, pain, and fatigue, and generally making you feel worse.
For many of us, living with chronic illness means constantly play-acting, and down-playing the reality of how we feel. When we are alone (or with those who know us best) we are ourselves. When we go out into the world, we “put on our face” and pretend that everything is OK.
We smile when we don’t feel like it. We wear a mask. This drains us of our energy, and it’s often why most of us stay home as much as possible. So, what can you do?
Stop pretending. I don’t mean that you go around telling everyone who awful you feel, or that you don’t ever try to feel better. Just stop pretending. You’ll likely be surprised at the energy that is returned to you when stop wasting so much energy faking it.Too often when we live with chronic illness, we put on our mask for the world and pretend that everything is OK. #spoonie #spoonielife
How much of our pain and fatigue comes from the stress of worry? How much time have you wasted worrying about how doing something you want to do might make you feel worse?All that worry creates the very stress that causes the pain and fatigue you were worried might happen. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. So, stop worrying about what MIGHT happen, and start letting things happen.
Do the things you want to do without worrying about how it might make you feel tomorrow. When you stop worrying you might just find that without that added stress the pain and fatigue you used to worry about doesn’t make an appearance. Or, at least that it isn’t as bad.How much of your limited energy are you using worrying about tomorrow?
Change is hard. Change is stressful. But, often it’s exactly what we need. Sometimes we get a little comfortable in our uncomfortableness. As bad as we feel, we don’t want to make a change (that might make us feel better) because it might make us uncomfortable in a new way.
It might stretch us a little. It might hurt at first. Sometimes that change is exactly what we need for long-term improvement. Stop resisting changes that could make you feel better. Take the chance and see what happens.Are you resisting change that could make you feel better, because you are scared of what that change might mean?
Too often we get focused on what we “should” be doing. We berate ourselves for all the things we didn’t get done, when we were doing the one thing we really needed to do – taking care of ourselves.
Stop letting guilt be your companion. Kick the “shoulds” out of your house. Should is a word that needs to be avoided. A word that I wish didn’t exist. There are many things you can do each day, and you have to remember that you can’t take care of others, if you don’t take care of yourself first. Focus on your needs, instead of the shoulds.Stop letting your focus be on what you should do, focus on your needs. Make self-care a priority.
How often do you do things just because you assume that no one would help you? Or, that if they did help you, they wouldn’t do it right? How willing are you to ask for help? My guess is not very. It seems most of us like to to do things ourselves, and we want it done our way. That’s a trait we have to learn to change.
It’s time to start asking for help, even for the small things. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Those who love you know you are doing as much as you can. And, when you start asking for help, they suddenly become much more willing to give it, and even begin to offer it without request.
Sometimes, they will even step up and start doing things without being asked. Why? Because they care about you.You are not alone in your struggle to ask for help.
Holding grudges is possibly the biggest waste of energy. Why do we spend time thinking about negative things that happened in the past. Those negative thoughts we have about that person, do nothing but get us all riled up, and stressed out.
And, what does that stress do? It makes us feel worse.
Let go of the grudge. Forgive the person for whatever they did. It doesn’t mean you let them back in your life to let them repeat the offense, but it does mean that it’s one less negative thing in your life, and one more source of energy that you can use in a positive way.Holding grudges is the biggest waste of energy. Let it go.
There are so many little things in our life that we could let go of, things that are only serving to complicate our lives.
Sometimes they are real things, toys from the past, some collectible that is only collecting dust. Sometimes, they are feelings, actions, or even people that we need to let go of.
Anything can be released and often doing so will simplify your life, allowing you to breathe a little easier when it’s gone. Think about your life. What can you let go of? How can you simplify your life?
Which of these habits are you holding onto? What can you change that would reduce your stress (even a little)?What habits are you holding onto that are only adding to your stress, fatigue, and pain?