Making 2018 your year
Sarah Hannah, Fellow Spoonie
18 January 2018
Christmas is well and truly over, the hype around 2018 and the standard ‘new year new me’ resolutions have started to fade away. Most of us are back on the grind, dealing with daily life and all its stresses, joys, complications and everything in between.
At Spoonie Health Hub, we don’t necessarily believe that the start of a new year means you have to radically overhaul your life and change everything about yourself. Especially when you’re living with a chronic illness. If you set yourself new resolutions and goals for 2018 and you’ve managed to stick them out, then more power to you – we’re behind you all the way!
But if you do want to make 2018 the year of positive changes, even just little ones, here are a few suggestions of our own. We know it’s not always easy and some days are much harder than others, but the fact is that you deserve to be the hero in your own story, especially when you’re fighting your own body on a daily basis. So, here are five ideas from Spoonie Health Hub to help you get through the year ahead.
Stop overdoing it
Always easier said than done, but overdoing it and pushing yourself too hard when you have a chronic illness can have long-lasting effects. When everyone around you seems to be going at a hundred miles an hour, it can be difficult to remember that everyone has different limits and it’s okay to have days where you lay low and take it easy.
The rise of social media has made it easier than ever to follow other people’s lives and journeys, and while this can lift us up and inspire us, it also makes it all too easy to compare ourselves to others. And when you have a chronic illness, this can be particularly difficult to deal with; it makes it easy to compare yourself with what others are doing, and if you’re anything like us, it can sometimes leave you feeling inferior or like you’re just not doing enough.
But the most important thing to remember is that it isn’t true. Take a breath, listen to your body and only do what you feel you can. Stop pushing yourself too hard, allow yourself time to rest and remember that you’re only human and you don’t have to keep up with everyone around you.
Embrace self-care (even the boring stuff)
We’re big fans of self-care at SHH. It’s okay to look after yourself and to do something just for you. Whether it’s running yourself a nice hot bath, going for a walk and breathing in some fresh air, or even just staying in your pjs all day and watching your favourite show on Netflix. Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do for yourself, and you should never feel bad about it.
If you’re on Instagram, you may have already seen the #boringselfcare hashtag doing the rounds. And this is just as important. Self-care doesn’t always have to be hitting up Lush and buying yourself a new bath bomb, or treating yourself to a manicure or a haircut. Sometimes, the ‘boring’ little things are just as important. Whether it’s making a trip to the pharmacy and refilling your meds, taking a well-deserved nap, or simply cooking yourself a healthy, feel-good meal. It might even be turning of your phone and disconnecting for a while, or even cutting ties with a toxic friend or family member.
Self-care doesn’t always have to be expensive or luxurious; it’s simply taking the time to do whatever it is you need to feel better. Because what it comes down to is you; your health, your state of mind and how you can live your best life.
Stop being so hard on yourself
This one’s a biggie. And sometimes it’s not always possible. More often than not, chronic illness comes with a nice big dose of self-loathing, insecurity and the fear that you’re somehow not good enough.
We’re here to tell you that this simply isn’t true. Nobody out there is a better version of you, than you. And when you’re in constant battle with your own body, you deserve to feel like a hero. Listen to the way you talk to yourself, and if you find that you’re giving yourself a hard time…stop.
We all need a mental check and a hug sometimes, and if you’re struggling to feel positive then we’re here to tell you that we think you’re wonderful. You’re a Spoonie warrior and you deal with feelings every day that most people can’t even begin to comprehend – that makes you stronger and more special than you realise.
Talk it out
Dealing with a physical illness day in day out can often impact your mental health. You might already be aware of it, or it might creep up on you slowly. If you’re struggling with your feelings or you’re worried about your mental health, don’t bottle it up.
As hard as it can be sometimes, letting a loved one know what you’re going through and how you’re feeling is so important. Or if you don’t feel ready to talk about it, why not trying writing everything down in a journal. If you’re dealing with a chronic illness then you’ll already know that it doesn’t discriminate, and can hit you when you’re least expecting it – and the same goes for your mental health.
If people gave mental health half the attention and sympathy that physical illnesses receive then there’s no doubting that the world would be a much easier place. But having said that, it’s nothing to be ashamed of and it’s important not to bottle it up. At SHH our goal this year is to be more open about mental health and to talk about how we’re feeling; if you’re in a bad place, or you’re worried then please, please try and share those feelings with someone else.
Let go of the guilt
Repeat after me:
You are not a burden. You are worthy. You matter. You deserve to be happy.
Guilt often comes hand in hand with chronic illness, but it’s so important to try and let go of these feelings. Although it can feel overwhelming and difficult, it’s not your fault. You didn’t ask to fight this battle, and for every day that you hold your head high and power through, you should be proud.
At Spoonie Health Hub we’ve got your back. We’re proud of each and every one of you for all that you do, especially when you’re dealing with a chronic illness. Here’s to making 2018 your year. A year of self-love, positivity and an abundance of spoons.
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