I’m a planner. I like planning things out, making my “to-do” list, and checking things off. There’s only one problem — life (and fibromyalgia) doesn’t care about my planning and “to-do” list. That has become quite evident in the last week and a half.
I spent Labor Day weekend and the first two days of last week going back and forth to the hospital, basically acting as patient advocate for a family member and a go-between for family/caregivers and the hospital staff (I’m the only family member who lives in the area). I was happy to do it; there are so many things I can’t do now, I’m always happy to do the things I can. It does take a toll on my body though, and honestly, by Tuesday, I was completely worn out. The only thing keeping me going was prayer.
On Wednesday and Thursday, we were busy making plans, figuring out how to accommodate family members and their pets who might have to flee from Hurricane Irma. Her projected path changed and we realized they were out of danger and wouldn’t need to evacuate. Talk about stress relief! I could finally relax a little.
When I’m in “crisis mode” where I absolutely have to get things done, I’m always amazed at how much my body can withstand. Here’s what happens though — as soon as the “crisis” is over, it’s almost as if my body says, “Okay, I can fall apart now” and proceeds to do so.
I was a wreck on Friday and all through the weekend; achy, extremely dizzy, stomach pain…..just a big old mess. I finally started feeling better yesterday, but I’ve gotten so off-track with everything getting back to my self-care plan is going to take a little work.
I needed to take some recovery days so I did, but it’s easy for me to let those recovery days turn into recovery weeks if I’m not intentional about doing the things that help me feel better. That stretching out of my recovery days started showing up yesterday. Although I was feeling better, I still sat around doing nothing most of the day. Have you ever been there, or am I the only one who does this? I’m committing to getting back to my plan starting now.
How do you get back on your self-care path if you’ve gotten off of it for some reason? Here are some of the things that help me:
- Start from a positive – Behavior change studies have shown that anything that started from a negative (I have to stop sitting around so much) has a much lower success rate than something started from a positive mindset (I’m going to move around for at least five minutes of every hour).
- Add just one thing from your self-care plan each day until you are doing each of the things you need to do to help yourself feel better.
- Cut yourself a break – Realize that forming and maintaining good habits is a process, and it’s okay to not do things perfectly all the time. Just put whatever you didn’t get accomplished this time behind you, and look at what you’re going to do today.
- Don’t try to rush progress — slow and steady wins the race. We live in a fast-food society where we want everything now, but the truth is, long-term, sustainable changes are made a step at a time, building on one another. Appreciate the small changes you’re able to make now, and one day, you’ll look back and not believe how far you’ve come.
Staying on track with your self-care plan isn’t always easy, especially when things happen beyond your control, but with fibromyalgia, or any chronic illness, taking care of yourself is critical.
What tips do you have for getting back on the path of self-care when life disrupts your plan? Please share!