I guess I forgot to tell you… I’m on a short sabbatical. Just for a little bit, I needed a rest.
You realize, of course, that when you decide to write a 31 day survival guide on surviving chronic illness your own body is going to revolt. At the very beginning of the series my hormones went south, which made writing for 31 days straight a lot harder than it should have been; then my back started acting up which lead to last weekend’s total dependence on Vicodin. It’s all a blur.
So the past couple weeks and for the next few days I am in the middle of editing the 31 Day series and formatting it into a PDF so everyone will be able to download it, print it, share it, add it to their favorite e-reader, etc. I’m also designing a special page on the site just for Chronic Illness. I want you to be able to find the resources, whenever you need them.
I’m also writing a guest post for one of my foodie-friends that will be posted later this month. I’ll let you know when that happens. Oooh, and another friend is releasing his e-book any day and yours-truly contributed a couple sentences to that.
So while it may seem there’s not much going on here, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. Check back soon, we’re just getting started!
Welcome! Today is the first installment of a 5 part series entitled “Reclaiming Your Health: Where To Start.” Besides my own journey, I find myself in the path of so many others who are suffering from chronic illness or pain. It is a frustrating road and at times can feel so isolating but there is a wide community of people who are making their way through illness, learning together, supporting each other. I want to welcome you to that community and encourage you to keep seeking wisdom. Don’t give up, help will find you!
Let’s journey on together, shall we?
Reclaiming Your Health: 1- Deep Breath In, Let It Out Slowly
Some of you will find this first step incredibly freeing. Calming. Peace in the storm. Others of you are secretly yelling at me, “I want answers now!” I’ve been on both sides of that coin. I’ve been on the side that wants to curl up in fetal position with my blankie and have someone tell me that everything is going to be ok. I’ve also been on the side that is angry, sick & tired of being sick & tired and just wants the magic pill or magic blood test that will finally fix everything.
Either way, you need to stop and take a deep breath.
If you can I would like you to physically do this, but at the very least, in your imagination I want to you to close your eyes, take a deep breath in through your nose and then let it out slowly through your mouth. Do it a few times. Let your shoulders relax, rest your heart and your mind. Feel the hope and encouragement sink into your soul like a healing balm.
This journey is not a sprint. I wouldn’t really call it a marathon either, although it can feel that way, for sure. It’s more like a wandering, maze of an adventure that you didn’t sign up for but are now trying to find a way out of. At times it’s a walk down a well laid path with lots of water and food along the way to refresh you. Other times its a hike through the wilderness where water is scarce and you are a little scared you might not make it over the next hill. At times the way to go will be clear and other times you will feel a little lost.
You’ve been through so much already, it’s ok to recognize that. It’s important to recognize it. Some of you need to give yourself permission to have a good cry over the unfairness of it all. You were used to “doing it all” and now you’re reduced to doing the bare minimum. You may have to learn a new “normal.” Your old life is just that, old. Wave goodbye to it as you set out on this new journey. Blow it some kisses and say thank you for the years it got you through. Then embrace the new season that you are in today. It may not be what you had planned, but I promise it can teach you so many wonderful things and bring so many amazing people your way.
Attention perfectionists and control freaks: let it go. You will not be able to control this journey. If you could, you would have healed yourself by now. Your dedicated, persistent nature will serve you well on this long journey, but now you need to adopt patience and the ability to accept the things you cannot change. You might get off course and that’s ok. When you’re ready, just get back on the trail. If you find yourself up against a road block, instead of fighting it stop and reflect what you can learn from it. Take it as a signal to stop and rest. Refuel. Deep breath in, deep breath out.
Make a pact with yourself right now that you will pace yourself on this journey. There will be times of fast and furious learning, researching, testing and seeking. But there will also be times of rest, healing, listening and community. They are both important but our tendency is to want to push, push, push towards the goal. That’s a shortcut to disaster. Your body will give you cues when it’s time to trudge forward in search of the answers. It will also alert you to when you need to rest and it will not be put off. Rest is not weakness.
Rest is not weakness.
Lastly, I want to caution you from going into a deprivation mindset. You will be making some changes along the way: dietary, medical, relationship-wise, etc. You may have to stop eating things you enjoy in order to give your body a chance to heal. Or maybe you will have to limit your social calendar to allow for quiet rest at home. Instead of focusing on these as deprivations, see them as opportunities to thrive in other ways. Just because you are sick or in pain does not mean that you can’t still have a full life. A life that is full of joy. A life that thrives in the wilderness just like an oasis in the desert.
Seek out the things that bring restoration, hope and love into your life. Open your heart up to new ways to grow. When you set your mind towards an attitude thriving, you might be amazed at the adventures you can have. You might still be sick or in pain, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still find beauty all around you. That beauty will refresh you. Drink it in and thrive.
Are you ready? Deep breath in…
Thanks so much for stopping by and following with me on this series. Part 2 will be available soon! Oh, and if you know someone who is suffering with chronic illness that needs some encouragement, please share this series with them.