Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Action Step: Toolkit for Success

Honestly, I am hoping I can make this a short blog post today.  I think we could all use that.  I have the Facebook Page up, but it took me lots of time, even though Facebook does make it easy to walk through;  but I try to do my own artwork, because I don't want to infringe on any copy-writes.  Also, I never set up a public Facebook Page before. The Facebook Page is called Balancing Life Changes / Living Better With Chronic Illness.

On to the Main Subject
Yesterday, I asked you to think about a habit you would like to work on, or one you need to work on -- just one.  Whether you are male or female;  when you have a chronic illness, especially when it is at it's worse or you have overdone,  it makes some of your brains feel like they are slogging through a fog.  In fact, I am having to focus extra hard right now, because I am having one of those days where my brain and body are extra tired.  So pick one thing, one habit you need to change.  My habit I plan to work on is setting a timer when I write.  I need to get up to do other things, to move my body or I get to stiff, and I need to rest my brain.

Your problem may be similar to when I have been extremely sick and sedentary.  My motivation was at its lowest, and taking a bath or shower was a major issue for me.  Or you may be somewhere in between my current situation and my lowest.  The basic way to change the habit is one step at a time.  And you may be surprised, one step may make you feel like taking another;   which, in turn, increases self-esteem and motivation.

I am going to keep this as simple as possible:  if you are sitting in a chair or have a hard time getting out of bed.  Yes, I know it hurts.  Just lie there and
visualize yourself doing this for several days, a couple of times a day. Think about what step you need to take after getting out of bed.  If you have Fibromyalgia, a shower or bath in the morning sometimes helps the stiffness you have in the morning.  This is your visualization for your habit:  I am only trying to give you an example.   After, a couple of days of visualizing what you are going to do, try it. 

If the bath or shower doesn't seem possible yet, ask yourself,  "Can I get out of bed for 1 minute?".  Remember baby steps.  Oh one more thing:  if you are visualizing getting out of bed and taking a shower, don't forget to visualize what you are going to wear.  Make it something comfortable, and when you get to the point of actually doing the task, lay those clothes out,  ready to put on.  Or hang them together on a door -- whatever works for you. When I was so sick I felt like I had flu for months, I put out a comfortable pajamas.  Sweats would work.  So would comfortable shorts or jeans.  The idea is to get moving gradually.  

If you are reading this and cannot imagine being this overwhelmed, please don't judge.  This type of illness is debilitating   It feels like a vicious cycle, and it is until someone is able to take that first baby step.  It has to come from inside the person that is ill.  You cannot cajole, embarrass, or make them better by the force of your will.  Pray.  And for goodness sake, let them know you love them.  Also, don't make them feel smothered.  Just treat them with respect.   

Have your calendar, a piece of paper you can date and check--whatever you decide to use for a visual-- ready.  If you accomplished your planned task, congratulate yourself and check it off.  I liked counting how many days I had accomplished a task, and every month it got better.  

You may say, but you don't understand, maybe you don't hurt as much as I do.  Or maybe you are just tired, not fatigued all the time, 24 hours a day.  I do understand, and I still have flare-ups.  In fact, I am pretty sure, this will happen if I do not change my writing habits.  Sometimes, it happens even when I think I am balancing my life.  I know it is hard, but I have found I cannot give up.  Not giving up has been worth it for me.  I keep chipping away at this.  When I fall back in an area, I work on it again.  And my husband would be the first to tell you, he can see the difference in my life.

REMEMBER, you are working on one habit and checking it off.  If you feel like doing more, or are at a different stage in learning how to pace yourself and change habits:  it's OK.  Do more.  But work on this one habit everyday.  If you skip a day or two, even a week or two,  don't give up.  Just pick up where you left off.  This is what I did.  And it worked for me.  I pray it works for you.


  1. You are just so fantastic!!! Your post is spot on. I knew you would find a way to include men too and said a prayer for you and it was answered. My hubby keeps a calendar by his desk and writes what he should do each day. He also puts which bills are due on his calendar. To keep the bills from being miss placed I found a folder that has pockets with the month,so when the bills come he immediately puts them in the folder with the month due. I also have written a list of some of his meds with the date he takes them as these are monthly or bi=weekly and taped it to the cabinet door where he keeps his daily meds. You have bleesed with a wonderful gift. Keep on my dear friend.

    1. I'm thankful with tears of gratitude. It sounds like you and your husband have organized well. I know what is to have lost things, because I couldn't remember where I put them. My husband usually tells me I put it in a safe place. Humph! Safe from me. I love the idea of taping the meds list to the cabinet door. It's kind of funny you mentioned that. I was planning to talk about post it notes. And thank you for the encouragement. I needed that today. My house is beginning to suffer the effects from me writing so much on this blog. So I have to listen to my own advice, or get a maid -- ha! ha!

  2. So nice to see that I'm not alone with my illness. Fibro for 20 years. Been well enough to travel, work and make plans without another thought. Now I've had a flare for 6 weeks... with only one day break from the pain. Feels like the Flu.. and I can only wish it WAS ! then it would end.
    I can be so strong for others..yet I'm amazed at how comforted I am to read how someone else struggles with just getting a shower and dressed before they collapse in bed again. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

    1. I feel the same way. Knowing there are other people that truly understand and know what you are going through is comforting, even though, you don't want other people to suffer. When I got to the point you are at now is about the time I found the book "From Fatigued to Fantastic" by Jacob Teitelbaum. I could not believe it when I read all the symptoms I was having. It was after that I went to a specialist. At the time, I was able to pay for it, because the insurance did not cover everything.

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It's always lovely hearing from you. xoxo, Deborah