March has been a mixed month personally and within society as a whole, especially given the recent tragic and worrying events in the UK. I wanted to do a quick personal run-down for March and a look-see at April.
I want to be encouraging to those reading this and struggling with their own invisible illnesses and life’s struggles, but I think it’s important to be honest. I’ve had some pretty bad days, and that’s ok. I don’t want to just cherrypick all the positive things to put in this post. We’re human, and things don’t always to go plan or as well as you’d like despite your best efforts and intentions.
1. Challenge myself to a small walk every other day – This is one I have managed, hurrah. I’ve tried to walk in to town some days too (about 15 minutes) plus walking around the shops to pick up a few things and run errands. I then get the bus home because walking back would be too much, but at least I know my limits.
2. Make sure to eat little and often throughout the day – Generally speaking I’ve managed to do this most days when I’ve felt well enough to manage food, but I’ve had some days where I’ve missed breakfast or not focused on what my body wants and needs in a balanced way throughout the day.
3. Stress less! – This is where I have come undone. I know why I do it, and the things I could do to reduce this, yet it doesn’t seem to happen. I can give advice better than I can take my own. It’s the “doctor heal thyself” complex, as my mother would say. I’ll have to do better in April…
4. Be okay with not being okay – Some days I have been able to listen to my body and accept that I need a break and that I’m not going to get anything ‘productive’ done. I’ve had a couple of days where that’s been the case because I’ve been so unwell and so in pain that I physically couldn’t do anything, and on those days I’ve managed to accept that and try to be okay with it without getting too frustrated or disheartened. Other days, not so much… I can still try to ‘push on’ and I still feel guilty for not doing more, guilty for not feeling ‘productive’, unable to rest or enjoy peaceful time because I feel as though I ‘should’ be doing more. I end up with a to-do list of writing and Internet-related tasks I feel disappointed at having not done. I need to constantly remind myself that it’s okay when your brain is too fuzzy and too reluctant to do anything, and that you need to stop pushing it to do something it can’t at that time.
5. Rest a little more – I’m taking more downtime during the day and that is really helping. What I have found, on the occasions when I can do this, is that usually after a break (in bed having a nap, simply lying down exhausted, reading or watching mindless films) is that often my brain and body will pick up a little and then I’m capable of more than if I kept trying to push it when there was so much resistance.
6. Start a course – I have signed up to two freebie online courses : Understanding Data Analysis and Reports in Google Analytics and one for a Diploma in E-Business from Alison online courses. I’ll be putting in some time on these this month. I wanted to pick something a little different so these will expand my horizons and experience a little.
7. Get Crafty – I have compromised on this one to ensure I’ve done something when I couldn’t bring myself to do anything too challenging. I started digging through old sketches and scanning them i, to give myself some encouragement and motivation, and I’ve made some cute butterfly cut-outs.
8. Try to increase readership of my blog and Facebook followers – I have become part of the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network and have tried to keep up with reading, liking and commenting on the other wonderful blogs out there. I have been updating the InvisiblyMe Facebook page too, and have had another post published on The Mighty. In the next month the decision will come whether to renew my payment for WordPress hosting for the upcoming year and continue with this blog, or call it a day…
Other things achieved this month …
– I took my mother out to see Beauty & The Beast at the cinema as part of a Mother’s Day treat. She loved it and it was wonderful to see her have a good time and enjoy it so much. The problem was trying to get the songs out of my head afterwards, which I still find myself humming along to now. Disney music really is addictive!
– I treated myself to a yummy Millies Cookies, which was heavenly. I also stopped for a rest while running errands in town for a drink in a new bar that’s opened.
– I met up with some people I knew from work and a guy I met when I worked in America for 6 weeks as he’s currently making his first visit to the UK. This would have been about 10 years ago now, so it was a long overdue reunion. It was a last-minute affair and I probably spent 2.5-3 hours back in my home town having a couple of drinks, lots of catch-up talk and plenty of smiles. I had an amazing time and despite the initial worries (and desperately trying to find something stoma-concealing to wear) I was so glad I went. I felt like myself for that short period of time and it gave me hope for getting some semblance of a life back in future, for rebuilding everything that’s been lost. Despite it being a short outing with minimal walking I was still utterly shattered afterwards, but it was worth it.
– I’ve started new medication for the Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease, which has taken months of chasing up to obtain. It could take around 3 months before any benefits are noticed, if indeed there are any, but I’ve got into a good routine of taking this each day for the past two weeks.
I’m not really setting goals for April as such, just continuing to work on the things I’ve already set out to do. There are a couple of upcoming things for the month, however. For instance…
- I’m hoping to try to reintroduce a few foods this month that I’ve been desperately missing since the last stoma surgery, as per the bland-and-simple post-op diet restrictions. I’m thinking perhaps a little lettuce for starters, to see how it goes. I’ll be back to salads and veggies in no time (hopefully)!
- I’ve got a few medical appointments, including having stubborn stitches removed tomorrow and seeing my surgeon for a post-op follow-up later in the month. The latter will also likely involve me driving, and a decent distance too, so getting back behind the wheel will be a nice little milestone to reach.
- It’ll be my mother’s birthday so I’d like to think of something low-key to do or somewhere to take her, but I know better than to try to plan in advance at the moment.
- Work on stressing less!
I hope you had a good March and can go in to this new month with a renewed oomph to look after yourself, to appreciate the small things and most importantly to smile as often as you can. x