Another year done & dusted. How was it for you?
Looking back on mine, there are still things I need to process and properly deal with. Many of us will keep going and not take enough time to properly reflect on things or get our heads straight with where we are and where we’re going. Without a review of the year, it can be hard to gather hope & move assuredly into a new year. Maybe there were a lot of negatives, like bereavement and heartache and struggling, or a sprinkling of positives and big changes to adapt to. With so much “stuff” going on, looking 2019 in the face when you have chronic illness can become daunting and exhausting before it’s even begun.
I’m not a fan of New Year resolutions and I think there’s too much pressure and too many expectations involved. You’re still the same person. You don’t have to party like it’s 1999 to welcome in a new year or aim to become a whole new person. It’s sending the wrong messages; that we’re boring if we don’t have NY plans, and that we need to change because we’re not good enough as we are. That’s a load of rubbish.
So, what can we do to move forward into a brighter New Year?
1. Review 2018
What have been the highs and lows, the regrets and the achievements? Have you dealt with the emotional impact of health problems, loss, financial stresses, trauma, personal problems or life changes? A lot of the time, we push things down, put on a smile and keep going, but it’s important to acknowledge, accept and process the things we go through. Please reach out if you need support, be that to a friend, an online support forum or Facebook group, the blogging community, a professional support service / charity, or your doctor.
2. Clear Your Physical Space
A tidy home is a tidy mind, or so they say. I do think there’s a degree of truth in this because when your living space is tidier and cleaner, you can feel a little more at peace. If it’s not not used, broken, unwanted or doesn’t fit, get rid of it, whether that’s selling on eBay, donating to charity, going in the bin or sending to recycling. Tackle parts of your home in small chunks so that you don’t overdo it and set aside small blocks of time (like 10 minutes here and there) or individual tasks (like sorting through one cupboard or one drawer, or going through one folder of paperwork) to make it more manageable.
3. Tidy Your Mind
Give yourself some space and breathing room. Get a change of scenery. If you have anxiety, you’ll know how hard it is to quieten your brain, but getting things a little tidier up there, even if briefly, can give you the time you need to assess things, find perspective, feel inspired and work out what you want and how you feel. A little distraction can work for some, too, whether there’s a good book, a Netflix series or a walk in the park. Turn off electronics, step away from the to-do lists and get out of your own head for a while.
4. Garner Gratitude & Rekindle Hope
Thankful for & gratitude lists are quite common across blog platforms. Try your own; write down a list of things, no matter how small or seemingly trivial, that you are grateful for. What things make you smile? What are your blessings? What positivity or goodness is in your life? What silver linings can you see? What have you learned this year? How have you grown?
A new year comes with a lot of expectations. Get rid of those, put them to one side for now. This isn’t about making huge declarations or aiming for the stars, though there’s nothing wrong with either. But gather a little hope in your heart. If this year has been challenging, remember that you will have grown stronger, even if you don’t realise it. You’re tough enough to take on a new year. And the days that follow can be brighter, and those brighter days can be more frequent. Things change, we change, the world evolves. Embrace that and work with it.
Look for a little inspiration, whether that’s online blogs, music, Pinterest, people watching or getting out in nature. Fill your mind and your heart with positive vibes. Let those give you some spark for your fire to keep hope alive for a good 2019.
5. Get Organised
Knowing roughly what you’re doing can help take the sting out of uncertainty and confusion. Of course, things don’t always go to plan, but at least keeping on top of what needs to be done can put a little order into your life. Use a calendar for medical appointments and other things you might be hoping to do. To-do lists and sticky notes are great for making sure you remember the important jazz, big and small, whether that’s paying a bill, ordering a prescription, publishing a blog post or watering the plants.
6. Sketch Out 2019
Look at the different aspects of life and wellness in general. Picture it as an overlapping set of circles that represent the varied parts of life. Physical health, mental health, finances, relationships and connections with others, work, spiritual/religious/moral, self-care, sense of achievement, fun & enjoyment, creativity…
Are there things you’d like to do differently, ways you’d like to change or areas of your life you’d like to adjust?
Are there things you do that you could do differently to make your life a little easier or a little more enjoyable?
Are there things you need help with? Things you have been putting off doing? Are there people you’d like to see, things you’d like to say, new things you’d like to try?
7. Focus On What You Can Do, Not What You Can’t
I’ve posted about this before. You are more than the parts of your body, the parts of your brain, the things that perhaps don’t work so well. You are more than just the things you can’t do. What are the things you can do, however small? Adjust your perspective and your expectations and take a proper look at the ability, independence and control you do have. Think outside the box a little and work with what you’ve got.
8. Let Up On The Pressure
As I’ve said, New Year can be laden with expectations and pressures. The chances are more than likely that you’ll feel like a failure if you don’t hit huge goals or stick to unrealistic routines, or that you’ll feel more tired and deflated just by thinking about it all.
Break it down; you can aim big, but there’s a lot to be said for making small changes and setting small goals. Make things more manageable and more realistic. Don’t put pressure on things being perfect or going exactly to plan. We know what happens to best laid plans… a pigeon will likely poop all over them. Go with the flow a little more, and give yourself some slack. You’re doing the best you can. You are enough, just as you are.
There are a few great goals and intentions to carry in to 2019 that will put self-care back into focus. It’s neither selfish nor indulgent. It’s vital, and making sure your basic needs are met first is a good place to start. Get on top of your medications and supplements. Consider any new therapies or additions you’d like to make. How can you ensure you get time each day to yourself, and what do you want that time to look like? Focus on the now, on being present. After the basic needs of self-care are met, look at things to bring a little joy to your life.
Smile more, laugh with wild abandon, let go every now and then. Treat yourself more, whether that’s a cinema visit or a bunch of flowers. Don’t save the nice cutlery or tasty ice cream for the perfect special occasion that you never seem to get.
Perhaps mindfulness, yoga, art, being outdoors, a little travelling if possible, trying new foods, taking up photography or a myriad of other things are tempting you. Make 2019 the year to do them and to give yourself permission to enjoy a little more.
10. Write Your Own Story
Remember : There are a lot of things we can’t control in life and with illness. Learning to be okay with that is hard. But you can choose how you respond. You can also choose what to focus on in 2019. How do you want the year to look?
Embrace the uncertainty and the unknown. We’re all human. Most of us probably don’t have a clue what we’re doing, some just make it look like they do. Yes, we may have to adjust our expectations in line with our situations, our health, our finances and what’s realistic. Maybe we’re not where we’d hoped we’d be. So carve a new path, one that’s uniquely yours.
Redefine what’s important to you, not what you feel you ‘should’ be resolving to do. Take back a little control. You are the author of your own story, so write the next chapter of your life …
I’d like to wish you all a happy, healthy & bright 2019. Thank you so much for your support, comments and friendship over this year. It’s been a rocky one for many of us, but we’re tough cookies. We’re badasses. We can do this. Take good care of yourselves 🌷