The Best Laid Plans…

As the quote goes, “the best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry.” No truer words can be said, especially for those of us trying to manage chronic illness. It often feels like one thing after another (and a lot of times it actually is), which wrecks the best of our intentions. This is how life has been in recent weeks for me. There was illness, there was not getting over said illness (which even now I struggle with remnants of), there has been flaring and there has been the grief and devastation to sort out after needing to put down our long-loved dog of 14 years.

Our boy, Grissom.

Needing to get back to work on my blog, as much for distraction as my having neglected my blog, I considered what topic would be best and I decided on ways you can be productive/ have a productive day with chronic illness. It fits, right? Because, often-times when we are struggling with constant symptom or flare-ups of one symptom after another, it has a snowball effect on our lives and what we had planned to do. Here are some tips that I hope may help you to create a better atmosphere in which to work and flourish.

Spoon Theory is a way to illustrate the energy limitations that can result from living with a chronic illness. Look it up and take it seriously, if you haven’t already. Break down tasks to make things more manageable. Listen to your body. Only you know what you are able to do, without causing further havoc on your body.

Relax. But only enough to give yourself a breather between tasks. It’s a balancing act between working, resting and not over-working yourself to exhaustion and further flares.

Remember that productivity will vary from person to person, even those sharing the same chronic illness. Don’t try to be anyone else. Just be you, boo.

Pacing. To sum it up briefly, according to Psychology Today: Pacing refers to spacing out your activities during the day so that you’re able to stay within the limits of what your body can handle without exacerbating your symptoms. Learn about it and practice it. Know when you function best. Morning person? Night person? Somewhere in between person? Figure it out and utilize it to your advantage.

Alternating different tasks can also be beneficial and not just necessary for someone like me who struggles with ADHD. When you alternate tasks between a physically demanding or mentally and emotionally demanding task and do something else you are allowing yourself to rest, or decompress, so that you can return to your task and finish it later with the same energy you began with.

Remember life rarely goes as planned, and that dealing with unforeseen tasks such as a sick child, computer malfunction, or other emergency can use up all of your energy when you are chronically ill. And to make matters worse, you often feel as though you are falling behind on your tasks. Which may be true, but not something that can be helped and you need to be gentle with yourself. If possible, add white space. This is essentially, some buffer space into your day or week to prepare or catch up on work.

Triage your to-do list. Seriously- split up your assignments into “Must-do” and “Would-like-to.” It’s also a good idea to have a back up plan for bad days so that when something does happen it doesn’t send your anxiety into over drive and unmanageable levels.

Reconsider your timing for caffeine. (Don’t hit me!) I know that morning latte or espresso can be a literal life-saver. However, caffeine is known to raise cortisol levels, but when you wake up, your cortisol levels are already naturally high to prepare your mind and body for activity. So, when you are enjoying that early morning, please wake me up, brew, you could be creating unnecessary stress, leaving you feeling jittery or in a slump just a few hours later.

These are all manageable ways to create a working environment, or even just a way to function with day-to-day tasks, that helps you thrive. Living with chronic illness can often make us feel less than. Less than who we were before chronic illness, less than our healthy colleagues at work, or less than our friends. Utilizing these little changes can help you feel more like yourself and give you that little mental bump you need to feel good about what you can accomplish.

The Positive Aspects of a Mid-Life Crisis

Many people experience a mid-life crisis, defined as feeling dissatisfied with their life and the choices they’ve made personally and at work. It can hit around the age of 50 or if you are going through a time of change, such as kids leaving home, the declining health of your parents, or progressing as far as you can in your current career. This crisis isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Instead, it can be the catalyst to take a fresh look at your life and work and move into more fulfilling activities. LoveKarmaFood shares some inspiring ways to deal with your mid-life slump.

Get Serious About Your Health

Cheerful Choices notes that pursuing a healthy lifestyle offers you many positive benefits, such as:

  • Prevents cardiovascular disease
  • Boosts your energy level
  • Improves your mood
  • Better physical and mental health
  • Saves money spent on doctors visits

It all starts with eating nutritious food that fuels your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive. Focus on eating fruit, vegetables, lean protein meats, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Avoid processed and fried foods and sugary drinks or desserts.

The second way to get healthy is to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation to get two days of strengthening exercises and five days of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity. Ways to accomplish these goals is to join a nearby gym or work out at home. 

Get Emotional Support

If you feel overwhelmed emotionally, you can look for a therapist to provide mental health support. There are therapists available online who offer virtual sessions, giving you a private, secure, and convenient way to get the counseling you need. You also save travel time and pay less for this virtual mental health care. You have various licensed professional therapists to choose from in online therapy. Many counselors offer a free initial consultation to ensure you are a good match for each other.

Move Into New Surroundings

Sometimes a move to new digs helps you to refocus, re-energize, and meet new people. Consider moving and finding a new home to make a fresh start in an area you’ve always loved; you can always rent instead of buy, too. When scouting homes, look for homes in neighborhoods with the amenities you need. View online listings to find properties in your price range with your desired number of bathrooms and bedrooms to locate the perfect place.

Pursue Learning Opportunities

Have you always wanted to learn how to speak French or play a musical instrument? Mid-life is a great time to fulfill that goal and start taking lessons. Or perhaps you always wanted to get certified as a fitness instructor or a nutritionist but kept putting it off. Take the time to pursue those growth opportunities now.

Start Your Own Business and Utilize Content Marketing

If your career is stalled or no longer fulfilling, consider starting your own business doing something you are passionate about. All the skills and experience you gained in your career can now be used in your own business. Improve your chances of entrepreneurial success by creating a detailed business plan. In your plan, describe your company and how you plan to sell your products or services. Add in how you will structure your company, financial projections, and any funding you need to get started.

You’ll also want to include your marketing plan, a large and important part of which should contain your content marketing strategy. As a specialized area of business promotion, effective content marketing can help you reach your business goals by increasing interest in your products or services. When you create and publish content on social media, blog posts, and your website, you can more effectively brand your business and drive traffic to your site. There are a few free resources to help you along like tips from Ahrefs, and to learn the ins and outs of content marketing check out Cornerstone Content.

Find Ways to Relieve Stress

Stress harms your physical and mental health. Therefore, it is essential that you find stress relief strategies that work for you. It could be as simple as taking time for a relaxing bath or starting a yoga or meditation practice. On the other hand, maybe spending more time outdoors is the best choice for you.

A mid-life crisis can inspire you to make positive changes in your life, such as prioritizing your health, moving to a locale that interests you, and even launching your own business. It can lead you to find the fulfillment you’re looking for in your personal life or career.

Image via Pexels

LoveKarmaFood informs and educates those that are misinformed about chronic pain and chronic illness while elevating those who struggle with pain and illness- and reminding them that they are not alone. Contact us today for more info!