I love turning over the calendar at the beginning of a new month. I have a pretty wall calendar in my study, so I look forward to revealing a new picture on the morning of the 1st day.
It’s a symbolic act in some regards, of saying goodbye to the old month, the good and the bad. I like the anticipation of what the month ahead will hold. I always hope it will be a month full of blessings, while realistically praying for strength to handle the difficult days.
Some new months herald a season change, which always adds to my musings of what lies ahead. New seasons are a reminder nothing is stagnant.
As with the extremes of weather, not all changes in life are welcome though. There are always twists and turns, both good and bad.
Around the globe, we’re all currently experiencing a very unwelcome twist to life, as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. None of us would have expected to be living in such surreal circumstances, but here we are! All we can really do is find a way to cope. Easier said than done, I know.
The Seasons of Life
Whether we have good health or chronic illness, life will always have seasons. Some will be sunny and some stormy.
Living with chronic illness, does tend to heighten the adverse impact of life’s general difficulties.
Events will happen almost every day, that are not connected with our chronic disease.
They are just normal life events or, as we’ve been experiencing lately, extraordinary events. Either way any interruption to the smooth flow of our normal lives, can make little issues seem so much bigger.
It can’t be denied, living with chronic illness adds a complex layer to the interruptions of our “normal” life and daily routines.
Even good times can take some getting used to.
They can be so intensified and exhausting for someone with a chronic disease. We know what it’s like to constantly experience the depth of loss, grief and pain, so a good event takes a huge amount of emotional energy to comprehend life is different for a moment. Plus there is the constant fear of a special season being short lived.
Sometimes when life throws difficult curve balls at us (not health related) we can, if we are not careful, make them feel larger than they really are.
Life is hard enough as it is, so we just can’t cope with anything extra to deal with.
Dealing With The “Ordinary” And “Extraordinary” Unwanted Life Events
With chronic illness we are constantly experiencing pain, fatigue and niggling concern about our health and the impact it will have on our future. This can easily make us less tolerant of even the ordinary unexpected, and unwanted life events, that interrupt the smooth flow of our day or week. Add in an extraordinary event like a global viral crisis and stubbing a toe can become the last straw (although in fairness that does really hurt!!)
An argument with a loved one, the inconvenience of an appliance breaking down, someone on the phone being less than helpful etc, can quickly become catastrophic in the life and mind of those battling chronic disease.
We now have the fear of catching Coronavirus, so someone choosing to come too close in public and not social distancing, is enough to be the last straw and, before we know it, our normal coping abilities are non existent.
If you feel like everything is against you, just take a step back for a minute. Sit quietly and think about the issue distressing you. Is it as bad as you think?
Does it feel like your world is completely over, but really the main issue is you are just too tired, and in too much pain, to deal with it?
Do you need to turn off the news, turn off the computer, find a private space in your home and allow some peace and quiet to infiltrate your heart and mind?
Taking Time Out
By taking time out to stop and think calmly about your difficult day or season, you might surprise yourself and find a way to handle it, without it being blown out of proportion……without it causing you undue health repercussions.
Sticking to a daily routine, no matter what it looks like, is really helpful in giving you a sense of control, in a life often following an uncontrollable chronic illness path.
I know I cope much better, on so many levels, if I do certain things each day, no matter my pain levels and disability challenges.
I need to get out of bed each day, get dressed in comfortable but smart casual clothes.
I need to keep my home neat and tidy and have my bed made. Making my bed is super important as it turns my bedroom into a peaceful day room and I can rest on top of the bed in the afternoon. I don’t want to feel like I’m sick. I just want to feel like I’m relaxing in a pretty space.
My husband and I have a task list we work through together, to ensure my daily goals are met. It gives us both order in our day and if the unexpected happens, we are better equipped to deal with it. There is no time limit to achieving the daily goals, but generally we aim for midday so the afternoon is relaxed, providing space to do other unplanned things if we need or want to.
If my husband wasn’t available, I would have carers helping me achieve these daily goals as they are so important to my well-being.
When we are blessed to experience a season of joy and good times, it’s equally important to enjoy every minute and we do. These times are priceless and deserve to be celebrated, especially when living with chronic disease.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3 v 1
COVID-19 aside, I hope and pray every new day, week, month and new season brings you moments of joy.
Try and keep everything in perspective, despite the challenges chronic disease will always bring and especially during this Coronavirus crisis. Ask yourself if the issue bothering you is worth the bother.
Create a daily routine meaningful to you.
Stop and breathe when life’s circumstances and health issues feel overwhelming.
Always remember to celebrate the joyful, easier seasons and moments of life. They are so precious.
WEGO Health Award Nominee 2019- Best in Show Blog