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2018 October Prompts: Budgeting, Speeding, Slowing, Evaluating & Escaping

October 2018 Prompts: Budgeting, Speeding, Slowing, Evaluating & Escaping | A Chronic Voice

CLICK HERE to submit your own entry, and to read about what others are up to as well!

Budgeting

You could budget your energy or your time. As a person with chronic illness, rationing everything in your life is probably the norm rather than the exception. But what I’d like to budget for October are my personal finances, the good old fashioned meaning of the word. One of my flaws is that I’m impulsive, and terrible with money management. I told myself that I was going to do a no spend month…for the past three months. So here it is inked online – I’m going to try doing it for real (again 😉 ).

I will only permit myself to buy basic necessities and refills of regular items. I tend to spend more money when I’m feeling down, and recently that’s been happening too often. Perhaps these things bring a smile or relief for a little while, but my finances need some looking after as well, especially since I’m not working full-time. I think the ‘boring self-care’ series sums this concept up pretty well. Sometimes, I need to think about long-term benefits over short-term gains. Besides, it will be a good opportunity to find joy in the little everyday things, and to pay more attention to my mind and body before there is even a need for relief.

Speeding

One of the reasons why I’m investing so much time and effort into my blog, is that I hope to earn a relatively stable income from it some day. I sincerely strive to share knowledge of my personal experiences, and to provide support. But it would also be nice to actually earn enough to feed myself and buy my own medications, without relying on my partner or family.

I am aware for the need to diversify my income streams. Writing on my blog alone will not suffice, and isn’t the best way to gain income, at least for me for now. While I have a few scattered projects on hand, the first one I’d like to finish is my e-book for sale. It will be an adaptation from my blog, but not a direct copy and paste, of course. I’ll share more details when I get closer to completion, but it’s been sitting at chapter two for too long 😉 I’d like to make a conscious effort to speed things up a little. It’s only then that I can move on to ‘hopeful passive income item number two’.

Slowing

I can’t put new projects on my plate without first removing something, in order to make space for it (paraphrased from another blogger!). I suppose I’ve become too comfortable with my current daily blog routine, that I get uncomfortable if I veer too far from it. This is not a good thing, hence why I wanted to tag along on a trip to Taiwan with my partner. Even a few days of change can be helpful in getting out of my stale headspace, and gain some fresh perspective.

I hope that I will be able to stop micromanaging so many things on my blog, just because I can, and because I want it to be ‘perfect’. I’m not saying that I’ll be scaling back on quality, but I need to get my priorities straight. Going for a stroll, working on my e-book, cooking a new recipe, or beautifying my work and home spaces are all just as important.

I’m not abandoning my blog, but I think I need to cut back on some of the related activities. I often feel like I’m drowning because I want to do it all, and am aware of the sore need to slow down for my own wellbeing. I need to evaluate which practices are worth keeping – either because I enjoy them or because they’re beneficial – and which are time wasters that don’t add much value all round.

Evaluating

Speaking of evaluating…I have a huge issue with control. The first time I saw a psychiatrist, she said to me, “You have some great coping mechanisms, or you wouldn’t have been able to do so well without psych meds for more than 10 years. But you’ve now hit a wall that you can’t breach.”

I ‘cope’ by controlling many aspects of my life. In fact, what can be controlled, I control. This fear developed after I lost total control of my body, and faced my first life or death situation at 17. I couldn’t even lift a finger without excruciating pain. It’s not something anyone can ever understand, unless they’ve been through it themselves. Such experiences leave more than physical scars. In fact, the mental scars can be harder to heal from.

But I also know that I need to release some of that illusion of control, because life just doesn’t operate that way. And the ironic thing is that the details control me in the end, when I am trying desperately to control them, especially when there’s no need to do so. They bind me up – or I bind myself up – by sapping my energy, creating dizzy mazes in my brain, and fogging up my perspective with fatigue.

There is no need for this self created stress, so I plan to separate myself from my current activity whenever I feel my body tightening up, or sense a mental overdrive. Then I will simply sit, let my thoughts natter and run and overflow, until they calm down. Then only will I return to what I was doing…or maybe not.

Escaping

Escaping isn’t always a bad thing, hey? I’d like to do a lot more escaping this month. I’d like to escape into other worlds through books. I’d like to escape from digital immersion for extended periods of time. I’d like to escape from the endless thoughts that sprint on that faulty treadmill in my brain.

My mental health hasn’t been in good shape of late, as I alternate between bouts of senseless anxiety and deep depression. I feel bad that my partner has to put up with that, it’s really no fun for anyone. While it isn’t a daily occurence, it’s been happening way too often of late, and it’s exhausting. I’m not too sure how it developed either. Perhaps all this isolation is starting to affect me, even though I enjoyed all this alone time to start with.

The irony about this whole situation is that I need to escape from myself – or the thoughts in my brain – in order to become my ‘normal’ self again. Hopefully the little escapism activities will help to stabilise and shut part of that faulty system down.

Thank you for reading, and I hope to read your responses for October’s prompts too! Click here to participate, and to read about what others are up to as well!

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October Writing Prompts for People with Chronic Illness: Budgeting, Speeding, Slowing, Evaluating & Escaping. What will you be up to? Click to read & participate, or pin to save for later. ////////// chronic life / spoonie / mental health / depression / anxiety / writing prompts / linkup #chronicillness #spoonielife #writing #mentalhealth

October Writing Prompts for People with Chronic Illness: Budgeting, Speeding, Slowing, Evaluating & Escaping. What will you be up to? Click to read & participate, or pin to save for later. ////////// chronic life / spoonie / mental health / depression / anxiety / writing prompts / linkup #chronicillness #spoonielife #writing #mentalhealth

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Nicole Starbuck
Nicole Starbuck
October 26, 2018 08:40

I can totally relate to the part about spending more when feeling down! When I’m feeling down, I have less energy for things like grocery shopping or cooking, so I end up eating out more. One time my card company put a hold on my card because they considered all of the eating out to be “unusual activity.” (too bad my card was declined at the pharmacy counter while trying to pick up my meds!). It can be easy to fall into the trap of “I deserve it” and end up overindulging in whatever makes us feel remotely better. But you’re right, with “boring self-care” comes the constant self-evaluation! It’s important to access what we’re doing and why, and if we’re doing more harm than good.

Lydia Beier
October 23, 2018 08:36

I finally got to read your post and do mine! I love your answers. They are very much from the heart and down to earth. I have had a rocky October (it has been a rough year but I think this month has been the worst) and I wish I could have documented it as honestly as you have. I look forward to next month’s prompts.

Kathy
October 20, 2018 00:32

Hi, Sheryl! Loved reading your post. I would love to be able to give you a hug all the way across the ocean. I think we all go through periods where we’re more unsettled. I struggle with doing too much and attempting too much all at one time. Like I signed up for a book discussion group and a pain management course at the same time that I’m in a new eating plan boot camp. Why do our brains do this to us, I’ll never know. I love your comments on your Instagram post. I have to ask myself that same question, “How much can I really digest without waste?”

Maya Augelli
October 16, 2018 23:30

Love these prompts! I feel like so many of my thoughts are going to be similar to yours here. Like the fact that I’m also working on pushing forward on my book (novel, not illness related, but still), or that financial budgeting is a huge issue for me and I’m working on how to make more passive income as well. It sounds like you have a good outlook on balancing what you need health wise, with what your natural inclinations might be (i.e. the need for control), and I think getting them all out “on paper” (blog) can help us acknowledge and create that balance.

Terri, Reclaiming HOPE
Terri, Reclaiming HOPE
October 16, 2018 04:48

Thanks for hosting us again Sheryl! I always look forward to them, though life got in the way the last couple of months and I just ran out of time and didn’t participate.

How exciting that you have an e-book in the works! I hope you’re able to put aside some of the “ankle biters” (as my hubby calls the small tasks that take you away from your main one) and concentrate on completing it. I know having another income stream would be welcome.

If it makes you feel any better, you’re not alone in having control issues. It’s something I struggle with as well. As you said, though, it’s all an illusion, and the more I try to control things, the more anxious I become. I’m finally learning to let it go and realize that I can only control myself, my own thoughts, and my reactions to whatever circumstances arise.

Thanks again for hosting us!

Rhiann
October 13, 2018 19:56

Another fabulous insight into your own life with chronic illness, Sheryl! It’s such a wonderful insight and a brilliant opportunity to learn about other’s people’s lives and learn from their perspective and experiences! It always amazes me that despite the wide range of diagnoses every participant lives with there are so many overlaps and things we all have in common.

I agree with your perspective on escaping…I love nothing more than to lose myself in the pages of a good book. Definitely, something I have been doing lately while dealing with the latest flare.

Will look forward to next month.
Take care
Rhiann xx

Suzanne
October 8, 2018 14:13

I really admire your strength! I also can relate to so much of what you said. I am big on control, and have to really look at that when I got sick. Finally, there was something I could not control and it really turned me upside down. I think I’m still trying to come to terms with it. I really appreciate you doing this link up party. I was afraid to put my writing out like this with other bloggers, but I am so glad I did. Plus, I learn so much about others and it makes me up my game a little. lol

Lisa Ehrman
October 7, 2018 06:27

Budgeting is a big deal for me, too. Living on a limited budget makes it hard, and sometimes we overdo it. This year has included many extra trips to doctor’s appointments. When you have to get a hotel, it really can add a lot! Budgeting is something that keeps challenging us, but at least we can try again next month 🙂

Alisha
Alisha
October 6, 2018 02:53

I think that these are things that people with chronic health can struggle with a lot. I think the more that we talk about them the more that we don’t feel alone.
I was hoping to submit an article but every time I click the link to participate it takes me to another page that doesn’t have a place to link and submit my article. I have never done this before but it does sound like a great idea 🙂

Alice
Alice
October 4, 2018 03:12

I’m looking forward to this one – it’s already planned as one of my Blogtober prompts 🙂

Jen @ The Frozen Mind
Jen @ The Frozen Mind
October 2, 2018 21:06

I really enjoyed reading your post and I really enjoy taking part in this Link Up party!

Nikki
Nikki
October 1, 2018 13:52

Yeah I have the same budgeting issues. But a lot of it comes from decreasing hours with bills designed to be paid by two fulltime incomes. And then using all my savings when I was on leaves the insurance company refused to pay. So I need to have a strict budget. And likely some sort of debt consolidation in the near future.