March 2019 Prompts: Failing, Succeeding, Pausing, Deciding & Thriving

March 2019 Prompts: Failing, Succeeding, Pausing, Deciding & Thriving | A Chronic Voice

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


So, my plan for ‘honouring and reviving my youth’ in February was an epic fail :p Note to self: pushing past my regular boundaries do trigger fairly long setbacks, just in case I forget – which I did. Well I didn’t really, but after all these years of a rather conservative and paced lifestyle, I just wanted to try and push the bubble a little, and it burst.

It was Chinese New Year (CNY) and the beginnings of a cold, which rapidly morphed into bronchitis. CNY lasts for 15 days, and there are certain events that you must attend, ‘for your own good’. There is the important family reunion dinner, where relatives from everywhere gather to share a meal. Then we mix and toss lo hei, which signifies good health, good luck, good everything for the year ahead – how can you not attend that? Reunion dinner is also a rather ‘sacred’ day, for honouring your elders.

The next day CNY officially begins, where you mingle with other family members, usually at the house of each grandparent. It’s a great time (or bad depending on how you view it) to catch up and bond with relatives you rarely see. They’re usually full day events that are boisterous and festive, full of nonstop eating, drinking, playing, and just letting yourself go.

However, these events combined with a few other life responsibilities did me in. I have yet to make a full recovery from the bronchitis after a month. The endless coughing also triggered some Lupus inflammation in my chest area, which then led to a pulled muscle, which makes coughing even more painful. An endless cycle.

Yes, I’m whining here 😉 It isn’t fair don’t you think, that we need bedrest for more than a month to recover from something so mild, when others heal up while still going about their regular activities in full swing? It’s a superpower that never fails to amaze me.

As a result, I have been neglecting paid jobs I had taken up, much less making new friends or living vivaciously. What was I thinking, hey? 😉 But I’ll try again once I’m better. For now, I can’t do much but rest.


Success is a vague thing. The definition is variable and subjective, to each their own. I tend to see overachievement as the benchmark, and ‘plain old achievement’ as ‘just okay’. Why? I’m not quite sure. What I do know is that pride was my biggest character flaw prior to falling ill, which also meant that I always strove to be the ‘best’.

I had my pride broken when I suffered unbearable pain for months on end at 17, and which I nearly died from. Pain is a harsh teacher. It humbles you. It dunks your head into a pool of piss, and forces you to ponder life’s big questions as you drown. Then it pulls you up for a breath of air, before repeating the process all over again. I thought that the last traces of useless pride had been dunked out of me back then, but perhaps a subconscious trace of it remains. A little part that even I am unfamiliar with, and am unsure of how to ‘solve’.

What I do know is that I need to learn to break down my ‘successes’ into bite size pieces. I am result-oriented, and tend to view something as a success only upon completion. I minimise the process to get there, which isn’t fair either. I need to learn how to view them on a more singular basis.

Every paragraph I write, every hour I spend working on something – these are also successes in their own right. Without these micro successes, there is no macro outcome. I need to learn how to be grateful and celebrate a little for every small win. I need to change my perspective towards them, so that I can live life with not just more happiness, but also less stress and needless pressure.


After laying in bed for a month and having committed to a few paid jobs, I will have less time for blogging this month. I tend to be an ‘all or nothing’ type of person, and once I lose momentum I tend to just let go. (I’m an Aries girl – if that makes any sense, or if you’re into that kind of thing. Apparently we’re great at kicking projects off, but bad at maintaining them 😉 )

I don’t have any new articles in the pipeline for now, and thinking about creating some makes me feel stressed out on top of work. I don’t know how some of you do it – juggling work, kids, and blogging all at the same time. I truly admire your ability to pace, and tenacity to continue blogging despite the pain and fatigue.

Blogging was my ‘full time job’ for awhile, so to speak. Whilst I didn’t make a lot of money doing it, the number of hours I put in is equivalent to a full time job. My blog is now three years old, so I think taking a month off isn’t so bad. I’ll be using the time to earn some money, refresh my mind and to read more books, so that I can recharge those writing batteries.

That isn’t to say that I will not be posting at all, but more of releasing myself from the pressure of sticking to a publishing schedule. (Seriously, who cares except for me?) I will also continue to update and share articles from the archives, as there are many pieces that are still relevant, and could use a facelift 🙂


I know that I’ve said this umpteeth times, but I really need to improve my diet 😉 The major health pillars in life are sleep, diet and exercise. That goes for every human being, not just those with chronic illness.

I think that out of these three pillars, fixing my diet should be the ‘easiest’ to keep consistent for me. Exercise is possible, but my energy levels fluctuate by the day, even by the hour, so a regular schedule can be hard to maintain. Sleep has always been an issue for me. I’m just a nightstalker who wishes that she could be a morning lark. That’s because I actually do enjoy, am most productive, and create my best work between 4 – 7am! Also, my psychiatrist is doing some experiments with one of my drugs, so I guess sleep will be variable for now.

When I say ‘easy’ in relation to food, I don’t mean easy in the sense where I can whip out nutritious meals three times a day, do fasts or cleanses, or follow a diet protocol. I suck at them all, or can’t do so for medical reasons.

But I can make a decision to select the healthier option whenever I need to eat. There is no excuse for me, living in a first world country with easy access to food all day long. Even if I’m ordering takeaway, I can order something ‘cleaner’ than McDonald’s. I can select organic pantry supplies, healthier snacks and ‘emergency foods’ (we all have them, don’t we?), when shopping for groceries. That way, when I’m hungry and reach out for something to eat in the kitchen, my available options are immediately better than a bag of chips.

I also want to cook a little more. Whilst I love to eat, I don’t enjoy cooking – but there’s no pressure to make my dinners restaurant standard, is there? There’s no one to expect anything of me; the only person that has to stomach it is me 😉

I’ll start with simple, nutritious meals, even if it’s eating just to eat as a routine human thing. I know that tasty meals don’t have to be difficult to make, but I just don’t want to add pressure on myself ensuring that. For now, the goal is simply to increase the nutrition in my meals.


In continuation to the prompt above, these small, conscious decisions that we make on a daily basis will serve to nourish, and in turn help us to thrive, even if it may not feel like it in the moment.

Thriving is often associated with mindful practices, thoughts and perspectives. But it can also be an automated, systematic, calculated thing, through the establishment of routines and healthy habits. Ones where you don’t even need to think about after a while. They may be the ‘boring’ stuff, nothing esoteric or mind blowing, such as going to bed earlier. These little kinks in my lifestyle are those that I’d like to iron out if possible. And they are possible, if done step by baby step 🙂

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

*Note: This article is meant for educational purposes and is based on the author’s personal experiences. It is not to be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your own doctor before changing or adding any new treatment protocols.

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March Writing Prompts: What I've failed at, trying to succeed in, hitting the pause button on, deciding to do & thriving as a person with chronic illness. Click to read, or pin to save and share. ////////// Chronic Illness / Life Lessons / Health & Wellness / Mental Health / Self-Care & Awareness / Life  Experiences / Perspectives #ChronicIllness #spoonie #ChronicPain #HealthAndWellness #SelfCare

March Writing Prompts: What I've failed at, trying to succeed in, hitting the pause button on, deciding to do & thriving as a person with chronic illness. Click to read, or pin to save and share. ////////// Chronic Illness / Life Lessons / Health & Wellness / Mental Health / Self-Care & Awareness / Life  Experiences / Perspectives #ChronicIllness #spoonie #ChronicPain #HealthAndWellness #SelfCare

March Writing Prompts: What I've failed at, trying to succeed in, hitting the pause button on, deciding to do & thriving as a person with chronic illness. Click to read, or pin to save and share. ////////// Chronic Illness / Life Lessons / Health & Wellness / Mental Health / Self-Care & Awareness / Life  Experiences / Perspectives #ChronicIllness #spoonie #ChronicPain #HealthAndWellness #SelfCare

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  • I think we are all always on a mission to improve our diets ☺️ Small steps are definitely more sustainable.

  • Hi, Sheryl! I enjoyed learning about Chinese New Year. I didn’t realize that you celebrated for so many days. Lo Hei sounds fun. I can so relate to holiday celebrations being completely exhausting even when you are trying to balance rest with activity. Thank you once again for great prompts!

    • Hi Kathy! Well we don’t celebrate for 15 days straight lol, but people still do visit friends and family within this timeframe. The busiest days are the eve and then the first 2 – 3 days.

      Yes they’re so exhausting, aren’t they?! But I suppose, also part and parcel of life and living. Sending lots of love! x

  • I can relate to so much you talk about in this post. Your analogy of pain is spot on. I’m also with you on the diet thing…some things I eat make me feel really ill, but I still go ahead and punish myself. Why don’t I ever learn. Also, the success thing, yes, micro successes have to be counted.
    I haven’t written a post for this month but as it’s nearly April (how did that happen?) I’ll look out for the next prompts.
    gentle hugs x

    • Hey Raisie, thanks for dropping by and reading 🙂 It’s sad, but I’m glad we’re not alone. And yes, it’s nearly the end of the month. New prompts coming up soon! 😉 Never feel pressured to participate though, that’d be the last thing I’d want. Sending lots of good thoughts x

  • Sheryl, I’ve taken part in your link up for the first time this month, so I want to thank you for the inspiration.
    I am so sorry you’ve been having such a difficult time recently, and I hope that things start to improve for you soon. Tak care of yourself x

    • Thanks so much for joining us, we are definitely happy to have you with us! 🙂 Yea hasn’t been a good year so far, let’s hope it gets better for us all! x

  • I know exactly what you mean by improving the diet. I keep having great intentions, but can’t seem to be consistent. I’m just too sick many days to cook. I love cooking and baking, but haven’t been able to do it everyday.

    • Yea..chronic pain doesn’t care about .good intentions, huh 😉 Haha and you enjoy baking and cooking! I don’t really so you can see the extra struggle :p I do hope you get some ‘up days’ to do what you like, though! x

  • HI Sheryl,
    Thanks so much for doing these prompts…they definitely have been good food for thought!
    So sorry you have been struggling through bronchitis…I caught it this year too and lost several months to it and that cycle of recovery/extra health complications.
    The thriving process is one of small positive changes over time all added together, and I am still trying to get myself rebalanced after about 4 months of dropping balls.
    Keep going, you’re doing great!

    • Oh dear…several months cut out from the year for bronchitis sounds bad!! I’m sorry to hear that 🙁 Yea the longer healing process really sucks, but what do you do, hey? No choice but to wait it out, and glad it’s not something worse :/

      I’m glad that the prompts have been good food for thought for you, and I hope they help in some way. Sending gentle hugs! x

  • Hi Sheryl

    Once again, thank you so much for giving us all such brilliant prompts to use. I have really enjoyed writing the entry for this month.

    I am sorry that you had a hard time during February but sounds like you managed to have a lovely time celebrating Chinese New Year with family. I really hope that March is much kinder to you,

    Take care

    Rhiann x

    • You’re welcome, Rhiann. I’m glad the prompts were to your liking for March 🙂

      Feb was rough for me, but it was nothing compared to a bad flare. Crazy how we calculate degrees of pain so specifically, huh! :p

      Thank you and wishing that for you too! x

  • Hi Sheryl I’m sorry you had such a fallout and crashed so hard. It’s always such a wake up call but it sounds like you had some quality family time and celebrations, sometimes it’s worth the effort but I can’t imagine the resilience you had to push through all that! You do not have to earn the right to whine but if you did you’d have free range! x

    • Aww thanks Niamh! Haha I never really hide my pain, but I try not to whine too much, there’s a difference I think – if you get what I mean! 😉 And yea I’m still crashing but I don’t regret anything I guess because it’s recover-able from I suppose. 🙂 But damn…it sure is taking a long time haha! x

  • Wow, I love the picture of pride, you write in such a powerful way!

    • Hi Katherine, you meant in my ‘What Hell Feels Like’ article? Heh. It does feel that way, doesn’t it? Pain is the most cruel of all teachers, and the one we pay the most attention, perhaps. 🙂

  • Lately, I am conservating my energy. There is a lot I could be doing and should be doing but I am on pause. I don’t like it much because it feels like I Should do Something, but hell, standing is just so much effort. But we get through, eh?

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