If you’re a regular participant, you might have noticed that I haven’t been able to make time to join in my own linkups for the past two months! Life has been fraught with stressors of all sorts.
A bit of a vicious cycle as one thing always leads to another; a general rule of life. Actions lead to consequences, consequences lead to choices which lead to actions (non-action is passive action, too). And all this is done either consciously, instinctively or otherwise.
In this month’s linkup, I share my thoughts about priorities, and how I’d like to make time for things that matter to me more.
At some point I should read my entries over the years to see all the slips, slides and progresses I’ve made. It should be both an emotional and fun thing to do!
We Have a Hypersensitivity to Stress, Don’t We?
I’ve been accumulating a load of stress over the past few months, both in my mind and body, and even beyond. The toxicity of stress might not be so apparent to a healthy person, but anyone with chronic illness possesses a hypersensitivity to it. I can literally feel stress, as it manifests as physical pain.
Work stress is always the most vicious kind of stress for me. It might have to do with the fact that it’s a from-waking-to-sleeping-and-even-dreaming cycle for days, weeks and months on end.
I’m the sort of person who isn’t able to fully rest my mind or body when the ball’s in my court, so to speak. I’m well aware of this fact, yet still allow myself to go down the rabbit hole each and every time.
I stick a little toe into that hole, then a whole foot, then go, ‘what the heck, I’m already in so I might as well finish what I started’.
Admittedly, sticking that little toe in was on purpose so that I’d have ‘no choice’, as certain things become commitments to other people.
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The Game Goes on Though, as Long as We’re Alive…
But as long as I’m alive, the balls will keep bouncing back into my court, and the game will go on. I might get a couple good shots in and get the ball out of my court for a little while. But that’s just temporary as life is motion.
I definitely need a better life strategy because the cost is pretty hefty. I get pain flares which force me to keep going to the bench to rest, and not even get to hit the ball for a quite some time.
The people and pets around me suffer for quality time, both because I’m so wrapped up with the toxicity, and also because the pain grows to the point where I can’t even sit and stand without wincing.
One of my biggest warning signals is my steroid dose. If the occasional painkiller isn’t working, I usually need to increase my steroid dose, which means that my body isn’t handling my chronic illnesses very well at all.
Of late I’ve had to push that dose up quite a bit and am unable to reduce the amount. Usually an increase in steroids means that I don’t need my painkillers anymore, but I still do. So I know that I’m not not in a good place all round, and need to do something about it. Which leads me to…
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‘I Will Make Time for It’, He Said
I gave one of baby cockatiels to this girl, and her boyfriend came along and really liked my new puppy, Talisker. He is passionate about dogs and is constantly reading up about their behaviours, and even bought the whole Dog Whisperer series to learn more.
He offered puppy training classes for Talisker; all I had to do was to pay for his transport and whatever else I could afford. I was touched, because group classes are a little tricky for me, with the unpredictability of chronic illness. And whilst it’s always nice to have one-on-one, focussed training, the price is beyond me.
I felt bad though as he lived a distance away. I asked him, “Are you sure you have the time, though?”
He replied, “I will make time for it.”
Whilst many of us have heard that before, this time it really stuck with me. A flood of random thoughts surfaced in my mind. But the main takeaway that stayed up until now is that we can always make time for the people who matter to us, in one way ar another. There is no excuse.
We Can Still Make Time for What Counts, Despite Chronic Illness
Time management is both an art and a skill. It’s always possible to make time for the things that matter most to you.
My health may present giant barriers, but I can try to buffer in rest time like a cushioned landing at the front and back. Chronic illness may stifle many dreams and hamper my passions, but I just need to do some creative planning, and carve out a route that works for me.
This path may be my own to walk and it’s most likely not going to be an easy one, but I know that I will never be alone. Not unless I choose not to breathe in the fresh air of humanity all around me, or stubbornly refuse to be adaptable.
I need to work on carving out time for the things that matter most to me, and for the people I love. As with any skill, it takes practice.
I know that time management isn’t my strong suite and that I might not be the best sculptor around, but I’d like to start carving out my time with a little more thought, grace and love.
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That All Sounds Fine & Dandy, But What Next?
So how do I carve out quality time for myself, my loved ones and for the things that matter to me? It’s easy to make it sound pretty and revel in the idea, but it only works if I follow up with a plan and action.
That’s where I need to sit down and actually get down to the business of planning then following through. What matters to me most? What does life expect from me? What memories do I want to create, where I can look back on at the end of my life and smile fondly about? Or even not look back on if I die tomorrow?
This will be a bit of a personal reflection for me, so I’ll leave that to my figurative diary. But for one, I do plan to set stricter limits for myself on joining social media threads and the likes.
Let FOMO be FOMO; Lose Out But Win in Something Else That Matters More
I need to tell my brain that, “Yes, you’re experiencing FOMO and that’s okay. Lose out on this, and win in something that actually matters. Like your health, education and memorable experiences”.
I will also need to do some financial planning so that I can take on less work, so that I can heal up as much as possible, and cut down my steroid dose again.
I need to remind myself not to take on so many tasks and jobs even though they might sound ‘simple enough’. They may indeed be simple enough, but I often forget to factor in the fact that it’s still tedious and time-consuming work that eats into my limited energy supply.
I need to prioritise ruthlessly. I only have 3 – 4 productive hours a day with my chronic pain and chronic fatigue in tow. Do I really want to spend those hours on tasks that won’t even matter in 5, 10, 20 years?
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Bringing Harmony Back to My Self Through the 7 Dimensions of Wellness
My aim is to get my body back to a manageable baseline, even though it’s still a chronically ill baseline.
It’s ironic, but one of the contributors to my recent pain flares was writing my latest post, ‘The 7 Dimensions of Wellness & How to Use Them for Chronic Pain Management’.
I spent half a day every day for a month chiseling away at it, as it grew into a wordy piece and took roots. The more I researched, the more I found, the more I just had to write about it.
It’s a piece that I’m proud to have produced, but I’m not sure it was worth the pain flares, increase in steroids, and impact it had on the relationships around me. The cost was pretty big.
In any case it’s done and dusted, so there’s no use wondering. I can only move forward and try to do things with a little more wisdom and pacing next time.
I talk about the seven dimensions in that post, which include: physical, mental, social, spiritual, emotional, intellectual and occupational wellness.
I plan on going through my own post as a reference, to see how I can bring harmony of these elements back into my life. Wellness goes beyond physical health; our body is a complex sum of many amazing parts that all need tender loving care and respect.
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A New Website on Blogging & SEO
I have many ideas for blogs and websites brewing in my head. I have a bad habit of snapping up domain names impulsively… and love browsing pretty templates as a form of relaxation.
Anyway, I think I will be finally launching a new website soon that revolves around blogging and SEO, so a bit of a different niche than A Chronic Voice, which has to do more with health, wellness and chronic illness.
It will be a website about blogging for people with time and energy constraints, so it’s still very relevant for those with chronic illness, too!
I hope to provide ‘training’ in the form of blog posts, services, and maybe even mentoring, consultations and packages. Unlike the last time, I’m just going to trim out all the ‘fat’ and bloat, start small, and take it one morsel at a time.
Keeping Talisker Fit Plus Mentally Stimulated
I am also thinking of bringing Talisker for more training classes. Whilst he’s been more well-behaved and less bitey of late, I think that formal training will still benefit him as I’m a total dog noob, and it will help to stimulate him mentally, being a smart sheepdog and all. The only problem is money (of course!), as these courses usually cost up to a thousand dollars.
When he’s a little older and his joints are more formed, I will also take him for agility classes. I bet he’s going to enjoy that as he loves to jump.
So that’s it for my June entry! I’m happy and relieved to finally have some time for myself, and to join in again after two months. Can’t wait to hear about you and how you’ve been doing, too!
*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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