3 Self-Care Resolutions for Chronic Illness

There’s nothing like taking some time off to help you get a bit of perspective on your life and the crazy it has become. I’m not done thinking yet, but I have come up with a somewhat quirky list of resolutions for the new year inspired by Chronic Christmas. I’m sure they could benefit me and maybe you, as well.

Singing opens you up in so many ways. Physically, it benefits your breathing. Emotionally, it’s a connection to joy. Mentally, it gets your brain working remembering the words and the melody.

Also, it’s a lot of fun. Even for those of us who can’t sing on key if our lives depended on it. When you live with chronic illness, finding fun can be a bit of a challenge (to put it mildly). Singing is an easy way to incorporate having a good time every day. It doesn’t cost anything and you don’t need to go anywhere to do it. Crank your favourite tune on YouTube or iTunes and belt one out.

For me, singing might have an additional benefit. I’m still working on increasing my breath capacity after the medical adventure and several people have suggested singing as a remedy. It might help me use my voice better, as well. So at some point this year, I’m going to look into singing lessons. I’ll keep you posted.

Stop and think
So much of our everyday stress is related to moving too fast. Something has to be done, so we do it without thinking about the how and why of the task. Well, not until afterwards when we’re whimpering on the couch in a massive flare, that is.

One of the underlying themes of Chronic Christmas was helping (hopefully) those who read it to approach the tasks that cause them stress in a more mindful way. More specifically, to stop and think about whether there is another way to do it, or if it is necessary at all.

Who has time for mindfulness? Well, it could be argued that approaching our lives with a higher degree of mindfulness could help us build better lives.

And boy, is this ever something I need to do. Moving fast is fun for me, but I’m beginning to realize that I’m really not enjoying the consequences of moving fast. And strangely enough, I’m not really talking about the resulting crashes — although, they aren’t that amusing at all. No, I’m talking about all the things I don’t get done because I move too fast to think strategically about where I put my energy and time. This coming year, I’ll continue to chip away at this one. Having spent the last six months immersed in the Chronic Christmas universe where it’s all about approaching tasks with a bit of a critical eye may have taught me something. We’ll see.

Downsizing was another prevalent theme in the book. For instance, instead of making 17 different kinds of cookies, bake one kind and make it is the one that’s quintessentially the holidays for you.

As I was writing this, it occurred to me that it was a really good way of approaching life in general. 

Downsizing is a natural consequence of stopping and thinking, but goes a little further. It’s a deliberate effort to reduce your stress by reducing tasks, commitments, possessions, and so on. It can be as simple as washing the towels every three days instead of every day. Of instituting a firm potluck (or pizza) rule for all entertaining and get-togethers. Or mayve rebuilding your garden with a view towards a low maintenance design and throwing money at the neighbour’s teenager to mow the lawn. And so on.

I’ve already started on downsizing through my Get Organized project in which I hope to reduce the amount of stuff I have to create more space and calm in my home. I’ll post updates as I make progress.

Do you have any suggestions for downsizing and incorporating mindfulness? And what’s your favourite sing-along song?


Rick Phillips said…
I downsized several years ago. We moved from a large house we did not need or use to a comfortable new house half its size. This project was overseen by my wife who saw immediate it was time to move when I was Dx'd with RA. Yeah ok, we lost our financial butts on that deal, but we gained so much peace and happiness.

Incidentally, how did we get rid fo stuff? It went in the middle fo the basement in a large pile. Make it go away Sheryl said. As she drug things in I was pulling them out (I lost). The one thing I know is that I have not really missed anything.

All those treasures, we got about $100.00 for them. So what were they worth? Well to me more than $100.00 I just could not afford them anymore. Value is not usually equal to cost when it comes right down to it.
Kaz said…
I can definitely recommend the singing lessons. I'm classically trained, and sang opera professionally for 15 years, and was a full time professional liturgical chorister for another three or four. One of the benefits of classical technique is that it teaches you HOW to use your voice, and that has benefits that can be applied beyond singing. I did some staff workshops at my art school for lecturing staff who were constantly straining their voices - and the basics of classical technique that I taught them made an enormous difference. So, yes, go ahead and find a good singing teacher.

We offloaded a stack of furniture that we didn't want when we did our big move a few months ago - the Stepson was moving out, conveniently, so he got it all to set up his place with his girlfriend. Our new place is half the size, and while we do have some things we still need to really make it work well, a more streamlined collection of furniture and 'stuff' is definitely better.

Re the day to days. I cooked professionally for years so I think differently in a kitchen than the general run of people, I suspect. I've streamlined my cooking - both for the digestive health benefits (Himself has a most delicate stomach) and also to keep it manageable for me. Invest in good quality appliances if cooking is your thing - a professional quality food processor is a must for me, and I lust after a Kitchenaid stand mixer as my small hand held cake mixer is difficult to manage these days. A Bamix, or equal quality stick blender is also a really useful beast. Rice cookers, slow cookers, and other things that do one thing only, not so much - they just need places to store them for all the time you're NOT using them. I could go on - and perhaps things kitchen oriented might be a blog post for me at some point... But I'll stop here for now!

If we lived closer, I'd give you singing lessons - bit difficult given the distance, and the time difference!

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