New Year’s resolutions. It’s that time of year when coming up with ways to improve ourselves is all the talk. Rather than come up with a list of fitness feats and dietary goals, take a moment to breathe and focus on being the best possible you. When it comes to living with a chronic illness, one of the easiest pitfalls is to think of yourself as a “sick” person. I challenge you to alter this mindset in 2017, even if the road ahead seems bleak.
I fall victim to this more often than I’d like to admit. I’ll make comments to my husband about being a “sickly girl” or let my worries about a future flare up consume my thoughts on a daily basis. Crohn’s disease is often referred to as a debilitating disease. It is. BUT, what’s even more debilitating is constantly concerning yourself with the unexpected and keeping a laser focus on each symptom, pain and side effect from medication you may or may not be experiencing. While it’s important to be in tune with your body, it can be even more crippling to let your disease consume you.
When the going gets tough, remember to tell yourself you were given this life because you are strong enough to live it. This quote by Alex Elle speaks volumes about self-care and freeing yourself from negativity:
“As you make room for joy and prepare for change, release what no longer serves you. Anything that causes a disruption in your life should be left alone. Be mindful and intentional about what deserves space in your growth process and what does not.”
It’s healthy to rant and vent at times, but your struggles will overwhelm you and hinder your ability to fight if you let them. Let your difficult days serve as teaching tools that inspire others and provide you with somewhat of a magical ability to relate and understand those around you. Chronic illness is exhausting and emotional, but in my opinion it gives you superpowers. In those moments where you are pushed to your pain limit or experience a surgery or procedure for the first time, you gain a sense of strength you didn’t have before. When a loved one or friend is facing hardship, you have the power to step back and provide unique perspective and compassion. What you’re enduring each day of your life is not a walk in the park, but each experience and fear-filled moment creates an everlasting shield that makes you, you.
I’ll leave you with this quote from William Arthur Ward as we embark on another year, a new chapter and a fresh start, “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”
Wishing you all the best on your journey this year around the sun, no matter what comes your way keep your focus on the beauty and the blessings around you and the rest will fall into place.