Stones With Fair Colors; navigating the world of chronic illness

Taking Care of You

As a mother...your wellness counts.

I'm guessing you excel at taking care of everyone!  Because that is what mothers do.  You take care of everyone but you.  The most important one!   I'm sure I don't have to remind you that your well oiled machine  you call your life, would cease to operate if you weren't at the helm.  We know that but knowing doesn't always equate to change. 


Baby steps right?


I could spend hours talking about the latest diet fad, the best way to drop a pound or two, but what about the wellness part of health?  One of the biggest factors in living the chronic life, is  how well we manage ourselves and our load of stress.  


Dr. Mark McLaughlin, a leading Neurosurgeon out of Princeton, NJ has some great advice on dealing with chronic stress.    I love his own mantra..."Never worry about a patient alone."


I think this is great advice if you find yourself in the trenches of stress, depression and anxiety.   The way through is connection.  Find one person you can trust and count on.  One person who respects your journey and travels well, through the ragged terrain of chronic illness.  That one person who is deserving and reverent with your story. 


Another piece of advice from Dr. McLaughlin that I love, is to locate your safety valves.  Often a neurosurgeon must relieve the pressure in one area before proceeding to cut in another area.   What is your safety valve?  What are the things you need to do to relieve your own pressures that build and threaten to overtake you?

  • Re-establish routine?
  • Exercise?
  • Sleep better?
  • What needs containment?
  • What still needs to be processed?


When the pressure builds and life is taking its toll, don't focus on the the things that can never be resolved.  Have you ever heard the term 'Gravity Problems'?   These are things you can't change.  You can't change the course of a disease.  You can't change your spouses attitude.  You can't make someone understand or be compassionate.   Those are gravity problems.  If you are continually trying to make life something that it will never be, all you will ever know is frustration, anxiety, fear, insecurity and a smothering feeling that life isn't fair. 


Instead, focus on what you can change.  Feed your spirit; that is the part of your soul that is drawn to HOPE.


Finally, I want to leave you with a quote from Vaclav Havel

" Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. Hope is a state of mind, not of the world "


I hope that in the coming days and weeks, you will find the courage,the value, the love, the time, to take care of yourself, however that looks for you.  

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coping

One of the major

problems with a chronic health condition or adverse experiences, is that there is no end in site.  This creates plenty of emotional chaos on top of everything else.  It becomes difficult to plan for living.  This is especially true if your disease changes by the day.  Without consistency we become void of continuity. 


When our world feels like a shambles, and we find ourselves in the messy middle of life, and we find it difficult to navigate through the day, it's important to focus on one thing.


Routine.  It sounds simple and it is, but it also sounds too good to be true.  Re-establishing routine into your life, even when your life lends itself to anything but...you will find a little solid footing, a hard edge to lean upon.   Routine is important because it becomes the constant you can rely on when everything else is up in the air.  If chosen carefully, your routines can even be played out in less than favorable circumstances.   The idea is to plan a strong day with anchors in the morning and in the evening, while being nimble enough to revise along the way as necessary.


What could this look like?

  • Anchor your day around a routine.  Every morning basically looks the same and every evening can be counted on to resemble order.
  • Wake up at the same time each morning, even weekends and Sundays.
  • Plan the first hour of your day...included in this hour may be meditation, prayer, writing, reading, stretching or exercise.  These are the things you can look forward to as your constant.
  • Choose a day of the week when you will sit down and co-ordinate schedules and appointments, prioritize each day.  Try to focus on the things that matter most.  Some items may seem urgent, but unimportant.  You get to determine where your energy goes.
  • How will you anchor the evening?  Consider dinner at the same time each night.
  • Have a stash of easy meal options or frozen dinners for the days that don't exactly go as planned. 
  • Do you have routines and rituals around bedtime?  As a caregiver, it can be hard to settle our racing minds so consider the little things that work to calm you down.  Perhaps a few minutes of deep breathing?
  • Sleep is among the most critical routine you can establish for yourself.  Sleep is a time of renewal and healing...something we all need. 
  • Create flexibility in your day for all of the unplanned, unexpected events. 

Routine establishes order and safety. It reassures us that not everything is running amok.   It provides a boundary or framework for the brain; something with a beginning and an end.  It becomes a new rhythm for our day.   


Join  us on social media and share how you maintain order through routine. 

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