Hello dear friends!
The annual fitness and self-improvement craze is officially upon us, and I’m not sure about you, but I’m already tired of it. The endless “fitspo” and dieting posts are clogging up my news feed, and the blogging world is overcrowded with articles about the latest nutrition fads and exercise challenges. And while I absolutely support anyone who is genuinely trying to take better care of themselves, the whole unrealistic January rush really leaves much to be desired…especially for the chronically ill.
Now, if you happen to live in a fitness-obsessed state like I do (hello Colorado!), you’re probably used to feeling left out because your energy levels don’t allow for things like rock climbing and triathlons. And if you’re anything like me, you’re not really able to take part in training for a 10K or doing the latest exercise challenge that your friends are tagging on Pinterest. This time of year can be especially rough for a spoonie, and our usual routines of sweatpants, reading, and Netflix are looked upon with more condescension in these first few weeks of January.
But I understand not wanting to be left out! After all, setting resolutions or intentions for the coming year is a positive habit that we can all take part in. So, if you are struggling to set aside the unrealistic messages of six-pack abs or bootcamp gym memberships, I have a few suggestions for some healthy goals for 2016. Feel free to adopt these as your own, modify them, or ignore them completely. New Years resolutions are about you and what makes you feel better, not what makes your friends feel better, and certainly not about what looks good on Instagram, right?
1. Drink more water
Yes, I know, this one shows up on a lot of people’s lists. But that’s probably because as a society, we are all chronically dehydrated! Drink a fresh glass when you wake up, keep a cool bottle nearby all day, sip on some when you’re feeling cranky or were outside too long (super important for those with POTS). Our bodies thrive on fresh, clean water, and it will help everything run more smoothly. Buy yourself a pretty new water bottle if that makes it easier. And of course, whenever you can, swap in a glass of water instead of soda, juice, milk, or coffee.
2. Take up a new hobby (bonus points if you can do it from the couch)
Many spoonies spend a lot of time lounging- that’s why we drop mad money on yoga pants, slippers, and Kindle books! But it does tend to get boring, and it’s great to have something new and engaging that won’t sap your energy. Look around at cool new things to try that don’t require a huge investment, and play around with one or two. Try drawing, crochet, origami, making little felt animals, or crafting your own handmade greeting cards. Maybe you want to learn another language or master Sudoku puzzles? Hobbies don’t have to be extreme to be worthwhile.
3. Put down your electronics a little more
I admit, I used to be in the bad habit of staring at my phone for at least 20-30 minutes before I went to sleep, and then again first thing in the morning. But just in the last week, I challenged myself to break that habit, and instead revel in the quiet or do a bit of meditation, and I have to say I feel a lot better! My sleep improved, my morning productivity improved, and my brain doesn’t feel as taxed. I know many of us like to stay uber-connected and involved in the more “exciting” world online, but it’s worth it to take more breaks from those tiny blue screens.
4. Try a new way to self-care
Nurturing yourself and being your best advocate is super important for everyone, but especially for the chronically ill. And sometimes our self-care routines get stale, so now’s your chance to mix it up. Depending on your abilities and income, this can be anything from treating yourself to a weekly massage to learning how to do an at-home tennis ball massage. Try out dry brushing or oil pulling, or splurge on some nice bath bubbles. Maybe you want to sign up on YogaGlo and try out some easy classes, or buy an acupressure mat to relieve pain and improve your sleep. You never know what new thing can make you feel better!
5. Make one new friend
I know, putting yourself out there is hard when you don’t have much energy to spare. It’s even harder if you’re an introvert on top of everything else, trust me, I get it! But it’s really important to have a strong social support system, and new friends can be a great part of that. Nowadays, it’s relatively easy to meet new people, so pick one new group to join, or one new coworker to ask out for coffee. Check out places like Meetup, Facebook groups, or even the flyers at your doctor’s office or yoga studio to connect with like-minded people.
6. Clean out your space
I recently wrote about the healing powers of minimalism, and I’ve heard such affirming things from people about how it really does work. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by a full pare down, but start small, perhaps with just your sock drawer. Throughout the year, commit to going through everything that you own, and tossing, donating, or recycling everything you don’t want, need, wear, or care about. You’ll be amazing at how much lighter and fresher you’ll feel to get rid of all that weight!
7. Be nicer to yourself
The self-punishing language is at an all-time high during this season, so here’s your official invitation to opt out! Don’t beat yourself up about eating that donut, or taking an entire day to lay on the couch and watch trash TV. In our culture’s endless quest to self-perfect, most of us get left in the dust, wondering why we’re so (insert negative appraisal here) and why we can’t get our sh*t together. Well, here’s the kicker- you are perfect and worthy just the way you are. It’s not your fault you’re sick. It’s okay that the new meds you’re on made you gain ten pounds. Tack up some positive affirmations on your bathroom mirror, start a gratitude journal, and start paying closer attention to the negative self-dialogue you use. Because when you start thinking better about yourself, naturally you will start acting in accordance!
So here you are, my fellow spoonies- seven lovely little resolutions to make your 2016 better, and without a shred of kale in sight!
What kinds of things do you want to explore this year? How do you want to feel this year?
Whatever those answers may be…
~ Hoping you feel as well as possible ~