Living with Health Challenges | Finding Peace

The work I'm doing in therapy is in boundaries and lowering my stress levels. My Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and my Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome are exacerbated by stress. This makes controlling my stress levels and body response to stressors is extremely important. My last therapy appointment my therapist asked me to work on an idea for a blog post, podcast, or video about how to handle stressors. 

I think this is a great plan because there are so many people joining the ranks of this type of illness with Long Haul Covid. I think this is especially hard to practice early in the illness because how could you not be stressed? Here are some things that help me lower my stress levels and keep calm.

Support.

You need a support system. Good doctors who listen and believe. Friends/family who are understanding and supportive when you can't get out of bed. Someone/s to help pick up the loads you can no longer carry.

Acceptance.

This is life right now, it may not be life in the future, but it's your right now. Find a way to accept it, make some peace with it. This might be the hardest on the list.

Boundaries.

I'm still working on appropriate boundaries. They aren't something I'm great at, I'm a little to binary. I am working on boundaries with the book "Set Boundaries, Finding Peace" by Nedra Glover Tawwab.

Stay grateful.

This is so important. Keep a grateful list if you need to, keep a running list that you can reach to when you need it in the dark painful times. If you don't actively stay grateful you'll find yourself bitter and mean.

Sit in Emotions.

Learn to sit in your emotions and move on from them. If you bury the sadness, anger, and all the other emotions you're going to have a bad time. Emotions are like plants, bury them and they will grow. Pick them up, feel them for at least a few minutes… then breathe through them and they die. It's the only way to keep them from over growing and drowning out the good.

Daily joyful focus.

Meditation is really difficult when you're in pain and suffering, especially if you've never done it. But your body needs it. Focus totally in the present on one thing that brings you joy for 10 minutes every day. My husband plays music for his. Watch your kids play while truly being in the moment, really think about that delicious meal while you savor it, enjoy that hot bath or shower to the fullest. My only rule, passive entertainment doesn't count, you're sitting in their present instead of your own.

Give yourself Grace.

This is some shit too go through. It's hard and your body and brain aren't what they were. So give you some grace and forgiveness.

I hope this helps others that are finding themselves on this journey. It's not easy, I'm over half a decade into my CF/ME journey, and I can guarantee it's a challenge. It's a challenge that can have a happy ending, you can get to the other side. I can promise you life won't look the same on the other side, but for me it's better. I know my body better than I thought possible. I am grateful and calmer everyday. I like myself more. I've found ways to live more sustainably and calmer. 

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