These past couple of years have been rough ones. Fibromyalgia has become an all-too-constant companion. My attempts to re-enter the work force at part time have not been successful over the long term. This is due in large part to the fibro and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. We lost my daddy in April of this year to COPD. And my husband continues to struggle with Degenerative Disc Disease, fibromyalgia, and several other painful conditions. Many of the grand plans for this blog and for our personal lives remain just that — grand plans.
However, with Kat about to start high school, the feeling of new beginnings is taking hold. Curricula is being reviewed. Lesson planning is in full swing. Discussions are taking place often about new priorities and new commitments for the upcoming school year.
This time of change, both positive and negative, is a great motivator to pick up worthwhile pursuits that were left behind or forgotten — to “shake off the dust” and move forward with purpose again.
So how do you balance the moving forward with a chronic illness? Honestly, I’m not always successful at the whole “balance” thing. But I’ve learned a few tips along the way that help, especially when it comes to homeschooling.
- Be realistic. Listen to your body. Be honest with yourself and your family about your current energy and pain levels. Take a break when you need it.
- Re-evaluate…often. Keep a close eye on your calendar and activities. It is very easy to find yourself in over your head — especially with teens. Don’t make long-term commitments if you don’t have to. Give yourself permission to say “not right now.”
- Find positive support. Whether you are in a season of debilitating pain and fatigue or are doing relatively well, support is crucial to your well being. If you do not have support from family or friends, find a support group. Even the understanding from online friends can go a long way towards lifting your spirits.
- Be positive support. Help someone else. Your acts and words of encouragement to another person may not seem like much. But there are many times that even just a small remembrance from an empathetic friend carries us through a rough day.
What plans, hobbies, or dreams have you put on hold? What brings you joy and enriches your life? Rediscover your inspiration. Rekindle the fire. I love the planning and organizing that goes along with a new year of homeschooling. Riding the tide of that enthusiasm will help me to get dormant activities — like writing — up and running again. Remember what motivated you and revisit it. Take it slow if you must. Take baby steps if you must. But don’t give up. Shake off the dust!