2018 has sped past and it’s sometimes hard to believe we are ending the final months of the year. But in the same breath, it feels like it has been around for absolutely ages too. When you battle a chronic illness, it’s a blur of things happening – both good and bad – coupled with the drag of waiting around for things to happen – results to come in, appointments to come through, circumstances to change; even slightly. You live in hope of change. Even subtle change and that can be sudden or lengthy. We experience it all.
So, on that note; I felt some focus for the final weeks of 2018 were needed. I had ambitious goals for 2018 when I reviewed 2017 in late December last year. And whilst some have been accomplished, I accepted some were just too ambitious. And that is fine! It’s normal to want to reach for the stars – even more so when you have a chronic illness! And this is why I set small goals along with bigger ones too; a sense of accomplishment is always a good feeling; regardless of its magnitude. Realising that you decide the magnitude goes along way too.
I learnt that hard and deep this year – about setting limits for myself when my own #selfcare and for me to re-realise that my ‘normal’ is not anyone else’s normal. Acceptance – in all its shapes and forms in 2018 – was a big challenge for me. And whilst it’ll never really be ‘over’ I do want to keep myself happy to accept whatever comes.
- Reconnect myself to my blog. I’ve had a break from blogging since we moved and have no internet. I took it as a perfect opportunity to step away from social media and being online. However! I find that my blog is a big coping mechanism for me. I am not looking for glory or payment or anything like that – they do not motivate me to write and publish – but my blog began as my online health diary and I want to work back to that. Just because my condition is ‘stable’ does not mean it’s gone. Exploring how to express life’s challenging in that scope is something 2019 needs to see. Reconnecting is the beginning.
- Commit to some sort of exercise. I want to attempt something by the end of the year. I want to be able to be moving towards a goal of weight loss and I know a big step is going to be exercising and finding something I will commit to because I enjoy it not because I need to do it. There is no aim to be X weight or Y size by Z date; I want to be accountable.
- Set aside at least an hour a week for ME. By this I mean I hope to dedicate some specific time to just me. Actually just sitting on my own and looking after myself. I see this being a step up from #boringselfcare and being more about focusing on me – making sure my I feel happy and comfortable; by doing a face mask, a pedicure, reading a book, finding a new podcast to listen to, enjoying a cuppa, journaling, whatever it is, it’s about me.
- Publish at least two PERSONAL blog posts a month. Outside of my scheduled posts for my IBD and ostomy advocacy work, I want to share more of what I currently struggle with. I know that writing is very therapeutic for me and it’s not always about making a polished, final product that I find relaxing and helpful; physically getting my emotions out of my head and on to paper helps aid my build up of anxiety and pressure. My mind is like a pressure cooker and I know that writing helps release some of that built up tension. It might not always be publishable or even anything I would actually share but I want to retrain my mind into finding words to express my feelings instead of bottling them up, with nowhere to go.
- Continue to work on my Mental Health. I don’t get know how I am going to do this – be it with new antidepressants, with exercise, with writing, with yoga and meditation – but I want to be working on it, going into 2019. I have set no expectation to what this will look like in eight weeks time. Setting no picture or end ‘goal’ is grounding. It’s also reassuring.
I feel good about setting these goals: they focus separately but also intertwine with each other at points. That might seem more complicated in some aspect but it’s end goal is something I hope to feel proud of. It’s a good way to focus my mind to seeing what my 2019 will be moving towards.