Finding Strength from Within
Most days I beat myself up. Not in the punch myself in the face kinda way…more like the “I should be able to this, why didn’t I finish this, why can’t I do this?” kinda way. Sound familiar?
Those of us managing chronic conditions battle more than our conditions on a daily basis…we battle ourselves. Constantly fighting the person in our head that believes we should be able to manage life and do what others seem able to do. I have first-hand experience at this! Ask anyone that knows me and they will tell you that I’m hard on myself. I am, but I also know what they do not…I give in more than I’d like.
That’s the secret no one shares…that sometimes we give in to the condition and all its demons. We give in to the body that can’t physically move the way we want it to. We give in to the mind that tells us we aren’t as good as others and will never have a life without fear, pain, and the loneliness that only those with health issues truly understand. We give in…and then, WE GET UP!
We get back up
That’s the beauty of being a strong, kickas$ warrior…we get up! No, we don’t always feel strong or get up when we want to. However, we do find strength from within when we least expect it. There’s a fight in you that no one will ever truly understand…and it doesn’t matter if your condition is mild, severe, or all-out debilitating. I say this because it is you who needs to fight that battle: physically, mentally and emotionally. It doesn’t matter if anyone else notices, says they’re proud of you, or compliments you for being strong. Whether or not anyone else acknowledges your strength…I’m here to tell you that YOU ARE A WARRIOR!
Some days are harder than others…when you can’t seem to muster up the strength, internal motivation, or hope to get you through the day feeling good about yourself or this journey. On those days (and others), I share with you the below checklist to help you find that inner warrior again. Take what works…and leave the rest behind.
1. Practice self-care (self-love) whenever possible
- Get out of bed and make your bed. Set alarm to get up if you aren’t on a sleep/wake schedule already.
- Brush your teeth, wash up, and get dressed (even if you’re staying home and not seeing anyone).
- Take the time to make yourself a smoothie or breakfast/lunch meal whenever you normally would eat in the first half of the day. Choose healthy options since this is your gift to yourself and will help your body be strong and resilient.
- Choose to start your day from a place of strength by taking the first hour just for you (this may require you to get up a little earlier if you have others in the household). Use this time to build yourself (meditate, exercise/stretch/yoga, read something of value that can offer you new information, skills or a positive outlook).
2. Find shelter
- Choose to limit your time with toxic individuals that continue to put you down or not be supportive of you.
- Choose to spend some time alone for self-reflection and goal-setting (and appreciate how far you’ve come already!)
- Watch yourself if you notice you’re spending too much time online looking up information about your condition (research and knowledge is important…just don’t go down the rabbit hole).
- Limit your exposure to stress (and self-criticism) from the news, social media, and the environment (this can be more difficult than we think, so be kind to yourself…it’s a work in progress.)
3. Protect others
- As a warrior, you protect…this goes beyond just yourself. You protect those around you by understanding your emotions and dealing with them, rather than taking them out on others.
- You offer assistance to fellow warriors when you can…because we lift each other up and support the community.
- When struggling to fight for hope…look outside yourself. Compare down, never up! See how you might be able to lend support/care/money/hope to someone else…it doesn’t matter who or how…we build ourselves when we build others up.
4. Give yourself a break
- Sleep in when needed.
- Cancel plans when you need to.
- Say no to plans or obligations that you do not want to do (or know may be too much right now).
- Watch funny movies/television and call it a day! :)
Like I said…take what works for you, and leave the rest…oh, and drink your water! Haha…
Did you have the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or Mononucleosis (mono) before learning about your lupus diagnosis?