New Year Wishes

I love Christmas. I love everything about it. The joy, the social gatherings, the music (come at me, Michael Buble!), the food, the movies. But it is madness. From panic present buying and baking to trying to get through all the parties without crashing. And before Christmas has even happened, as I’m wrapping presents and writing cards, wishing my loved ones wonderful things for 2020, I’m suddenly thinking about the New Year.

AS tips for 2020

I'm thinking about what I hope lies ahead and thinking about the past year. I find this dreaming and reflection calming, as I sit at my table scattered with cards…and a floor littered with wrapping paper. So here are some things I’ve learned in the last year about managing and living with AS, and 2020 wishes for us: the AS gang.

1. Pacing yourself

For me, that’s really come into play, especially during the festive season. Last year was my first Christmas with AS (that almost sounds like a holiday album release) and I tried to hurtle through it at a million miles like always. I crashed. A lot. I no longer try and cram in a party, baking, and shopping into a day – and this year, whilst busy (it’s still Christmas!), I am enjoying myself much more.

2. Rest

I completely underestimated the power and necessity of rest, and sleep, until I had AS. And while it can be difficult for us to get quality sleep, it’s so important to rest, recover and listen to your body.

3. Exercise

It makes me feel better, more energized and seems to help me deal with fatigue. I’m learning to adjust my workouts to how my body feels.

4. Food

This was hard. I love food. I love pasta. And cake. But it’s unrequited, and I can no longer exercise as I used to. Eating well makes me feel better, it’s within my control, and then I don’t feel guilty when I have a treat.

5. Don't be afraid to cancel/reschedule a social activity

I found this really challenging. I felt so guilty when I’d have to cancel because I was suddenly ill. Some people couldn’t understand the change or why. I didn’t want to be unreliable, or seem flaky. I’d often ignore my body’s warning signs and pay for it later. It sucks, but the people who love you, want you to be as healthy and happy as you can.

Tidings for us in the New Year!

All the things I wish for us as we move into another year.

1. More stability

I mean both physically and mentally. This condition, it’s unpredictable. That may be the most predictable thing about it. I have often felt like it’s a relentless wave. So I wish for that wave to recede, and a calmer year for us all. I hope that our good periods grow longer, and our flares are shorter.

I wish that we are better able to deal with the stress, frustration, grief and anxiety that it often brings, whether that be through meditation, friends, hobbies, exercise, CBT, counseling – whatever helps build you up. May we do more of the things we enjoy, and may there be more joy!

2. Goals

May we set them! However big or small. May we smash them! Whether it’s an exercise plan, career aspirations, health goals, getting out for a walk once a day, self-care time, reading more books, trying new recipes or….convincing your partner to get a puppy!

3. May we be more active

Because it makes us feel better, our lives easier. Find what works for you, and adjust it to how you feel.

Happy New Year!

May this coming year be even better than the last. To you and your loved ones, I wish you joy, love, laughter, peace, fun and good health in 2020.

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