Planning For Self-Care Success: Three Good Things
Living with AS can feel like a buzz saw merry-go-round. The saw blades are composed of the health issues and symptoms we're fighting back against. The merry-go-round, a mash-up of social isolation, and personal and financial concerns.
The blades like to grab onto the things that make us feel safe, happy, or fulfilled, pulling them away, while we're busy fighting it out with fatigue, pain, and uncertainty. This onslaught can narrow life to the immediate and dread of the future, making it difficult to see the path toward the best possible life or to enjoy ourselves.
Self-care is a hot topic these days. Advice about screen time, diets, hydration, exercise, yoga, sleeping positions, and weighted blankets is flying fast and furious. There's some hope in that, but it can also feel like just more stuff I'm bad at or need to do something about. Honestly, I'm probably at peak doing and will continue to seek fewer and fewer things to do. There is no one right way to live with AS, but my life is better when good things are placed front and center.
AS lays a heavy weight on our relationships as we struggle to function socially. And the people around us may not know how to respond.
Take a few moments to think about who makes you feel your best or brings out your best qualities. Make a list of several people to reconnect with. Consider spending less time on people who might damage your happiness or stability. This process isn't simple, easy, or straightforward. You'll likely have to break some well established patterns, but it might be worth it.
Consider making a tentative schedule to remain in contact. This is a big help maintaining relationships that began in one setting like work or school after one or both parties have moved on.
Practices that feed and foster happiness
As a gardener, I know to build up good soil with compost, eggshells, and other food to give my plants the best chance to thrive. Vigilance for weeds, pests, and poor drainage is equally important to prevent my precious seedlings being damaged. Wellness and happiness need the same careful attention.
- What makes you feel your best or worst?
- What types of music, movies, or shows make you feel happy?
- What colors or textures make you feel your best?
Is there something that you might do less of or become more intentional in the time you spend on? Some topics might include: news and current events, talking to negative people, arguing, engaging in social media disputes with hard-headed people, being hard headed, seeking approval, or trying to win people over.
Get a ridiculous hobby
In the summer I raise butterflies. They're just so pretty! I can't help myself. It makes no sense to get a bunch of host plants, sit around hoping the right insect comes by and drops of babies. It makes even less sense to make them a little safe house, feed them, and give each of them names, but few things make me this happy. So yeah, if you see me with a shopping cart full of parsley and dill you known what's up.
Other than back pain and fatigue, what is the most common symptom that AS patients experience?