(Image from the blog Famous, Inspirational, Wisdom Quotes)
For those of us who have a chronic illness, or a variety of chronic illnesses, we are very aware that our bodies are battling against us. It’s nothing personal, I’m sure. But, whatever the causes of our illnesses, our bodies have taken up a fight we never asked to join or would wish on other people. Sometimes the battles are short-lived. Some of the battles are ongoing. The end result is that, at times, we are worn down and worn out in ways that is indescribable to friends, family and the medical community.
I started thinking about ways to honour ourselves after reading a post on a healthy lifestyle blog. The blog is part of SparkPeople.com, a free diet website that promotes a healthy lifestyle by eating better, being more physically active and having the knowledge for you to succeed. But when we are dealing with varying levels of chronic illnesses, it’s not that easy. We have to do what is right for us. And that is be kind and respectful to ourselves. We are dealing with enough crap because of our illnesses. But, we can be strong in so many ways, not what is just listed below.
So, I thought I would take inspiration from that blog entry. I am using the same eight ideas to help us (and especially me since I really need the help sometimes) remember how valuable we are and deserving of respect from others.
Dress for the body you have today.
Comfort and safety are now the keys to the choices we make. Accommodate your body’s needs. Don’t feel like getting dressed or are too sick to get dressed? Get something you’ll love to wear even when you’re staying in bed. No more high heels, longer skirts or buttoned shirts? Flat shoes or running shoes and tank tops, shorts and knee-length skirts and you are still fashionable without making yourself uncomfortable or possibly causing yourself harm.
Talk back to whoever needs it! No need to be rude or snarky (although there will always exceptions). A doctor not listening to you or taking you seriously? Ask the doctor why. Is the media not getting a story or topic right, in your opinion? Talk back by leaving a comment, writing a letter or maybe even call a talk show. Does a place of business need to be told how it can help people with mobility issues? Talk to a manager or write head office. Saying “No, that’s not right”, then helping the person to understand. There is power in the voice.
Turn every negative thought into something positive.
I know, easier said than done. Sometimes it feels like nothing is going right. We’re in pain, we’re not getting the help we need. We are dealing with enough things in our lives, we don’t need to be our own worst enemy. We don’t need to take on a Pollyanna view of things and put on rose-coloured glasses but, life throws curves at all of us. Asking for help from family, friends or agencies can be the most positive thing you can do for yourself.
Compliment yourself in ways that have nothing to do with your looks.
Do you have a wicked sense of humour? How’s your cooking? Do you have a hobby you enjoy? Humans are such visual creatures that looking is the first thing we do. We are so much more than our looks but it’s easy to forget if we use canes or wheelchairs. We are still smart, funny and loveable people. Our illnesses do not change that.
Exercise because it’s good for you.
Work with what you can do and find pieces of equipment that you can use. I don’t have much space where I can exercise. I have ankle weights, resistance bands and a couple of dvds that I’m going to try. I’ve also been looking at some different things on YouTube for cardio. And when there are days when you are in too much pain and are too stiff, never mentally beat yourself up about something you can’t do. NEVER!
And exercise your brain, too! Read a book. Do puzzles. Many universities offer video or audio of their courses for free online. Listen, but not watch, video presentations so that you get used to concentrating again.
Pain, sleep deprivation, our chronic illnesses and many other things contribute to brain fog. Again, never beat yourself up mentally if brain fog kicks in and you can’t do as much as you used to. NEVER!
Eat healthy because your body deserves it.
We all have different budgets and incomes so in this area we have to do the best we can afford. Do batch cooking so that you can buy items on special and always something in the freezer. Nothing beats fresh fruits and veggies but frozen fruits and vegetables are easy to have on hand. Microwaves can heat up frozen food quickly. Slow cookers are wonderful to have. A little preparation at the beginning and the slow cooker does the rest of the work.
Don’t feel bad about cravings—or giving into them.
We are going through enough with dealing with chronic illness. We deserve treats…in moderation.
Never allow anyone else to disrespect your body.
That sentence says it all, doesn’t it? And don’t let it end at your body. Never let anyone else disrespect your mind, your feelings or your beliefs.
I hope these help give you ideas on how to honour your body. I’d love to see how you honour your body, too! Leave a comment if you’d like and we can share what works for us. There is power in our voices!