Change is scary, it’s unknown and difficult, but a lot of the time it’s inevitable. Some things don’t change, like my love for cheesy 90s pop, Red Dwarf and Crash Bandicoot, but for most things it’s going to happen whether we like it or not. Even the best kind of change can be scary, especially when it’s something big. One of my goals for this year was to try new things, and I have definitely done that, more on that later. But, with my chronic illnesses it means that these changes can have more of an effect than I realised they would.
We all have our comfort zones, whether it’s staying at home reading, burying ourselves in our work or focussing on our friends or family over trying new things. This blog kind of became my comfort zone and I ended up almost relying on it for more than it was. I ended up getting anxious when I couldn’t post on the day I set myself, I’d end up posting a ‘sorry I can’t post’ type post and it wasn’t really fun at times. That’s one of the reasons the changes in my life, or maybe more my way of thinking, started.
I did originally plan to do an update every three months but my last one was in March so you can see how well that went! I can’t believe how quickly 2018 has gone, so much seems to have happened but in so little time. Having got a notification saying I’ve just had my 4 year anniversary I thought I’d look back at the goals I set way back in January and see how I’m doing.
I tend to see goals as something to aim for, but still keep them flexible. I’ve found that if I’m too rigid with these things it’s easy to get discouraged and give up. Things change, life gets in the way, making realistic goals helps me to stick to them and I love that feeling when you achieve something. It’s like that feeling of crossing off things on a list. I think I just like lists in general.
I realise I have been a bit quieter in the world of blogging recently and so I thought I’d do a post that sort of explains that (at least one of the reasons for it) and may actually be a little bit useful for someone out there… maybe. I have been trying to find a job, which may sound like a bit of a lame excuse but it’s taking so much energy that it’s pretty much taking a lot of my online time away from the blogosphere (if I’m using that right).
Also I should probably say that I am in no way qualified when it comes to job searching. I just wanted to share some things I’ve found useful and thought it could be a good way to start a discussion that might help some people. I always get paranoid and feel like I have to include these disclaimers!
I started the Low-GL (Glycaemic Load) diet eight weeks ago, there’s a post with a bit more about it here if you want more information on what it actually is. I have to say that when I hear the word diet I automatically think of not being able to eat much, feeling hungry or avoiding carbs but I have not found that I missed anything in this diet.
The main idea is to have the right proportions of a more carb heavy food, protein and a lot of low carb veg so it turns the carb into a more slow release sugar rather than having the peaks and lows that I was having before.
I started this as it’s a bit of a different version of the Low-GI (Glycaemic Index) diet that was recommended by an ME specialist a couple of years ago. I tried Low GI and I just couldn’t work it out so ended up giving up as it didn’t seem to work but it may be more to do with me failing to get it right. With my ME one of the symptoms I have is post prandial hypoglycaemia, though I don’t have diabetes my blood sugar drops low a few hours after eating so this diet was recommended to even that out.
For ages I would make new year’s resolutions but there are only so many times you can have learn to drive on there but kit be able to achieve it purely because of health reasons before it gets a bit demoralising.
Instead I have decided to make goals, I did his last year and I failed most due to a mix of health, mediation side effects or other family member’s health issues that were more important to think about but since having ME I have definitely learnt that goals should be flexible as being to rigid with them leads to disappointment and it’s just not how chronic illnesses work, in my experience anyway. Continue reading “I Don’t Do New Year’s Resolutions But…”→
I just got a new phone so all photos in this post come from the camera to see how well if works.
I love making cards it’s one hobby that’s fairly easy to find cheap materials for and it’s low energy as you can make them as simple as you like. It’s also fairly low energy, or can be, as you can spend five minutes in a simple card with precut things and out everything in a tub to go back to later.
A few of the things in the post I’ve had for years but a lot is from Hobby craft this year if you see something you want to get yourself. I could do a haul post with links and more details if you want to know how to get each one.
One of the first things that seemed to get lost when I was first ill, and gets thrown out of the window fairly often when it comes to set backs, is a daily routine. When I was first ill I was at school so there’s an obvious routine and, like any time someone’s ill, days at home and no energy meant things like getting dressed every day or getting up at set times sort of disappeared.
I think when you’re first ill then it’s obviously not the top of your priorities to keep up a routine but when you’re well enough I think it helps quite a bit with having a more ‘normal’ day if there’s a bit of routine. Of course this does tend to disappear whenever I’m ill or don’t have the energy to do these things and it’s very hard to get back into one when you’ve broken the routine for a few days, or weeks sometimes. I think that’s why I often include some of these things that people would consider everyday things in my goals.
I’m not saying this works for everyone, I’m not a doctor and only going by my experiences over the past twelve years, and I’m kind of writing this to remind myself and try and kick myself back into a proper routine.
I think this is something that happens to everyone at some point, whether you have a chronic illness or not, when you don’t have a schedule or things you have to do with certain time scales it’s easy to lose focus. I always find I work best with deadlines, whatever it is, even things that aren’t work, like shopping, I find that if I don’t have a focus, something to aim for, I get a bit distracted and can end up coming home with things I don’t need or didn’t plan on getting.
Since having ME most of the time I’ve had some sort of goal, some time scale to aim for. Until this time last year I was pretty much in some form of education or other for most of the time and the breaks between were a few months and pretty much planned in there to have an aimless few months and recover energy and have some kind of social life (not that it was all that successful on the second part most of the time but oh well). Since finishing the degree and now having nothing to aim for I have found my focus disappearing at times. I didn’t even really notice it until recently.
Sometimes it feels a bit like I get stuck in a rut, with ME and not having the energy to really go out much it does get a bit monotonous sometimes. I also tend to find that sometimes I just feel like doing something new, some way of making a bit of a change. There are only so many times you can change your wardrobe or move things around in a room though and I’ve found that learning new things is a great way to make a bit of a change.
I don’t mean do a course particularly, or learn something like a language or other more school like things, though if you want to do them then fine. I have been meaning to go back to German and French but I just find that retaining information isn’t all that great, at least short term though my long term memory is great which doesn’t really help when you have to remember a phrase you learned yesterday. I mean more along the lines of a hobby or a small skill that’s a part of a hobby. Things like learning how to do a certain thing in card making, embossing is something I’ve wanted to learn for a while, or trying a new hobby altogether and just doing it enough to learn how to get better at it to a level you want to. This way there’s no pressure from courses and deadlines and these days there are so many websites and YouTube videos on pretty much anything you can think of you can go into as much or as little depth as you want.
One thing that I often forget after having ME for so long is how some of the things that take me so much energy are actually time and energy saving things for other people. One example of this is eating out. My family has never been one of those to go out and eat all that often, I guess living in a village without a pub probably helped with that as it’s a bigger thing to drive somewhere than just walk down the road. I sort of only really realised how often some people eat out since being ill, it’s like it’s sometimes a case of ‘I don’t feel like cooking, let’s eat out’ as a last minute thing.
To me, and I think this is something that is similar for a lot of people with ME, there are so many steps for this small thing that affect us that it becomes this ‘big event’ whether it is or not. When getting dressed and ready takes energy then things like sitting in the car, walking to the restaurant and waiting of finding a table are all energy draining to some extent too. Then things in the restaurant; too much light, or too little, conversations going on around that can be distracting and draining and having to sit up in chairs that often don’t have that much support, they all take energy. I know they do to people without invisible illnesses too but it’s a lower percentage of the overall energy taken in the day so this small thing of sitting and eating lunch or catching up with friends that is part of a shopping trip or something that is surrounded by other activities for most people is the only thing we can do in the day sometimes. And then there’s the knock on effect afterwards of having to pay for this for a day, maybe three or four or even a week for some people.
All of this does vary person to person, I know some of the things that don’t take me much energy take a lot for other people and some people can do things I can’t without it having too much of an effect. Part of it is learning what we can do but events like going out will always have some kind of knock on effect.