Creating a wellness plan can feel overwhelming, especially when you live with chronic illness.
Living with a chronic illness, there is so much to work on, where do you start?
Talking to doctors over the years and going to various support groups, they all say to get yourself moving. Too many times I have said, “Easier said than done!”.
Awareness about food sensitivities have come into my life recently. I have become more knowledgeable about how the food I put into my body affects my pain level and other general feeling of wellness more than I thought. I needed a plan to increase my water and a way to track new habits.
Who is lying on the couch reading this and not wanting to get up because they are too depressed? Come on now…. I know you’re out there because I can’t possibly be the only one who has ever felt this way. The struggle is real, you’re not alone. I’m here to help.
There are three areas right there for myself. And that’s just the beginning. I understand the overwhelm you may be having!
You can do this!! You can, I promise you.
I am so serious here. This is not a race and we don’t want you to get overwhelmed. Pick something that seems small but may be more beneficial than you think. Pick only one to start with. I picked moving more.
When I started attempting to move more, I started by walking around my home during commercials while watching television. Walking around your home instead of your neighborhood is still walking. Start somewhere comfortable, inside your home is OK!
Keep it short
I’d love to say that even today I can successfully walk around non stop for 30 minutes, but the reality is that I can’t always. What I CAN do is walk for a few minutes at a time several times a day.
Even if you are walking outside, keep it a short time when you start out. You don’t want to walk for 15 minutes, end up in pain and then realize you still have to walk that 15 minutes back home. If you feel you can walk 10 minutes, set a timer and walk 5 minutes, then walk back.
Be realistic in the time it will take YOU
The other day I was looking at some recipes and the prep time made me laugh. No, a 10 minute meal prep will take me way longer than 10 minutes to prep. I have problems with my hands and I need to sit to prep most meals. Even my boyfriend looked at them and laughed. I’m ok with several steps throughout the day to get a meal on the table for my nights to cook. We are eating better and saving money.
If your goal is a distance goal then don’t worry about how long it will take you, focus on how far you can get instead, again keep it SHORT.
I had a goal of reaching a walking bridge in a neighborhood we used to live in. It didn’t seem THAT far to walk. I had no time frame in mind as we were walking in the evening. I made it, it took me a half hour to get there and I had to walk that half hour back home but I made it. When we got home, we googled it and found out that it had been one and a half miles round trip! I never did it again!
I was in so much pain by the time we reached the bridge but I was determined to make that bridge to prove I could do it. Prove it to who?
Do it for you
When setting your action, make it for you. If you go into an action plan half hearted because someone else has an expectation of you, you’ll not get as much out of the action.
That walk to the bridge? I did it so that the next time I got a call from a birth family member, I could share my accomplishment in hopes that they would finally see me as good enough, not lazy. I was wrong.
Modify, Modify, Modify
Don’t be afraid to modify your goal as you learn your abilities. Maybe walking to the end of the block is still too much. If you live in an apartment, try walking around your building instead.
Maybe three times a week is too much for now. It’s ok to start out with once a week and build up. Anything you may do beyond what you are doing right now is a step (ha! literally) in the direction of better wellbeing.
Here are the steps to creating your action plan
- What are you going to do?
- How much are you going to do?
- When are you going to do it?
- How many days a week are you going to do it?
Example: This week, I will walk (what)
around the block (how much)
before lunch (when)
three times (how many).
Here is a free printable to help you out! Just click on the picture and it will open up to a PDF file. Save and print it out.