Thursday, August 18, 2005

Disability: Decreasing "moving stressers" from a Chronic Illness Self-Manager.

I'm not sure about you, but I HATE to move! You just get your space set up the way you want it, and BANG, you need to pack up your personal stuff and get ready to move; then you have to unpack it all over again!

AND, for those of us who are disabled, the stress of moving can really take a toll on us. As I currently am facing such an event, I thought I'd share with y'all what bugs me, and, as a Chronic Illness Self-Manager, what I am doing to get over what bugs me, and get with the moving!

  1. Fatigue, as I have previously mentioned, is a HUGE factor that adversely impacts most of us. I am taking great strides to ensure that I get as much rest as I need; and, not just at night, but also in short naps during the day.
  2. Being Realistic about what I can and can't do. This is probably the hardest hurdle for me to overcome. Throughout my life - both personal and professional - I have just hated it whenever anyone said "I can't do it!" - usually said in a whiny voice. In my way of thinking, anyone could do anything they set their mind to doing; right? Isn't that what we were taught? And, in most cases, this is an accurate statement. BUT, when you are a Chronic Illness Self-Manager, being realistic about what you can and can't do is a critical coping skill.

For example: I cannot stand for over 2 or 3 minutes at a time. So, I'll need some help getting stuff down from high up, and then I can pack sitting down. I've already figured this out, as I have a stool in my bathroom (given to me by a great friend who knows me, and knows my need to accommodate ways to get things done).

Another example: my cognative skills are much less than they used to be. Now, some of you who have read my blogs may question this, but you haven't seen all of the writing notes, jottings, first, second, and third drafts of all documents used to create the final product. So, unlike the "multi-tasker" that I used to be, who could keep 10 balls in the air at any one time and not drop one, and who could keep all the list of things to do in my head, I now write things down in LISTS. And, do you know just how much I hate this? I NEVER thought that I would stoop low enough to keep lists! Only nerds kept lists, not me. Well, yes me, if I want to get things done! And, I do one or two items from my list each day. Yes, it takes me longer to get things packed than 2 or 3 moves ago, but even the turtle finishes the race. Just remember to take it slow, and pace yourself.

Another example: I have, with the aid of my daughter-in-law, GREATLY sownsized all of my stuff! I've had to rethink about my definition of "sufficiency" (in all things except for books/reading, jewelry, and writing in this blog, of course!). Clothes, nick-nacks, things, papers (yes, I got rid of the dozens of boxes of papers that I had been lugging around that contained work documents going back at least into the mid 1970's!!!) So, I have less to pack this time.

3) Friends are a great help! Do not be shy about asking for help from friends and family. And, when they do help, remember to use music, laughter, and fun to liven things up a bit! Food also works wonders.

4) Doing something special for you each day. Figure out what you REALLY like, and reward yourself with your special treat each day, after your moving activities. For me, 30 minutes of playing with my graddaughter is a real treat! So is taking a shower and letting the water cascade down.

Bottomline, the key in being a Chronic Illness Self-Manager is to be aware - always - about what hwlps and hinders your "symptom impairment of your normal daily activities". If you know your triggers, you can plan on avoiding, mittigating, or overcoming them.

If you have any additional suggestions, I'd love to have you share them. They just might help us all.

I'll be sure to let y'all know just how successful I was in managing my physicality during this upcoming move! I'll be sure to relate what went right, and what I could have done better.

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