Sitting here, cat on lap as per usual, I'm finding it hard to believe that we're well over a week into a new year. The older I get the quicker they come around, or so it seems.
If you've stuck around for a while you might know I don't take to New Years too easily. The reason for this is that for five years now I've battled chronic illness and with every new year comes the hope of getting better, so it's only natural to feel the disappointing sting that it hasn't yet happened. That doesn't mean I'm giving up, I'm hoping this year will be my year. A healthier year with more energy and less pain.
I've been taking it easy since all the festive celebrations and seeing the new year in with some close friends. Although this last week has mostly been a tea in hand and cat on lap affair, I've not escaped the questions about my New Year's resolutions. This year I've been in two minds about making any. The resolutions my friends and family have been making seem to consist of giving up unhealthy habits, restricting cake intake or unrealistic goals that have already been broken. That's tradition right? I'm no exception to this, and have many times made resolutions only to forget about them weeks later. A few years ago I was going to give up cake and chocolate, two of my favourite things! Needless to say that didn't work out at all! Today I've made up my mind that my resolutions are to be around enjoyment. Life with chronic illness needs all the good times it can get (without making me feel like I've fallen off the planet.) Many times last year I found myself feeling frustrated about what I couldn't do and bored because of my situation on a regular basis, so this year I want to be self indulgent. I want to be a happier me and I'm sure I can do this. I'm a firm believer that happiness comes from within and is effected by how you react to situations. It's not a destination and you can't just sit around waiting for it to find you. With that in mind I've come up with some simple pleasures that I want to indulge in to help me feel happier, more positive and less frustration
Here are my resolutions:
Smile and laugh more
An obvious choice for happiness but when you feel ill it can be very hard to see the funny side of things, it can put the most happiest person into a bad mood. Scientific research shows that laughing can increase your immune system, lower stress and is very good for your mental health. I've thought of a few ways to laugh more, from funny films, YouTube videos especially those of cats! Laughing classes - on odd idea but I'm intrigued.
This is one of my most helpful tools in chronic illness management. It's relaxing and apparently more restorative for the body than sleep itself. I used to meditate twice a day but recently I've got out of the habit, this is something I want to change this year. I'm not going to expect myself to go back to my old ways but I want to meditate more, at last 4 times a week.
Okay, I know that doesn't sound that imaginative or difficult at all. In fact it's not at all difficult for me! I could happily eat chocolate every single day of the year but last year I started eating 'clean' and for a while went without any chocolate. That was sad, sad times. This year I want more of a balance. I still want to be extremely conscious of what I put into my body but I'm not going to give myself a hard time about having a little chocolate once a week!
Bake at least once a month
Be it clean or not I have so many recipes I want to try out and I hardly ever do. Baking is one of my favourite things to do and when I feel well enough I'm going to make time to get the mixing bowl out.
Paint my nails weekly
I love having nice nails, it's simple but it makes me feel happy. It doesn't take up too much energy too.
A few of my spoonie friends have introduced me to memory jars. I'm also considering having my own because sometimes it's easier to remember the negative rather than the positive and I think I need reminding about all the little things. A memory jar is a jar or box that you fill with happy, good memories, notes about good days or funny things that have happened. You collect them over the year and then on New Years Eve you have a look inside to see all the positive things that have happened over the year.
I'm wishing you all a happy, healthy 2015. I can't wait to share more with you and to see what you have been up to as well.