Hi guys – Happy New Year! 2016 has been a difficult year for a lot of people, so I really hope 2017 is much better for you if you’ve had a tough one 😀 I always used to make new years resolutions but stopped when I got ill, as the typical big challenges I used to set myself seemed completely unachievable. I don’t know what has changed this time around, but I really felt like setting myself a few resolutions! I think I’ve adapted to my chronic illnesses enough to know that I need to be realistic with my goals, and not set myself up to fail!
There are a few things that I wanted to do in 2016, but I really struggled to be consistent. It’s SO difficult to stick to any kind of plan or goal when you have M.E, as the illness itself is so unpredictable! I could plan to go to hydrotherapy or do 5 minutes of stretching, but I wouldn’t know until I woke up that day whether I’d actually be well enough. And sadly…. more often than not, I woke up really unwell and stuck in bed. When my plans kept getting scuppered, it eventually started eroding my motivation and just making me feel really discouraged. I’m sure if you have chronic illness, this will be sounding very familiar!
Anyway, I somehow woke up recently with a renewed sense of motivation and decided to tackle 2017 head on (granted, probably in my PJs in bed… but head on nonetheless!) I realise I need to be very realistic with my new years resolutions, so that I don’t set myself up to fail. I have a lot more understanding of my limitations than I did a year ago, and am better at knowing how to work around them. I’ll stop waffling on now, and let you know what my new years resolutions actually are!
My New Years Resolutions
1) Prioritise Hydrotherapy
If you’re a regular reader, you may remember that I started hydrotherapy treatment in February 2016. My pain clinic consultant felt it may help with my pain (caused by fibromyalgia) and help to build my muscles up a bit. It took a lot of faffing around and waiting to actually get an appointment, but I eventually received a course of six sessions. They were weekly, which I found really difficult as I was barely recovered from the last session when I had to attend the next one!
Once my body had adjusted, my recovery period did get shorter and I definitely feel like hydro was beneficial to me. I felt like my strength was a little bit improved, and my pain levels were slightly lower. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but I was happy with any improvement at that point, as I was in so much pain! You can read all about my hydrotherapy journey here, where I’ve tried to be as detailed as possible, to help those considering trying it.
I was so proud of myself for what I achieved in the hydrotherapy sessions, but unfortunately my sessions came to an end, and life got in the way. I was lucky enough to be given some money from family, to continue the hydro sessions privately at a local hydro pool. Sadly though, my time was filled with a lot of hospital appointments and a LOT of time stuck in bed! Every week I would intend to go for a session, and would end up being too unwell to leave the house. It’s so frustrating knowing that a treatment will help you, but not actually being well enough to do it!!
I’ve decided to make re-attending hydrotherapy my main new years resolution! I think a more realistic plan than the NHS weekly sessions is to aim to go once a fortnight (you get a 20-30 minute session). This will give me time to actually recover in between sessions. I know full well that initially it’ll make me feel worse and I’ll be unable to make plans to see family or do anything useful. But it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make, to get back to where I was after the NHS sessions!
Easing Into It
Rather than charging straight into a hydro session after a long break, I’ve decided to be sensible! I aim to try and do two 5 minute walks a week with my husband, for the next few weeks. We can just potter around our estate for 5 or 10 minutes at a gentle pace. I can’t really walk far most days, but I have to start somewhere in order to build up my stamina! At least this way, I’m as close to home as you can get, if I need to go and lie down.
2) Proactively Deal With My Allergies
My allergies – what a pain in the arse! I’ve had allergies my whole life – allergic rhinitis, dust/cat/feather allergies, a mild latex contact allergy. Oh and the joys of hayfever in the summer! The allergic rhinitis basically feels like constantly having a cold. I have to blow my nose every five minutes – I can never be far from a box of tissues! My nose gets very dry and sore, then gets prone to nose bleeds.
Last time I saw my doctor, he said he’d done everything he could for me. The only way forward was to refer me to the allergy specialists at the hospital. I said I’d leave it for a bit and see how I went on – I was fed up of constant hospital appointments by this point! But having all these allergic symptoms on top of my chronic illnesses just drains me even further and adds one more annoyance. So I’ve decided 2017 is the year to get proactive and sort out these bloody allergies! I will be asking for a referral as soon as I see my GP, and fingers crossed I’ll make some progress 😀
3) Be Able To Wash My Hair More Often
Yep. Seriously. I told you I was being realistic with my new years resolutions this year!! This may sound strange, unless you’re also chronically ill. Being mostly house/bedbound means that I have VERY low energy resources. As silly as it sounds, showering and washing my hair is really difficult!
Standing upright for 10/15 minutes, lifting your arms up to wash your hair, then having to dry it afterwards… All of that is very difficult with M.E (and also often provokes my fibromyalgia pain!) When hospital appointments and basic survival have taken up all my energy for the week, it’s difficult to find any spare. I can easily keep myself clean, as I have a bath. Baths are a lot easier for me, as obviously I’m lying down and the heat helps relax my muscles. But I can’t get my long hair clean in the bath, it really does need a proper rinse in the shower.
I often end up with greasy hair and then my mum washes and dries it for me. It’s so sweet of her, but obviously I’m 31 and would prefer to be self-reliant if possible!! 😀 I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to go about this resolution, as I only have as much energy as I have. I already use things like dry shampoo, and I do have a shower stool which I use when I can’t stand up for long enough. If you have any suggestions, tips or ideas for me, let me know in the comments please!
So there are my realistic 2017 new years resolutions! What are yours? Let me know!
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