Reprinted with the kind permission of Julie Ryan at Counting My Spoons.
There’s an article that’s gone viral in the last few weeks, 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself. As I read it, I couldn’t help but think just how true so many of them were and thought that there were certain ones that were especially appropriate for those of us suffering from Fibro, CFS and other debilitating conditions.
- Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – If you have any sort of chronic debilitating condition, you need to put your own needs first. Even if you are the healthiest person on the planet, you shouldn’t let your needs go to the back of the line. Since Fibro is most common among women, this is especially true as women seem to be trained that their needs should come last after their husband, children, church, jobs, volunteer effort and anything else that could possible come before them. It’s any wonder we give ourselves any time at all; sadly, too many of us don’t.
- Stop spending time with the wrong people. – If someone is adding stress to your life, that stress is making you sick. Remove the stress by removing that person. You may not be able to completely remove them, but you can choose to avoid them when possible.
- Stop holding grudges. – Holding a grudge is an unnecessary stress. It causes us to create negative thoughts about a person when we do think of them and to only focus on those negative thoughts, when we should be trying to find ways to focus on more positive things. Let go of the grudge. You’ll still think of the person on occasion, but when you do just shrug it off and replace the thought with a thought of someone you care about that makes you smile.
- Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – The ability to say “No” is a highly under-rated one. Too often those of us with Fibromyalgia are likely to be unable to say “No”, feeling guilty when we can’t or won’t say “yes”. We can’t be everything to everyone, we can’t even be everything to ourselves and we don’t have to be.
- Stop lying to yourself. – You are sick, admit it. You don’t feel great. Someone else asks and you answer with “I’m OK” but it’s not the truth. It’s not the truth when you say it to them and it’s certainly not the truth when you say it to yourself.
- Stop wasting time explaining yourself to others. – Most people don’t care enough about you to care about your disease or disorder or why you can’t do what you can’t do. Keep it simple, just say “no” and move on. Don’t try to explain why you can’t do it, because they probably aren’t listening anyway.
- Stop trying to hold on to the past. – While you may be able to find ways to improve your symptoms, you’ll likely never be 100% again. There will always be limits. Stop trying to re-attain the levels of life you had before your illness and realize that was then and this is now. Focus on what you CAN do instead of what you used to be able to do.
- Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. – Guilt and blame are our constant friends. Stop beating yourself up over things you’ve done in the past (or things you wish you had done but didn’t). It’s in the past, let it go and move on. Again, focus on what you can do in the future.
- Stop being jealous of others. – It’s so easy to be jealous of what others have or what others can do. Little do we realize that they have limitations, too. No one sees the true life of another, their abilities or disabilities, their limits. Don’t judge your life based on the “Jones”, real or imagined. Focus on what you have that is wonderful.
- Stop complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. – Seriously! It’s ok to throw a pity party once in a while, but it should never last for more than 5 minutes and you should never invite friends. Focus on the positives in life, there are many.
- Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments. – How many times have we heard that we should “stop and smell the roses”. You don’t really appreciate those small things until you can’t do them anymore. So, take a few moments each day and really think about the small things you were able to enjoy. Write them down so you can look back on them later when you are contemplating that pity party.
- Stop trying to make things perfect. – They already are. Ok, maybe they aren’t perfect, maybe they can even be better than they are now. But the point is that you need to focus on reality instead of perfection. Take small steps to improve things and get closer to the idea of what you want your life to be like, and not constantly worrying about how far from perfect you still are.
- Stop acting like everything is fine if it isn’t. – Everything is NOT OK, and it’s ok to tell the truth. When a real friend or someone who really cares about you asks how you are, be honest. Stop answering with “I’m fine” because you aren’t.
- Stop worrying so much. – You feel like life is out of control, and it is so don’t worry about it. Let life be what it’s going to be. Control the things you can control and let the rest go. Constant worrying will only make you feel worse.
- Stop focusing on what you don’t want to happen. – You don’t want to wake up tomorrow in a flare, so it’s all you think about and you end up keeping yourself from sleeping, which results in waking up in a flare. Sound familiar? Well, stop it. Instead of thinking “I don’t want…” think “I want….”. Focus on the good nights rest you know you WILL get and how great you know you will feel tomorrow because you made the right choices about the things that ARE in your control.
- Stop being ungrateful. – Be grateful, every minute of every day. There is something wonderful to be grateful for. Say “Thank You” for the small things and mean it. Instead of getting upset that someone did something that you intended to do because it made you feel “useless” or like they thought you weren’t doing your part, be thankful that they just freed you up to do something else you wanted to do.
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I probably could have worked in all 30 of the original list, but these are enough. Which of these do you need to work on in your life? What have you found it important to stop doing to feel better? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
About the Author: Julie Ryan is a fellow Fibromyalgia Warrior, freelance writer, and blogger. In addition to Fibromyalgia, Julie is currently diagnosed with Endometriosis, Migraines, Cluster Headaches, and Hypothyroid. She shares her journey, along with inspiration, and information on her blog at http://countingmyspoons.com