I never like people say ‘ get into a routine’. I find routines boring, implying an obligation in activities when we should take pleasure in our daily duties. I am fortunate to now work from home providing flexibility in completing daily tasks. Of course, it also requires discipline but as a sufferer of chronic illness, I can more easily alter my schedule if necessary. It also means that I tend to work 7 days a week and weekends. If I hit a wall, I can take a break and focus on my body through rest, stretches, or exercise.
I worked for 20 years in schools and nonprofit organizations and I never worked 9-5. I rarely brought work home but after hours duties and meeting deadlines were not uncommon. When possible, I drove different ways to work allowing me to break from the norm and see new things. When living in Alaska, I counseled students in 5 villages. I traveled by airplane and weather, mechanical issues, and occasional scheduling issues could make someone dependent on routine go mad. Realizing years ago that stress led to flare-ups, I usually dealt with last-minute changes in stride and altered my rhythm depending on circumstances. Cancelled flights allowed more
time with students at the school I visited, unplanned walks in the chilly air with spectacular views. The only routine that I insisted on was a weekend at home. I needed time to rest and rebuild my energy as well as get lots of loving from my dogs and future husband. Otherwise, changing my rhythm when situations change no longer stresses my brain. (Don’t misunderstand, I too many other things
cause me stress.)
Mornings begin with the rhythm of enjoying my coffee outside under shady trees looking out over 20 acres of brush, cacti, trees, and our horse, Amigo. I water the gardens, walk the dogs in the pasture, and have breakfast. The order of these activities depends on the heat, dog hyperactivity, and hunger but they all need completion, and hopefully, before the Texas heat gets unbearable.
I respond to emails, write, and other business duties keep me busy most mornings. When I run errands depends on my working rhythm. Client sessions always invigorate me and the process of prepping, talking, and summarizing each conversation with a client brings me joy. Pursuing your passion enhances rather than saps energy.
Having a routine of daily life is difficult for sufferers of chronic illness and pain. Going to work, making dinner for the family, house cleaning, and caring for children, spouses or parents is an overwhelming burden at times. It adds to the stress and can lead to increased pain and depression.
Here are some ways to find rhythm in daily life:
Change your frame of mind from the burden of having to do the same old same thing every day to finding a rhythm in those activities. Music can help focus on demanding and tedious work duties. Music can also get you into the rhythm of exercise and even the rhythm of cooking and cleaning.
Another way to break away from the daily routine grind is to find a few minutes to stop, close your eyes and do nothing. Meditation is not easy for me as my mind never seems to stop. I use guided imagery audio for attempts at relaxation and try to place myself on a beach, field or winter cabin . The voice on the audio helps to guides me back from the myriad of thoughts while trying to lay on the soft sand, gaze at stars, and hear the breaking waves of the ocean. I am improving and have even fall asleep occasionally before the session ends.
Sufferers of chronic illness and pain need flexibility in their lives. Life’s daily duties need completion but turning the humdrum routine of life that can seem overwhelming into a rhythm of life offers a positive element to the day. If feeling poorly and pain causes a break in your rhythm, that is okay. Find a rhythm in something else. Meditation, guided imagery, rest, a walk or another activity that works for you can cut ugly symptoms. When you go back to the rhythm of what you must complete, you will be more focused and less stressed and overwhelmed. Changing the daily grind to a rhythm of life really can ease stress and increase productivity.
I can help you to live a full and joyful life despite chronic illness.
Contact me for a free, no commitment exploration session at firstname.lastname@example.org