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Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Chronic Illness: Less Balance, Less Stress?

Image courtesy of Pixomar/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Pixomar/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I wish I could remember where I heard it (lupus brain fog kicking in here), and if I ever do, I’ll be sure to give credit where it’s due…(and if you know where you heard, it please let me know!), but someone very wise recently said there’s no such thing as “balance” when it comes to our multitasking, ever-so-busy lives. Talk about a very deep, deep breath! One of the most stressful things about living with chronic illness is that we patients often think we need to “merely” add our illness to our already-heavy list of responsibilities and “to-dos” and somehow balance them all throughout our days and nights. But, as we all learn at some point, this is much easier said than accomplished. For every time I’ve tried to “balance” my life with lupus, there have been times where the disease has intruded and taken over. For each carefully planned week, doctor’s appointment here, social event there, I’ve experienced the upheaval of flares or other surprises that have upended and re-prioritized everything. And for each of those times when life as I’d planned became life as I’d never imagined, stress naturally followed. What was I doing wrong, that I couldn’t balance it all? How could I avoid the problems in the future, thus perfectly balancing health issues with everything else? And then came that very wise person and that very wise – and rather obvious, when you think about it – thought: “Perfect balance,” even in the healthiest of times, isn’t achievable anyway, so why stress over it? Why not, instead, put thought and effort into better prioritizing, adding enough flexibility so that when health issues take center stage, the entire apple cart isn’t turned over and our stress is amplified? Looking at life this way, and not pressuring ourselves to achieve that ellusive ideal of balance, is immensely freeing! It allows us to modify our lives as we must, and take those inevitable curve balls more gracefully. It gets us away from self-criticizing that we’re somehow failing if we cannot balance everything in our lives, and it also helps us to work toward “quality” of relationships and experience, instead of mathematically calculating and striving for equal hours or days. Whew! Deep, deep breath, indeed! Blessings for the day, Maureen

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