Finding time to manage lupus: Just put down what you're doing - and start.

I've been trying to write a series of blog posts for weeks. Granted, I threw a week's vacation into the middle of that period of time. But my holiday aside, I just haven't carved out time to sit and type.

It's not that I need help clearing my head. Oh no. I have health topics to keep me writing for months. I actually think it's a distraction of clearing my counters. Every morning after dropping the girls off at school (Deirdre at 8, and Bernadette at 9), I tell myself that I'm going to walk in the house, march right upstairs, grab my computer, and start writing for an hour. I even tried bringing my laptop down to the kitchen table each morning, so that it's ready and waiting for me when I come home. But most mornings, I don't get beyond the need to tidy up.

First, I tackle the breakfast dishes. Next it's the laundry. Then it's filling pillbag orders, qc'ing new inventory, paying bills, or anything else that's sitting on or near my kitchen counters. Granted, I am a bit of a stickler for neatness, so I work more efficiently and think more clearly when my work space (which turns out to be my house) is neat and tidy.

But here's the deal. There will ALWAYS be something that I could tidy up/finish up/complete before sitting down to write. So if I'm going to find time, I'm going to have to make time. And that means I'm going to have to leave a few things unfinished.

I realized how applicable this is to my life with lupus when I was doing dishes this morning, I kept saying to myself, "Why don't you just turn off the water and go upstairs to write? Why don't you just treat your writing sessions like you do your nap? Just stop what you're doing, Sara, and go do it."

And so I did.

And here's the blog post to prove it, while my breakfast dishes sit in the sink.

It wasn't easy to drop that sponge, and walk away from the mess. It wasn't easy to pass by the new pillbag fabric swatches sitting on my counter, or ignore the checks that I need to write.

But I have the willpower to choose how I spend my time. I just have to exercise it.

That's why I feel the best strategy I have for managing lupus is my ability to prioritize my health.

A mid-day nap has and never will seem practical. Believe me, it's not that I don't have 20 other things I'd rather do each afternoon instead of nap. The phone doesn't stop ringing, and the emails don't stop coming. My kids still need me, and my life keeps spinning. But I force myself to stop what I'm doing every single day, and rest. I choose to put myself first, in order to function like a normal mom, a successful business owner, and a happy and healthy gal with lupus.

I know that my ability to make that one decision each day has more to do with my life-long commitment to living well than just about anything else I do. Aside from taking my medication (around which I've created an entire business to help me remember!), getting my daily rest helps keep my disease in check for the foreseeable future.

And a long and healthy future is much more important than any sink full of dishes.

While ignoring your own to-do list is never going to seem prudent, it might just be the key to a long and healthy life with lupus for you, too!

(As an aside, when I checked google to see whether willpower was one word or two, the following article popped up. It was so appropriate, I had to share!)


Unknown said…
I also had to learn this. There are more important things sick add or rest and health. If I push myself to hard I end up with a flare. So I decided my health comes first and the little things can wait
Sara Gorman said…
Agreeed! Once I adopted that philosophy, I found it made letting go so much easier. The decisions of what could wait became clearer. So much less stress - even in the prioritizing! Thx for sharing!
I have lupus and am able to manage naturally. The biggest thing for me was the need NOT to sleep in the day that made me so happy. Please contact me if you are interested in my diet.
I have lupus and am able to manage naturally. The biggest thing for me was the need NOT to sleep in the day that made me so happy. Please contact me if you are interested in my diet.

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