Lupus and Getting Things Done: The Balancing Act

Over the summer, I made the fatal mistake of checking my planner during the last week of July. It was still turned to the page for June 16th. Doh! 

I had big plans back then, at the start of the season. Work stuff, house stuff, kid stuff - things were going to get done around here!

But the weeks flew by, and here we are, working our way through September. How does the Fall sneak up like that??
 Truth is, I actually got to a majority of the things on my list, just not in the expeditious manner I thought I would. But that's life, right? Sometimes, things don't go as planned, and it takes us a lot longer to accomplish something then we ever thought it would. 

That was one of the biggest adjustments I had to make once I was diagnosed with lupus. Recalibrating what I could do on any given day. 

It was hard to scale back. I was aggravated that I had to choose between activities or tasks, based on how I felt. I didn't like being forced to let some things go. I wanted to accomplish everything set before me, plus some, just like I always had. 

But my health necessitated that I ratchet back. And so I did. 

I started prioritizing. I consciously chose what to take on and what to let fall by the wayside. I reconfigured my day so that I could maximize my energy, even if it was different than the way I'd always done it. 

And what happened surprised me. Rather than getting frustrated because I wasn't capable of accomplishing ten things 100%, I found fulfillment in tackling three or four things really well. Racking up a "W" in the "DONE" column when it comes to life with a chronic illness is HUGE. It gave me confidence. It made me proud. It provided hope. 

Even today, I look at prioritizing as eliminating those things that can simply wait. (I remember telling this to someone much older and wiser than me one time, and they replied, "Oh, honey. It can all wait.") Other times I look at it as goal-setting - cutting away the stuff that doesn't matter so I can focus on what really does. Somedays, those goals are pretty mudane. I recall the early days with lupus when taking a shower and staying awake for dinner - all in the same day - was considered a goal and half! Other days (usually prednisone days), I was able to expect more of myself. But I still had to calibrate how much I could do without putting my health at risk. Life with lupus requires striking that constant balance. And as with most things, finding that sweet spot gets better with practice.  

Have you put your balancing act skills to work today? It's not too late! 


Anonymous said…
I so very much needed this today. I'm relatively recently diagnosed with RA or maybe lupus, we havent quite decided since all the bloodwork is negative (oh holy crap I cant spell today) but i'm most definately symptomatic and a mom to 5 littles. so prioritizing and scaling back has become a must and is sooooooooo freaking hard. i'm used to going full throttle all day and into the night but today, well hello brain fog and fatigue. Me and baby boo have done a sweep and a nap since the husband and big 4 left at 630 then a laundry and a nap and some netflix and a nap. and today i'm okay with that.
Sara Gorman said…
Oh,I could wrote an entire book about child rearing while managing the symptoms of a chronic illness! And with 5!!! I can only imagine. Sounds like those intermittent naps are totally making you a better mom - you are taking care.of yourself so you can care for those kids. Genius! Just don't stop while you are ahead. Keep them going as long as you need to. Best wishes as you continue to try and find that balance. You are doing great!! Thx for sharing.
Unknown said…
This really helped me today! I’m 25 and have been diagnosed with lupus for three years and it seems like no matter what I try to do, my flare ups are always there majority of the time. Today has been the worst in a long time and I’ve gotten so hopeless. I mean I have so many things I’d like to do and exceed at but no motivation to start or push through.
Sara Gorman said…
It can be so frustrating when your body won't let you do what your mind has planned!! I just did a post about how to get started when you're feeling overwhelmed, and another post about strategies when you really need to sit back and just get through the day. For me, some days ARE light push-through days - so i can get a little taste of accomplishment. But others, I realize I need to just take care of and pamper myself a little so that the next day can be a push-through day. You know your body best, and which days are which! I can totally identify with you - so thanks so much for sharing. I hope you and your doctor can manage those flares soon. Don't hesitate to share this with your doc. He or she may not be aware of just how disruptive your symptoms are. Thinking of you. ❤

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