Lupus and Living Well: Habits for Happiness. Article from Fast Company
I absolutely love this article from Fast Company, written by Michelle Wax, founder of the Happiness Project. Entitled "4 Habits of the Happiest People", it encompasses several of the key elements I used when I downshifted my life in order to accommodate for my chronic illness years ago. Here are some highlights, particularly as they relate to the decisions I made to start living well. Be sure to read the full article, and tell me which of the suggested moves you plan to make!
This is like prioritizing and heightened self-awareness, wrapped into one. It's taking a good hard look at those things in your life (activities, routines, environments) that are impacting your chronic illness. What's bringing you joy, what's draining you. What's expendable in the short term so that in the long term, you can thrive. I remember making a list shortly after a week long stay in the hospital (complete with life-saving blood transfusions), of things that needed to change in my life. I had to focus only on those things that were in my control, of course. But it was an eye opening experience that helped me identify key elements to start living well with my illness.
WORDS TO LIVE BY
This is the idea that rather than chasing goals, we instead strive for the emotions and feelings we experience as we're working on achieving them. It's focusing on the process. Appreciating the journey. Finding contentment as you strive for your best life with lupus. I have many examples of this throughout my life with a chronic illness - times where I mistakenly thought the end goal was the only prize. Like the goal of weaning myself off prednisone, or the goal of phasing out my daily nap, or the goal of being able to return to work full-time. Those were empty goals that had no connection to what was best for my body. They weren't realistic, but most importantly, they weren't constructive. They were only goals I thought sounded good on paper. The real growth came as I realized my self worth wasn't based on how little medicine I took, or whether I could make it a day without napping. It's the shift in mindset and willingness to adapt that are the real successes.
FOLLOW THE SPARKS
This one is a real favorite - the idea that making a change in your life, one that, to many, may seem unorthodox or impractical, could catapult you further than you ever imagined. When I decided to take a step back from my career so that I could write my book, I instantly unlocked a world of opportunities. I could suddenly see a way forward with my health. I saw possibility, progress, wellness. Johnny and I knew the long term effects would pay out, even if the short term meant sacrifices, but I don't think even we expected such positive results. My book, my blog, my Pillbag business, my sustained good health, two successful pregnancies. All because we took a chance. I'm so very glad we did!