It is oh-so-very easy to play mind games with yourself when you have a chronic illness. I know, because I have one. My conversations with myself would go like this: I should; I hate; and I can’t. Here are some examples:
I should straighten the kitchen. I hate the way I need help with a simple task. I can’t bend over to unload the dishwasher.
I should go to the pharmacy. I hate going out in public when I don’t feel good. I can’t drive today, because I am dizzy.
I should organize my bedroom. I hate that it’s depressing and not as comfortable as I want. I can’t move the furniture.
Therefore, I won’t start.
This negative cycle automatically causes failure. It is a mind game that we play, and it triggers mind clutter. It is destructive, it causes self-disrespect, and it gets in the way of allowing us to move forward.
Instead, start with I can. Here’s the important part: Only you can decide what that means each day. Use these tricks to get you started with your new mindset.
- Prioritize: Identify the most important item that needs your attention. If you have many different areas, subjects and tasks, then make a list. Put everything on it. That does not mean you will get it all done right away, or that you must do everything yourself. Next, number them by importance.
- Tiny Steps: Any large project has many steps. People who are not battling health problems may be able to do several of them in a day, whereas we must do what our body allows each day. Think of the very next little step that you can do to move yourself forward. Your new mindset is to ask yourself this: “what project is priority, and what small step can I do to start (or move forward on) that project?
- Get help: If you need assistance with some tasks, it helps to be very specific when asking. Here are some examples. Can you take my dog to the groomer? Can you drive me to my doctor appointment on Tuesday? Can you come over and change some lightbulbs for me? Or, make a list and allow helpers to choose one that suits them.
- Re-think how you get things done:
If you have trouble driving, then try using a mail order service for medications. Order clothing, gifts and household items online whenever possible.
If you have trouble writing or remembering, try using the memo app on a cell phone to track your to-do lists and things you want to remember.
If you have trouble reaching or grasping, try searching online using the words “adaptive tools.”
Streamlining your tasks and changing the way you do things allows you to spend your energy in more positive ways. You can reduce that negative mind-clutter, instead of hating your surroundings…and yourself.