Once again, I am delighted to be joining in with Sheryl’s monthly writing prompts over at A Chronic Voice. This month, the prompts that Sheryl gave us were as follows:
As 2022 draws to a close, I will be following a process outlined in a book I have had for years called “Your Best Year Yet” by Jinny Ditzler. Whilst I’m normally good at planning, I’m not so good at looking back over the year to look at what has gone well and what hasn’t gone so well, I find that the process itself and the questions therein help me to probe into what’s been going on for me and perhaps think about things differently. The book itself is an uplifting and encouraging read and I always feel a lot better having reread it each December.
Usually, I set aside at least half a day to reread the book and answer each of the questions fully before coming up with what I’d like to focus on in the coming 12 months. It’s become a bit of a ritual for me to follow this process at the close of each year, and one that I wouldn’t be without.
During this year, I have radically overhauled my diet to focus on eating natural, unprocessed food with guidance from an NHS health coach. I have lost the weight that I wanted to, although I was also hoping that a change in diet would help with my pain and fatigue levels. Sadly, pain and fatigue haven’t shown any improvement whatsoever, which has been very disappointing. In fact, when I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia, my consultant told me very bluntly that no diet changes would have any impact on pain levels. I didn’t want to believe him, but sadly, in my experience, he was right. Anyway, I digress… For the festive season, I do intend to treat myself to some of my favourite foods which I have only been eating occasionally and in moderation during the year. For me, food is an important part of the seasonal celebrations, so I fully intend to indulge!
I’m still catching up with appointments after having Covid, which completed floored me. In order to try and catch up with everything, I tried to do too many things in quick succession such as trying to attend more than one appointment in different locations on the same day. Needless to say, this didn’t work for me and I ended up having a fibro flare. Despite knowing all about pacing, I totally failed to apply my knowledge to my life! So I am now being very careful to ration my energy and build in lots of rest time. I have each day in December planned out with medical, social and other appointments all in the diary and am not going to take on anything else between now and the end of the year.
Brain fog is a real pain at the moment. It’s definitely been even worse since Covid but being perimenopausal and having fibromyalgia means that the bar was already set very low! I have lists all over the place at the moments to remind me of what I need to do and when, as it’s the only way I can keep track of everything, especially at such a busy time of year.
I am also continuing with a daily gratitude practice to remind myself of all the good in my life. Living with chronic illness isn’t easy and so my mind tends to focus on the negative – I find that noting 3 things I am grateful for each morning helps me to start the day in a more positive frame of mind.
I generally love this season and have no trouble embracing the festivities at this time of year. I come from a small family who weren’t close and didn’t grow up with many family traditions. So along with my husband, we make our own traditions as the years go by – we always buy a tree and decorate the house to a soundtrack of cheesy Christmas songs on the same weekend each year and every year add a new decoration purchased from somewhere we’ve been on our travels that year. We also enjoy going on nighttime walks around our little village to see how others have decorated their houses and admire the bright, colourful lights before returning home to a hot drink by the fire – a great way to spend a winter’s evening 🙂