Priorities, Planning and Chronic Illness
Every day we all have decisions and choices to make. Part of life is planning and while living with a disease like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis can make it incredibly difficult to plan anything, during the times we are feeling well enough, most of us do have to carry out the necessary functions of day to day life.
Planning and reminder tips
Ever since I discovered the Google Calendar app and have a Google Home, I have taken planning to a whole new level. I am now able to just yell to Google Home to set a reminder for me which appears in my calendar app. For me, I include things like groceries I need to pick up, appointments I have, chores that need to get done around the house, purchases that need to be made either online or at a store, and even topic ideas for articles. Basically, anything I don’t want to forget I add as a “reminder” in my app.
Sidenote: I am not associated with Google in anyway. I am just a consumer :)
So, because this is the planning system I am currently working off of, I legit have about 90 or so reminders each day. I just say things as they come into my head and I get to it whenever I am able or have to. There are pros and cons to this, like anything. Some pros are that I rarely forget things that are actually important to me. I may not come across it in my phone for a while or remember it on a daily basis, but if I took the time to scroll through, that information wouldn’t be lost. And that is huge to me because it allows me to feel as though I am unloading that from my brain onto my phone. I don’t have to waste energy or brain space remembering, and as someone whose brain is constantly running, it is nice not to have to think about extra things. A con is that I constantly see right in front of my face all of the things I need to get done, but am not able to for one reason or another.
A failed to-do list
When I first started using this system, it made me feel like a failure if I wasn’t able to tackle all of the things on my to-do list. That feeling of pressing “done” really made me feel good. I love those days where I have been productive and feel as though I am contributing to society. I crave that sense of accomplishment. Since so much of my time (and I am sure many of yours reading this) has been spent in the hospital or in bed ill, it can make you feel really disconnected. It also can cause you to not only become dependent on loved ones physically but financially as well. Being able to stand on your own two feet, so to speak, and help out around the house, possibly do something that could earn you income or contribute to your family in another way can really improve mental health.
I realize more than ever, because of the app, that I am consciously choosing what things I get done and what I don’t for each day. I choose based on what is most important to me, obviously. Given many of us suffer from sleeping issues, fatigue, brain fog, pain, and other symptoms even when we are feeling well with our disease, it is natural for us to want to save our energy for the things we really care about.
Acknowledging my realistic energy levels
As I got to thinking more about my environment and how nice it would be to have a spotless room or have everything be in its perfect place, I am starting to acknowledge that I simply don’t have the energy for it most of the time. Or, I should say, there are so many other things that are a priority to me that I kind of have no choice but to make concessions. For some, having a spotless home is a top priority and that is great. Seriously. We are all different in terms of the things that matter to us and it is up to us and us alone what we decide to spend our time and energy on.
While this is the case for everyone, it is especially true for those of us who suffer from a chronic illness like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (IBD). Don’t be so hard on yourself if you don’t accomplish everything you set out to do each day. I understand the temptation to push yourself to do things you *think* are important also. And while I am not here to tell you what to do or not do, I will say that it would be in your best interest to make your health (physical AND mental) a top priority.
Can you relate? Do you plan or has it become too difficult with your disease? If you do plan, what has worked best for you? Are you able to set realistic goals each day or do you find you try to overextend yourself? I would love to hear your experiences and tips in the comments below!
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