When you have a chronic illness, it takes time to accept that things aren’t going to be the way they were and that things will change. During this time I used to be so incredibly hard on myself. Did I gain anything from being like this? No! In fact, it meant that I had more flare up’s which resulted in me being less productive. This blog post will tell you 5 ways that you can stop being hard on yourself.
1) Don’t compare yourself to others.
The first way you can stop being too hard on yourself is to stop comparing yourself to others. You are your own person, everyone is different and even people with chronic illnesses capabilities are different. Focus on you, what you can do, what you can achieve. Small steps towards your goal are better than non at all. If you are moving forwards, you are still moving. Still progressing. This is all that matters 🙂
2) Don’t set unrealistic goals.
Unrealistic goals is a perfect example of being too hard on yourself. Make sure that you goals are achievable. You are automatically setting yourself up for failure if your goal is too high or if the time span to do it in is too short. Be realistic and think about what you could achieve. Set small goals. For example, if your goal is to walk your dog on a 3 mile route that you used to do then start small. Set your short term goal as to walk with the dog for 5 mins, twice per week. Gradually increase the goal each week. Progress is progress!
3) Don’t be too hard on yourself.
When you were well it was easier to complete every day tasks. Having a chronic illness makes it harder but there are still things that you are able to do. There are so many achievements that you do each day. So many things that you can celebrate. Even if it’s just that you got up and got dressed – you have still achieved something. We are always very quick as human beings to jump on the negative. Focus on the positives. Think about what you have achieved and congratulate yourself. I myself am guilty of this. I had my 6 month catch up from the ACT course recently and it is one of the things we spoke about as a daily reminder.
4) Be kind to yourself.
When you have a bad day and those negative thoughts start spiralling – be kind to yourself. When you didn’t achieve the goal or didn’t get much done – be kind to yourself. “You did your best,” or “You had a go.” Let go of being hard on yourself. Be disciplined in talking positively to yourself and as in step 3 think about what you have achieved. Hold onto this and tomorrow is another day. Be a friend to yourself. Think about how you’d speak to a friend in your shoes. Talk to yourself in this way.
5) Split jobs into chunks and pace yourself.
I used to be the type of person when I was first diagnosed that would put this unrealistic expectation on myself to do things the way I had before. The fact of the matter is that I would burn out. Burn out’s just lead to frustration and frustration led to nothing being done. Splitting jobs into chunks is a really easy thing to do but makes things so much more manageable. Say for instance cleaning the kitchen. It could be chunked into tidying, sorting food in the fridge, cleaning the sink, cleaning the sides, cleaning the floor. One job is split into 5 more manageable jobs. You don’t have to do all 5 jobs in one day. Pace yourself. Do what you can do in this moment.
One of my favourite things to do is to put a favourite song on or a favourite album and see what I can get done in that time. Often as I become more productive it spurs me on to do more but on those flare up days just a fave tune is enough to know I have that time frame to complete something.
So there you have it. 5 ways to stop being so hard on yourself. Are there any others that you would add to this list? I’d love to know 🙂