With the new year right around the corner, many people are starting to think about their resolutions. From career advancement to romantic endeavors, it’s easy to look at January as a fresh start. And while these lists can get a bad rap, capitalizing on that sensation of newness isn’t a bad idea. In the spirit of the season, we’ve pulled together a few great ideas for New Year’s resolutions for people who live with chronic illnesses.
This one’s for you! Be kind to yourself in the coming year. It can be easy to get down on yourself when you hit those periods of low energy or motivation. Instead of falling deeper into your slump, create a plan of attack. And by an attack, we mean an arsenal of self-care and affirmations to get you through the tough times. You’ve likely heard the truism that you honey works better than vinegar, but remember that it’s true for yourself as well. Promise to gently but firmly push back against self-criticism in the new year.
Put Yourself First
Every morning, you start out with a finite amount of time to focus on yourself and others. How you choose to parcel out that time will greatly affect your mental health. It’s so easy to try to save the lion’s share for your family, your coworkers, and your friends. Instead, try putting yourself first. This will look different for everyone, of course. Perhaps you need to delegate tasks at work or say no to plans with friends.
Starting a Routine
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a chronic illness, you may have a new list of physical therapy exercises, foods to avoid and other needs to juggle. Sit down and plan out how your days, weeks and months should look for the next year. Consider going to sleep earlier to get in the amount of sleep you need to combat fatigue, or setting yourself up for success by writing down when to take medications. Look up recipes that fit your dietary restrictions and consider scheduling important appointments with your doctors sooner rather than later.
Make Gratitude a Priority
Similar to practicing kindness, gratitude is another way to focus on the positive. Perhaps it’s as small as being grateful for getting out of bed in the morning, or as big as a huge milestone with a diagnosis or a treatment plan. Don’t skip past acknowledging the good parts of life. Whatever your goals for the new year, a chronic illness doesn’t need to stop you from living your best life — whatever that may look like.