Winter is just a season, it comes and a few months later it goes. Chronic illness can be like a winter season in our lives, not a permanent condition. So… when will chronic illness GO? Most of you are done with it! Over it! Ready to get back to life!!! Persevering through illness is really not much different than the winter season we see outside. Put on your winter coat and walk this out with me…
I know, it feels like chronic illness is a permanent condition. If feels like we get stuck in it and there is no way out. Others unenlightened opinions attempt to convince us that illness is a life sentence and all their doom and gloom is true.
I just simply don’t agree. It is not just my opinion, it has become a reality. It has become my life experience that chronic illness does not have to be a permanent condition. It can be a season of life. It certainly is the winter season!! It is cold, isolating, miserable and incredibly difficult to dig out of the suffocating avalanche but it can be done.
Sure, chronic illness is the bitter winter season but it can be just a season. So let’s get-on with getting-on with persevering through it. You will never hear me say it is easy or quick but you will always hear me say that IT CAN BE DONE. If you still have breath, you still can have hope.
Feeling Snowed in and Stuck in Illness
It is okay to feel stuck while we are chronically ill. That is just simply how it feels at times. Well, okay, a lot of the time that is how it feels.
When we feel like we are under an avalanche and can’t dig ourselves out, be still. Waiting out the snowstorm and letting it melt IS actually doing something. It is holding on to hope which is the greatest skill of illness one can have (or learn).
Persevering does not always mean fighting, battling and pushing our way through everything at every moment. It can actually mean actively waiting out the snowstorm so that you are ready to move on when it is time.
Persevering means persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Our modern society struggles with delayed gratification. We have got to get past that immature thinking. We just simply don’t always see daily success during the winter season. But that does not mean it won’t come in time, with perseverance.
There are times to let go of the “battle” of chronic illness. Stop fighting everything. Stop shoveling snow frantically when there is a blizzard outside AND you are under an avalanche. Stop being fearful of not making it out alive. Be still for a moment. Let things be for a moment. Take a breath. Feel the snowflakes on your rosy cheeks.
Baby, it’s simply cold outside, it is a winter season, it will pass IF you allow it to.
It is about learning when to be still through the trials and tribulations of chronic illness. Our bodies just simply need to rest from the hard work of healing from chronic illness at times. Doing the work in waves instead of constant battle gives our body time to recharge. Taking breaks, snuggling down for a snowstorm, gives us a moment to rest our weary bodies and minds.
Not Giving Up – Seeing the Forest Through the Trees
Have you noticed how we become mircro-focused on our aches and pains and problems? All of the problems seem insurmountable. We get buried in the burden of the problems and issues of chronic illness.
We get so lost in the endless trees of problems that we lose sight of the bigger picture, the whole forest.
No doubt, there are more issues, problems and challenges than anyone could imagine until you find yourself in the shoes of a chronically ill person yourself. The experience can be all-encompassing. We can get lost in that forest and never find our way out. Unless we can rise above it all. To see a birdseye view of the forest so we can get a grip on the bigger picture.
Do we need to locate a road out of the forest or do we need to chop down the forest? Each person is going to have a different journey walking out of the darkness of being lost in the illness forest.
How does one chop down a forest? ONE tree at a time.
Persevering One Step at a Time
How does one walk out of a blizzard? ONE step at a time!
What can you do today, during this blizzard? The snow is too deep to run, you can barely even walk. You have a winter coat but you don’t have snowshoes or a map. The blizzard is so thick you can’t even see past your own nose. How are you going to do this? One step at a time…
Pick something you can do TODAY, while in the winter storm of illness — the downtime…
- You can snuggle up to a fire and watch it instead of TV
- You can drink a warm cup of tea with winter spices that warm you from the inside
- You can write a handwritten note to a loved one without being rushed
- You can watch a movie that suits your mood
- You can call someone you are missing
- You can turn off all computers and phones, and just listen to the roaring majesty of the blizzard outside
- You can piddle around the house, whatever that means to you
- You can find the time to locate missing items in your home
- You can pull out some healing tools you haven’t used in a while; like essential oils or a castor oil pack, etc
- You can binge on health summits instead of meaningless TV
- You can better get to know any human that you are stranded with
- You can REST your body and mind because there is nothing better to do — you are in a blizzard for the moment
There, without much thought, I came up with 12 ideas. Certainly, you can apply one of them or create one of your own while you are experiencing the downtime of illness.
Never a Straight Road Out of Illness
You already know all this stuff. You clearly know that there are days that you see improvement in your health and there are weeks and months that you take a step (or 10) backward. It is not a straight road out of chronic illness.
Just stay on the road. There will be slippery curves that you have to slow down for. Bend with the road. Staying ON the road is more important than racing through and never making it.
Remember the warnings we learn about driving in hazardous weather? When in winter hazardous road conditions, slow down, take it easy, pull over if you are not able to proceed. Great warnings.
What if you push too hard in trying to get your health back? What if you find yourself crashed during this winter storm? In case you crash, STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE. Don’t wander so far away from the road that you can never find your way back. Be still, help is on its way!!
There will be times during our winter season of chronic illness that we crash. That is part of the journey. It is about what we do with those crashes that make the future ones less difficult. While you are sitting waiting for help, give yourself a pat on the back for surviving the crash.
Find Fun During Your Winter Season of Illness
Since you have already crashed, already stuck at the side of the road, already sitting there waiting for help, find some fun. Make the very best out of a bad situation. Much easier said than done so you might have to create fun for yourself.
What does one have in a blizzard, SNOW. Baby, its cold outside and you feel stuck, might as well use what you have and get a giggle going. Blow some steam and some snow. It will get you to take deeper breaths and relax your body. It will get your mind off of your worries. It will get you to be in the moment, not in the misery.
Finding fun makes the time go faster as the sun comes out and the snow melts away. There is another season of life coming. Winter will pass.
PERSERVERANCE: continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition: the action or condition or an instance of persevering: STEADFASTNESS~ Merriam Webster
Exactly why would anyone put this much effort towards a wellness journey? Only because they believe it is possible to be intensely chronically ill and walk out of it alive and with health so that we can have a meaningful and productive life.
We usually cannot see that clearly while walking on this difficult illness road, but we can have a very clear HOPE that keeps us moving through this dark winter season.
Where is Your Focus?
Your life will go down the path that you are focused on, even when it is a very slow and painful winter season you are enduring. So what can you do today to persevere?
We can say all the right words but if they are not in our hearts and in our actions, they are meaningless.
I will help those who ask me for coaching through chronic illness. And I will choose to stay on a wellness path myself, at all times. After digging out of that almost deadly avalanche, I will never forget how bad and how scary chronic illness can be. I am choosing to support others in their efforts while they are going through it.
There are now tools to make this so much easier than ever. Health coaches are supposed to have the tools to educate, to encourage, to show others how to rise above the difficult circumstances of chronic illness. My toolbox is overflowing at this point and I just keep adding to it.
Don’t get stuck in the winter season of chronic illness, reach out for help. Contact me
Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Music can be fun and soothing. Use it for health!!