Self-Care Plans, Our Roadmap

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Map with text overlay: Self-Care Plans, Our Roadmap https://reclaiminghope.blog

Many years ago I had returned from overseas and was heading westward to my next duty assignment. I pulled out a map – yes, I said map, as in ink-on-paper, unfold-and-never-be-able-to-refold map – and charted my course for the 17-hour drive. I know I’m showing my age here, because in this day of GPS, some of you may have never used a paper map. Let me just say I hated the things, but they were a necessary evil if I wanted to find my way to where I needed to go.

I find “roadmaps” useful in many areas of life, but especially in the area of self-care. Sometimes when we think of self-care, we think of it terms of being reactive rather than proactive. We may look at things through the lens of preventing after-effects rather than having a plan to improve our overall health, but as I talked about in Pre-planned Recovery Days a while back, we need to be proactive in our self-care.

For those of us living with fibromyalgia or other chronic illnesses, having an overarching plan in place can help us be aware of what we need to do to feel the best we can. We may not always be able to stick to our plan, but having one gives us a direction in which to go just like a roadmap does, and it can help serve as motivation to keep us going forward during those times we feel we’re not getting any better, or even going backward. If you’ve lived with fibromyalgia for very long, you realize that improvement is not linear (Check out Lessons From The Grandpa Tree). There will be times you’ll feel you’ve taken some steps back, but then you’ll have that moment when you realize you’ve come a long way from where you were last month, six months ago, or last year.

Sometimes when we’re in the middle of those horrific flares or we feel as if we’re slogging through mud with every step we take, being able to take out our plan and say, “well, I can at least do ___________ today” can help us shake off the blues that naturally come along with the bad days and give us something other than how bad we feel to focus on. Doing that one thing from our plan can give us a sense of accomplishment and allow us to move forward.

When we don’t have a plan in place, it’s easy to become bogged down in the emotional aspects of feeling horrible. We don’t have anything objective to concentrate on and it’s easy to just let the negative thoughts and emotions have free reign in our minds. Of course, the result of that is that we feel even worse.

Our self-care plans don’t have to be complicated. As many of you know, mine is very simple, based on HOPE: Healthy Diet, Optimism, Prayer and Meditation, and Exercise. My first roadmap looked like this:

HOPE Plan - Healthy Diet, Optimism, Prayer & Meditation, Exercise https://reclaiminghope.blog

It can’t get much simpler than that, can it? Of course, since then I’ve added in things such as my pre-planned recovery days, my osteopathic treatments, stress reduction techniques….you know, the day-to-day self-care activities we engage in…

As people who live with chronic illness, we realize that we may not ever be cured, but don’t we owe it to ourselves to do everything we can to feel our best? Our self-care plan is our roadmap to follow in order to thrive, not just survive.

Do you have a self-care plan in place? If so, what have you found most helpful about having an actual plan?

Blessings,

~Terri

22 comments

  1. I like your roadmap for self-care, Terri. I am out of balance right now, with the move coming up and other things. Seems I’m pushing boundaries. I had to chuckle at the line: “Well, at least I can ______”, which is exactly what I’m doing today. Laying low and doing laundry to feel productive. Since travelling I have let go of treatments and your post has reminded me this is an important part of my care plan.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much V.J.! I don’t know if any of us are ever completely in balance, but I know a move can really cause you to push your boundaries. I have quite a few of those “at least I can________” days. 😊 I don’t know, it’s just the way I’m wired, I guess, but having that one little win for the day makes a world of difference in the way I feel about things. I hope you’re able to take care of yourself and not push it too hard with the move dear friend. Hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I realized this morning that it will be three months tomorrow, since I moved into my apartment. The closing on my house was last week. I can relate to getting off balance with moving. Rest frequently and hydrate.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This is fantastic, and you’ve made this so approachable rather than something that seems daunting or off-putting to contemplate. I love the small steps and how you can work up to them (like with the exercise) because every little helps and sometimes it’s important to remember we can’t always aim as high as we may like, but that we should still try to do a little regardless, to not let ourselves be put off and to focus on those things that we can do. Wonderful post, thank you for sharing your first roadmap as this is excellent inspiration! 🙂
    Caz x

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so much Caz! I’m so glad you found this helpful. I’ve just found that having a plan mapped out, even if life (or illness) gets in the way and I can’t follow it, helps me stay hopeful. Like you said, sometimes we need to remember we can’t always aim as high as we might like, but every single step we take forward is an accomplishment. Before we know it, those small accomplishments add up. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Terri your road map is unbelievably impressive! I absolutely love how well you have laid everything out in steps to make it not so overwhelming. You know I have been going through a lot with pain lately and this plan seems manageable and something that would be extremely helpful not just to me, but SO many others! You are an incredible person and I am truly thankful for you! How you describe HOPE is just brilliant!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much Alyssa! I’m so glad you found it useful! I just think the small, manageable steps are key, because there are many days for us where just getting out of bed is an accomplishment. Making our plan too difficult or trying to do too many things at once can set us up for disappointment and a feeling of failure. I really hope you get some relief soon; I know you’ve been in a lot of pain lately. Hugs!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I love your self-care road map! I’m a planner, so I do have a plan in place for each week, but I probably don’t plan nearly enough–especially in terms of food. I definitely need to step up my game!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Michelle! The meal planning can be a challenge sometimes, because I don’t always know what I’m going to want to eat. Sometimes I do my meal plans and then one day I don’t want any of it. 😊 The good thing is that if I’ve shopped for the meals I had planned I can usually come up with something different that I want, and if not, there’s always cereal ha ha!

      Like

  5. Great post Terri! I find taking little steps so much easier and achievable than big ones. I love the way you separate them into HOPE. Meal planning is so important too – I find it helps me stick to my MS healthy diet if I make sure I have the food in!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Jen! I agree with you that taking small steps that we can build on works much better than trying to do too much at one time. Meal planning definitely helps with staying on track with our eating, doesn’t it? Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

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