When dealing with chronic pain and other life events I find that it helps for me to understand where I am at in order to decide how to proceed. If my pain level is high, I am extremely fatigued, I am in crisis, or involved in a major event, I focus on the most pressing issue at hand (level 1). When I am dealing with a moderate amount of pain and fatigue, I can focus on balancing my everyday activities and relationships at a greater level (level 2). Level 2 is mostly where I am at. If I am feeling an abundance of energy and less stress in life, I can make some headway in my goals (level 3). During most months I find myself in each of these levels at some point. Because I can anticipate changes in my health, my doing some preparations I can allow myself to accomplish more of what is most important to me. This also helps me learn to let go, when my expectations exceed my abilities.
Take care of myself. Isolate myself to my key relationships. Ask for help in areas I can delegate. Ask family members what is most important for me to do. Complete work projects/appointments that can’t be changed. Exercise if possible. Connect with Higher Power in some way.
What are my priorities? Family, friends, spirituality, work, coaching, service, exercise. Daily routines help me keep up with household chores, exercise, connecting with others, and work commitments. I love creating lists. I also structure down town during the day, where I read, play games, journal, and/or rest if needed. I allow extra time for the unpredictable and try not to over commit. I set up tentative plans with my more spontaneous friends/family when my health feels shaky. I enjoy taking risks as well, to keep things lively and to test the waters, and strive to help others when I can. I am much more aware of the effects of stress, and aim to keep this at a minimum. Sometimes this involves removing myself from certain situations and people, and other times it is an internal process of discovering my thought process and personal expectations.
I think it is important for me to continue with planning and working towards my goals in life. Writing a book, creating a website, running, reducing my pain level, traveling, preparing my kids for college, etc. I may have to break down my goals into small steps, but it allows me to feel some momentum. Even though I may take a break from some of my goals because of health reasons, or situations in life, I can continue where I left off when it works. During level 3 days, I also increase my service to others.