In 2018, I did some reflection on the importance of self-improvement with a chronic illness. It’s something I wanted to do prior to my diagnosis: live my best life and become the person I imagined I would be when I was fifteen. Unfortunately, I allowed myself to get side-tracked in my twenties and it took my diagnosis and becoming a mother to finally realize that I needed to make changes.
Taking the steps toward self-improvement while managing a chronic illness can be overwhelming. Knowing where to begin and what to do was discouraging. Looking around online, I saw wellness challenges, but rarely geared towards someone with a chronic illness.
These “regular” challenges were great for someone who didn’t have to fight fatigue, numbness, and the depression that came from coping with an illness. It was hard to make the logical leap to tailor them to my needs. It felt overwhelming to even attempt to do so.
That’s why I wanted to take the opportunity of the new year to create a self-improvement challenge geared specifically for people with a chronic illness. You don’t have to have a chronic illness to join, so if you are just looking to make some small changes in your life at a stress-free pace, this challenge should work nicely for you.
New Year; New You
I always love the new year because it gives me an opportunity, mentally speaking, to view my slate to be clean. To riff on an Anne Shirley’s quote: the new year is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.
Many of us make resolutions and vows of how we plan to approach the coming year, though I am notoriously bad about waiting until today to come up with any thoughts on the matter. I decided that I would be more proactive in 2019, so I created a challenge that I would be willing to undertake and share it with my readers.
As you make changes, big & small, so will I. We’ll take this year as an opportunity to improve ourselves together.
The Challenge: Self-Improvement with a Chronic Illness
Dealing with MS and any chronic illness can lead a person to feel stuck and unable to make any meaningful forms of self-improvement. I know that not long after my diagnosis I was dealing with a lot of heavy emotions that I froze for a few years. But deep down I wanted to make some personal improvement changes, though I didn’t know where to begin.
This wellness challenge works within that specific framework: I want to make changes, I am not sure “how to” or “where to” start, but what I am currently doing isn’t working.
For 2019, I am challenging readers to make the self-improvement changes they’ve always wanted to do but were either afraid to start or didn’t know how to start due to a chronic illness.
What the Challenge is…
This Challenge is a gentle way to work on self-improvement no matter the situation. All the mental and emotional exercises, thoughts, anecdotes, and research will be arranged for the user to make meaningful life changes, rather than a quick fix. This challenge also is:
- accessible no matter your level of fitness, physical abilities, state of your illness, and financial situation. If you want to make changes, you can.
- free. You will not be paying for any aspect to participate.
- focused on making positive changes.
- support-based. There will be a corresponding Facebook group where you can talk directly to me and others participating in the challenge.
- a chance to make the changes you’ve wanted to make no matter what they are.
- drop-in/drop-out. If you only want to do a quick short-term goal, we will be working in 3-month chunks of time. If you are coming to this challenge later in the year, then you’ll be able to get a couple of goals done before the end of 2019.
I will provide the framework needed to start you on your journey. This framework will contain the tools you need to easily personalize your own journey to wellness.
What the Challenge isn’t…
This isn’t a weight-loss challenge. This isn’t a healthy eating challenge. If you want to lose weight or eat healthy, you are welcome to make that your final goal but do not feel like it is the only path to self-improvement. This challenge also isn’t:
- about making you feel bad about yourself or your goals. Everyone is unique and beautiful and any positive life-change is a good life change.
- expecting you to follow everything by the letter. I do recommend following as closely as you can, but it’s meant to help you in the best possible way. Only you know yourself best.
- requiring big life-goal changes. There will be several short-term goals and one long-term goal, but all goals can be as big or as little as you need them to be for the year.
- going to be easy. While we will be focusing on a gentle approach to each week, there will be moments towards deep, meaningful changes that may be unpleasant to reflect on. You are encouraged to go at the pace best suited to your needs.
As stated, this challenge won’t be easy at times (but why call it a challenge if it was?). There may be times where you want to give up, but I am going to encourage you to keep going because by December you can reflect over this year with pride.
Making the Most of the Challenge
If you haven’t done so already, please sign up for the weekly newsletter. This is where you will get the weekly challenge updates, writing prompts, free printables, special offers, and all sorts of exciting information I want to share with you, my reader.
I am reverting back to my 3-day-a-week blog posts, but you’ll only have access to my third post through newsletter subscription, so make sure you sign up so you don’t miss a single post from me.
MS Mommy Blog this Year
You may have noticed that the blog switched from MS//Mommy to MS Mommy Blog. With the new year comes a new look and some slight re-branding. The blog has a new logo and set up, so please check it out if you haven’t had a chance to do so yet.
Looking forward to taking this exciting new journey with you!
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