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Stay tuned for weekly articles of interest to people trying to manage the competing demands of a job, family, pets, medical conditions and their own physical maintenance.
Managing the demands of life is difficult enough for most people. Then one day you come out of a doctor’s consultant with a diagnosis and referrals to specialists. Your life just got a bit more complicated – or a whole lot more complicated. Now you have to fit in taking care of yourself.
You know how sometimes you used to skip breakfast because the mornings were just so hectic and you have to catch THAT particular train or you’ll be late for work? Not so fast. NOW you have to find time for breakfast because you have to take medication and that medication must be taken with food. No scoffing down those pills on an empty stomach – that’s just asking for more trouble.
You’ve been busy the last few years and your exercise regime has fallen by the wayside. Suddenly finding time for exercise is mandatory. But you feel tired all the time now, hitting the gym or even just walking around the block is more challenging that you thought it would be.
I’ve experienced days where just getting off the bed was so painful I didn’t know how I’d actually get on my feet. I also knew once I did get on my feet, once I got moving, my pain improved dramatically. This will NOT be the case for every person immediately: those suffering chronic pain, for example, may need to work slowly to desenitise their nervous system. Just because something works for one person does not mean it work for another. We are all different.
Years ago I spent a lot of time working out – then I got too busy and I let it go. After all, I rationalised, I can get back to it when things settle down. This can be a psychological challenge post-diagnosis: for a competitive person, finding I could only leg press about 30% of what I used to be able to do was demoralising and demotivating. I had to fight that feeling of uselessness. I felt completely incompetent in a gym setting, yet I knew strength training was important for me.
The challenges those of us with chronic conditions face are not just medical. There are social, family, financial and psychological challenges. We have to examine our values and goals and reset some if not all of them.
Learning to pace ourselves can be the biggest challenge. Maybe working full-time is no longer the best thing for us, despite the financial ramifications. Maybe our current career is not helpful to us physically. In my case, sitting for long periods, being stationary, is not pleasant (and that is putting it mildly). A sit-stand desk helps greatly: changing careers to one with greater movement helps much more.
We need to prevent the de-conditioning of our bodies.
None of this is likely to help us manage our conditions long term.
If your doctor hasn’t already told you to “get exercise” (as mine did), ask if exercise will be beneficial for you.
Then let’s Limber Up to Live Life.