Thursday, August 13, 2015

Finding Balance

One thing that I struggle with is finding balance.   It's true that life is one big balancing act.  When you have a chronic illness like Lupus, finding balance can be even harder.  As a mom, I love spending as much time each day playing with my son as possible.  I also work as a real estate broker, which is time consuming too.  Add in finding quality time with Brent, keeping a clean house, staying on top of paperwork, etc and there is very little time left to remember to take proper care of myself.  When you have an illness like Lupus, finding balance and taking care of yourself just simply cannot come last.  In reality, it should come first.  My stomach turns at that thought!  My son and Brent come first in my life.  However, I am reminded that if I don't put my health first, then I cannot enjoy my time with them!   It is a constant struggle, both physically and mentally.  Chasing after a 1 year old boy with tons of energy is tiring for sure!  However, it's also extremely rewarding!  
I love this article from Molly's Fund, 10 Tips for Parents Living with Chronic Disease.  I've found many of the tips to be very useful!   But let's all be's HARD to actually put all of these tips into the day to day rotation.  Change is hard.  Changing habits are hard.   I am working on small changes.  

Listen, I think it's okay to admit that you need to do better.  I do.  I also think it's okay to admit that change won't come overnight.  Finding balance is a process.  Here are the top 3 things I'm working on right now to help balance my life and my health...

1.  Accept help!  Accepting help is hard for me.  I like being the one who cleans the house, cooks the meals, manages our son's day to day life, runs my business, etc.  I have recently decided to accept a small amount of help with each of these items.  At work I've started having other agents in my office handle some of my showings, which frees up some time in the day.  I also have a wonderful man who helps me out SO much at home, and that is truly a blessing.  We cook dinner together, and that's a great way for us to also spend quality time together!  And at the end of the day he gives our son a bath so that I can take some time to do a workout video, which helps me get in better shape which also helps my health.  Having help has been huge!

2.  Eat healthy!  I don't believe that any one specific diet helps Lupus.   People will tell you "eat this or don't eat that", but what I personally find helps is eating a healthy balanced (key work being balanced!) diet.  Life is short, I still love ice cream and that's okay...but I eat a balanced diet and try to make healthy choices.  What you put in your body affects how you feel.  With chronic illness like Lupus, that is SO important.

3. Exercise! I love love love putting my son in the stroller and going for long walks.  He likes it, and I like it too!  It gives me the opportunity to stretch my body, get my heart rate up, and is just so good for both of us.  Before having our son, I used to jog or run, and I hope to get back to that level of fitness someday, but for right now walking is just fine and helps a lot!  Getting some exercise each day will help you mentally, as well as physically.  It also provides some time away from your phone, computer, TV, and other stressors.  

With Lupus, I find taking life day by day is really the biggest challenge but also the biggest help!  Don't worry about a year from now, 10 years from now, or even tomorrow.  Today is the only day we know for certain that we have (and even then, we never know!), so make good choices today and take everything in life as it comes.  Finding balance starts by shifting perspective. 
And, worst case, if you have a bad day, there's always tomorrow!

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