I’m determined to do what it takes to survive my life hurdles and the best way of achieving this is to have a plan. I currently have lots of hurdles and lots of goals spanning a few different areas of my life so to make them more manageable and to help me to stay on track each month I will select a few to work towards to make small, yet hopefully powerful changes and I will update you every month to let you know if I’m successful!
Please feel free to join me in recognising your own life hurdles and creating your goals for surviving these- let me know how you get on!
Health and wellbeing
My current hurdles
Living with the aftermath of four MS relapses in the last year has impacted on my health massively. I struggle daily with high levels of fatigue, cognitive impairment and also inflammation and damage to my nervous system. My brain fog and means I’m currently unable to drive and I also have issues with my balance and dizziness.
Over the last year I’ve also struggled with high levels of anxiety and insomnia. I’ve found it difficult to introduce an exercise regime and I have to rest regularly throughout the day. Often I think it’s difficult for people to understand what my illness involves, especially as my symptoms can vary so much one day to the next. Relapsing and catching other illnesses, such as viruses have been a huge setback to both my health and wellbeing since my diagnosis.
- Manage my fatigue as best as possible and accept it is here to stay but work with it rather than against it.
- If I’m working on something which requires a lot of concentration, such as writing blog posts, to ensure I am giving my brain plenty of regular breaks to re-charge.
- To slowly begin to drive again, if possible, but sell my car if there is no improvement in the next few months.
- Continue to explore strategies to reduce my anxiety levels. Be open to trying new ideas and include what works best for me in my daily routine.
- Continue to explore strategies to improve my sleep quality, particularly how to get back to sleep after waking up in the early hours of the morning.
- To slowly build up my exercise regime by introducing new activities (if possible), such as yoga and swimming. Continue with my walking and getting outdoors every day for plenty of fresh air.
- Clearly communicate to friends and family my MS symptoms, thoughts and feelings, as they won’t understand what I’m going through unless I share my experiences.
- Accept that there will be bad times due to relapsing or viruses etc. and accept that basic survival is all I can manage at these times. Prepare for this in advance by batch cooking and freezing meals and anything else I can think of!
Parenting and family
My current hurdles
My son was 11 months old when I had the relapse which resulted in my MS diagnosis. Up until a few months prior to that time I had been feeling better than ever due to the protective hormones pregnancy and breastfeeding can provide. Following my initial relapse and more recent relapses my whole approach to how I parent my child has had to change. I still want to be able to do it all but the reality is that I can’t. Do I feel a huge amount of guilt that I’m not able to do everything that I want to with my son due to fatigue- yes of course I do, it’s unbelievably difficult! Can I change it, no, sadly not but my hurdle is accepting this and adapting as best I can.
I would also love to have another child but due to my ill health I also have to accept that with all the will in the world, sadly, this may not be possible for me.
- To concentrate on the things I can do with my son rather than beat myself up about the things I can’t and don’t sweat the small stuff.
- To surround myself with non-judgemental people who are open to understanding my condition and don’t make me feel bad about what I can’t do as a parent.
- If I’m having a good day to enjoy it with my son without trying to take on too much and making myself worse.
- Be grateful for the fact that I am lucky enough to have one child rather than being negative and focusing on the fact I’m probably unable to have more.
Finances and building an income
My current hurdles
Before my first big relapse back in 2015 I was working hard at my teaching career and making a comfortable wage. As we could afford it and as we had a growing family, at the start of the year we bought a four-bedroom house and took out a hefty mortgage. Personal finance has also always been something that interested me, particularly as I like the security of savings and being careful with my money ‘just in case’.
I tried hard to make my job work for me after I got ill and had a couple of failed attempts at returning to work before I had to admit that even with heavily reduced hours it just wasn’t a suitable job for me anymore. Fear and panic set in as my financial safety net of a well-paid and secure job disappeared. I worried we would lose our house, that I would never be able to work again and would have to go through the stress of applying for disability benefits with an invisible illness, possibly being rejected for these but not be capable of working either. Also, my partner in his line of work doesn’t have much job-security either, in fact he has already been made redundant once in the last year and the thought of neither of us bringing in an income absolutely terrifies me.
- Use our savings to bring down the amount we owe on our mortgage to make our monthly payments more manageable.
- Take more active steps to save money wherever possible; vouchers, cashback, deals etc.
- Take more active steps to make money whenever possible; prepare and advertise for a lodger, explore online/mobile money making such as making money online, using apps etc.
- Take steps to monetise my blog, where appropriate.
- To try not to worry about money so much- probably my hardest goal!
My current hurdles
Blogging is a whole new world to me so I have lots to learn. My health also means that I have to pace myself with my blog and accept there will be some days when writing blog posts will be easier than others and not beat myself up about it. I’m also a perfectionist and will probably over-analyse every single decision I make which will drive me crazy! I’m not always the most confident person either so it’s likely that I’ll compare myself to all the successful bloggers out there and feel like a failure, especially as my blog will never be perfect!
- Remember I have a plan for my blog but that I need to be adaptable and do easier tasks on my worst days (or rest completely if I need to)!
- Give myself a break and accept that ‘good enough’ rather than ‘perfection every time’ will do.
- Be inspired by other bloggers and learn positive things from them rather than compare myself and overly criticise my work or how popular my blog is.
- To accept that there will be successes and failures and to move forward positively from both.
- To enjoy my new creative outlet and to help make a difference in other peoples’ lives!