Surviving my life hurdles in December 2017

Yay, December is here and I’m feeling festive!  It’s my birthday too in a couple of weeks so I’m sure I’ll be doing plenty of celebrating.  I’ve had another mixed month, with highs and lows but the highs have been great and helped to make up for the lows.  Am I completely ready for Christmas?  No!  I still have so much to do but I’m really looking forward to enjoying it with my family and I hope you are too?

December 2017 goals

Did I achieve my November goals?

I think I met all of my November goals partially but not completely.  I did a bit of pampering, some organisation ready for Christmas, some photography presentation and wrote a seasonal blog post.  Yes, I could have done more but I don’t think I did too badly when up against yet another nasty cold which aggravated my MS.

Learning to live a little

I felt great on my good days this month so I fully made the most of it.  I was able to do a bit more driving and even took myself swimming twice (ok so I stayed for 15 minutes and only did about 12 lengths but it’s still progress)!

We even went shopping in Manchester for a few hours as a family which was fantastic.  It was great being able to go, although it was absolutely exhausting and I had so much fatigue after.

It’s the little things like this which help to keep me positive and make me feel like I’m on the right track with the diet and lifestyle changes I made a few months ago.  There are certainly no miracle improvements but even a slight change feels amazing and I will take what I can get!

My main achievements

Parenting and family

I’ve been enjoying being able to look after my son a bit more in the mornings and we have been going on little strolls after breakfast which has been really lovely.

advent activities

I’ve also had so much fun coming up with and preparing an advent calendar of activities suitable for my 3 year old which I can’t wait to get started on and enjoy together throughout December!

Creative and fun

Creative Christmas tree ornaments

Preparing my seasonal blog post was so much fun!  I created a creative Christmas tree ornament craft tutorial, which I will try later on this month with my son as one of his advent activities.

Christmas crafting

It was great shopping for all the different Christmas craft materials I needed and then getting it all out and just have fun being creative.  I’m so glad that despite my MS I still get to be artistic and crafty.  I might not have as much energy but one thing I do have now I’ve finished teaching is a lot more time (and a lot less stress too)!

My December goals

Health and wellbeing

  • To keep up all my hard work with my diet and lifestyle changes now Christmas and all it’s tempting food is approaching.

I think Christmas is going to be a real test of my resolve.  I’ve always loved chocolate and cheese and I’m sure I’ll really miss all my Christmas treats!  I need to find some healthy alternatives which are quick to prepare and don’t involve around 50 ingredients.  If you have any suggestions I’d love for you to share them.

I also want to continue swimming as well, whenever I’m able, as it’s such a great form of cardio exercise for anyone with MS if they’re able to go.  Let’s hope I get a few more opportunities to go throughout December!

Parenting and family

  • To have fun completing our advent activities together and to have a great family Christmas!

I’ve tried to keep our planned advent activities low-energy and manageable so we can all have fun together.  Wish me luck and I’ll let you know how we get on!

Also, I’d love to have a great family Christmas, as we all would, which for me means to just enjoy being together as a family, without putting pressure on myself to do more than I can realistically manage or try to be too perfect.  If it means I have to decorate the Christmas tree in 3 sittings with rests in between again this year then I need to stop beating myself up about it and just enjoy doing what I can!

Caz from Invisibly Me wrote a great article recently about perfectionism which I think is an issue which impacts on so many of us at this time of year.  Please check it out if you haven’t already!

Creative and fun

  • To lighten up a little, stop taking life so seriously and enjoy having fun!

An unusual happened the other day.  I was out in a public setting (which doesn’t happen as often as I’d like now) and I was sat next to a group of people whose behaviour was so completely alien to me that I was genuinely shocked by it.

They were giggling, acting light-hearted and carefree and just a little bit silly.

I wasn’t used to it and it made me realise how much this relaxed attitude to life is missing from my life.  I’ve always had a tendency to be serious and worry about things too much but since MS forced itself into my life I often feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders.  There’s no space for feeling light-hearted when every day is about navigating fatigue and whichever other MS symptom(s) of the day I’m experiencing.

But you know what, life is more about always being serious and focusing completely on survival, it’s about enjoying what you can and seeing the funny side of things.  So my goal for December is to do things which make me to forget my worries every now and then and just have fun!

Blogging

  • To come up with a detailed plan of where I want to take my blog over the next year, the articles I want to write and the ideas I want to focus on.

In January my blog will be 1 year old and when I wrote my first article I never could have imagined what a great experience blogging would be.  I’ve met so many amazing people, I have a brilliant support network and a great creative outlet too.  But even more importantly, I’m helping others with their problems, even if it’s just by letting them know they’re not alone.

I was recently really pleased to discover my recent article, 9 ways to help manage your fatigue (part 2), has fast become one of my most popular blog posts in a really short space of time.  It’s things like this which really help to keep me motivated with my blog and I’m really looking forward to creating some new chronic illness blog posts.

The new year is a great time too to take stock and set some fresh goals.  Watch this space for plenty of helpful, personal and interesting content in 2018!

I really hope you have a great December and that your Christmas preparations are going well!  Wishing you all the best.

December 2017 goals

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6 thoughts on “Surviving my life hurdles in December 2017”

  • Again another fab read lovely! I love your adventures calendar for your son, bless him it’s so good and lovely little walks sounds lovely I love swimming too.. but our local pool is always so busy and I’m always afraid that I’ll get shoved out the way by an expert! I’m going to see if they have any women’s only evenings, maybe it will be a bit quieter lol.. chocolate and cheese will be my test over Christmas too.. I’ve found vegan chocolate is a good substitute lol and dark chocolate is good and a little healthier for you I hope you have a wonderful Christmas xxxx

    • Thanks Hannah! I was really worried about being trampled by seasoned swimmers too but it really wasn’t like that as I chose my session carefully like you say (no general swims just ladies only for now)! It’s so hard trying to eat well but I keep telling myself it’s worth the effort. I was really excited to eat out at a place with a vegan menu yesterday, however I was so disappointed as most of the vegan food I couldn’t eat due to all the coconut oil! Oh well, at least eating well will hopefully help to keep me healthy in the long run! xx

  • Great post as always Natalie. Made me feel excited about the festive season! Like you, I need to remember to enjoy it for what it is and not try and be too perfect! It’s wonderful having little ones isn’t it to really get you in the Christmas spirit I think this is the first year my son understands it and he’s really excited! Well done with the swimming by the way xx

  • I think chocolate and cheese can be healthy, or maybe swap the chocolate for the good ol’ fashioned cheese & pineapple (calcium and fruit!) Love reading about your goals, and such a cute calendar for December! You are doing such a wonderful job for your son, and there are some great goals for yourself too – I’ve never been to Manchester but the time out to do something different sounds fab, it’s just the exhaustion after doing a day out that can be so awful. Still, you did it and you should be proud. Here’s to a wonderful December, with plenty of fun and rest too! 🙂
    Take care, sending hugs xx
    Caz 🙂

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