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Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017 Recovery & Renewal

"Days come in all colors, even gray." –sign on a Mt. Fløyen trail, Bergen, Norway
The new year is a milestone, a point in time to take stock of your life. We evaluate the last year and make plans for this next one.

Some of us had a rough 2016. For some of us that's lingering into 2017. Our lives don't know that the calendar says January 1.

Here are some thoughts I've collected on dealing with a tough time and getting through recovery.

  1. Have a flexible recovery plan.
    Whether it's a medical progression or a plan you've compiled, have something to work towards. Make sure it's fluid. Humans are so different and situations change, so don't get upset if you miss a goal. The plan is a guideline, a path. 
  2. Accept that what works today may not work tomorrow.
    Maybe you found the perfect pillow, maybe a shake that picks you up. Don't get frustrated if that doesn't work as well tomorrow. You'll find something that works today.
  3. Find things that work.
    While #2 is very true, you can't stop trying to find things that work. Ice on a recovering break. Really good shoes to help you walk. One, single chocolate to focus your mind. Mindful breathing techniques. Some things just work. Keep a list of them so you can try them again on bad days.
  4. Know that for better or worse, things change.
    This feeling doesn't last forever. As you move down the path of recovery, you might find a new fresh pain, but it'll pass just as the last one did. Even if it seems worse, at least you're moving forward.  
  5. Run a kitten search.
    Sometimes you just need an internet search for kitten pictures to lift your spirit. It's hard to feel blue when looking at a little fuzzball of a cat playing with string. This is my favorite video: Ninja Cat
  6. Ride the cycles whether it's pain or sadness. Know that it will come and go and that's okay.
  7. Keep moving and get out when you can.If it's dancing a bit when you brush your teeth or wiggling toes with a broken ankle, keep your body moving. Go get the mail. Go with your spouse to the grocery. Get the sunlight and fresh air.
  8. Get a coloring book. Coloring books are all the rage these days. It really is a great diversion. You can find a coloring book for anything. Flowers, patterns, Doctor Who...
  9. Put get well cards or nice pictures of family/places where you can see them.
    These reminders will make you happy. They'll remind you that you are loved and that there is a big wide world out there. 
  10. Stay hydrated and eat regularly.This will help you avoid headaches and help ease aches. The apple, orange, or handful of nuts will keep you fueled as you recover. It'll give you a spike of energy and the nutrients you need.
  11. Expect aches all over.This is more for physical recovery, but whether it's from sitting around, crutches, or other stress, you'll have aches outside of the affected area. Pay attention and give them care.
  12. Play mindless games and watch shows you've watched before.You might be tired and spent. Your mind is just exhausted. Put on a movie or show you've watched a million times. Play an easy game. It's still stimulating, but it's not as tiring. It might bring up good memories as you hear a punchline to a joke you've heard before.
  13. Remember how long is been. (It's not as long as you think.)
    It may seem like an eternity, but if you count the days from when your recovery started, you'll likely find it's not as long as you think. 10 days? Only a month? You're doing great for such a short time!
  14. Give yourself an extra day before you stop doing something that works.
    If you feel your meds are working and it's time to reduce the dosage, wait a day. If you think you're ready to up your exercise routine, wait a day. The delay in recovery and frustration from pushing it too far isn't worth it.
  15. Keep a list of milestones and accomplishments (even tiny ones).
    The first time you were able to brush your teeth alone. The first time you could cook again. The first time you had energy to go out with friends. These are important to track your recovery or to look at during rough days.
Just remember, whatever you're going through, it gets better when you're on a path to recovery. While the minutes seem like days, and the days seem like weeks, it will change, like it or not. Just trust yourself, listen to your mind and body, and work toward happiness and health.
    Here's to a wonderful 2017!

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