Kick off your spring cleaning by cleansing your calendar!
Do you find yourself having to cancel or reschedule dates/appointments more than usual because of pain and exhaustion?
Are you committing and scheduling like you did before your chronic illness?
The reality is that no matter how carefully you plan, if you aren’t planning with consideration for your diseases, your number of cancellations will only continue to grow.
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Spring Cleaning Tip Number One: Pad Your Calendar!
One of the reasons I have been able to increase the number of commitments I have made is that I schedule them with each of my conditions in mind.
For every date I scribble into my planner, I pad it by blocking out a few days before and after. Commitments that are going to require an extraordinary amount of physical/mental commitment are granted larger amounts of time.
Following this one simple rule has minimized how often I cancel because it gives my body time to rest up beforehand as well as time to recover. I mark these dates on my calendar so with a quick glance, I know not to make plans on those days.
These blocked-out dates don’t always mean that I won’t do anything on them; if I am feeling up to it, I may go out to dinner or a movie. Those outings are usually last-minute invites that sometimes work out. Blocking out dates keeps me from planning too many physically taxing activities too close together.
Spring Cleaning Your Calendar Tip Number Two: Minimize Commitments
I had to get over my need to please everyone and accept every invite that came my way. A choice had to be made. Either I stopped making plans with everyone, or I needed to limit the amount I made.
The degree of minimization depends on my physical status. When my psoriatic arthritis is in remission or when my endometriosis is behaving, I allow myself to plan more than when all of my conditions have declared war.
Be warned that friends and family may not understand this in the beginning. Many of mine felt that I was choosing someone else over them or that I was distancing myself from them. This, of course, was not true, and after a while, they could see how this also benefitted them as I was able to follow through on what I had planned.
Do what you can
Decluttering your calendar won’t guarantee that you will be able to fulfill every date you make because, let’s face it, our illnesses have a mind and secret schedule of their own. However, I have found the more I cater to them by planning with them in mind, the more they allow me to go out and play.
You can’t please everyone and your body at the same time. Since we have to live in our bodies, doesn’t it make sense that they should come first? I doubt my loved ones would want me to end up bedridden for months or in the hospital just to please them.
Are you over-committing?
Start documenting how long it takes your body to recover from an outing. Then use that as a guide if you are new to padding your calendar.
8 thoughts on “Spring Cleaning Your Chronic Life: Cleansing Your Calendar”
Minimizing commitments is really important when you are chronically ill. I like to leave my schedule flexible.
Yes, I find the less I put on my schedule the more I am able fulfill commitment.
Margin is something most people in general don’t leave in their lives – and I agree, it’s especially important if you are dealing with a chronic illness. I’m planning a fairly aggressive travel schedule for teaching this summer and have to be super smart about leaving margin for recovery. Or it will all fall apart.
Hope all goes well for you this summer.
Thanks for this great reminder! I have found this system works best for me as well. Right now we are house hunting and I have told our agent to book 3 – 4 places within one area and have at least a day in between trips. We go out in the morning so I have the afternoon and next day to rest. So far it has been working well.
Way to go! You’ve got this down 😎 . Good luck on your house hunt.