Tag Archives: motivation

Choices That Reflect Acceptance of a Chronic Illness

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Have you accepted your chronic illness? I mean really accepted it??!! Because, if you haven’t, you are most likely making your life harder than it has to be and increasing your pain in the process.

“Accepting a diagnosis is what puts us in charge. Yes, our illnesses are the reasons for having to make changes to how we do things, but we are the ones who decide what we are willing to do in order to decrease or limit our pain. If my spine is throbbing, I can either choose to use a wheelchair or walk. If I choose to walk, I am guaranteed to send my pain level through the roof and sentence myself to days or weeks in bed. I may still increase my pain level if I choose to use a wheelchair or motorized shopping cart; however it will be less than if I hadn’t used them. When we decide to put our need of a lower pain level above our belief that we have to do things like we used to, we WIN.”

~Quote from Make Pain Your Bitch: How to Dominate Your Chronic Life

The choices you make on a daily basis reflect whether you accept your illness or not.  You can fool yourself, but I can see if you really have accepted your illness.  If you refuse to make modifications to how you do things, schedule your agenda, and care for your body, you haven’t accepted that your chronic illness is incurable.  If you choose to stay home rather than use a wheelchair or rollator, you haven’t accepted your illness.  If you insist on keeping the same type of schedule that you did before becoming ill, you have not accepted your disease.  If you refuse to make dietary changes, you haven’t accepted that you have an illness that could benefit from those changes.

Acceptance is reflected when someone doesn’t throw a fit every time they have to make modifications or eat differently than they did before.  It is evident when they don’t allow the use of a mobility aid to tarnish an outing.  Acceptance is visible when the person isn’t constantly running themselves into the ground.

I know, I know, you think that by doing those things you are changing your life and in turn giving into your disease….. But I’ve got news for you, your illness has already changed your life and no amount of fighting it will undo it! In my eBook Make Pain Your Bitch: How to Dominate Your Chronic Life, I explain why making modifications and changes are forms of winning, not losing.  I challenge you to examine your life and behavior so that you can make changes that will help you live passionately and purposefully.  If you enjoy feeling like crap, hanging out in the emergency room, begging for pain medication, or watching your friends and family move on in life while you remain at home, then keep doing what you are doing. However, if you want to start living and are open to living differently than you did before, click here to download my book NOW!

My experience and advice won’t cure you, but if you follow my advice your life will improve! How do I know?  Because I have been there!! I used to think that I was winning by not making changes.  I also spent a lot of time in the emergency room and at home alone……….

My life was nothing like it is today.  It took years of trying different things and making modifications to get where I am at now…… Was it easy? Hell NO!!! But it was and still is worth all the hard work.

What are you waiting for? Start making chronic pain your bitch today!

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This post contains affiliate links.  Meaning that at no additional cost to you, I receive a commission when you make a purchase through my links.  The proceeds fund the giveaways for my Facebook groups The Disabled Diva’s Fitness Buddies and Disneyability.

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Use Your Words

Use Your Words

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“You are so much fun.” My friend said that to me in between tear-producing guffaws as we laughed about me trying to park the car (a common struggle for me). I didn’t even acknowledge the comment because I was still attempting to park, and my brain was processing her words slowly. I heard them, but they settled into my brain and didn’t truly get digested until later. Ever since they’ve regularly echoed in my mind and heart and made me smile.

How wonderful would it be if we told people what we like about them? It’d create a ripple effect of joy and positivity. So often, we wait for a special occasion or possibly even someone’s funeral to share what we admire, value, and appreciate about them. Sometimes we’ll say it to someone else but not to that person. For example, let’s say you’re getting together with two of your friends that have never met each other. You tell Friend A that they’re going to love Friend B because of their great sense of humor and kind aura that makes everyone feel at ease. Here’s my question for you. Have you ever told Friend B that you love those things about them? For many people, that’s a “nope”!

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My challenge to you is not to wait to tell people what you admire, value, and appreciate about them. Truly, we never know how much time we have to tell them, so why not do it now?

Yes, it feels a little strange. A little vulnerable. Out of your comfort zone. If you’re an introvert like me, it’s even harder. You might find that sharing in writing is more comfortable—a note in the mail, a text, an email. A video or audio clip sent privately on social media is another option. Whether you want to tell someone that you love how they seek out newcomers and make them feel welcome, express your admiration for their always-on-point eyeliner, or share with your spouse that you appreciate how they do that chore you hate (even though they hate it, too), keep it simple. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or long and flowery. It can be an offhand comment while you’re in the car together or a quick Facebook message. Feel free to make it “bigger”, though! You might want to share in a heartfelt face-to-face chat or long note in a card. Depending on your relationship with that person, what you want to acknowledge, and your personality, you’ll approach it differently. You can even use this post as a segue… “Hey, I saw this blog post about not waiting to tell people what we appreciate about them, so I just wanted to say that I love how you [insert awesome thing about them].”

Need some help getting started? I like this list of loving expressions. I challenge you to share your heart with someone once a week! We show how we feel through actions, but don’t forget to use your wordsWords are so powerful; let’s use them to uplift others and strengthen relationships! Who will you share with first?

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What if Cinderella had retrieved her glass slipper?

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Had Cinderella gone back for her shoe, she would have had two shoes, but she wouldn’t have become a princess.
How often you find yourself going back and trying to do things that you haven’t been able to do since you became chronically ill only to discover that nothing had changed, that it was still too difficult to do? I am not saying that desiring to do some of those activities is altogether terrible, but have you considered that there may be a whole new set of activities waiting to be discovered?
It’s not like Cinderella never wore two shoes again, she just wore different shoes.
You can spend your life constantly looking backwards in search of lost shoes or you can accept your loss and slip your foot into a new pair. A new pair of shoes may not be the same as your old ones, they may feel restrictive at first or a little wobbly, but as long as you don’t toss them in the back of your closet they will lead you on great adventures!
Need help moving forward in your chronic life?
Purchase and download my eBook Make Pain Your Bitch: How to Dominate Your Chronic Life to be motivated and inspired to move forward by creating a life that won’t constantly bring you down. Click here to order your copy today!

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Tired of your chronic illnesses running your life? Take back control and possibly reduce your pain by making pain your bitch! Click here to download your copy today!

Motivation

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“You’re so motivated!”

“I wish I was as motivated as you.”

I get these comments sometimes, and here’s the truth. I’m actually pretty unmotivated most of the time. Motivation can fade. Motivation is a feeling, and there’s going to be many times where you’re “just not feelin’ it”. You’ve heard people say, “I was going to [insert goal/task], but I ran out of motivation…” Motivation might get you started, but things like habit, commitment, dedication, determination, and discipline must take the place of motivation to keep you going. Even those don’t guarantee perfection and 100% success. We’re human. Life happens. We get tired. We get distracted. We’re in a rut. We get out of the groove. We might even get totally derailed. If you struggle with mental health like I do, battling your own brain will often get in the way; you only have a limited amount of mental energy. I often don’t have enough dedication to go around (and motivation = long gone), so I must prioritize and set aside or scale back on some goals for a while.

There are two kinds of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is an inner desire—self-motivation. Extrinsic motivation comes from an external pressure or expectation of some sort of external affirmation or reward. Whether you’re doing it for yourself or for some reason outside of yourself, identifying the source of your motivation can be helpful, especially if we feel motivated for negative reasons.

Ensuring that our motivation comes from a positive source can be important to long-term success. Negative motivation can fizzle fast and lead to a bitter mindset. Maybe you feel motivated to exercise because someone called you a lazy slob. This extrinsic motivation is negative. However, you can re-frame that negative situation and change your perspective, deciding to commit to bettering your health for your own reasons, so your motivation is now intrinsic and positive. If you decide to pursue exercise because you hate how your body looks, this is intrinsic but negative. Not all external motivation is negative, and not all intrinsic motivation is positive. 

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By the way, sometimes your motivation will be both intrinsic and extrinsic and/or a mixture of positive and negative. Earlier this year, I went to Colorado for a corporate retreat; one of my colleagues and her husband are professional disc golfers. A few of us went with them to a course to play, and my motivation to not give up, even though I was pretty terrible at the game, was internal and external. I’d like to say it was all positive, but there was definitely some negative pride at play! Ha! I was so motivated that I became determined to have fun and finish out the course as best as I could. I spent a lot of time climbing through and over prickly bushes, even multiple times on the same hole, trying to make my shot from the middle of the brush! The company CEO even had to fetch my disc a few times when I chucked it beyond my reach in the vegetation! My motivation for playing disc golf began way before the game started, too, as I was self-conscious about playing since I knew I wouldn’t be good at it. However, I was motivated (and committed) to get out of my comfort zone and make the most out of the retreat. I almost didn’t even go to that retreat due to self-doubt and anxiety. Motivation and determination got me there, and it was a wonderful experience.

Lastly, identifying the WHY behind your motivation—whether internal or external—is also key in turning that feeling of motivation into something with more staying power. It might take you awhile to dig into the root of it, but figure out why you want to accomplish that goal or desire. Sometimes it’ll be simple, but a complicated reason may take you by surprise and lead to important self-reflection. Write it down, and put it where you can see it regularly. Being reminded of your “why” will help you stay on track when motivation fades and commitment is wavering.

You know what else can be a vital part of your success? Surrounding yourself with influences that model encouragement and dedication! Whether it’s loved ones that you spend time with, people you follow on social media, or books you read, fill your world with positivity.

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Motivation isn’t bad. We need that jump-start. But, like after you jump your car’s battery, you have to depend on something else for sustained power besides what gave you that initial jolt.

So, when you feel motivated to take on a big task or set a goal, determine the source of your motivation and that it’s rooted in positivity. Note your “why”. Fill your world with positive influences. Choose daily to be committed. (Sometimes, you’ll need to make that choice several times a day!) Create habits that’ll get you closer to your goal. What word resonates with you—commitment, dedication, discipline, or another one? With that powerful word, keep reminding yourself. I am committed. I am dedicated. I am disciplined. I vow to do this. I will persist. Lastly, don’t expect perfection. Learn from mistakes. Keep showing up. Don’t compare yourself with others. Appreciate your little victories and measures of progress, no matter how small or slow. Keep trying. Always keep fighting. You’ve got this.

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For 12 years fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, and psoriasis ruled Cynthia’s life.  Since then she has taken back control over her body and life and is winning the battle.  Find out how she did and be challenged to begin winning your battle too! Click here to download your copy today for only $5!

 

Baby steps are better than NO steps!

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stop beating yourself up

I posted the picture above in The Disabled Diva’s Fitness Buddies Facebook group this morning, because it is something that I have to remind myself of often.  Whether it be in regards to eating healthier or exercising, lack of progress feeds my insecurities and makes me wonder if what I am doing is really worth the effort.

I didn’t get where I am overnight!

One thing I have to remind myself of daily is that I didn’t get where I am overnight.  The weight I gained came from years of inactivity and comforting myself with food.  Sure, I could easily blame it on my chronic illnesses, but the truth is that fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, and endometriosis aren’t to blame, I AM!  For years I allowed pain and fatigue to control every aspect of my life and as each year passed by, the further out of shape I became.

Getting real with myself

I have struggled with weight since high school.  Prior to my invisible illnesses deciding to pummel my body with daily pain, I was at a healthy and acceptable weight.  It took a year of watching what I ate and daily exercise to reach my goal, so it would be unrealistic of me to think I could shed the weight I have gained since the fall of 2003 in a few weeks or months.  Another thing I have to consider is that I am 15 years older!!! I will be turning the big 50 this fall and let me tell you my metabolism is nothing like it was when I was in my early 30’s.

 

 

Accepting and rejoicing the progress I have made

I began getting serious about becoming as healthy as I can possibly be in January of 2017. Ten pounds is all I lost from that time until January of 2018.  TEN POUNDS!! At first I was pissed off by the number, but then I realized that those were 10 pounds that I didn’t have to lose this year! Not only that, but I developed better eating habits and my body stopped craving foods that aren’t good for it.  I also began craving physical activity.  This is something that I have never done, not even when I was younger.  Overcoming cravings, yearning to move my body, and losing 10lbs is progress that I never expected to achieve, nor would I had I done nothing at all.  So far this year I have lost 5lbs.  That’s 1.6666666667 pounds per month.  I could let this number get me down or I can be proud of myself for losing them.  I choose to be happy, because my eating habits and physical activity are continuing to improve.  While I may not be seeing significant results on my bathroom scale, I am seeing it in the mirror, in pictures, and by how my clothing fits.  I am down a pants size and am no longer embarrassed of having my body photographed.

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Baby steps

I began my fitness journey with baby steps.  I didn’t force myself into following a restrictive diet.  My dietary changes have taken place one at a time.  In time I will be following the diet that is perfect for my body, because I am taking small steps to allow my body time to adjust.  Had I decided to go full speed ahead and overhauled my diet to be what I want it to be right from the start, I would have quit.  Same goes for exercising.  I didn’t begin with walking 4 plus miles a day or using my rowing machine for 60 minutes at a time.  I had to take baby steps and began with 5 minute increments a few times a week.

My advice for you

Consider these three things if you are struggling to find a fitness routine that works with your disease:

  1. Search for physical activities that you are able to do, NOT what you wish you could do.
  2. Listen to your body and do what you can, when you can.
  3. Baby steps are better than no steps! You will never make any progress if you aren’t trying.

And when you’re feeling discouraged, remind yourself that:

  1. You didn’t get to where you are at overnight, significant progress will take time.
  2. You’re health is important! Having a chronic illness is not an excuse for not caring for your body.
  3. A bad day is just that, let it go and move on.  If a setback or flare requires that you reduce your activity or dictates that you have to start back from square one, that is okay!!!

Whether you have a chronic illness or not, The Disabled Diva’s Fitness Buddies are here to motivate, encourage, and support you in your quest to improve your health.  Click here to join us.

Finding an exercise program when you have one or more chronic illnesses can be difficult.  I suggest you check out Get Autoimmune Strong, an exercise program created for those who suffer from chronic pain.  The creator of this program is fellow chronic pain warrior, Andrea Wool.  The techniques and exercises she shares in her program have improved my personal routine.

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Tired of your chronic illnesses running your life? Take back control and make pain your bitch! Click here to download your copy today!

 

 

 

Fighting a Chronic Nightmare

Fighting a Chronic Nightmare

Nightmares often trigger unwanted emotions.  They may startle us, make us anxious, or terrify us.  Our first instinct may be to distract ourselves by thinking about something else.  However, through the many years of my life I have found dissecting and analyzing them to be more helpful and to my surprise I have learned some pretty interesting things about myself.

The other night I woke up screaming. Although I was having a nightmare, it wasn’t the dream that made me scream, but instead that I had bitten my hand! You see in this particular nightmare I was being attacked.  No matter how much I tried to fight off my attacker, I lacked the strength to release their hold on me.  Instead of giving up I bit them!!

While I could come up with a million reasons to explain this dream, there is one point that was very clear.  That point is that I am a fighter.  I refused to allow my dreamland attacker get the best of me.  Not only did I fight back in my dream, but I actually physically fought back by biting myself.  My husband and I joked that we now know why our dog chose to sleep next to him all night and not by me like she normally does.  I don’t always fight back in my nightmares.  Sometimes I run or hide, yet this is still a sign of strength.  Running and hiding aren’t the same as giving up.  Instead they are ways of protecting myself.

How does all of this relate to your chronic life?  As long as you are not giving up on living the best you can with a chronic illness you are fighting. Fighting isn’t always a physical fight. Sometimes it entails running to safety, like searching for a diagnosis, a new doctor, or treatment plan.  It may require hiding in a quiet place in order to give yourself time to create a plan of attack.

You might think that the lesson in this post is that sleeping next to me when I am having a nightmare is dangerous, but the real message of this blog post is this:

Every day that you choose to open your eyes to face another pain filled day, you earn your warrior status.  Whether you are running, hiding, or physically fighting, you haven’t given up.

Keep up the fight my friend and never forget that you are not alone!

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Join one or all of The Disabled Diva’s Facebook groups:

Dish’n with The Disabled Diva: Discuss show topics, play games, and more!
The Disabled Diva’s Alternative Chronic Pain Fighting Forum: A group for those who are either currently or thinking about fighting pain naturally and alternatively with CBD, MMJ, PEMF, diet, exercise, prayer/meditation, massage, and more…
The Disabled Diva’s Product Picks: Diva shares products that will help comfort you, improve your life, and make you smile.
Spoon Rest: Ran by The Disabled DIVAS this group is a place for the chronically ill to empower and encourage each other.

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An Extra Fabulous New Year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New year, new you? I bet you’re pretty fantastic just as you are, but we all have room for growth and improvement! Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I have some in mind that will make this year extra fabulous if you make them happen.

  1. Listen to your inner voice and your gut. Listen to learn and try to understand, rather than simply to reply, especially if you disagree with someone. This listening, learning, and understanding will foster healthy boundaries, growth, and stronger character and relationships.
  2. Spend more time in nature! Whether it’s going for a walk or sitting on your porch, it’s good for you! Even just remembering to open your windows/doors so you can hear the birds can add peace and joy to your day.
  3. Weed your mental garden. Give the negative forces in your life the boot. This could be negative people, your job, your negative mindset about yourself and your life, regrets, guilt, anger, letting reasons become excuses…. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and bring out the best in you. They’ll encourage you in your efforts to cultivate positivity! These can be hard changes to make, so don’t hesitate to seek the professional help of a therapist for support.
  4. Eat healthier. No, you don’t have to eat only organic or never eat a sweet treat again. (Nothing wrong with those goals, though, if they fit your needs!) Look at the bigger picture. Drink enough water. Eat “whole”, unprocessed foods made from scratch as much as possible. Limit sweets and junk food. Eat proper portions. Avoid preservatives, additives, and chemicals. Watch your sugar and salt intake. Pay attention to how your body and cognition reacts to certain foods and ingredients, and then see if you feel and think better when you eliminate the ones that you think might bother you. Talk to your doctor if you think you see a pattern.
  5. Move your body. Whether you’re able to do a heart-pounding workout or simply begin your day with stretches in bed, be intentional about moving your body every day. Playing with your kids, getting up to walk when you need to sit for long stretches, yoga, strenuous workouts, housework…. Anything that fits your needs and abilities that gets movement into your day will benefit your physical and mental health!
  6. Those last two are a huge part of my next suggestion: self-care. Take good care of your health–physical and mental. It’s so easy to put “me time” and self-care at the bottom of the pile when you’re trying to get through the daily grind. You are worth the effort and time. Set aside at least a few minutes every day to do something that recharges you and brings you joy and peace. This investment in yourself will reap lasting benefits not only for you but also everyone in your life.
  7. Laugh every day. The health benefits of laughter are many! Find something that you KNOW will get you chuckling so you have something to pull out on those glum days. For me, that’s funny goat videos on YouTube.
  8. Be kind. Give yourself and others grace, compassion, and kindness. Your kids when they’re driving you nuts, your spouse when they forget to do such-and-such yet again, that grouchy driver that flipped you off, or the negative Nellie online…. Create a ripple effect of kindness.
  9. Be uncomfortable. I’m not talking about sitting on the saggy part of your couch! Get out of your comfort zone. Consider another side of a topic that you’re passionate about. Truly learn about it; talk about it with those that hold opposing views, face-to-face if possible. Try something new, whether it’s a new food, attending an event, a hobby, taking a class, or a new way to improve your health.

 

 

 

Here’s another way to think about it. Instead of focusing on things to lose or remove from your life, think about what you want to add. More truth, kindness, growth, joy, respect, movement, sunshine, adventures, laughter, healthy choices of all sorts, positivity, contentment, learning….

What do you want to add to your life this year?

In this eBook Cynthia will help you examine your chronic life, recognize the areas that require change, and empower you to make them! Click here to download your copy today!

 

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