Sharing the Journey: Health Goals for the New Year
The Sharing the Journey series is by you and for you. In your own words, we highlight the perspectives and personal experiences of people who struggle with lupus each day.
This month, we asked Sharing the Journey participants the following question:
As we approach the new year, what is one thing you plan to do better in 2020 when it comes to managing your health?
As we enter the new year – and I feel like I always say this – but I really need to change my eating habits and exercise more to improve my health. A way to ensure this is to make a realistic goal and deadline and if I meet it, I can reward myself with something I’ve been really wanting like a new purse, trip, or shoes. – Kyra
I will do a better job at keeping a record of my symptoms along with medication and life changes that may impact my health. I truly believe there is a correlation but because I haven’t done the best at tracking trends, I have been unsuccessful in proving the correlation. If we take the time to really reflect on how we feel, the environment we are in when having symptoms, the mental state we are in when these symptoms occur, and what medications we are taking and their side effects, we may be able to identify a trend and correlation that just may save our lives. I implore you all to do the same, whether you document on paper, on your phone, special apps, etc. We are our best advocates. Let’s all take better care of ourselves in 2020 so we can fight and win together! – Angel
In 2020, I plan to try to de-stress. My job is a huge stressor for me, and stress is a huge trigger for my lupus. This is something that takes work, and I'm not 100% sure how I will achieve this yet, but I know I need to do it. – Leslie
Reflecting on 2019, I intend to de-stress my life going into 2020. We don’t have control of everything in our lives, but there are stressors that we allow to affect our health by how we react to them. There were several things that took place in 2019 that I didn’t manage well and could have handled differently. When I realized that as a lupus patient, those unwanted moments of overreacting, over-exertion, and over-eating can make a big difference in my lupus symptoms, I knew I had to better manage my stressors. Being mindful that some things aren’t that serious has become number one on my list for 2020. In 2020, I’m planning to declutter my mind with unwanted thoughts and replace them with thoughts that will put me in a better mood. This is huge for me because I can be so emotional with so many roller coaster moments in my life. In 2020, I will definitely be more balanced and have patience in everything I set out to do. – Sylvia
For the new year, I plan to be more forgiving of myself when flares occur. Sometimes it’s easy to get wrapped up in all the negatives of having this disease, causing discouragement. So, I plan to just take it one day at a time and remind myself that there is something positive in this journey, that I am strong, and that I will get through it. – Roxi
The upcoming new year is a great opportunity to reflect and meditate on both your trials and victories within the past year. For your lupus journey specifically, it gives you a chance to holistically evaluate how you’re coping with your symptoms and if there are things you can do to improve that experience. Here are a few great places to start:
- Make sure you’re eating healthy. Though there’s no lupus-specific diet, eating a well-balanced, nutritious, and varied diet can make a difference in how you feel every day. To get you started in the right direction, you can take a look at our Expert Series on diet and lupus or read more about your options for healthy eating.
- Create an active routine that makes you feel good. With varying and unpredictable symptoms of lupus, it can be hard to find ways to stay active. Here’s a few low-impact exercise routines designed to boost both lower and upper body strength. Talk to your doctor before giving it a try.
- Find ways to manage stress. Stress happens in everyday life, and particularly while navigating lupus, but practicing self-soothing, de-stressing techniques can ensure it doesn’t become overwhelming. Getting better sleep,practicing yoga, and trying meditation and mindfulness are all ways to minimize stress.
- Keep a detailed log of your symptoms. Tracking your symptoms carefully can help make your lupus a bit more predictable, as well as ensure more productive doctor appointments. Use our symptom checklist to get you started.