Over the years, I've developed a set of what I like to call "rules to live by". These are little insights that resurface over and over again and describe the things I need to do to stay a happy Zoë and maintain a happy and healthy life. They usually become apparent in times of stress and upset. I've probably learnt the most over the last few years as I've come to terms with living with chronic fatigue and am constantly learning how best to manage it.
Whilst they are very personal to me (and I'm certainly not suggesting that this is what everyone must do!), I thought they might be of help or interest to others, so I decided to share them here. There are rather a lot of them, so I'll spread them over a couple of posts. You can read Part 2 here.
Just be me
Accept (and be happy) that what I want to do / like / makes me happy etc. will be different to others. Just follow my path, and don’t waste time thinking that I should like or do something else, because that's what everyone else seems to want to do. Do what nourishes me and makes me happy.
Don’t compare myself to others
Their lives, experience, health etc. is different to mine. And remember that often we only get to see the highlight reel - not their struggles.
Just compare myself to myself.
Create more, consume less
Spend less time looking at what everyone else has done online and more time creating my own things: photos, blogging, sewing, knitting and other crafty stuff. Time box internet time. I don’t have to respond to everything immediately - or at all, in fact. Need to spend time in the real world.
Keep my diary free and leave room for Zoë time
Don’t plan too much and don’t fill my diary. Leave room for “Zoë time” doing things I love and being creative, and time to act spontaneously and do things I fancy in that moment =
don’t worry about saying no!
Nurture relationships (the right kind)
Make time to maintain and develop relationships with lovely people. Arrange things I like doing with people I share common interests with. But don’t overdo it. Don’t be afraid to let those people go who upset me / I find difficult / I don’t relate to. Thing's change, we change, and we need different things and different people in our lives over time. Surround myself with like-minded, positive, respectful people. Be kind, be thoughtful and above all, treat others as I would like to be treated.
Eat lots of veggies, unprocessed wholefoods and avoid sugar. Go easy on the alcohol, especially if I’m feeling foggy and achey - it makes my CFS much worse. Make time to cook healthy meals and to prepare stuff: it’s important.
Exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep
Do yoga 5 x week - it keeps me grounded and my systems working properly. And walk as often as I can - slowly increase the amount I do. Go to bed in good time - put down the internet!
Go outdoors and enjoy nature
Get out regularly for fresh air and walks. And surround myself as often as I can by greenery, space, quiet and the sea. It nourishes me.
Do you have any rules to live by?