January is not a surprising month. It takes people a while to remember to write the correct year, your Facebook feed is full of people going hard at the gym, and all your friends are on new diets.
When you’re looking at the world through the lens of a chronic illness, the standard New Year’s resolutions might not always apply.
Or, if they do, not in the same way as everyone else.
So, let’s take some of the most common New Year’s resolutions and figure out how they work for those of us living with chronic illnesses.
3. Stay fit and healthy
Ok, are you done laughing yet? Good. Rare disease living seems at odds with being “healthy.” I mean, chronic literally means persistent, long-term. But just like many of us have had to adjust to a new normal, so too do we adjust to a new level of healthy.
Healthy doesn’t have to mean running marathons and going super organic vegan. If that’s what healthy is for you, then keep at it! Maybe healthy means going for a 5 minute walk as often as you can and not eating fast food when you’re exhausted
2. Getting Organized
Judging by the state of my room, I can guarantee you that this should be my number 1 resolution. I like to reframe “getting organized” as “reducing stress.” What things can you do in your day to day life that can reduce stress (which we all know is bad from chronic illnesses)?
Maybe it’s putting your prescriptions on auto-fill, or getting a 3 months supply instead of one month at a time. It could be breaking up chores so you do a little every day so that when you have a bad day, you don’t get overwhelmed.
1. Spend Less, Save More
Right, I know. When you pay an obscene amount for pricey drugs just to live with a chronic illness, any way to save money is a good thing–and something you’re probably already trying to do.
You can start by talking to your doctor to see if there are generic medicines you can take and exploring the pharmaceutical companies to see if they offer any co-pay assistance. A lot of foundations and groups have links to places where you can get co-pay assistance, too.
If that’s not an option, consider other areas in your life where something could be trimmed. Bonus points if it’s something that doesn’t always make your body feel the greatest. Looking at you, Starbucks, you beautiful temptress!