By Carie Sherman
It’s been too long, but I’m back. And I need your help. First, a quick update.
Did you know Lupus Colorado has a new executive director? We said goodbye to Debbie Lynch in 2013, who recently retired after many years at the helm of LC. She’ll be greatly missed, but she’s left us all in great hands. I recently met with our new director, Inez Robinson. There’s one thing I know for sure: 2014 will be an exciting year.
Second, I’ll continue to write this blog. We’ve already built a nice community, but let’s be clear: This blog is about you. So think of me as your own personal roving reporter. What information can I provide to that would make living with lupus easier for you?
It’s easy to leave feedback. It takes five minutes and it’ll give me peace of mind that my babbling is of interest and helpful.
Together, let’s continue building a community of people affected by lupus in Colorado and beyond. My goal is to bring together patients, caregivers, community members, and even health care providers, in the interest of making life with a chronic illness a little bit better.
Happy New Year!
By Carie Sherman
I’m feeling the stress of the holidays. I bet you are too. Personally, I’ve taken on too much work. And I’m using a crazy amount of energy reigning in my inner Clark W. Griswold. But I’ll be fine, and it’s for one reason: I am the proud carrier of the Lupus Card. And I use it anytime I’m about to:
- Add to my list of “Must Do’s”
- Beat myself up about an unrealistic expectation
- Let myself feel guilty about this failure or that misgiving
- Throw myself a raging pity party
Warning: The Lupus Card is not prestigious. Membership is not recommended. It offers no cash back or bonus miles. But it’s given me something money can’t buy: Much-needed perspective. You can borrow my card anytime by using this handy mnemonic to evaluate your circumstances. Try it and you’re bound to feel better physically—and emotionally.
By Carie Sherman
Last week I wrote about the three good things challenge, and I must confess: I dropped the ball. Or rather, I keep falling asleep way earlier than I intend. I made it through four days and skipped two. So, I’ll be starting over again this weekend.
(Do you have anything great to report? Share in the comments below please.)
It got me thinking about how we form new habits. Some seem very easy, like finding myself at Starbucks this holiday season to partake of their caramel brulee latte. Other habits, like writing my three good things, are a struggle. So here are a few tips I found on the interwebs that actually seem pretty helpful.
1) Start exceedingly small. Social scientist B.J. Fogg says this should be your first step. Want to exercise in the morning? He says the best way to form this habit is to take the very first step you’d have to take toward exercising. Fogg suggested this writer begin by simply lacing up her running shoes every morning for five days. Want to floss every night? Start by flossing one tooth every night for a week.
For three good things, I imagine this means starting by opening the journal I’ve set my bed. Or intentionally falling asleep (imagine that!).
2) Form a habit loop. According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, it’s all about the loop. First you need a CUE, a trigger that tells your brain. For three good things, that could be seeing my journal on my nightstand. The second part of the loop is the ROUTINE, which can be the physical activity (picking up my journal) or mental (recalling the three good things of my day). The final is the REWARD, which is how your brain will figure out if this is worth it. Science said that three good things IS worth it, and I imagine my brain will soon figure that out as well.
3) Believe change is possible. Both Fogg and Duhigg point out that we will sometimes fail. So we have to go easy on ourselves. Find someone to help you. Congratulate yourself on small successes. And above all, believe you can do it. I can write my three good things for 14 days, but now I know I need my hubby to nudge me when I start snoring away and clear my nightstand of candy wrappers and piles of books and magazines so I can actually see my journal.
Do you have any tips for creating new habits? Share them in the comments.
By Carie Sherman
The science is in and the results prove: A positive attitude is a key to better health. It’s as easy as taking five minutes for 14 days to reflect on the good stuff.
I recently heard a researcher from Duke University speak to an audience of physicians about using the science of mindfulness to combat a bigtime problem people in health care face: burnout. And I walked away with a tool–and a challenge–for us chronically ill sorts.
A Scientific Formula for Increasing Your Own Resiliency
I’ve never met a more resilient bunch than the people I know who have lupus. But day after day of feeling hungover (sans awesome levels of consumption the night before) can leave the sunniest dispositioned person feeling blah.