The last couple of days have been challenging. We tried reducing my medication dosage two days ago(because of the nature of the medication I am on it is important to reduce my dosage as quickly as possible whilst managing symptoms). This resulted in a massive relapse in muscle pain, joint inflammation and rashes. I laugh now, but when I tried to get up yesterday the only thing moving were my eyes.
Prior to my relapse, I had some good solid days and we thought I was on the home stretch. I think what my relapse made obvious to me was how fragile my condition is and that this could be a long journey. This journey has shifted from a short sprint to an endurance race. As a result, I am realising how important it will be to be patient with my recovery. Being patient is defined as being able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. I love this! Because it is exactly the attitude I want to have. It’s not always easy – but it is what I want to strive for. My attitude is one of the only things I have control of at the moment and I want to make it count!
My recovery journey reminds me of mid-semester. What I found to be the toughest point of the semester. You’ve gone hard submitting the first round of assessment and meeting external expectations. You’re exhausted. But now you have to prepare yourself mentally and physically for the second half of the semester on a near empty tank. This is the point where, unfortunately, a lot of students drop out – burned out, frustrated and lacking confidence.
In many regards, this feels like my mid-semester. But I am so thankful for what I have learnt about being patient and persevering over the years.
For my friends who are going through mid-semester, below are some of the tactics I employ to persevere through mid-semester.
Find something to be grateful for. For example, when I struggle and feel overwhelmed by my university work, I stop and reflect on how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to study and work towards a degree. I remind myself that “I am so privileged to be in the position that I am. I have the opportunity to learn and develop my skills”.
Breakdown your tasks. Write a list of the things you have to achieve and prioritise them. Get your tasks out of your head and onto a new medium so you don’t have to waste energy trying to remember everything. Writing task lists helps to balance your cognitive load. You’re tired and stressed, you don’t need more things to think about.
Set yourself goals. Without goals and a vision of where you want to be, you’re going to stay where you are at best but more than likely you’re going to fall. Goals give you markers of encouragement along the way. Our brains’ are wired to seek out cues and rewards (the foundation of habit cycles). So set yourself goals (cues) and spoil yourself with a pre-determined reward.
Get connect. Talk to someone about how you are feeling. Don’t try and struggle through things by yourself. Even a quick, heartfelt debrief can restore your confidence.
Get active. Sometimes this is the last thing you want to do. You feel like you don’t have time or the energy, but staying active is critical! Your body craves it. Exercise releases endorphins, and continual regular exercise reduces how hard your body has to work – giving you more energy.
Take it a moment at a time. One foot after the other.
– Romans 5:1-5