By: Alyssa Landreth
Here is a list of how I define success:
1.) Striving for health
2.) Living at a pace slow enough where I can comfortably engage with my own life.
This short list is one that embodies my revised definition of what success looks like in my life. It used to be a much longer list, one that contained a chase for perfectionism, aspiring to obtain titles, and being the type of person who did ‘all the things’ by overcommitting and doing out of obligation.
My mental and physical health were at rock bottom in 2016. At the end of the year I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and now I’m picking up the pieces of 2016 and putting myself back together. It’s a process –– one that I am still very much in the middle of, but one I am very committed to. Everyday I’m getting closer to finding success in the way I’ve defined it for myself. Everyday I’m finding out what works for me and what doesn’t –– how I can be available for my health and for myself: the pace at which I am best able to engage with my life.
I don’t have it all figured out. It’s absolutely different for everyone. That being said, here are five ways I’ve been able to get closer and closer to both health and slowing down for myself:
1.) Invest in Your Health - Stretch and walk consistently. Put time and money where your priorities are. For me, that’s acupuncture, doctors appointments, counseling appointments, investing in essential oils and the right vitamins/supplements. See professionals when you need to.
2.) Schedule Boundaries Where Possible - I don’t schedule anything before noon. I don’t even leave home before noon. I take that boundary very seriously, dedicating it as space to be available for myself, as my body and its needs tend to be unpredictable. I use that time to lay on a heating pad, read, journal, make my to do list for the rest of the day, yoga/stretching, etc. - Give yourself breaks throughout the day to breathe. I take a nap/rest time every afternoon for one-two hours.
3.) Celebrate little victories- For example: “I was out of the house for three entire hours!” or “I was nice and gentle with myself today when it was tempting to be mean.”
4.) Keep Living Spaces Clean- People who have known me for a long time are going to laugh at this, as I have the least likely track record to be someone to promote tidy spaces. However, I have found that it truly does help my mental health and overall wellbeing when I keep my living space clean and tidy as much as possible.
5.) Reach Out to Safe People - For example: “I need someone to come with me to this appointment. Will you join me?” or “I’m not well enough to drive to the store. Can you drive me?” or “I need to verbally process what I’m experiencing. Can we meet up sometime soon?” or “I need to cancel because I’m not feeling well/other reason/no reason explained.”I’ve had to let go. I’ve had to grieve. (A lot. For months). It hurt. But I’m here. And I’m healthier and more content because of it.
A friend said recently, “You’re going to have to make hard choices, but you’re going to make them, and I want you to know you’re not stuck.”
The same is true for you. Make hard choices to prioritize your health and your own definition of success. Commit to them. Know you’re not stuck.