And tips for ending the year constructively
At this time of year, I like to reflect on the previous year and find a positive way to leave it behind, before setting intentions for my year ahead. For many this hasn’t been a great year. The pandemic didn’t have that much of an impact on me though because I got a nasty virus that caused a really big knock back in my health. The limitations place on society by the government trying to keep people safe had nothing on the limitations placed on my body by illness. I’m sharing this because I know that even if it seems like you’ve had a terrible year, it’s important not to dismiss the parts of it that were good. We have a bit of a natural bias to focus on the bad but if we want to live a happy life, we can consciously challenge that bias by choosing to focus on the good.
I don’t always get to do this process in a timely manner, but I find it a useful exercise event if I’m late. You may already be into the new year by the time you read this but you might like to join me and use the main headings anyway. It’s a great way to put 2020 behind you constructively.
Things that worked well for me in 2020
Surrendering to what is
When I was very poorly, I was forced to surrender to not being able to do. I discovered peace in this. When I completely let go of any expectation, I had for myself, I found my rest more refreshing and I felt a little better sooner. As I got a little better, I was really careful to continue to surrender, using effort as a sign to stop. I became really good at not expecting myself to do more than would come with ease.
Valuing tiny purpose
One of the things that helped me let go of my expectations for myself was to value every little thing I could do and every tiny way I had purpose. I chose to put a really high value on the fact that I was preparing fresh healthy meals every day. I valued my purpose in doing the online grocery shopping, even if it meant I didn’t have the energy for anything else that day. I also valued the purpose I had in adding love to my home.
One thing that I’m always teaching but don’t always succeed in practising to the extent that I’d like to, is trust. But this year I got really good at it again. Every time I was faced with a struggle, my choice to surrender was supported by a trust that all would work out well. There were some wonderful examples of how that trust served me. I found that I ended up with just the right amount of work that I could cope with, and bizarrely enough, every time I doubted my energy was good enough for a client session, the client would cancel before I got a chance to.
One of the symptoms that came with the big knock back earlier in the year was sore and congested lymph nodes. When the doctor cleared me of it being anything more worrying than a worsening of the ME/CFS, I decided to take some action to remedy it. Dry brushing really helped when I felt up to doing it. What was difficult was adding another task to the already depleting chore of having a shower. I do it when I can though and feel confident that it’s doing me good.
An unexpected discovery
Unfortunately, along with the other new symptoms, my inability to move much when I was so poorly left me with very stiff and painful hips and knees. Something rather miraculous happened though, the NSAID (naproxen) I was prescribed to deal with the joint pain actually lifted my energy and baseline of functioning quite substantially. On discussion with my doctor, I’m now taking it for a month or two (along with stomach protectors) to see if having enough energy to be consistent with my self-help again will get me to the point that I no longer need it.
Getting straight out of bed
I’ve always found that the key to my most effective self-help was my morning routine, and the key to my morning routine is getting straight out of bed. This has been a real struggle for me for a while though even before my big knockback, and I’d found my tai chi and meditation getting less and less consistent. However, with my boosted level of functioning from the medication I tried again and the results have been so positive that I haven’t missed a morning since. I now get straight up, go downstairs and start my hot water and lemon while I read for a while and come round. Coming downstairs has meant that I can easily top up my hot water and I’m drinking 3 mugs before breakfast now instead of just one and I know that’s making a difference. I’m also usually feeling ready to do my tai chi by 7.30 and am finding it easier sit straight down to meditate afterwards.
3 achievements from the year
- Keeping my membership program running for 11 months and the progress made by the members
- Creating and running a new course for dealing with stress and overwhelm
- Using my experience of chronic illness to support people to deal with lockdown with this blog
3 things I’m grateful for
- The love, support and understanding of my parents, providing me with a home and a space to heal.
- The technology that enabled me to connect with others online, especially the three support groups that I am a part of.
- My readers, followers and clients who have stayed loyal throughout this difficult year and enabled me the satisfaction of a bigger sense of purpose even though it may have been on a gentler scale than in previous years.
3 things about myself from 2020 I’m letting go of
- Saying in bed too long in the morning
- Eating more than I need to for comfort
- Feeling I should be doing more than I can
And finally, join me in a commitment…
As I leave 2020 behind me, I joyfully let go of all that did not serve me and open myself up to a new year full of opportunities for fresh healing, growing peace, expanding love, profuse gratitude, flowing abundance and blissful joy.
I wish all this and more for you in 2021!
Original images by Akash Kumar Nayak and Free-Photos from Pixabay
5 thoughts on “6 Things that Worked for Me in 2020”
Great article Julie – wishing you better health for 2021.
Thanks Angela, You too!
Such a positive article Julie and well written too. It inspires me. I am going to copy your statement for 2021 as I can’t think of a better one and I might add something if that feels needed.
Maura from P O 8 Online group.
Thank you Maura, It wish it all for you!
This was a lovely read! Your website is such a beautiful place, it has your warmth and calmness all over it.
It is interesting how different our experiences are, even though we experience similar hardships from ME, our approaches to find improvement can be so individual!
For me it actually works best if I stay in bed as long as possible in the morning, a slow start works best for me (I am better at night, unlike you) and it prevents me from immediately ‘starting up’ and then not being able to settle down again. I wait until I absolutely have to leave the bed to go to the toilet or to get breakfast. The longer I cocoon, the less hours I have left in the day to overdo it.
Drinking a lot in the morning is something my doctor recommends, as it helps restore blood volume (that is lost during the night by sweating).
I loved reading your lists of 3.