Looking after your health can be exhausting. Where do you start? Perhaps with the ongoing everyday necessary actions such as ordering, collecting and taking medication. And of course the regular, even though perhaps only annual, GP reviews of that said medication.
How about watching what you eat? Some of us are advised to lose weight to help with their damaged joints, or may have allergies that require a special diet. Many people have diabetes that impacts greatly on what they eat. It becomes more complicated deciding what to eat and how much to eat, menu planning, shopping, and cooking. (Most fast foods are not friendly to anyone who has to monitor food intake for whatever reason.)
Exercise is important to maintain health, and movement. The daily gentle exercises that ease joints to stay mobile takes time. The ongoing exercise to keep the body healthy in general can take even longer, and can take more time than the person whose mobility is fine and clocks up steps walked in their daily activities. My daughter routinely clocks up 20,000 steps in the course of her shift, twice the recommended daily amount. I struggle make it to anywhere remotely resembling 10,000 steps over the course of a day. Arthritis says no!
In the past week, I have received reminders to make appointments for health checks, some of which had been put on hold due to Covid, so are later than usual. In a flurry of activity, I have booked appointments for the opticians, the dentist, a smear test, and a diabetic check. Hopefully they will slot in blood and urine tests alongside the other GP visits. I have tried to space these so that I have time to recover in between appointments. The journeys to and from the various venues will be exhausting, let alone the appointments.
And probably the most exhausting thing I have done recently is the review of my Personal Independence Payment – pages of questions that need careful thought before writing anything down. How am I on my bad days? Let me finish filling in this form and I’ll let you know.
Pain is exhausting in itself, without any added activities, such as those necessitated by daily living! Thinking is exhausting when your cognitive functions don’t run as smoothly as they should. Being tired is exhausting, especially when the tiredness stems from the disability and limits activities, which adds pressure, which can lead to tiredness. A never-ending circle.
When I think about it, I think we need to give ourselves a big hats off. Living with disability in its many shapes and forms impacts our lives, and we are still getting on with it. Take care of yourself, seek support when you need it, and rest when you can.
Written by Portland Jones, Disabilities Liaison for Pagan Federation Midlands