What are the first three most important rules of staying healthy when you struggle with a chronic illness? 1. Moderate, 2. Moderate, 3. Moderate. Stress and Busyness are killer symptom-activators for chronic illness. If you want to stay healthy, you have got to moderate. Do I sound like I’m preaching a sermon? Well, I’m not preaching at you, I’m preaching to myself. That’s right, I’m the worst when it comes to moderating.
Stress is my middle name. No, actually, it’s Réne, but it seems like it’s “Stress” because every time I turn around I have something stressful knocking on my front door. Recently it has been mold growing in my oldest son’s room. We had to get a Mold Remediating Company to come to our house… blah, blah, blah! Yeah, it was a headache of stressful proportions. I have lived my life surviving one thing after the other with the mentality of closing my eyes and stating to myself “This too shall pass… this too shall pass… this too shall pass…” It definitely passed, but it was always replaced by that next stressful thing.
Obviously I have had it wrong this whole time because my symptoms have been totally out of control. Sticking my head in the sand like an ostrich definitely isn’t the answer, is it? So what’s the answer, if life is full of stressful and unhealthy busyness that we can’t control? What can we do to not just survive life, but actually learn to master our life and even enjoy life despite our stress and busyness? The answer is moderate.
So what is moderation? The definition of moderation is: the avoidance of excess or extreme’s in one’s behavior. The action of making something less extreme. The Thesaurus says: self-restraint, restraint, self-control, self-command, self-discipline, temperance, leniency, and fairness.
Basically, what we’re looking to do in our lives is to avoid excess. If we can control the busyness instead of the busyness controlling us. When things get stressful, as they will inevitably become, it’s important to take that step back and ask ourselves what we have stopped doing in our disciplines that we need to get back to. Are we going to bed at a descent time? Avoid extreme bedtimes. Are we drinking a moderate amount of water? Not too much, not too little. Are we exercising moderately based on our physical ability? Again, avoiding extremes.
Sometimes even our disciplines feel like too much when life stresses us out. So sometimes we need to take a further step back and ask ourselves what we need to do. Last week I was at the point where I was so stressed out I was at my max. So I canceled everything. I needed a week for a checkpoint to figure out what had gone wrong. I called my doctor. I spent some time rejuvenating spiritually, emotionally, physically. It was a mini self-imposed vacation.
Sometimes you’ve got to do that for yourself when things have gone too far. You just can’t force yourself through forever. Nobody has a “get up an go button” that works forever. Invariably it breaks and it should break. Instead of forcing yourself through the stress, you need to find a different way to handle life’s stress. I have found that that different way is the first three rules of staying healthy… moderation. See if it works for you.