Every year, different news outlets run stories about the most popular New Year’s resolutions, and every year, the same two things top the list:
Lose weight, exercise more.
But for people living with a chronic illness such as colitis and other digestive disorders, these types of resolutions can often be off limits.
New Year’s resolutions for people with chronic illnesses can still happen, of course. Setting small goals – or choosing a specific, attainable goal – can be less overwhelming and improve overall well-being.
Here are some resolutions you may want to tackle this year:
1. Let go of guilt
Your illness isn’t your fault. Neither is needing to decline invitations, or needing special accommodations. You didn’t ask for this, so let go of any guilt.
And here’s a second, and perhaps more difficult, resolution to go along with it: if there’s someone in your life who makes it a practice of making you feel guilty for your illness, it’s time to let them go.
Talk to them about how their guilt trips are toxic. If they persist, it may be time to remove them from your life. At the same time, this might be the year where you work on trying to…
2. Forgive others
Sometimes people might say or do things related to your digestive disorder that make you feel bad. They might claim you’re faking, or make snide remarks when you need to excuse yourself during a gathering.
If you’re thinking about New Year’s resolutions for people with digestive disorders, try this one: Forgive the people who make these comments. Hanging onto grudges doesn’t help them, or you.
That doesn’t mean excusing hurtful words and actions connected to your digestive disorders. Forgiveness is about giving yourself the go-ahead to let go of pain. You should still try for an honest conversation about why the things they said/did hurt you, and help them understand the situation
3. Diet and exercise
This isn’t the same as “losing weight.” Focus instead on eating better this year. If you’re having a snack, try to choose, say, some berries over a bag of chips.
And while “Get to the gym every day” might not be feasible, you may be able to start exercising more often in a way that works for you, whether that means walking or lifting small weights. Talk to your doctor to see what kind of exercise will work for you.
4. Be kinder to yourself
When you live with digestive disorders, it can be hard to love yourself. You think you should be able to do everything healthier people can do, and when you can’t, you’re hard on yourself.
So, we’ll close our list of New Year’s resolutions for people with chronic illnesses with this advice: be kinder to yourself. When 2018 gets here, don’t call yourself things – weak, lazy – that you wouldn’t let someone else call you.
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