The Focus On You

*Motivational & Self-Care Blog*

Tag: fibromyalgia (page 1 of 4)

My Letter To Anyone Feeling Lost Or Stuck

This week’s inspiration comes from the major motion picture, “The Shack.” It’s an inspirational movie based off a best-selling book, which centers on the themes of faith, forgiveness and grief.

This post will share two major messages I took from the movie that can be applied to anyone who’s feeling stuck or lost.

You’re Not Stuck Because You Can’t. You’re Stuck Because You Won’t.

In this era of the “can’t even” complainers, it’s easy to use this as an excuse to avoid something. When people say they feel stuck, are their feet actually cemented in the ground? Think about the difference between “can’t” and “won’t.” Do you know someone who defeated the odds due to disabilities or restrictions in their life? Before I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I enjoyed running. I thought I wouldn’t be able to run a marathon because of my physical weakness. I watched people competing in a local Ironman event and I saw athletes with physical disabilities competing. They may have had prosthetic limbs but they still competed. Technically, I COULD run again. I pushed my limitations into the “I won’t” category and wrote it off. What do you tell your kids when they throw down their homework in frustration? Are you challenging their “I can’t”, with “oh no honey, you MUST!” How does that message apply to you?

What are you avoiding that is causing you to be stuck?

How can you move your “CAN'T” to the “MUST” stage? Click To Tweet

If Anything Matters, Then Everything Matters. Everything You Do Is Important.

In the context of this movie, these messages applied to forgiveness (no spoilers, I promise). One way to reach forgiveness is to continue to do kind deeds. In the midst of hurt and pain, there still has to be something that matters. Click To Tweet One of the characters explained how our simple acts and treasured values still have a place in this world, even when tragedy strikes us or when the world gets ugly.

This message is tough in the midst of the fogs of grief. Our values can get lost during tragedy, illness, major life changes or losses. Instead of telling ourselves or our loved ones, “Well you still have to work despite all this. You still have to be a mom/dad/parent, etc”, let’s share with them how much they still matter. Let’s give them the space to try to figure out their feelings. Figuring out feelings on top of a busy schedule can be overwhelming.

I see this play out with survivors of abuse. They have to move to a safer home, continue to pay bills, feed the kids, take them to school & daycare, make dinner and figure out how to stay safe from their abuser. Their daily routines take on a new level of importance and survival. Routines can overshadow their values, causing them to feel stuck or lost. As a therapist, I thank them for coming to their appointments and being fueled by courage. That hour in my office may be the only time they are recognized for their importance and value in this world.

I have been brought to my knees due to grief 4 times in my life. I could actually add one more if you include my fibromyalgia diagnosis. I’ll never recover from fibro. My body will never be the same. I felt like I mourned the loss of my healthy self.  But whether I mope on the sideline of a triathlon or not, everything I do is important. My values are still the same whether I am exhausted or not.

My values are stronger than my diagnosis.

My values are stronger than my physical pains.

Restricting myself to labels and excuses of “I can’t even” leaves me with what? Is it a cop out from life?

I don’t think two people could watch this movie and leave with the same emotion. Our childhood experiences, history of resentments and current messes are unique. Yet this movie begs the question, “What’s next?”

In the grand scheme of your life, what’s next? Where are your feet? Are they moving or are they cemented? Regardless of where you are standing, everything you do is important.





Chronicles From The Bench: How I Handle Being Sidelined

Exactly one year ago I fractured my ankle after a wild Friday night. Nah I’m lying.  I wish there was a cool story behind my ankle injury but it’s the most boring story ever. I missed the bottom step on the stairs while bringing down laundry. Epic. Fail.

When I landed I grabbed my aching foot like a running back after a nasty tackle. Like an athlete, I immediately worried about a broken bone, surgery and having my season end early. It was 2 weeks before Christmas and before a trip to Hawaii.

Luckily I was spared from the surgeon’s knife and only had to wear a boot for a few months.  I really only needed one good foot in the pool anyway!

My lifestyle changed after that injury and I’m not ashamed to say I was frustrated as hell being laid up with an elevated foot, especially when I needed to finish Christmas shopping and decorating.

One year later I take those steps one at a time. I am extremely ginger when walking in heels or boots. It makes me think about the mental warfare we put ourselves through when we’re benched or sidelined. I see this online when people get the flu or cold. Aside from physically feeling like crap, we mentally punish ourselves!

It’s only when we’ve lost something-or almost lost something- that makes us appreciate the little things even more (like my sensitive ankle).

As a fibromyalgia sufferer I appreciate the “healthier” days because a “flare” could knock me on my ass for weeks. When I have a flare I’m lucky that I even make it to work. Having a chronic pain disorder helped reframe my thinking of being “benched.”

Here’s how I now deal with being “benched”:

  1. Make Lemonade: When I had to stay off my feet, I chose to use the rest of my body instead. I wrote, blogged, typed and researched my tail off. When one of our senses is weak, our other senses will naturally kick in. Make lemonade out of your situation. I also used the time to clean out bedroom and bathroom drawers.
  2. Give Myself A Pass: How many people moan and groan about wanting to hide under the covers all day? Yet, when we’re knocked on our ass with a flu we’re dying of boredom and frustration. We’re tallying off the list in our head of what needs to get done. I’ll admit that I shake my fist at the sky when my daily tasks won’t get done. Instead, let’s look at our list of things we would LOVE to do in bed all day: catch up on DVR’ed shows, finish that dusty book on the nightstand, dig into that coloring book, binge watch a Netflix show or play on our tablet.
  3. Sleep: There’s no poetic way to describe this one. All the experts will say, “you never really catch up on sleep.” I call BS. You can’t tell me 9 hours of sleep is gonna hurt me. I dare you to try. Think of sleep as a reward for your hard work. It costs nothing and is good for your skin!

Whether you’re sidelined because of sudden injury (please take the stairs slowly) or sudden illness, take advantage of this self-care moment. If you continue getting sick, maybe you need to listen to your body. Click To Tweet

I was forced to listen to my body when it screamed bloody murder when I first felt the symptoms of fibro. I wouldn’t wish those screams on anyone.

Remember, self-care isn’t selfish. Consider this time your ally and not your enemy. And most importantly, heal completely!!

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