I moved again! Not far this time, but the arduous process of packing, unpacking, and settling in doesn’t seem to fluctuation depending on distance. It’s always time consuming and energy zapping. As I’ve written about before, I have moving down to a bit of a science. This was no different, with one major exception: My current home is much larger and older than my previous space. With all that room comes an uptick in projects and tasks. Those new responsibilities have me acutely aware of my priorities.
Health is always the number one priority. You don’t get to ignore your health when chronic conditions and symptoms dictate your minute-to-minute existence. There’s no, “I’ll worry about that tomorrow” when a migraine drops you to your knees or your hands just stop working. In a new environment, sensitive bodies can be easily triggered and new symptoms might pop up. There can be irritants and stressors which you have not experienced before. I recommend taking note of these changes, but giving your body a little grace and time prior to being alert. As we know, stress is a chronic illness’s favorite booster. Stress + headache = migraine. Stress + nausea = vomiting. Stress + itching = hives. By holding an awareness that your current suffering is temporarily elevated, you may be able to quiet the anxiety and set yourself up for faster relief.
Aesthetics are very important to my mental health. Over the years, I’ve learned just how dramatically affected I am by the “vibe” of my surroundings. I am eager to paint walls, hang art, and setup my space in ways that I find beautiful. If you can afford it, I’d say to buy yourself something special for each new place that you live. This move was more of a splurge and I purchased a couch that fits my living room perfectly. Of course, it also fits my symptom management criteria of having soft material, firm cushions, and an easy height. Frequently, I move light. Only a few boxes and pieces of luggage come along. In those cases, my something special items were frames from a second-hand store and pretty curtains. Whatever the look or budget, beautifying your home will bring you happiness. If you are like me, it will also dictate your mood and help you cope with the worst broken body days.
Leaving stuff on the table is one of those habits that I don’t always remember to prioritize. I like to finish projects that I start, efficiently. Moving, especially into a fixer-upper type space, means SO MANY projects! Many of them can’t be wrapped up quickly. Often they rely on vendors, contractors, orders, and even the weather. A bent body only adds to the delays and frustrations. Maybe you need an extra set of hands to help put something together or you can’t bend over to clean a section of your home. There are doorknobs that can be tricky to open and sticky faucets that need changing. Being able to stop, completely pause what you are doing, and step away for a moment… that’s the healthy way of handling a self-perpetuating to-do list.
Go on a short walk or a weekend adventure. The stuff on the table will still be there when you get back. Have drinks with a friend or watch a movie with a loved one. The stuff is still where you left it. After that break, you’ll be energized and able to see solutions to issues you might have previously found challenging. It also provides a realization that there’s no finish line when it comes to these tasks. Instead, individual goals and reevaluating the necessity of certain project ideas makes for a much kinder mental and physical workload.
While this is idealistic advice, I’m far from being perfect with my list of priorities. With outdoor and indoor temperatures boiling, I’ve already given myself a number of flares from pushing too hard. I’ve moved my living room furniture around 10x and changed my mind over and over again about paint colors. There have been projects that I’ve forced myself to finish at the expense of social gatherings and continually hit my physical limits. But, I’m trying. I’m great at asking for help and believe wholeheartedly in tipping with delicious baked goods. I’ve made time for trips into nature and quite literally left stuff on the table. Prioritizing myself seems to be the way that I’ll make everything else fall in line with this new home.