Chronic illness takes many things away from you, things you love or even need. This is devastating and has a negative impact on mental health. I have experienced this many times. The days when I just do not want to get out of bed and the thought of doing anything is just too much. It is horrible, with the possible consequence of spiralling into complete depression.

Over the years I have managed to figure out many ways of maintaining a strong mental attitude. One way I support this is by doing projects. So how do I make sure these projects don’t have the opposite effect? It is very easy to take on something which is just massive and the scope of it becomes overwhelming. Like a massive wall to be climbed.

There are several steps. The first is to have some larger goal themes. This could be to write a book, or take on a 100 day challenge. These seem huge, almost impossible. But I have learned to break down the big goal into many smaller goals. So now it is much easier. One post isn’t too hard. Or maybe it will be. On days like that, I will just write one paragraph, or maybe one sentance. Keep breaking down the task into smaller and smaller pieces.

My Projects

I have several I am working on at the moment. Some are long term, and others are much shorter. This works really well for me, as each of these smaller goals are easily achievable, and create a habit of success. This positive emotion spills over onto the bigger goals, creating a virtuous circle. What are my current goals:

Long Term

  • Patient Advocacy: Become more effective at supporting the needs of my community by influencing research, government policy and ensuring the MS community has the tools we need.
  • Strengthen my mental Health: The is a vital goal, which underpins everything.

Medium Term

  • COBMS: Use my lived experience of MS to improve the quality of the feasibility study of a new cognitive therapy for people living with MS
  • Blog: Broaden the reach of my blog by sharing my experience
  • Podcast: Improve the quality of the episodes

Short Term

  • 100 day challenge: Write a blog post every day
  • Editing: Edit my next podcast
  • Vitamin D: Sit outside in the sunshine
  • Walk: Go for a real walk every day, or else use the recumbent bicycle to keep my legs moving
  • ‘Walk’: Enjoy a scooter walk, experiencing nature; this can only be done on a dry day..

You can see how as I move from my big goals to my small ones they all support my mental health goal. Now I have to stop writing and get outside. The sun is shining, and it is warm, wonderfully warm.

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2 thoughts on “Mental Health: Using projects to increase my vitality

  1. I sometimes find that my goals can become overwhelming. I try and do my MS exercises every day but those, along with my physio exercises that I am meant to be doing 3 times a day seem like a big hurdle! I’ll try and break them down and not see myself as ‘failing’ if I only get my physio exercises done and nothing else. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

    1. The big goals do seem daunting, but broken down, they are so much easier. I do think Jen any exercise we do is good, so I wouldn’t beat yourself up for only doing one exercise session the odd day, or even none. Just keep moving forward. 🙂

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