For each one of us, suffering a disability or not, we all get an opportunity to face the different challenges the day ahead of us will bring. How to live with a disability, on top of it all, is just our reality, our new normal.
What we once took for granted is no longer easy. We are now having to deal with one or more obstacles to get through our day. Regardless of where we are at in coping and dealing with whatever it is, it is up to us to take the first action.
Devices and aids can make our lives simpler but I’m confident you can agree with me, no matter how we got here, why is this happening to me, or the who is to blame, it is up to us to make the decision to take the next step. We have to do our best, which may mean, anything and everything we need to do, to be right in our own heads.
It’s my opinion that starting the day off right is extremely important to get us in a good mental state to attack the day.
So here are my 7 Start Right Tips on How to Live with a Disability. (In no particular order)
Shake it out – Get Loose
After you rolled out of bed, which may have been a wake-up challenge all its own, and you have made your first stop to the house of porcelain. Take a moment to give yourself a good but safe shake out. By the way, if it was a big to do to get out of bed, pat your self on the shoulder. That’s one win for the day already.
We aren’t trying for anything too strenuous here. Nothing major or of high impact, unless you like that sort of thing. Just enough to get your blood flowing. Small short stretches, if you can. This should not be a full-on calisthenics session. (Do people still use that word?) Again we are simply trying to wake up our lethargic muscles.
Roll your shoulders out, lift your knees up to your chest or as high as you can, stretch out your fingers your jaw. Wiggle them cold toes awake. Side-stretch a little to the left then a little to the right. Wiggle your tushes. It’s okay to get down with it and dance a bit. Smile, we’ve just been given another day.
There you go, another win!
Drink a glass of water…then your coffee.
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away but I think it should be rephrased to a glass of water a day, along with 7 more, keeps the doctor away. Now I can see you already, What do you mean, keep the doctor away. I have an appointment at Noon today. Trust me I hear you, but seriously, you’ll see where I’m going with this.
I am not the first to talk about the importance of staying hydrated but it goes well beyond that and is especially important for us to take drinking water seriously. Some medications we have to take are pretty serious and some, downright and absurdly expensive. We need to make sure our bodies can absorb these pills we have to choke down. A dehydrated body makes medications less effective.
We also need it to flush out the ugliness of the toxins that bombard our lives all the time. I prefer an ice-cold glass of water which gives my insides a little jolt to kick start me out of my sleep coma vs a cool or room temperature glass which is just, well, meh.
I tend to keep my hydro flask right next to my bed at night so it’s available if I need it in the middle of the night and for when I wake up. Hydro-flask? That’s just what the kids call a thermos today. I guess thermos is just too old-school of a term. LoL I
Now that you’ve got that done. Celebrate that win too. And now you can do it with your favorite morning beverage.
Frank! Are you serious? What the heck does stepping outside have to do with starting the day off right? I just drank a glass of water and shook myself loose. I’m just now starting to warm up and you want me to go outside. It’s cold out there. Yep, that’s my next tip, and the colder it is, the better.
Think about it. First, the cold is just going to get you shivering a little bit. It’s natures way of helping you shake your muscles out. You’re going to bounce around or wiggle around in your wheelchair. Just the perfect wake up medicine.
Now I’m not asking you to go outside butt naked and stay there for an hour. Slip on your bunny slippers or favorite house shoes, throw on a coat or a blanket and take at least five minutes to let the cold open up those sinuses and just to breath in some fresh air.
Remember how it felt so refreshing to breathe in the air up on the mountain hike you took. Perhaps your memory is of the ocean air when you hit the beach. There is something therapeutic to breathing in good old fashioned clean air.
Obviously, this is a bit more dependent on where you live so I’d skip this step if you live in a city where air quality is not so good. But if you can, I strongly recommend it. Feel free to bring your cup of jo with you and if your time is not booked up, stay outside for a little longer.
We are breathing now. Another Win! (Hmm…)
Now that you are a tad bit more awake. This would be a good time to get some exercise in. Remember to follow your doctor’s mandates and advice when it comes to exerting your self in any physical activity. If you can, get a walk in for 20-30 minutes. Even 15 minutes, get it in. Just long enough step to get the heart pumping a little faster. But even its only 5 minutes, just make the effort.
Trust me, I am not the poster child for cross fit, so some days I’m strong enough for a 30-minute walk, other days it might just be a lap around the house on others. I listen to my body here and only try to push it when my body tells me it’s okay.
Treadmill or outside around the house, in the halls of your apartment, find a way to put some kind of effort into an exercise regiment. If you are wheelchair bound, follow what your PT nurse recommends. Maybe it’s lifting some light weights while you’re in your chair to keep your other muscles healthy. Heck, do a little more dancing to your favorite beats. Or just do more stretching if that’s all you got.
Our goal again is just to get the heart pumping a little bit and maybe break a little sweat. I’m not sending you to spin class here folks.
Now we’re moving. Another win!
Take a Vigorous Shower. NOT A BATH!
No slow, soothing, calming or relaxing baths here folks. I don’t want anyone falling back asleep. Full blast the shower jets, crank up the heat as high as you can handle. Safety first, please! Don’t burn your skin off, you crazy nuts. Oh wait, that line was meant for me. Break out the scrubbing sticks and as vigorously as you can, go to town. And make sure you hit the places where the sun don’t shine.
Now come on Frank, a shower, this is a tip? Really?
It is! I know I am not alone here. Let’s be real. Somedays, this is just another thing we might not even do for the day depending on our mental state for the day. Some times our condition gets the best of us and all we want to do is wallow in our bed all day.
Once in a while okay. Been there done that. But if you are still reading this, you get that it’s up to us to take whatever action we can to break through. And sometimes a shower, a good stimulating scrub down is all it takes to wake us up to how alive we still are.
I know it isn’t always easy. Sometimes just coping with our lack of mobility is all we have to give the day. I still find myself stuck sometimes. If that’s still you, I empathize, but I encourage you to talk it out with someone. Your doctor, counselor, or your pastor. It’s our own personal battle we are in, each of us is different. But we can, when we’re ready, choose to reach out for help too.
So jump in the shower. What are you waiting for?
That’s win number 5. We are warming up.
Dress to Impress – Yourself.
I think you can easily see the importance of this tip. Now I’m not suggesting you break out Sunday’s finest or the business suit, though there would be nothing wrong with that either. The idea here is simply to feel good about yourself.
We’ve all put on our best when we went on our first date, our first job interview or whatever special day it was. The fact is we hoped to impress the person we were going to see. It was the right thing to do.
But just as important as it was for them, it also made you feel good. You were ready! At least a little more ready. I was still nervous for sure on both those occasions. But it was clearly helpful and it always is. Yes, I stood a little taller on those days.
When you look good and smell good, you feel good. Didn’t you? Don’t You?
If it was worth it to do that for them, wouldn’t you agree its worth it to do it for yourself? I am worth this effort! And so are you! Get out of your PJs, your raggedy T-Shirts you holey joggers, (another millennial term for sweatpants – lol).
Put on some fresh clean clothes that line up with what you got on the books for the day. If it just out to the store for errands, or to an appointment at the clinic, square yourself up, tuck in that shirt and be proud. Ladies, I’m a dude so insert your own look good tips here.
And if you’re just staying in, or can manage some time in the garden, be comfy but presentable, for yourself. Bottom line, we might be challenged with the ordinary things in life but we ought never to feel like we are less dignified than anyone else. We can control that. If we choose too.
Strike Your Pose. That’s your 6th win for living!
Review Your Day Ahead
Take a few minutes here, this is one of the simplest but most helpful things you can do for yourself and quite possibly the best thing you can do to start off the day right. For me, it is even a stress reliever.
I bet a few of you are just like me and you have a ton of things on your to-do list. When you review that list, you get stressed out and want to pull your hair out. Look closely at my hairline. You’ll see the evidence.
Some people get so overwhelmed by their to-do list they literally can’t take a single action. We can be our own worst enemy at times.
This is an activity that requires some truth and honesty. What can you do vs What you want to do? Try to relax and be real with yourself. How do you feel? Listen to your body. Can you accomplish it all or are you only energized enough to get a few things done?
I’m sure there are a few absolute must do’s that have to be done by you today so keep those on the list. But seriously outside of work and making a living if you are still working that is, anything and everything can be looked at and questioned. Can I reschedule or postpone?
Can I get help with it or perhaps someone else to do it? Ask for help. If you have the money, pay someone else to do it. Some times we get so caught up it in doing things ourselves because we have our own way to get things done and we don’t trust anyone else to do it right.
The reality of our situation is that we just may not be able to do some things. We have to learn to be okay with that, give up some control that we are so used and try our best to start trusting people.
Where ever you see an opportunity to lighten the load, do what you can so you can put energy into the right things.
The service industry is literally booming with so many offering to help streamline peoples lives why not try to take advantage of some of them.
Groceries Delivered Life Win #7.
There you have it. 7 Start Right Tips
For some of you, this is old hat. I admit there is nothing groundbreaking here. No new concepts. You may have even read some of the same self-help books I have.
This is just the routine I try my best to put into practice every day. They are the same tips I’ve shared with people who are near and dear to me. Know that some days I do them all. On some days I might fail miserably. But I don’t fret that. I just try my best again tomorrow.
Hopefully, you have found my point, To reinforce and remind us, as difficult as it is, it does take a winning attitude of our own to make it through our day. I like to call it a Living Attitude!
At times, to do anything it requires us to summon all the strength and courage we can muster, but it is our choice to decide whether our disability brings us down or we can use it to inspire others. I choose the later.
If you can do even do just a couple of these tips it’s a win for the day. If you can hit all 7, you have accomplished a lot and you should be proud of that. Depending on your condition you may not be able to perform one or more of these. Just do what you can, and feel free to replace what you can’t with some other positive wake-up activity. The point is to get moving as best you can and get some things done.
Start stacking up these small victories and build some momentum from there.
If you liked what I just shared with you, please feel free to leave a comment or question below. Better yet if you have something you do that helps you get on the right track for the day, by all means, drop me a line.
I could easily wrap this post up with these 7 tips and feel good that at least one of you reading this, will find a nugget or two that is useful. For those of you who have stuck around this long. I Thank You.
Here is are a couple of bonus tips that I use to build up my living attitude!
Bonus Tip #1 Prayer and Gratitude.
Whether you are a believer or not (and I’m not judging). I’ve got my skeletons and have no grounds to stand on to cast stones. For me, I just find peace and solace when I take some time to spend with my Lord and Savior in prayer. I find hope and forgiveness in God and I find a welcoming and supporting Sacred Heart that shares His Love and will shepherd me through the challenges of my day.
If that’s not you and you find your spirituality in something else, maybe its nature, or other religion. Ground yourself, Center yourself. If you are not religious or spiritual in any way shape or form then just find something to feel grateful for. There might not be a lot today to give thanks for but there is always something. At least for me, there is.
Bonus Tip #2 Make Your Bed!
This tip is just another like those above that just adds to the value of stacking up small victories in our life. Done right, not just throwing the covers across the bed, this is extremely helpful for your mind.
It’s just like giving yourself a clean canvas to start off with. It’s really an extension to keeping a clean and clutter-free house. Rather than a rumpled-up clump of sheets, you have a smooth and inviting surface that no longer clutters your headspace. You got one less thing to worry about and one more thing to say you beat.
In 2014, Admiral William H McRaven gave a commencement address to the University of Texas. This video went viral with well over 10 Million views amongst various channels. In his address, McRaven discussed ten things to do “If You Want To Change The World” and his first task was to Make Your Bed.
This is something he learned in boot camp and he took the lesson from his drill instructors that it was this simple, mundane, but completed act, that sets one up for success. I highly encourage a watch, if you haven’t yet.
I recently sent this video to one of my nephews who is in his sophomore year of college. He has big eyes right now, with tons of hopes and dreams. He came away from watching it with a sense of appreciation for possibilities but also a fresh dose for reality in what it will take.
We all live in a world with challenges! With disabilities, it’s just that much more challenging. But with a winning, a Living Attitude, I believe we can push through. Perhaps, we too can change the world.
Thanks again for sticking with this read. I hope you found this useful in some way. Don’t forget to drop me a comment.
Keep pushing! Life Is In Reach!