The importance of routines in avoiding anxiety and managing EDS
To navigate periods of change, I focus on realistic positivity
I’m a creature of habit. I like my routines, and while I’m perfectly capable of altering them when I need to, I prefer rhythm and predictability in my day-to-day life.
I moved a couple months ago, and while I still live in the same community with the same people (and still on a horse farm), I’ve had to develop new routines. I often struggle with change, so I’ve tried to be intentional about using realistic positivity as I work to adjust to a new normal.
Some of the need for routine is human, but I sometimes wonder if my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) makes it more important for me than for others. I know that certain tasks are harder than others, so I might change the order I do things to compensate. Similarly, if I know something will take longer because I have EDS, I’ll need to plan additional time for it.
Keeping anxiety at bay
I suspect that some of my need for routine stems from anxiety, which is common for those of us with EDS. I like knowing what my day will be like so that I can plan ahead. I’m not a fan of curveballs, and while I appear to handle them well, I may actually be flustered.
As I work to establish new routines, things don’t always go as planned. That’s provided me plenty of opportunities to practice going with the flow without getting stressed about things that don’t really matter in the long run.
I’ve written in the past about realistic positivity, which I think is an important factor in being able to manage my recent stress. Realistic positivity focuses on the good in life, but unlike toxic positivity, it doesn’t pretend that bad things don’t exist. I used to think that being positive meant ignoring what was tough. But I realized that it only made things worse. Realistic positivity encourages people to recognize what’s tough in life and then to deal with it, while retaining a focus on what’s good. That made a huge difference for me.
With this in mind, I’ve worked hard to properly frame the normal challenges of moving and create new routines in a reasonable way. This has helped to keep my anxiety at bay, which in turn has lessened the chance of having a stress-induced pain flare.
With moving, I already have a good chance of having a pain flare simply due to the physicality of it. I don’t need to increase the chances by getting stressed out.
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