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Coping With Self-Care Burnout

After living with dry macular degeneration for 9 years, I am just tired. I am tired of thinking about it every single day. I am tired of the struggle to eat right, especially leafy green veggies. I am tired of making sure I get 30 minutes of daily exercise. I tend to gain weight easily, so I worry about that. I just want to eat that piece of pie like everyone else! All these worries can cause stress, so now I have to worry about my stress levels. I am tired of making sure I never run out of AREDS2 supplements and taking them twice a day.

Then there is the fact that, in spite of doing every single thing I know to do to slow down progression, I have advanced dry macular degeneration. That’s right; I have geographic atrophy. The last stage of dry macular degeneration that is slowly robbing me of my central vision.

I am blessed with support

By now you are probably thinking I am drowning in self-pity. I might have the occasional moment or day of self-pity, but generally I am a positive, glass-half-full kind of gal. I don’t have to look far to see people with much worse situations. All of you getting routine eye injections for wet macular degeneration deserve a medal. Some of you are coping with advanced vision loss with no support. Some in our community have no one to drive them to appointments or grocery shopping. They have real worries, like whether they can continue with treatment when they can no longer drive.

I am blessed with friends and family who will happily drive me anywhere I need to go. I can afford my AREDS2 supplements, which is a hardship for some people. Sometimes I just need to pull up my big girl panties and get on with it. So how do I do that?

A healthy balance of exercise, nutrition, and rest

I have found it’s okay to take a break. Take a day off from the struggle. Do something just for fun. Go for a pedicure with an old friend that cheers you up but will also tell you to "buck up, buttercup" if necessary. Go to your favorite restaurant and, yes, eat the pie. Life is more than tiring routines.

Life won’t end if you miss a day of exercise. I routinely take every Sunday off from my exercise routine. It’s nice to come home from church and take an afternoon nap instead of my daily walk.

If you find yourself struggling to get on the treadmill or stationary bike, go for a walk outdoors. Especially in the fall, I love getting outside. Some days, raking leaves is my exercise for the day. It’s even better if you have a child or grandchild to play in the leaves you just raked.

I get so tired of eating my salad every day. I have learned to sneak my spinach or broccoli into casseroles. A spinach quiche is my "go-to" when the idea of yet another salad is just too much.

Thankful for another day

I hope by getting real about my daily struggle I haven’t discouraged you. We all try to stay positive. Sometimes it’s helpful to give voice to those negative feelings we all have from time to time.

It’s okay to feel tired of the struggle. Tomorrow is a new day. Like all of you, I will get on with it. I will be thankful I have another day of this precious life.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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