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A woman is looking proudly at the stone statue of herself she has carved, behind her her male partner is watching supportively. In the statues hands are a water bottle, a book, a phone, and a pillow and blanket.

5 Ways I Am Improving My Life With Narcolepsy This Year

All over my social media in recent months, I saw quotes like "new year, new me," or "out with the old, in with the new." Everyone was so pumped up for the beginning of a new year in hopes of a reset to their lives with fresh habits. But some research has shown that 80 percent of people don't stick with their new year's resolutions throughout the year.1

I don't know about you, but that doesn't sit well with me. I never want to stop growing and learning in order to live the best life possible.

So, how’s it going so far? Have you already fallen off track? Keep reading to know what changes I am making this year to better my life with narcolepsy and how I plan to hold myself accountable.

How I am bettering my life with narcolepsy this year

The changes I am making this year are:

1. Seeking therapy

This year I am starting therapy for my anxiety. I have dealt with anxiety all of my life, but it wasn't until recently that I noticed it affecting me on a weekly basis.

Whenever I get stressed or overwhelmed, simple things feel impossible, and my coping mechanism is avoidance. I avoid the things that make me anxious by sleeping. Normally, with my narcolepsy, I experienced excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) once, which then caused me to take a nap. When I am dealing with anxiety, my EDS happens much more, taking my nap toll to 3 or 4 times a day. I am seeking therapy in hopes of finding a better way to handle my stress and anxiety.

2. Taking more naps

Sometimes I forget that I have narcolepsy. I know it may sound silly, but I go through the entire day fighting my urge to go lay down. I think, deep down inside, I still think of naps as childish and a sign of weakness.

Micro-napping puts me in a better mood and is very productive. I set an alarm for 30 minutes and try to get up and move around immediately after a nap so that I don't fall back asleep. This year I am reminding myself that naps equal productivity, and on my off days, I will listen to my body and take a nap when I need it.

3. Researching alternative forms of coping with narcolepsy

I have always been a health-conscious person. Before my diagnosis, I rarely took medication, and now, after being diagnosed, I take 3 different types.

Knowing what I know about the pharmaceutical industry, I don't want to be dependent on any medicine that has potential risks and side effects. This year I am looking into more natural remedies for narcolepsy and my overall health. I plan to seek guidance from a naturopathic doctor, as well as explore cannabis and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

How I am holding myself accountable:

1. No excuses

I read a book called The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. In it, he talks about how small actions become our habits, which then determine the trajectory of our lives. Good habits bring better outcomes than bad habits. In previous years, I had the habit of letting excuses deter me from my goals. For example, I would say, "I want to eat healthy, but this piece of cake shouldn't hurt." I will hold myself accountable by understanding what excuses are and how to avoid making them.

2. Having an accountability partner

This year I picked my boyfriend as my accountability partner for 2 reasons. One reason is that he cares about me and wants me to succeed. The other reason is that he is strict and won't easily give in to my pouty face after I want to do something that doesn't align with my goals. Accountability partners help with motivation and keeping things on track.

I also use my phone to stay accountable. My goal is to drink more water, so I have alarms set every day to remind me.

Do you think you need to make changes in your narcolepsy journey? What are some of your goals for this year and how are you staying accountable?

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