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  • roxanne802

My story of hope (and thirty minutes of tennis)

Yesterday I played tennis. Well to be more specific I took a tennis lesson. For most people that’s no big deal but for me it’s huge. I haven’t stepped foot on a tennis court in nine years. The last time I played was on my honeymoon with Todd and although I was still in the throes of a relatively new lupus diagnosis, and I didn't have a ton of energy, I was determined not to pass up an amazing opportunity to teach him a few things on a gorgeous outdoor clay court overlooking the city. I was totally spent afterwards but it was well worth it. We had a blast and still talk about it to this day.

Fast forward to yesterday when I'm presented with an opportunity to take a tennis lesson. Over the years I've gone back and forth about whether or not I have the strength to play. It's a sport I adored growing up. I even taught little kids how to play tennis one summer during college while I managed the pro shop. The fact that I played yesterday feels like a miracle to me except for the fact that I never truly gave up the hope of playing tennis again. I'm not sure that nine years ago I could have imagined feeling well enough to play for half an hour on an outdoor court (the sun and lupus are not exactly friends) but I did it and so far I feel fine. What's the point of my story you ask? Hope. The importance of hope cannot be overstated. If you ask anyone with a chronic illness what is one of the most important feelings you can have, I wouldn’t be surprised if a majority answered that it's hope. Without hope we tend to feel lost, depressed, empty, sick (emotionally and physically) and without purpose. In return, feeling hopeful or optimistic is everything. When you're living with a chronic illness, it's not uncommon to have many of the things that most people take for granted, taken away, from the seemingly minor activity of playing a game of tennis to the bigger parts of life like not being able to work a full time job. This can easily and quickly lead you down a path of hopelessness. I'm here to tell you that you can increase your feelings of hope today. How? First you must trust, and by trust I mean giving yourself permission to explore different parts of your life that will help you heal and feel well and then show up for that fully. For me, that has been an 8 year exploration of my diet and the foods that can heal my gut, lower my inflammation and provide me with the energy and strength I need throughout the day. Another example is the way I exercise and move my body. How did I do that you ask? By practicing mindfulness. Through practices like yoga and meditation you can give yourself the time and space that you need to quiet your mind, calm your nervous system, check in with your physical body and then tap into your intuition. Your intuition (or connection to your true self) is what will guide you to the next best thing. Bingo!

Finally, empower yourself with the best, most useful, positive and uplifting information available to you. For my clients I create an "empowerment backpack" filled with quick and effective tools to help set them up for success aka a healthy mind and body! A 5 minute meditation or a healthy snack idea is what I'm referring to. It's not complicated but it's effective in changing the way you take care of yourself and right there my friends is how we cultivate hope. This will lift your spirits and help challenge everything that you think about yourself as someone with a chronic illness. Will I really never play tennis again? Wrong! It takes determination, a deep sense of trust and feelings of empowerment to make changes that can help you feel well. I encourage you to try new things, not to give up and to find the people to help you course correct when needed. Yesterday that was Todd who encouraged me to give that tennis lesson opportunity a chance and for that I am grateful. Chronic illnesses are hard and feelings of hopelessness may happen but finding people to help lift you up changes everything. Let me help you get behind yourself!

If you are looking for ways to feel more hopeful, trusting and empowered while making changes to your health in a manageable way, then I encourage you to reach out today!

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