Wondering how to prioritize self-care in 2024? Here’s my plan

Personal growth and a better managed schedule are on the list

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by Jen Cueva |

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Welcome to 2024! I enjoy the start of a new year because it allows me to reminisce about the past and brainstorm about how to approach the coming months. Instead of making resolutions, though, I’m all about focusing on personal growth. Which aspects of my life can I either bid farewell to or enhance?

After nearly two decades of managing pulmonary hypertension (PH), I’m still constantly discovering new ways to better navigate my journey. By connecting with other members of the PH community, I gain wisdom from both seasoned warriors and those who are newly diagnosed. Together, we forge a path toward improved health and well-being.

As I ponder the past year, I recall the thrilling highs and challenging lows, as well as the remarkable successes and valuable lessons I’ve learned.

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A year of growth

What stands out to me is how much I’ve blossomed since the start of last year. Leaving my 40s behind wasn’t all bad. In fact, 2023 was a year of deep self-reflection and remarkable personal growth.

I focused on learning to intimately understand my body and its limitations. This newfound insight has been instrumental in managing my PH more effectively. As a result, I’m thrilled that I was hospitalized only twice last year. That may seem like a small victory, but it means the world to me and my incredible family.

Managing a rare and chronic disease like PH as well as coexisting conditions takes an immense toll on my body. For months, my 2023 planner was jam-packed with doctor appointments, medical tests, and weekly bloodwork. This type of schedule can be utterly draining and overwhelming. That’s why I’m committed to seeking better ways to prioritize both my mental and physical well-being.

Pacing myself

This year, I’ve vowed to pace myself by spacing out my medical appointments. I understand that managing a rare disease is unpredictable and exacerbations can catch us off guard. But I’m committed to taking control of whatever I can and making small changes to have a better quality of life.

Because I need to balance health management and quality of life, I’ve devised a plan to incorporate self-care into my daily routine. I consciously try to center myself and improve my well-being with devotionals, gentle yoga stretches, or a nice walk outdoors.

Even with fewer appointments, I’ll still need to handle calls with my health insurance provider and specialty and local pharmacies, and communicate with my doctors. That’s in addition to monitoring messages on my online patient charts. Balancing chronic medical conditions is often a juggling act, but I’m determined to find equilibrium.

Sometimes, whether I’ve planned for it or not, my health takes center stage. This could be due to flare-ups or worsening symptoms, which require additional appointments and procedures. Managing multiple medications and navigating insurance coverage while trying to maintain a routine can seem overwhelming. For me, that’s when the support of loved ones and my commitment to engage in joyful activities become crucial.

Spending quality time with family and friends provides me vital emotional support and moments of respite from the challenges of PH. Prioritizing self-care and allowing myself time to relax is vital.

I’ve consciously carved out more time in my schedule for things I genuinely enjoy so that I’m not always focused on my health. I love to explore new destinations, create lasting memories with loved ones, pursue exciting hobbies, and continue to write about my experiences.

I’m currently working on a chapter about PH in an incredible upcoming book called “Positively Rare,” which will feature 25 stories about the trials, trauma, and triumphs of living with rare diseases. I’m thrilled to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and the best part is that half of the proceeds will go to a nonprofit organization.

For me, this coming year will be about embracing life, making meaningful connections, and creating lasting memories. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store!

How do you plan to thrive in 2024 while managing PH? Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s conquer the year together!

Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.


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