2018 was the start of a new phase for my family. We lost my father-in-law to cancer the week after my daughter started Kindergarten. It was symbolic for this stage of transition, in which we gradually start looking after our parents while our young kids learn to explore the world.
Despite the grief, stress and worries for sick family members, 2018 has also been a year of appreciation. Because when you see the sorrow of others, it also makes you thankful for all the little things that are good in your life. Knowing from how far I’ve come, I still feel grateful almost every day that I’m able to cycle my girl to school, run after my little boy on the playground and make such a fabulous team with my husband. On The Health Sessions, I’ve published over 75 blog posts, read by almost 265,000 unique visitors from all around the world.
So although I’m not-so secretly praying that 2019 brings good health for all the people I love, I’m also looking forward to see which exciting adventures the next year will bring.
To round up the old before welcoming in the new, here is the most loved content – by you and me – from The Health Sessions of 2018.
The 8 Most-Read Blog Posts of 2018
A topic close to my heart, so it’s encouraging to see it’s the most read blog post from this year. Because even the sickest of us have goals and dreams we wish to fulfill. Living means more than surviving, even if it doesn’t feel that way when you’re so ill you can barely get out of bed. Despite my reservations about some motivational slogans, I’m a fierce believer in hope and going after your dreams. Whether you want to finish your studies, find a loving partner or pursue your passions, here are some realistic ideas to help you set and reach new goals when you have a chronic illness.
Another blog post that meant a lot to me, again written from a hopeful point of view. This article looked into the age-old question whether it’s possible to thrive, not just survive, when you’re living with chronic illness, financial problems or strained relationships. Have a look at 32 actionable strategies from the world’s experts on how to flourish, even if you’re faced with the adversity.
After I somehow survived 10 months of only sleeping 3-5 hours each night – and not in one go – I shouldn’t be so surprised that healthy coffee recipes would be so popular. Get that extra kick in the morning with the Fatty Coffee or Top Shelf Cappuccino from Monica Henin.
When I learned that Dutch acupuncturist Ronald Aartsen also gives workshops teaching the Wim Hof – aka “The Ice Man” – Method, I had to interview him to find out more about the benefits from taking an ice bath. In this post, Ronald shares how cold exposure works and how you can incorporate elements of these health-boosting techniques into your daily life.
If there’s anything I’ve learned about getting things done with chronic illness, it’s this: it’s all about energy management. I used to be the queen of “push and crash”: putting every drop of effort into an event and then.. crash. Hard. As in: recover for days. But when you have to have a reasonably functioning body and clear mind the next day, that strategy is not an option. Take a look at why pacing beats push-and-crash cycles and what it looks like in everyday life.
This is an edited chapter from my ebook ‘How to Create Your Own Action Plan for Recovery.’ Because people often don’t realise how much cognitive problems affect your everyday activities. When you can’t think as clearly and fast as you used to, it can be hard to finish your studies, perform well at your job, navigate busy traffic safely or even join in on conversations. As a result, having cognitive problems can contribute to loneliness and social isolation almost as much as physical symptoms do. That’s why the tips here focus on the often-overlooked mental side of recovery: improving your attention span.
The psychologist in me values that a lot of the most-read posts cover the mental, emotional and social side of living with chronic illness. This article dives into the unavoidable stress that accompanies chronic disease. Because when stress can’t be avoided or escaped, there’s only one solution: finding effective ways to best deal with uncontrollable stress. Take a look at 11 emotion-focused coping strategies to help you in the short and long term.
I guess many of you are (also) familiar with the midday slump, given the popularity of this guest post! If you could use an energy boost, without turning to caffeine, check out these 3 natural tips from Sarah Cummings.
And 8 more personal favorites that I loved writing:
- How to Work Your Way Up to Walking 10,000 Steps a Day
- 24 Exciting Ways to Eat Vegetables with Every Meal
- Why Chilling Isn’t The Same as Real Rest
- How You Can Be a Good Friend Despite Chronic Illness
- How to Get Your Family On Board with Healthy Eating
- What Philosophy Can Teach You About Living Well with Chronic Illness
- The Magic of Forest Bathing: Why Being in the Woods Benefits Your Health
- The Power of Rituals: Why Meaningful Routines Improve Your Wellbeing
If you never want to miss another blog post from The Health Sessions in 2019 again,
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Wishing you all a joyful, loving and healthy 2019!