Don’t Just Survive … Thrive! - CAIRE Inc.
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Contributed by Natalie Haglund, consultant to CAIRE Inc.~ 

Now that we are well into a new year, I wanted to write a blog inspiring you to go forth and tackle those new year goals to move more, eat healthier, and accomplish all your heart desires. I wanted to tell you about all the goals I’ve set for myself and how I plan to achieve them.  I tend to blog about things that are congruent with what has been happening in my life, and to be transparent, I’ve struggled to write this month’s blog as I have been struggling myself. I’ve had several things happen that has made life more challenging. Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a similar situation or had similar feelings. So, what do we do? How do we pull ourselves out of feeling overwhelmed? How do we forge ahead? How do we switch from survival mode back into thrive mode?

When it feels like life is throwing things at me faster than I can handle, sometimes I just shut down for a bit. I need to reset, reboot. Think about when you have a technical problem with your computer, cell phone, etc. What is the first thing IT asks … “Have you turned it off and back on again?”  It helps to clear my mind. So, how do I reboot? I’ll usually do something to distract myself. It’s cold and snowy now where I live, so creative indoor projects are my go-to this time of year. I’ve busied myself with small sewing projects when I need to burn that anxious energy and clear my head. Over the holiday season I gave some projects away as gifts which was fun and satisfying. I’ve also gone to a candle making class and a pre-made pottery studio to paint/glaze bowls with friends. The creative process distracts and soothes me, and the time spent with friends recharges me. Reaching out to my support system is key for me.

I’ve blogged about support systems previously. I am so thankful and grateful for my family, friends, and supportive co-workers. Lately I’ve been very intentional about connecting with them in different ways. As previously mentioned, fun activities with friends, a couple of meals out with important people in my life and attending running races for kids with my nephew and sister. Spending time with my nephew and sister was the goal, and I loved that time with them, but also seeing the joy the participants (kids) expressed running around the track was a great reminder to be grateful about the things we can do, and to not solely focus on challenges. Some kids ran full steam ahead and others were more lackadaisical as they made their way around the track. But they all met the goal. They all crossed the finish line.

This also made me think about how kids approach challenges. As adults we tend to overcomplicate things. Children tend to have a simpler world view and I think we can take a lesson from that. Once I’ve “rebooted” myself mentally, I find that I can simplify things.

Break overwhelming tasks or situations down into steps, and sometimes I even plan out on my calendar which days I am going to complete those broken-down tasks prioritizing them by urgency. I did some of that recently, and everything feels more manageable. That helps me pull out of survival mode into thrive mode.

One example is back in December I signed up for a 50K challenge through a local parks and recreation program. There was also a 100K challenge, but I chose the attainable goal (for me) versus what I felt was a stress inducing goal. Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) is unpredictable, and I’ve learned not to over commit myself. The timeframe for the 50K challenge is 60 days, in the months of January and February. I calculated that I would need to walk on my treadmill a minimum of half mile a day to meet my goal. Many days this is an attainable goal, however, as I said, ILD can be unpredictable so doing this daily may not happen. Other days I can easily walk a mile on the treadmill, which builds in a way to “catch up” if I miss a half mile day. Thus far I am enjoying this challenge and have not felt overwhelmed by it. I can’t wait to receive my “finisher” shirt in March!

How will you meet your goals this month, season, year? How will you make them more manageable? Remember, the goal is to cross the metaphorical finish line. If you see someone else running full steam ahead, that doesn’t mean you have to. Know your pace and go at your own pace.  You’ll get there. Don’t just survive … thrive!

Natalie Haglund, 50, diagnosed with Idiopathic NSIP (a type of interstitial lung disease), lives in northern Minnesota where she works as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in the operating room. She enjoys photography, hiking, concerts, crafty projects, and time with her 23-year-old daughter, friends and family.

If you have been prescribed oxygen therapy, learn more about CAIRE by visiting or by calling 1-800-482-2473 to talk to an oxygen advisor.

The contents of this blog post are not intended to substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice. When using any oxygen therapy device please consult the applicable product instructions for use for product indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and detailed safety information. 

Photo credit: Image by katerinavulcova from Pixabay