Grab your notepad and pen! This one’s for those with vitiligo who love list-making as much as I do.
Every January, I can’t help but grab my favorite notebook and find a quiet nook to sit and think, usually with a blanket and steaming cup of tea. It’s my favorite time of the year – a chance to take a backseat to life and just watch it happen around me. As I scribble away, I remember all of the beautiful moments that are now memories of a past year. And I also dream big, thinking about all of the things I want to achieve in the months to come.
As someone living with vitiligo, there are certain topics I tend to think about more than others – like how to manage my stress, where I can find my support network, and how to snap out of a bad mood. Taking the time to write these lists brings them to life. It gives my time and energy focus and intention, creating a road map for the days ahead.
Build your own road map and see where 2018 might take you. Here are some of my favorite lists to make this time of year:
Current self and future self
This is one of my personal favorites. Grab a sheet of paper and make two columns – one for who you are today, and one for who you want to be in 2018. Don’t be disappointed if the person you want to be is missing a lot of the characteristics in your “current” list – that’s the point of the exercise. Actively writing out these two lists will not only give you clarity as to how you want to live your life in 2018, but it will help you identify the gaps and where you need to grow and change.
Things that stress you out and ways to reduce that stress
Stress – it’s one of the most frequent triggers for vitiligo. So how we you live a less stressful life in 2018? Start by making a list of the things that cause you to feel stress and then add at least one way you can reduce each stress point. No one likes to feel stressed, and yet stress is so often a constant in our lives. Take the time to intentionally identify the stress points in your life and map out a way to a more stress-free life in 2018.
People you can lean on during difficult times
Living with vitiligo is hard – and that’s why it’s important to have a strong support network. Who are those people that you can lean on during difficult days? Which friends make you laugh? Which friends are good at listening? Making an actual note of who is in your support network and who you can call for what will take the guess work out of a bad situation when the time comes.
Things you fear and the steps you can take to conquer those fears
What fears are you facing this year? New spots? Going makeup-free? Sometimes fear of a thing is actually worse than the thing happening – and that’s why figuring out how to face your fears can give you a better 2018. Write down your fear and then break each one down into small steps you could take to overcome the fear. For example, if you don’t like leaving the house without makeup, a first step could be making a quick trip to the store with everything but mascara. Taking a first step can give you courage to keep going.
How to pull yourself out of a bad mental space
We’ve all been there – someone stares at you for a moment too long or you find yourself comparing your skin to others. One small instance can leave you mentally and emotionally down, stuck in a bad mental space that can ruin your day if you let it. Instead of letting yourself stay there, try making a list of all the ways you can pull yourself out of that space. Calling a friend, doing breathing exercises, going for a run, giving yourself a pep talk – what are those things that can help you recover from a bad mood or bad day and get back to the true you?
Erika Page is the Founder and Editor of Living Dappled. After getting vitiligo at the age of seven, she lost 100% of her pigment to the condition and today lives with universal vitiligo.