Chronic Illness · Chronic Pain · Grad School · Mayo Clinic · Mental Health · Personal · Recovery

10 Things I Gave Up, and 10 Things I Took On, After I Went to Mayo Clinic

I believe in not just giving things up, but replacing them as you go along. I figured this post might be especially relevant with Lent coming up – I have the same philosophy then, too. I’ll be taking things on as I put other things down.

When I went to Mayo Clinic’s Pain Rehabilitation Center, I learned a lot about how to manage my chronic conditions well. I also learned a lot about myself. I’ve gotten barraged with advice about how to manage my conditions over the years, and it was important for me to sort out what was actually working and to let go of what wasn’t – that is, to acknowledge that I wasn’t broken just because some popular treatments didn’t work for me.


  1. Meditation/yoga




  1. Running and other types of exercise that didn’t work for me
  2. Fear of the future, both short-term and long-term
    1. Giving up on the day

      1. Weekly plans, making social plans out of fear of disappointing people


  1. PRN meds for the most part
  2. Talking about my illness as much
  3. Using as many medical devices
  4. Super frequent doctors’ appointments
  5. Always labeling myself as unhealthy
    1. Acknowledging what I do right!
    2. I am healthier than many, ironically
  6. Telling everyone everything – journaling
  7. Envying others’ lives and instead living mine
  8. Buying into others’ narratives about me and my story


I see the beauty in my story. God creates beauty. I trust. Source.



  1. Doing valued things for short periods of time like tennis and piano rather than avoiding them altogether
  2. Bad moment bag


  1. Exercise
    1. Inside
    2. Outside


  1. Social
    1. Saying yes!
    2. Knowing that sometimes I’d have to say no but hey
  2. Scheduling and other OT things I learned
[image description: two hand-drawn candles against a tan background. Next to the candles are the calligraphic words “Be gentle with yourself.”]
  1. Levity and a greater sense of humor about it


  1. Setting daily, weekly, and monthly goals, as well as picking values for the new year
  2. Quick CBT exercises, like fact-checking


Sometimes, you have to reframe your thoughts. Source.


  1. Paying attn to my symptoms only when they went outside of usual range
  2. Dreaming big
    1. Grad school!
      1. Chaplaincy!
      2. Travel!
      3. Saying yes!
      4. I think of myself as freer.



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