I recently met a newly retired teacher at the laundromat. I was holding a book I had loved for the first 200 pages, but then lost interest in. She gave me the same advice she gave students who complained about boring books: Don’t finish it. Her colleagues always urged the opposite, she said. In discussing the disappointingly low number of people who enjoy reading, we wondered just how much of a role that “push through anyway” mentality had played in it.
An American Time Use Survey found that last year, individuals ages 15–54 spent an average of 10 minutes or less per day reading for personal interest, while those 15 and older consumed an average of 2.8 hours of television daily. This woman and I agreed that our passion for reading had blossomed from discovering books we enjoyed, not from pushing through ones we despised. That’s why, in tackling sarcoidosis, I look for enjoyment in the less desirable aspects of its management. Otherwise, much like reading a dull book, these efforts become the bane of my existence, and I’m less likely to stick to them.
Staying the course
Diet, exercise, and doctor visits play vital roles in living with sarcoidosis. Sticking exclusively to a healthy diet is difficult, especially when those around you at home, at work, and in public are indulging. To keep on track with healthy eating habits, I take a page from actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and allow myself cheat meals. My cheat meals aren’t weekly, scheduled, calorie-laden extravaganzas like The Rock’s, just an indulgent snack or meal every once in a while, enjoyed in moderation.
Like many, I use music to push through the challenge of exercise and get the best workout. Watching a television show on my iPad mini while on the treadmill or elliptical also gets me through workouts. I also sneak physical activity into my days in numerous ways, such as parking in the farthest spots at work and stores, walking my niece’s dog, and opting to walk instead of drive when possible.
Managing my sarcoidosis requires regular out-of-town trips to see physicians at the Cleveland Clinic. To relieve the stress and anxiety associated with the trips and make them more enjoyable, I plan an activity. I’ll go to a museum, see a movie, or visit my favorite neighborhood or restaurant in Cleveland — whatever I feel up to — so that my visits there don’t just involve rounds of examinations by doctors.
I love to indulge in a television binge every once in a while. Sitting on the couch for endless hours is not healthy, so I’ll break up the time by tackling chores, such as cleaning the house, doing my physical therapy exercises, etc. I motivate myself by not watching the next episode in an addictive series until I’ve completed a chore on my list, which I’m easily inclined to do thanks to the cliffhanger endings of episodes.
Much like individual tastes in literature, everyone’s motivations differ. What works for me may not work for you. The key is to find measures that help you manage the tougher aspects of life with sarcoidosis so that you are able to enjoy life, instead of just pushing through it like a boring book. Last week, I returned the book to the library, unfinished. I’ll be sure to thank the retired teacher for her lesson on life if I see her again.
Note: Sarcoidosis 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 Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.