How to Start the Year Strong if you Are Living With a Chronic Illness

By Irene S. Roth

Many of us live with some type of chronic illness which can make our lives feel like an uphill battle. It can also be hard to start a new year strong if we feel depleted of energy and in pain often.

Yet, chronic illness is prevalent in our society today, given our aging population. There doesn’t seem to be a lot we can do about it either, except manage our lives healthily. When we get diagnosed with a chronic illness, we will probably never be completely free from it. But there are ways to mitigate the pain, fatigue, and other debilitating features of the illness.

Many common diseases are chronic illnesses. Here is a short list: heart disease, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, liver disease, colitis, IBS, and many more. So, there are a lot of chronically ill individuals in need of advice on how to live a healthy life.

What makes these diseases chronic? One of the chief defining features of chronic illness, as opposed to acute illness, is that there is nothing that can be done to cure the chronic illness. The only thing we can do is to minimize the negative affects of the illness on our everyday lives through effective self-management strategies.

What makes chronic illness so hard to cope with is the continuous nature of the symptoms and challenges that result. With acute types of illnesses, we may need to have a surgical procedure or take a few medications, and our life returns to normal. But with chronic illness, we will never get back to normal.

However, the purpose of this article is not to dwell on the negative aspects of chronic illness. Instead, I will argue that we can all live well with chronic illness by changing our mindset and developing a few healthy habits. And there isn’t a better time to start a few new habits than in January, is there?

I’ll be the first to admit, living well with a chronic illness is difficult. It can take a lot of practice and effort. However, by effectively managing our pain levels and cultivating the right attitude, we can learn to cope with any chronic illness.

Here are a few things we can easily incorporate into our daily life that should make a big difference to how we are living with our chronic condition.

  1. Try to incorporate new ways of thinking. Instead of focusing on all the negative things in our life, try focusing on what’s working. We are all far too negative with ourselves and we don’t cut ourselves enough slack.
  2. We must learn to live differently. We shouldn’t fill our day with endless activity. Instead, we must take our time and make space to pace ourselves and listen to our body. If we’re feeling tired, we should take some time to rest and recuperate.
  3. Ask for help and delegate. Many of us continue to do things that may hurt us in the long run, such as lifting heavy groceries or doing hours of housework.
  4. Practice self-care. Take some time to just relax. Make a cup of warm coca, put on a warm robe and fluffy slippers, and sit in a favorite recliner and read. Or take a nap.

By incorporating these tips into our life, we will start the year off strong. We will also honor what our body and energy levels are asking of us.

It may seem honorable to keep on pushing past our pain levels and fatigue. However, this can be destructive, and it may set us up for even more pain and disability. Therefore, it’s essential that we listen to our body.

In the process, we will rise to our everyday challenges of living with a chronic illness by revising our attitude in favor of a more positive approach and managing our symptoms as they arise. Further, we will live in a way that is cohesive with our disabilities and pain levels on a particular day. These are certainly ways to start the year strong.

Stratford Rotary Club Delirious BINGO Night!

Friday, February 3rd
Virtual Zoom from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Stratford Rotary will have a virtual Bingo night on Friday February 3rd.

Join us for the Rotary Delirious BINGO Party!!  Instructions on how to play practice session begin at 7:00 p.m.  The first game will commence promptly at 7:30 p.m.  You must be over 18 to play.

Play 6 games on-line in your PJs, sweats, or favorite casual wear – no winter coats, hats, or mittens needed. (No nudity please!!! )  $500 in prizes.

Zoom link will be posted within 24 hours of the event.

All proceeds to support Rotary Club’s charitable projects.

Mark Your Calendar

Saturday, January 21st from 12:30 – 3:30 P.M.: Paper-making with Invasive Plants Sterling House Community Center

Saturday, January 22nd Stratford Library Lovell Room: The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland is a 2002 oral history of the small town of Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada in the wake of the September 11 attacks written by journalist Jim DeFede It is the first book authored by DeFede. For further information call the Library at 203-385-4162.

Wednesday, January 25th from 11a.m. – 3 p.m.: Did you know Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking???? In recognition of Radon Awareness Month in January, the Stratford Health Department will be at the Stratford Library to provide free Radon Test Kits as well Radon Education to increase awareness.

Wednesday, January 25th, Stained Glass class from Stratford/Trumbull Continuing Education from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. You can register for the 12 week course at

Wednesday, January 25th to February 15th, Pickle Ball, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m., Birdseye Complex Gym: Calling all Stratford Seniors join the latest exercise craze – 4 week courses on Pickle Ball. In partnership with Stratford Recreation and the Baldwin Center, SHCC will be conducting Pickle Ball classes that teach the basic rules, skills, and techniques. There will be short drills, practice time and friendly scrimmages.

Thursday, January 26th, Community Blood Drive: Raymond T. Goldbach VFW, from 1-6 p.m. To register go to

Stratford/Trumbull Continuing Education Spring Semester begins January 23rd. For information on signing up for your high school diploma, a GED, American Citizenship, and English as a Second Language (ESL) go to :

Are you a Military Veteran? or have a loved one who served our country during the holidays? Did your family save any letters or memorabilia? The Stratford Veterans Museum would like to display Christmas cards, letters, pictures and any communications between a veteran and family or friends during the Christmas season.We would like to create a display in our Museum during the month of December. All materials will be returned to you. Contact Bob Mastroni

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and we want YOUR help in keeping our community informed.

We need Citizen Reporters to cover:
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Please join us! Reach out to

Paper-making with Invasive Plants

Sterling House Community Center
Saturday, January 28h from 12:30 – 3:30 P.M.

On Saturday there will be a Paper-making with Invasive Plants class at Sterling House Community Center.

The class is for Ages: 16+, and all materials will be supplied by the instructor

The skill level: Absolute beginner and the Instructor is Britt Garth.  The cost:

Arts Alliance of Stratford members: $42.00 and Non-members: $50.00.

What are invasive plants?

Invasive plants are defined as non-native plant species which were introduced from other regions. If there are no natural predators to keep invasive plants in check, they can grow aggressively, crowding out native plants. Once native plants are under threat, it can affect the native insects and animals that depend on them.

This paper-making workshop will explain how paper can be made from invasive species of plants and common weeds, using prepared visual aids. The short presentation will be followed by a hands-on component where students will get to try pulling sheets of paper themselves.

Registration page:

Strength In Colors: Our Differences Make Us Stronger show runs from Monday, January 16th to Friday, February 10th.  Artists who submitted work were encouraged to show us what unites us, rather than what divides us.

The Arts Alliance Writers Group is coming soon.  The class will begin on Tuesday, February 7th and will be from 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Watercolor for Beginners starting in February.  Learn the basics of watercolor from color theory to execution of a still life and beach scene in this 5-week hands-on course. The course will take place at the Sterling House Community Center and is for Ages: 16+.

Registration information will be available soon.

Stratford Library Children’s Department is Hosting “Welcome Week”

Join “I Spy Stratford” game, Storytimes for various ages

Art and Science Projects
Meet throughout the week at 10:30 a.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Children’s Department staff Sara Livoti (left) and Emily Hubbell invite patrons to the Stratford Library’s “Welcome Week”.

The Stratford Library Children’s Department is hosting “Welcome Week” January 30th  to February 4th, 2023 to welcome all families, new and returning to the Library.  Realizing that many families moved into Stratford during the pandemic, the Children’s Department wants all Stratford families to be aware of the Library’s various programs, resources, and activities.  All events are free and open to the public

Families are invited to stop by the Library during “Welcome Week” to participate in an “I Spy Stratford” game and to cast their votes for favorite Stratford restaurants, pizza, parks, and other important town destinations.   Storytimes for various ages meet throughout the week at 10:30 am on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.   Register on the website

“Welcome Week” also includes the following special events:

  • January 30: ART Day. Stop by any time to add art to the Welcome Banner.
  • January 31: SCIENCE Day.  Register for Coding Class (ages 7-12) at 4 pm. Treehouse Science activity stations from 4-7 pm (ages 7-12).  Astronomy Activity at 6:30 pm (ages 7-12).
  • February 1: SCHOOL Day.  Activity stations for school age kids available 4-7 pm.
  • February 2: PRESCHOOL Day. Create a Valentine craft (all ages).
  • February 3: Welcome Grab and Go to pick up today.

“Welcome Week” concludes on Saturday, February 4 with “Take Your Child to the Library Day”.  Patrons are invited to stop by all day to receive a free book and a goody bag (while supplies last).   Additionally, families can register to attend several special events:

10 am:  Preschool activity station.

11 am:  Children (ages 5-12) play Bingo for prizes.

1 pm:  Children (ages 8-10) learn to make Dragons Love Tacos Snacks.

2:30 pm:  Children (ages 4-7) learn to make Pete the Cat Snacks.

3:30 pm:  Children can help construct and sit under a Reading Fort in the Children’s Department. There will also be a drop-in art project from 12pm-4pm while supplies last and children can play I Spy from 10 am-4 pm.

“Welcome Week” is made possible by the generosity of the Carol Pieper Memorial Fund. For more information or to register for events, call the Children’s Department at 203.385.4165 or visit its website at: page.

Nutrition Health Presentation – My Plate

Sponsors: The Hispanic Health Council and Stratford Health Department

Tuesday, January 24th from 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Birdseye Municipal Complex
468 Birdseye Street, Room 1110

Join the Stratford Health Department and the Hispanic Health Council for a free 4-week session on Nutrition Health.

Sessions will also be held on:

  • Tuesday, February 28th: Food Safety
  • Tuesday, March 28th, Food Labels
  • Tuesday, April 25th, Diabetes Prevention

All sessions will be from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Birdseye Municipal Complex

To register or for more information contact:

Walter Owusu


Cast Announced at Square One Theatre Company

Final Production of the Season: Agnes of God

The Square One Theatre Company has announced the cast for its final production of the season, Agnes of God by John Pielmeier, which will run at the theatre March 9th  – 26th.

The three character drama will feature (l-r): Priscilla Squiers of Danbury, Céline Montaudy (Stamford) and Lucy Babbitt (Stratford).

Agnes of God  The play, based on true events, concerns a young nun who secretly gives birth to a child who is then found murdered.  The nun is directed by the court to be examined by a therapist where secrets are revealed.

For tickets call: 203.375.8778 or visit:

Winter Sports for All Ages

Sterling House Community Center

Yoga: Gentle Kripalu Yoga begins on Monday, January 23rd at SHCC.  The 10 week course is taught from 6:15 – 7:25 p.m.  Chair Yoga began on January 17th.  Chair Yoga also runs for 10 weeks, and there is still openings for a $75 punch card good for 5 classes of your choice.  For more information go to:

Pickle Ball:  Calling all Stratford Seniors join the latest exercise craze – 4 week courses on Pickle Ball. Wednesday, January 25th to February 15th, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m., Birdseye Complex Gym In partnership with Stratford Recreation and the Baldwin Center, SHCC will be conducting Pickle Ball classes that teach the basic rules, skills, and techniques.  There will be short drills, practice time and friendly scrimmages

All classes will be on Wednesdays.  Session 1 will be from January 25th to February 15th.  Session 2 is from March 8th – March 29th.  $20 for four weeks, $5 per drop in class.

Safesitters Classes:  Learn how to be safe when watching younger siblings or babysitting.  Safesitter classes for ages 11+ on Saturday, January 28th from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Register today at:

2023 Spring Lacrosse with the Stratford Storm can be found at:  Registration is now open and ends March 1st.  Games begin April 1st.


Why choose Stratford Storm Lacrosse?

-Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing youth sports in America

-Stratford Storm Lacrosse offers programs for boys and girls in grades K through 8

-Stratford Storm Lacrosse does its best to give back to its families with added events such as free clinics throughout the year, and a season ending banquet


Visit the Stratford Storm Lacrosse You Tube page.  If you’ve never played or watched the game of lacrosse, here is your chance to see what it looks like:

Stratford Storm Lacrosse – YouTube

Facebook – Stratford Storm Lacrosse

Instagram – storm_lacrosse2002

Soccer:  Winter off-season soccer skills clinic.  Co-ed classes on Saturday’s in Erin’s Gym.  Led by advanced soccer training coaches, players will work on agility, foot skills, shooting tactics, game IQ and teamwork.

Session 2, runs from February 25th – April 1st.

To register go to:

Channel Your Inner Artist:  Opportunity to learn the fundamentals of art from begging to end. Youth and Teen classes will be held on Saturdays with the following schedule:

Beginners: ages 6-12, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Advanced, ages 10-12, 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.

Teens, ages 13-19, 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Session starts February 18th for 5 weeks


Adult Art Classes: Thursday evenings from 7:15 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.  Session starts February 16th for 5 weeks.  To register online go to:


Holy Name of Jesus Food Pantry

Monday, January 23rd
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Connecticut Food Bank

Please note that there have been changes made to the Holy Name food pantry.

The food pantry will be sponsored by the Connecticut Food Bank, the Stratford Department of Health, and the YMCA

The Food Bank will now take place on every other Monday, and there is also a time change, it will now be from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., and they are asking that cars line up on College Street.

You are also asked to bring your own reusable bag.  There will be 1 bag per household distributed.  Please bring identification if a second household is in the car.

“Secrets to Getting Published”

Local Writers Invited to January 28th Workshop

Stratford Library Reference Department
Saturday, January 28th at 2 p.m.

The Stratford Library Reference Department will present “You Wrote a Book, Now What?  Secrets to Getting Published” on Saturday, January 28th at 2 p.m.  The workshop is free and open to the public.

Writing a book is only the first step and getting published presents its own unique challenges.  For the Stratford Library program, Jan Kardys of Black Hawk Literary Agency will present an in-depth look at the publishing process from start to finish.

The workshop begins from manuscript to printed book, how to write a query letter and find a literary agent, nonfiction book proposals, social media marketing, subsidiary rights, contract deal points and many other vital topics.

The process of self-publishing vs traditional publishing will also be discussed.  “Secrets to Getting Published” begins at 2 p.m. on January 28th in the Stratford Library Lovell Room. It is free, but registration is required at:

For further information call: 203.385.4164 or email: