A Study Guide for the Chronically Ill: 23 Proven Strategies

Study Guide for the Chronically Ill

Most kids love the idea of staying home from school for a day. But that delighted feeling swiftly disappears when you’re sick in bed all day every day.

During most of my high school years, I was too ill to go to class. Even the simplest parts of a normal school day tested my endurance: the constant pain from sitting behind a desk, listening to the teacher’s instructions with a foggy brain, taking written tests with inflamed shoulders, the everlasting fatigue that influenced every aspect of my life.

So ever since I was 15, I had to rely solely on self-study from home to earn my high school diploma and later my Psychology degree from the Dutch Open University.

But getting an education when you’re chronically ill comes with its own set of problems, even if you’re able to attend class. For some sick students, a full-time schedule might be too demanding. Others could have severe trouble with concentration, memory and ‘mental stamina’ due to their symptoms or side-effects of medication.

If you’re a young student with chronic illness or disabilities, what are you to do?

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21 Simple Habits to Kickstart a Healthier Lifestyle

 

Habits for Healthy Lifestyle

 

You can feel this growing sense of excitement bubble up: It’s time for a fresh start, with a healthy new lifestyle to unleash your full potential. 

Inspired by all the success stories about former coach potatoes who ended up running a marathon in one year, you go all in. You work out at the gym five days a week and you start a juice fast before definitely cutting out all sugar, gluten, dairy, alcohol and caffeine all at once.

At first, the positive effects of exercising and healthy eating rub off on the rest of your life. You wake up early and refreshed and you have no trouble saying “no, thank you” to that piece of chocolate cake on birthday parties.

Until after two or three weeks, life suddenly throws you off course. After being up all night with your child, you’re desperate for another shot of caffeine, and you miss your yoga class because you’re so swamped with work. When you finally get home at night, you feel too tired to cook up a healthy bowl of quinoa with grilled vegetables.

Of course you’ll jump back in the saddle tomorrow, but you can’t shake that feeling that you’ve somehow failedIt starts to feel like a lot of effort to keep up this perfectly healthy lifestyle, and the next time life gets in the way of your resolutions, you automatically fall back into your old routine of crashing in front of the TV with a microwaved meal after a stressful day.

Does this story sound familiar?

A total transformation of your health surely sounds appealing, but too many drastic lifestyle changes at once usually isn’t the recipe for longterm success. Research shows we only have a limited amount of willpower each day. So when you want to improve your health, it’s much easier to focus on creating small, doable habits  –  those automated, healthy behaviours you do without thinking about it.

Start small: pick one tiny health habit at a time, until it’s a natural part of your routine.

To help you kickstart a healthier lifestyle without too much stress and effort, here’s a list of 21 simple habits that can make a big difference.

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