It’s hard to ignore the illustrious health benefits of exercising on a regular basis – it boosts your mood, helps you control your weight, promotes a good night’s sleep and keeps your body strong and fit.
Even if you have a chronic disease, being physically active can improve your health and quality of life, by helping you manage your symptoms and giving you more energy to do your daily chores.
But for people with persisting health problems, there are many obstacles between them and a regular exercise routine – from pain, fatigue and debilitating symptoms to limited mobility and realistic fears of health setbacks.
That’s why I asked a few of the finest fitness experts: “What’s your best advice for overcoming these common barriers to physical activity when someone’s struggling with chronic illness?”
There’s nothing more uplifting than knowing someone is thinking of you when you’re terribly ill. All you want is a little comforting while you’re dealing with the physical pain and emotional turmoil of sickness.
That’s why sending a get-well care package to a sick loved one is a wonderful way to show you care and to wish them a speedy recovery.
And yet you might be stumped for inspiration on what to put in your gift basket. Of course that depends on your friend’s illness, circumstances and preferences in life, but packing both practical items to deal with the daily discomforts and entertaining goodies that offer an escape from the mind-numbing boredom will definitely brighten their day!
Have a look at these 14 ideas for creating a comforting care package for sick loved ones:
It’s not like you haven’t tried all the usual advice for getting a good night’s sleep. You stopped drinking caffeine after lunchtime and you wake up and go to bed at the same time each night. Heck, you even bought the most comfortable mattress and pillow you could find.
And still you find yourself tossing and turning, staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night, debating whether you should quietly get up for a while or stubbornly keep your eyes closed in the hope of finally falling asleep. Unfortunately, following standard sleeping tips is no guarantee for getting plenty of shut-eye when you have a medical condition, when your baby keeps you up all night or when your internal body clock is disrupted from working the night shift.
For people with chronic illness, insomnia is an all-too-common problem. Many health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, depression and an overactive thyroid, can disturb your natural sleep – wake cycle. Having trouble falling asleep can also be the result of the pills you’re taking or of simply not being able to lie down comfortably due to seriously aching joints and muscles.
If the basic go-to-sleep ideas have failed to get you a good night’s rest, experiment with these 6 unconventional tips to beat insomnia naturally.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing:
the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
Your mother warned you there’d be days like these. The minutes are ticking away until your big meeting starts, and here you are, stuck in traffic – again. Cars are moving at a snail’s pace, but the thoughts keep racing through your mind. “Hmm, did I lock the front door..? Ooh, I shouldn’t forget to pick up the dry-cleaning on my way home tonight. And we really must find the time to visit aunt Jessie in the hospital this weekend. Maybe after we’ve finished painting the nursery..? Argh, move already, I’m running late!”
You can feel the tension build up in your body. And the day has only just begun.
Life is a continuous string of events, from everyday challenges and important milestones to defining moments and daily disruptions. Although there are certain situations that everyone finds upsetting and taxing – losing a loved one, relationship troubles, unemployment or living with chronic illness – whether or not you get stressed following a negative event also depends on how you perceive that situation.
Stress is triggered by external life events and small daily hassles. When you experience more frequent and severe stressors in life, you have an increased risk of developing serious health problems like heart disease, obesity, digestive problems or anxiety. But this relation doesn’t explain why plenty of people thrive in high-pressure jobs or demanding circumstances. Why do some individuals get sick and depressed when something stressful happens while others do not?
It’s a sad fact that in times of need you find out who your true friends are. Not everyone has the courage, strength and emotional intelligence to deal with difficult situations. Others want to help out, but they simply don’t know what to say or do.
The irony is that you don’t need grand gestures or eloquent speeches to show your love and compassion – they’re found in the tiny, wordless gestures of support and understanding.
When you’re diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness, the dynamics of your relationships inevitably change. Sometimes the person you want to turn to the most, suddenly stops calling you or slowly vanishes from your life when you’re no longer able to do fun things together. But other people might surprise you: the colleague who keeps checking in how you’re doing, the neighbour who offers to do your grocery shopping or drive you to the hospital.
Many articles have been written about the misconceptions and insensitive comments that sick people have to deal with. Although it’s important to address the constant frustrations and loneliness of chronically ill patients, today I want to celebrate all the lovely individuals who do get it – who understand what you’re going through, who stick around through it all, who never let you down. This is a gratitude note to the support squads of “spoonies” everywhere – and my friends and family in particular.
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