“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
– Marcel Proust
There’s something good in every day.
It doesn’t always feel that way and that’s ok. Some days the pain of living is just too much to notice anything else. Other times you’re just too tired to care. It’s hard to pick up the subtle signs of bliss when the noise of everyday life drowns out the quietness within you.
And yet, it’s there, waiting for you to pay attention.
“The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.”
– Mother Theresa
When you think of loneliness, a bright and sunny day is probably not the first scenario that comes to mind. Long, dark winter nights seem to represent those hollow feelings inside so much better.
And yet, summer time can be a lonely season for anyone who’s not able to fully participate in the festivities during these months, like the chronically ill. Family and friends are away on vacation and caregiving facilities can be closed down for summer or short on staff. This makes getting out and about and socializing even more challenging than usual if you have limited mobility.
And it’s not just about literally being alone and not having someone to talk to and hang out with. Loneliness also refers to feeling alone, like nobody understands what you’re going through. Like Carl Jung said, “loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you“. When you have a chronic or invisible illness, being lonely is often a combination of the two, a cruel mix of social isolation and not feeling heard. Because for the people in your life it can be hard to understand why you may not be able to do seemingly relaxing things like spending a day at the beach.
And during summer, the gorgeous weather and ecstatic Facebook updates about festivals, BBQ’s and exotic holiday destinations only seem to rub your nose in the fact that you’re stuck at home, not being able to join in on the fun.
Maybe you noticed that, unlike many other health blogs, you rarely see pictures of me sipping green juice or looking fabulous doing yoga on The Health Sessions or social media.
That’s mostly because I’m a pretty private person, who’s watched one too many episodes of CSI Cyber and Stalker. It’s also because I still have a sneaky suspicion that some yoga poses were invented by gurus with slightly sadistic tendencies. And most of the time, my healthy homemade meals don’t look that Instagram-worthy either. (As if eating my dinner when it’s still warm isn’t hard enough with a one-year old at the table without having to take photos.)
But another major reason for not broadcasting pretty pictures of how fun and glamourous a healthy lifestyle can be, is that I don’t want to come off as a hypocrite.
As soon as you first hold your baby in your arms, you realise that every cliché about parenthood is true: it’s one of the most joyful, love-filled yet hardest things you’ll ever do.
Taking care of a newborn round-the-clock can be overwhelming for any mum and dad, but when you have a chronic illness like MS, fibromyalgia or lupus, parenting comes with a whole extra set of challenges. Unpredictable symptoms, severe fatigue and physical limitations can pose considerable obstacles when you’re looking after a little one.
Here are 12 practical tips for taking care of your baby and yourself when you’re chronically ill.
“The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom.”
– Arthur Schopenhauer
When you feel so sick you can barely lift your head from the pillow, you just want to get through the day in one piece.
But as you’re slowly getting better, your mind might crave some distraction, even though your body is still too weak to do much.
That’s when the boredom creeps in.
Sure, catching up on your Netflix queue is fun at first. But when you find yourself refreshing your social media feed every 5 minutes because the only other option is staring at the ceiling, it’s time for some entertainment!
Finding fun activities to do when you’re sick at home alone may seem like a luxury problem, but it can actually have a bigger impact on your wellbeing than you might realise. Studies have shown that you need 3 positive emotions to make up for every negative one – and there’s no lack of unpleasant experiences when you’re (chronically) ill.
So keep your happiness ratio up and fight the boredom with these 28 enjoyable ways to pass the time.