This article is written by Michael Dehoyos.
When you’re living and dealing with chronic illness, you already know that life isn’t easy, and you need to be mindful of how you’re feeling and how you’re looking after yourself. This means not just with your physical illness, but also your emotional well-being.
Chronic illness can take its toll on your day-to-day life, but with a bit of awareness and by following the steps below, you can take charge of your disease and maintain control of your life and your happiness. Here are ten tips to remember.
Learn about your illness and body
They say that knowledge is power, and this is true when it comes to chronic illness. The more understanding you have on your condition, the more clarity you’ll have, and the better you’ll be able to cope. The more information you know, the better the decisions you’ll be able to make, and this can be very empowering.
Understand your new roles
When living with a chronic illness, your roles in life may change. For example, you may have previously carried out most of the housework in your home or driven everyone everywhere, whereas now you may be unable to sit or stand for a long period of time. This change can make a big difference to your emotional health and your sense of self and identity. It can be a good idea to make sure you’re talking to someone you trust about potential issues, thoughts, and feelings you have.
Develop a circle of trust
Having a social circle and community of friends and trusted loved ones around you is essential when it comes to dealing with and managing your emotional needs and well-being. You need to make sure you’re surrounding yourself with people you can count on.
Do you have contact details for old friends? Try getting in touch with them. Also, although social media gets a bad rep, it is a great and easy way to keep in touch with your local community (though be safe). There are also spoonie-specific websites, like Spoonie Village, The Mighty and Healing Well.
Find the right health provider
“When seeking a healthcare provider, you need to make sure you’re choosing the right provider for you. You want to work with a hospital you can trust and will help answer your questions and will be there for you when you need them. If you’re let down by your healthcare provider, this can be devastating emotionally, so try to make the right choice,” explains David Turner, a lifestyle blogger at BritStudent and Next Coursework.
According to Katherine Albrecht writing for The Mighty, a good health provider listens to you, has no qualms about referring you to other specialists and is either already knowledgeable about your condition or is highly willing to learn about it.
Be open with your emotional health
Hand in hand with the consideration above, you need to be open and honest about your emotional well-being with your healthcare provider. If you’re struggling with feelings of depression or anxiety, they will be able to help you explore options to keep yourself as happy and healthy as possible and can provide access to social workers and mental health professionals if required.
While traditional exercise may be limited when you’re living with chronic illnesses, it’s still important to keep up with the exercises that you’re able to achieve. Going for gentle walks may be appropriate, or you might find that you enjoy yoga in bed. There may also be some good physiotherapy exercises that work well with your body, but you’ll need to talk to your healthcare provider to see what options are available and appropriate for you.
Discover joy in both big and little moments
Joy can be discovered in all aspects of life; you just need to be able to open your eyes to it. Of course, this is easier said than done, but with practice and with trusted people around you, you’ll be able to find joy and experience the happiness that life has in store for you.
Accept the challenges
There’s no denying that chronic illness living can bring a wealth of challenges into your life, and while you may know this, this doesn’t mean you accept them. By not accepting your individual challenges, this can cause a huge amount of stress and depression. Over time, give yourself permission to face your challenges with bravery and courage.
Consider practicing mindfulness
“Mindfulness practices, such as meditation, may not be for everyone, but it’s worth considering since it can help manage stress and can help you seek emotional balance. Just sitting quietly for ten minutes can be a great way to ground yourself from the heightened reality that chronic illness can create,” shares Lisa Goodwin, a health writer at Australia2Write and Write My X.
Discover your life’s meaning
Everyone in life has different passions, purposes, and meaning, and it’s vital that you take the time to find out what matters for you. Many people with chronic illnesses, for example, will raise money for the health services that have looked after them, and while this may not be for you, you need to be proactive in finding a purpose for your life. Something that will drive you forward into the future.
So, the solitude and boredom that come with living with a chronic illness can be tough to deal with, and can be pretty bad for your emotional wellbeing. But with support around you and with practicing acceptance, mindfulness and understanding, living with a chronic illness will get easier for you to manage.
Michael Dehoyos is a health writer and editor at PhD Kingdom and Write My Essay. He helps those living with chronic illnesses to make the most out of life and helps to share information that helps both individuals and families have the best experience. Also, he is a writer at Case Study Help.
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