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How to Lead a Balanced Lifestyle with Chronic Illness

  • By Jennifer Mulder
  • 21 October 2019
  • 3 minute read
How to Lead a Balanced Lifestyle with Chronic Illness | The Health Sessions

This article is written by Helen Bradford.

In order for us to discuss managing balance with chronic illness, first, we must define it. What do we actually consider to be a chronic condition? It is actually a condition that is permanent and basically incurable. Chronic conditions include heart disease, asthma, epilepsy, cancer and diabetes, among others. People can usually manage them through early detection, adjusted diet, moderate exercise and suggested therapy.

But even though people who are diagnosed with it struggle both physically and emotionally to cope with everyday life and obligations, it is possible for them to lead a balanced lifestyle, too. It just requires more effort and some modifications to many aspects.

1. Social media – a two-edged sword

For you to be able to learn how to live with a chronic illness without it ruining your life, you need to reconsider the things you see on social media on a daily basis. Not everything you see on social media is real, as people post only things they want you to see. Plus, many of the photos are photoshopped and don’t show the real state of people! You constantly see images of happy, healthy and glowing people, and it looks so easy.

When you’re constantly bombed with these kinds of images, you wonder how do they do it and you can’t? Even though social media are a great way to get inspiration for leading a healthy life and staying in touch with other people with similar conditions and sharing advice about your lifestyle, they are not something that’s medically prescribed and necessarily true.

It’s important to remember that not everything works for everybody. Even when you see someone (with the same or similar condition as yours) posting an image of themselves and an inspirational quote followed by an advice about certain exercise or diet, it doesn’t necessarily have to work for you. It’s always better to check the information from a trusted source than to immediately try it and risk your health.

2. Practical lifestyle tips

There are some practical and useful steps for coping with a chronic condition people find beneficial for them. People suffering from medical conditions have the same everyday obligations as people who don’t suffer from any chronic illness. So besides some special practices their chronic illness requires them to do, they also have to take care of their family, go to work and run a household, among other things. How do they manage to achieve everything?

Besides these obligations, they also need to find time for self-care and relaxation. Tip number one: it’s important to truly relax both your body and mind. Yoga and pilates are great alternatives for achieving this mindfulness. It’s also key to start small and make your short-term goals realistic. When planning your day, always remember to add some mobility to it – even light one can do wonders for you. Don’t forget about your peace of mind, as your thoughts and emotions influence your physical health as well.

How to Lead a Balanced Lifestyle with Chronic Illness | The Health Sessions

3. The importance of a well-balanced diet

The importance of a well-balanced diet can never be emphasized too much. It’s quintessential for everybody and especially for those suffering from chronic conditions. Diet can help regulate and maintain a healthy lifestyle and lessen the effects of chronic illness.

It’s important to note that food isn’t everything and it’s only a piece of the puzzle that is our health. We need to keep in balance all the aspects of our lifestyle, not only diet. Keeping a balance between healthy food rich in vitamins, nutrients, proteins and fiber and the food which is not so healthy, but it keeps our mind happy, is the key. The base of our diet should be healthy and include lots of fruits and veggies, lean meats and nuts, but it doesn’t have to mean that we can’t sometimes indulge in something we love.

As cooking is perhaps too demanding for many people suffering from chronic illness, My Fitness Kichn saves you precious energy and pain by making nutritious meals for you. And they deliver, too!

4. Listen to your body

We must keep in mind that all the information we can find online or hear from people around is pretty generic. That’s why we must learn to listen to our bodies and see what works for us and what is simply not for us. The focus should lie in making ourselves feel better and as healthy as possible.

Your body gives you clear signs when you’re tired and you need to stop. And you should listen. Because if you push yourself too hard, beyond your limits, you can only cause additional problems, which might take a long time to recover from. Thus, it’s important to take all the factors into consideration and to try everything you can. If it makes you happy and it’s not much for you health-wise, go with it as long as you feel comfortable.

Living a somewhat balanced life while at the same time struggling with a medical condition can be tough. First, we have to make peace with our condition and accept it the way it is and ask ourselves “Okay, I have a medical condition, what can I do to make my life better, easier and more comfortable regarding my everyday routines and work?” And only after we have done this, we can start making some actual adjustments and modifications.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also like:

Thank you for including this post in your weekly round-up Claire! And for supporting other health bloggers by sharing their work.

Great post and information - I have shared a link on my regular feature Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You! Claire (PainPalsBlog) x

Thank you soo much may God bless you in many ways ☺

I'm sorry, the blog post is a few years old so the giveaway has been closed for a while now. Perhaps you can use some of the tips above to create a care package: puzzles or magazine, (free) samples of body care products if your dad is still in the hospital, a gift card for iTunes? I also like the Gifts in A Tin from DIYMommy: (Scroll down for an overview) or an edible gift like the five bean soup IF he's medically allowed to eat that of course!: Hope your father feels better soon!

I was going to leave a comment for the give away... For my dad cuz he had his gull bladder taken out a fue hrs ago but congrats... Is there a cheep way i can make something for him?

Being careful with what you eat might be a good idea if you're feeling sick or have stomach aches. Luckily, there are still plenty of things listed you can do to entertain yourself :-) Feel better soon!

When I am I'll myum doesn't let me eat so some wouldn't work 😢🍕

Hi Darci, thank you for your message. Unfortunately the guide is not available yet as a hardcover and a paperback. If that changes in the near future, I will let you know. Warm regards, Jennifer

I would like to buy this book in hard cover or paperback instead of e-book for a friend

thats #6

Super useful habits Nat! I also need to mentally unwind before bedtime or I'll be laying awake all night with thoughts racing through my mind.

A few things that help me ( I suffer from insomnia) is by not taking my phone to bed with me, i finish checking emails, social media etc in the living room and go to bed to switch off. Something else I do is turn on my essential oils diffuser an hour before bed so the room is scent with a relaxing mist of essential oils such as lavender, or vetiver which is like a sedative and incredible for helping me unwind. Another thing that work well when i can't switch my brain off is to write a quick list of everything i think i need to be dealing with now and highlighting only the ones that need to be taken care of the next day. Helps me not to feel so overwhelmed and in turn helps me fall asleep easier.

I'm touched by your kind words Darla, thank you. It's perfectly normal that you're resentful and feel sorry for yourself. You've had a lot to deal with. Not just experiencing horrible symptoms on a daily basis, but also having to adjust the plans you had for your future and your sense of identity. To me, positivity in the face of adversity is not about having an irrealistic rose-colored view of life. But I do believe that trying to find the good in little things each day can help make the bad ones more bearable. It's a challenge, but your insightful comment tells me that you're up for it ;-) Let me know if there's anything I can do to help. Good luck, be gentle with yourself and take care Darla!

Dr.Jen the Zen one, first off you rock! Since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 4 years ago and 2 years ago double pneumonia that left me with heart failure with 28% left undamaged it has seriously limited my mobility energy patience and unfortunately my positive attitude. 52 years on this planet, I lived a happy-go-lucky , look on the bright side, things will be better tomorrow, or crack a silly joke and get over it type of life. Now for the first time in my life I find myself having to work at being positive. Anger and resentment and even the dreaded " poor little me" mindset is trying to set up permanent residence. And tonight I find your blog and it gives me hope I just want to say "Thank you" Darla

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