Do you find yourself relying even more heavily on technology than the average person, due to your physical limitations?
It’s no surprise that those of us living with a chronic illness may find ourselves experiencing symptoms of ‘digital overload’. Unfortunately, many people have found that in some ways, technology has made life more difficult. Using your electronics too frequently and for long periods can leave you feeling drained physically and mentally – on top of the pre-existing illness that you deal with daily.
Maybe you feel that you spend too much time on your devices. Granted, for those who work remotely, this can be a necessity. Or perhaps you’ve noticed that your mood is worse or that you feel anxious and uneasy at the end of the day, and can’t quite put your finger on why. These are signs that you may be utilizing your technologies at an unhealthy rate. However, digital overload is something you can recognize and you can make changes to better balance your digital use.
It’s a common but underestimated side-effect of living with chronic illness: spending a lot of time alone. Because you’re stuck at home while your family and friends are off to work, school and sports. Because your migraine or crippling fatigue force you to crawl in bed, in darkness and quietude. Because you need to rest in between activities or simply can’t join in on social activities.
It can be hard to spend so much time in solitude and stillness. But being alone is not necessarily synonymous to being lonely. You can be completely content on your own, and you can be surrounded by people yet feel like no one understands you.
Although we all need company and social connections to feel good, you can also find beauty in solitude and stillness.
Spending time alone gives you space to tune into yourself. Stillness silences the voices of others telling you who you should be and why you should do, and gives you space to listen to your own thoughts, feelings and intuition. More so, being on your own offers you time for self-reflection. Without distractions from the outside world, it’s easier to get a clear picture of what you want in life, what matters most to you and how to achieve those goals and dreams.
Time alone also allows you to check in with yourself physically. By paying attention to your physical sensations, you learn to notice your body’s triggers and warning signs in time – and what helps to feel better.
What’s more, stillness can help you stress less. When your body relaxes and your mind calms down, you activate the restorative part of your nervous system. And less tension often leads to better sleep at night and improved concentration during the day. Getting quiet also lowers your cortisol levels and blood pressure, both important markers for your overall health.
So what can you do to make your alone-time reflective and restorative instead of lonely?
First of all, it helps to purposefully choose ‘me-time’ instead of letting loneliness overwhelm you. On the surface, you may be doing the same things, but emotionally, there’s a big difference between mindfully laying in savasana to recharge and staring at the ceiling feeling bored, sick and alone. If spend a lot of time on your own, you could make a plan to deal with social isolation or a list with fun things you can do at home alone.
Secondly, in our always-on world, we should all unplug from time to time to make space for stillness. Disconnect for an hour, a day or a weekend to spend time with your own thoughts and sit with your feelings. Enjoy analogue hobbies like reading magazines, playing guitar or brewing your own beer without getting distracted by messages, notifications or your favorite show in the background.
Finally, get into the habit of journaling for self-reflection, soul-searching and finding fresh perspectives. Practicing mindfulness and the art of savouring will also turn your time alone into more meaningful moments. You may not always be able to escape the loneliness and boredom of being on your own, but you deserve to get some upsides from all that alone-time too.
Take a look at these 16 inspiring quotes to learn to see the beauty of solitude and stillness.
When you’re living with chronic illness like diabetes, heart problems or Crohns disease, it’s more important than ever to have a healthy lifestyle. Eating a balanced diet, moving your body and managing stress well can all help you deal better with painful symptoms or prevent worsening of your health condition. It’s no secret that smoking, … Read more >
And that doesn’t surprise me. I know from experience how mind-numbing and depressing it can be to be stuck at home for weeks or months on end, unable to do the things you enjoy.
You might think that keeping yourself entertained while you’re sick is a luxury problem, but that’s exactly when you need good mental health the most. Positive distractions can take your mind off the pain and reduce stress, or act as a therapeutic form of self-expression that supports your overall health.
Of course, nowadays the Internet and on-demand entertainment provide you with an endless stream of movies to watch, books to read, music to listen to and social media to scroll through. And yet, staring at screens all day every day can be unfulfilling when you’re chronically ill – or worse, intensify headaches, eye strain and brain fog.
Are you done watching Netflix, playing video games and navel-gazing too? Then give these fresh ‘bored and sick’ tips a try to keep your mind entertained while your body rests!
“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” – Mason Cooley
Great stories transport you to a different world. They can take you back in time, through different regions or even to a fictional universe. Especially travel memoirs will introduce you to exotic cultures and customs.
But a good travel memoir doesn’t just bring you on an imaginative trip around the world – it also reflects on how those experiences took the writer on transformative journey inwards. You won’t just get insights about tourist landmarks, foreign traditions and cuisines, but also about who you are and your place in this ever-changing world.
If you loved reading Eat Pray Love or Into The Wild, which other books could offer a mental escape? Take a look at this mix of classic and recent travel memoirs to take you on an armchair journey.
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