Let’s face it. Living with a chronic illness isn’t for the faint of heart. Every day, you’re battling pain, fatigue, and uncertainty. On top of this, you have the disconcerting knowledge that, without some kind of divine intervention or miracle cure, your condition is never going away.
You likely feel afraid, angry, and even powerless. But don’t. You are far stronger than you know, and you have more help in dealing with the stress, managing the emotions, and contending with the physical effects of your illness than you may realize. Meditation, for example. It can be just the weapon you need to fight–and thrive–another day.
Life as a wheelchair user can be challenging no matter where you are on the planet, and daily frustrations are often exacerbated in a million little ways. If you led a physically active life and became a wheelchair user later in life, playing your favorite sport or simply going for a run or a hike might seem impossible.
However, exercise is vital to maintain your health and strengthen your core as a wheelchair user, especially as you get older. According to the International Journal of Nursing Studies, it is possible to increase your fitness levels, improve the quality of your sleep, and make some of your daily activities easier to manage with wheelchair exercises.
Read on to find out how wheelchair exercises can benefit you, which ones are best suited to you, and how to exercise safely while using a wheelchair.
This article contains some affiliate links to products you may find useful, at no extra costs to you. All opinions are my own.
Summer is the time for having fun, going on adventures and relaxation. But sadly, you cannot take a vacation from your own body and mind. So when you’re living with chronic illness, the FOMO is real when you see your friends sipping mojitos by the pool or sightseeing picturesque villages on social media while you are stuck at home as usual.
But just because your health problems stop you from joining in on all the fun, that doesn’t mean you can have any fun.
What do you love most about summer? Which activities, sensations and memorable moments do you want to experience?
First, take a close look at the things you’d love to do most to see if there’s any way you could make it happen with some serious planning and pacing. Can’t see how to make it work health-wise? Then try if you can modify your plans to make that activity accessible, like having a champagne brunch instead of going out for cocktails at night, or camping out in the backyard instead of in the wild.
If there’s no way to make your beloved activity doable for you, ask yourself what it is about that beach day, 4th of July barbecue or exotic holiday that you’re longing for. Are you in desperate need of some real R&R, do you want a sense of excitement in your life or are you craving social connection?
Perhaps you can fulfill that underlying desire in a different way. You may not be able to travel to Paris, but you could still have some pain au chocolat and immerse yourself into French culture from the comfort of your home. And you don’t have to visit a luxurious resort to embrace slow living with time for siestas, pampering and a good book.
Even small rituals like eating watermelon, walking barefoot and enjoying long evenings outside can give that summer feeling you’re looking for. You just have to be intentional about creating those amazing summer experiences.
What your summer activities may look like depends a lot on your health and living situation, from your energy levels and mobility to whether or not you have housemates or an outdoor area. When you’re so sick you can barely leave your bed, there’s little to no room for uncomplicated fun. That’s why not every tip will work for everyone. This list is simply meant to inspire you and see how you can make things work for your unique circumstances.
With that in mind, here are 55 spoonie-proof ideas for an amazing summer, even if you’re stuck at home with chronic illness.
Waiting for test results can be daunting, and you’ll likely experience bouts of worry, anxiety, and fear during the waiting period. But it helps to remember that anxiety is normal, stay busy with engaging tasks that you enjoy, avoid negative thoughts, resist turning to Google for answers, and be open about your anxiety with friends and relatives.
I remember the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic when I realized I had been exposed to a COVID-positive person. Despite being a doctor, my levels of anxiety and fear were touching their peaks. I spent those days waiting for the test results in self-isolation. To cope with anxiety and stress, listening to music, reading books, chatting with friends, and watching videos were greatly helpful.
People with chronic conditions are no strangers to this anxiety, but there are things you can do to make the waiting period easier. Here are some tips and techniques that will help you manage your anxiety and feel more at ease during this hard process.
Living with heart problems, inflammatory bowel disease or COPD can feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster. One moment you might feel hopeful and determined you’ll ‘beat this illness’, and the next you break down over the pain, symptoms and heartache you have to deal with every single day. You’re confused, overwhelmed and don’t know what will happen next.
When you feel like you’re on an rollercoaster, how can you deal with the chaos and emotional turmoil?
First of all, zoom out mentally. When you’re in the middle of a figurative looping, there’s no room for anything else in your mind but being on that rollercoaster. But if you take a step back to see the bigger picture, you can see that the end of the ride is in sight. Sure, your chronic illness won’t magically go away, but your next ups and downs may be milder and more into the future than you can tell right now. So don’t get stuck in the moment or get caught up in the day-to-day drama.
Next, pause before you act. When you’re emotional, it’s easy to get carried away and act (out) uncharacteristically. But like psychiatrist Viktor Frankl said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” In simple words: take a moment between thinking upsetting thoughts or feeling heavy emotions, and acting upon them. Don’t make important decisions in the spur of a moment when you’re on that emotional rollercoaster.
Also, find constructive ways to deal with all those emotions. Breathing techniques can calm your nervous system, while journaling helps to put your feelings into words and reflect upon what’s happening. You could also express yourself creatively through drawing, dancing or cooking, or practice mindfulness to learn to accept your new reality. And sometimes, simply sitting with difficult feelings when they bubble up is all you need to step off that emotional rollercoaster.
Finally, engage in positive self-talk and self-compassion. Getting stuck in negative thought patterns or beating yourself up over what’s happening will only lengthen and intensify this ride.
Have a look at these 11 chaos quotes to help you cope when life feels like a rollercoaster.
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