8 Tips to Build Your Resilience When Dealing with Chronic Illness | The Health Sessions

8 Tips to Build Your Resilience When Dealing with Chronic Illness

This article is written by Katherine Smith.  

If you live with a chronic illness, inner strength is so important to ensuring physical health. Here are 8 ways to empower yourself to both mental and physical wellness.

It’s no overstatement to say that the burden of a chronic illness pays a heavy toll on the body, both physically and mentally, even if the immediate nature of the illness is predominantly physical. While it’s vital to keep your physical health up, maintaining and building your inner resilience throughout your condition is integral in the path to recovery.

Here we look at 8 ways to strengthen your mental fortitude so that you can fight and overcome the chronic illness you might be battling.

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8 Mind Games to Play When You're in Need of Distraction | The Health Sessions

8 Mind Games to Play When You’re in Need of Distraction

When you’re living with chronic illness, you often find yourself in need of distraction. You want to take your mind off the pain, fatigue, sadness, worries and boredom. And that’s when mind games can come in handy.

Now you’re probably wondering: why on earth would I need ‘mind games’ when I can simply grab my phone and browse social media, read blogs and watch funny videos to distract myself?

Of course, there’s wifi everywhere nowadays. But online entertainment as a way to cope with physical symptoms and emotional difficulties does have some downsides.

If you’re struggling with mental health, the things you’re reading and watching could trigger anxiety, FOMO or body image problems. And even today there are still times when turning to screens isn’t the best option. For example, the blue light coming from electronic devices inhibits the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Not ideal when you find yourself staring at the ceiling and you’re hoping watching series will help you drift off.

Distracting yourself online can also be difficult when you’re in extreme pain and/or sensitive to light and sound. Anyone suffering from migraine, ME/CFS or sensory overload knows what it’s like to lie in a dark room with no other distractions than your own thoughts. And what about those times when you’re undergoing scary medical tests and treatments and you could really use a mental escape?

In these cases, it’s just you and your mind.

In theory, meditation, mindfulness and breathing exercises would work great during these times. But, if you have enough focus and mental energy to try these practices in the first place, you probably can’t keep yourself entertained like that for hours on end.

What’s more, it turns out that most people would rather shock themselves – literally! – than being left alone with their thoughts. So when it’s just you and your mind, what can you do to pass the time without going crazy?

Try these 8 mind games when you’re in need of distraction! 

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How to Maintain a Sense of Independence When You're Sick | The Health Sessions

How to Maintain a Sense of Independence When You’re Sick

No man is an island. As much as we’d all like to believe we’re independent creatures, everybody depends on others for things like food, shelter, transportation and medical care.

But when you have to rely on others for your most basic self-care, from getting dressed to making a sandwich, ‘dependency’ gets a whole new meaning. Without help, everyday things suddenly become a major obstacle.

A study from the UK shows that many people with chronic illness are very concerned about becoming a burden. So much so, that some sick people will go to “supernormal lengths” to keep doing their part, even when that takes a physical toll on them. Being dependent can also make people feel useless, guilty and shameful. And this uselessness only intensifies the loss of self so many ill people struggle with.

But when you’re chronically ill and are limited in what you can do, how can you maintain a sense of independence despite your real reliance? There’s no simple answer, but here are some ideas.

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How to Boost Your Energy - Spoonie-Style | The Health Sessions

10 Subtle Ways to Boost Your Energy (Spoonie-Style)

This blog post contains some affiliate links to resources you may find useful, at no extra costs to you. All opinions are my own. 

Money may make the world go round, but energy is the true currency of life.

This becomes all too clear when you’re no longer able to do the everyday things you used to do on autopilot. Getting dressed, eating breakfast or having a conversation, it all requires energy. And people with chronic illness only have a limited supply of energy, as the spoon theory famously explains.

Now obviously, treating the underlying cause of your fatigue should be the first step you take. Also, the combination of restorative sleep, good nutrition and regular exercise is a proven recipe to boost your energy levels. The problem is, that when you suffer from health problems, those fundamental habits aren’t always easy to attain. Pain keeps you up at night, which means you have even less energy to make healthy meals or go for a walk. Not to mention that pushing through the fatigue often only worsens your symptoms.

So if you suffer from all-consuming tiredness from chronic illness, is there anything you can do to feel more alert and productive? Have a look at these 10 spoonie-proof ways to boost your energy.

Read more >10 Subtle Ways to Boost Your Energy (Spoonie-Style)



Does Having a Chronic Illness Mean You Can Never Recover? | The Health Sessions

Does Having a Chronic Illness Mean You Can Never Recover?

Being diagnosed with a chronic illness can feel like a life sentence. After all, the word ‘chronic’ by definition refers to a continuing event; something that occurs again and again for a long time; or something that’s always present.

The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention defines chronic illness as a health condition that lasts one year or more, requires ongoing medical attention and/or limits your daily functioning. Generally, people with chronic illnesses like arthritis, COPD, epilepsy and kidney disease cannot be cured by medication, only manage their daily symptoms.

Does that imply that having a chronic illness means you can never recover again?

Read more >Does Having a Chronic Illness Mean You Can Never Recover?