Living with a chronic illness can be debilitating, it can make our plans completely useless because quite often our chronic illness ends up making all the descisions. I feel like i’m walking around on egg shells, avoiding getting ill, avoiding doing too much that may upset my body in some way. Over time I’ve learned some tricks on having a chronic illness and still living life as well as we can.
- Get your ‘team’ of experts
Make sure you have a good team of doctors/nurses/specialists that can help you manage your medication and illness. Regularly see them for check ups, don’t always wait till you are really ill to see them.
- Empower yourself
Take on a new challenge, read a book, learn a new skill, take up a new hobby and really put your passion into it.
- Join a community for support
Find a community of people going through similar things, chat online or arrange meet ups, build a support system and get advise from like minded individuals going through the same sort of thing.
They are there for us, even when we don’t always think so. Chat to them more, let them know how you are feeling. Meet up with those friends you haven’t seen in ages. Surround yourself with positive people that inspire and motivate you.
- Don’t let it define you
Okay so you may not be able to do some things you used to anymore… but there are plenty of other things you may be able to do. Sometimes being ill opens new doors you may never have considered before. Enjoy the simple pleasures in life and make sure you add in something fun into your daily routine.
Evaluate the food you are eating, are you eating a balanced diet? Making sure you are getting the ‘right’ things from your meals can make all the difference. There are plenty of dietry adivse websites for pretty much every illness and disease, so check them out. Having a diet that specifically aims at what your body may need can really improve your day to day life.
This doesn’t mean going running or joining a gym. This can be just a gentle walk round the block, doing some gentle stretches, being mindful of when you can walk instead of driving. Going for a gentle swim or a gentle bike ride. Maybe joining a local class like yoga etc. Staying active helps the body and mind function better.
- You time
Your body isn’t always going to do what it wants, but it’s important just to accept this and still allow time for you. We know how to push through each day, but sometimes it’s okay just to not push through and relax instead.
Make sure your appointments are on the calendar, you know when your medication needs refilling and planning ahead more. Also, keep diaries of your symptoms, when your starting new medication as this can help you monitor for triggers and help you manage your condition better. It can also be useful for your doctors to see.
- Giving back
Help give support to those in your support group when needed, help someone else who’s struggling. Maybe volunteer at a local centre somewhere. Helping others can give us a sense of achievement and pride as well as helping someone at the same timeChronic illness isn’t fun, sometimes people have no idea what we are really going through. Tired all day, finally get to bed and can’t sleep then up all night… that’s about my daily routine right now. I get a slight cold and my body thinks it’s been put through the washing machine and thrown down the stairs 5 times. I don’t like to ignore my chronic illness, that doesn’t help and it only ends up biting me in the bum later on. Trick is to manage it, be aware and accept bad days are going to happen, and then knowing you are doing the best you can and hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. Dont dwell, don’t feel guilty and don’t think about what you can’t do. You are not your chronic illness, you are still you. Don’t lose who you are to chronic illness.