Even for those with perfect (is that a thing?) mental and physical health, life can be challenging. However, if you are someone that suffers from a chronic illness, doing things that the general population take for granted can sometimes seem insurmountable. The good news is that with a little compassion and some practical strategies in hand you can make your life easier. Here are 5 ways to make life with chronic illness easier.
5 Ways To Make Life With Chronic Illness Easier
Embrace a routine
I know that routines sound like just about the most boring thing in the world. However, they can really be a great source of comfort and reassurance to those of us that have a chronic illness. Indeed, by getting into a reasonable routine we can get that much-needed sense of mastery of our lives.
Also when we have a routine, not doing a single task becomes much less of a disaster. After all, we can just try again the next day or when we feel able.
Another great benefit to getting into a routine is it means we eat and take our meds at the same time each day, something that can help keep our energy levels stable, or at the very least predictable.
Although, if you are having trouble tracking when to take your meds, choosing a service that supplies them in a weekly dosette pack is a very good idea. The reason being that you will know precisely what to take when, and will be able to see if you missed your last dose or not, and make plans accordingly.
Make reasonable adaptations in your day to day life
People suffering from primarily physically chronic illness often find this easier to do than those with mental illness or invisible issues. However, no matter what your problem is, adapting your day-to-day life to make it more manageable is totally OK to do.
This may mean that you invest in some seam-free clothing, or blackout blinds if you are struggling with hypersensitivity. Alternatively, if you struggle to lift heavier objects why not try a one-cup kettle, and plastic crockery instead?
Lastly, if your chronic illness impacts your mental well being try establishing boundaries with loved ones and friends. Remember when you only have a limited capacity it’s okay to stay on and save your energy for the things in life that provide you with the most value and meaning.
Seek support from those that can empathize
Getting support is another smart way to make life with a chronic illness easier. Indeed, sometimes it is enough to know that we are not alone, and other people have a similar experience to use. In particular, peer support groups are well-positioned to offer this type of support. Where possible look for one moderated by health professionals or official organizations and charities as they are likely to be of better quality, and stay running over the long term.
Another option for support is to choose a therapist to work with. Indeed, working with a mental health professional can be particularly useful for those of us with a chronic health condition because they can provide consistency, and encouragement as well as support. Not to mention work with us to devise practical ways of coping and thriving day-to-day.
Account for times when you will need to use up a lot of your energy
One of the truths of having a chronic illness is that energy can be in short supply, something that is explained very well by the concept of spoons. In particular, what this means in practice is that if we have something that drains more energy from us than usual we will need some time to recover afterward before we can expect to be back on our usual level again.
Of course, this can be very frustrating, especially if we are truly making progress in our usual day-to-day activities. It can also make us think twice about doing things that others engage in without any consideration at all.
However, by allowing ourselves some downtime after a big event or once an important and challenging task has been completed, we can gain several benefits including being able to be more present during the experience itself, and hopefully being able to return back to ‘normal’ relatively quickly.
Focus on the small wins
Sometimes we won’t get through all of our goals every day, or get to the bottom of our to-do list and that is OK. In fact, there are plenty of people without chronic illness issues that need to learn this lesson too!
Instead, it is much healthier to focus on the things we have achieved. You might even want to write a Ta-Da list in celebration!
I hope you found this helpful for you or a loved one.