better life with a chronic illness

There are so many chronic illnesses that could affect us, some of which aren’t always visible to the naked eye. In fact, some illnesses are so common and have little visible symptoms in the early stages that one of your friends might be suffering from one without you even noticing. It might even be you – fatigue and constant pain are just two of the common symptoms for a range of chronic diseases and health conditions, so if you have been experiencing them along with any other kinds of worrying issues then it could be worth going to see your doctor. You can then get a diagnosis and start on any necessary treatment.

Being diagnosed with a chronic illness can be quite scary at first. That’s not the only emotion you will experience. Many people with a new diagnosis of a chronic illness often experience a whole roller-coaster of emotions and feelings, most of which can be of a very negative nature. If you’ve just been diagnosed, you might be feeling like your life is over. It really doesn’t have to be like that, though. Here are some ways you can get things back on track and live a better life with a chronic illness!

better life with a chronic illness

Don’t View Your Body As The Enemy

One of the first things you need to do is try to reframe the way you think about your body. You will no doubt be seeing it in a very negative view now that you have found out about your diagnosis. However, if you do start to hate your body, you will only start to view it as the enemy, which won’t be doing you any good at all. This will only fill your mind with further negative views and you just won’t be able to progress at all. You’ll end up in quite the funk! So, it’s important to remember that having a chronic illness doesn’t mean that your body is now working against you. If you read on through this blog post, you’ll find that it can be easy to love your body again, despite your condition – you just need to learn how!

Don’t Blame Yourself

It can also be quite easy to end up blaming yourself for the chronic illness. Again, this is something that you should try to refrain from doing. You will only beat yourself up and could very easily spiral into a depression. It wasn’t you or your body’s fault for developing the disease. No one really understands how or why most of them develop. After all, if we did know, I’m sure doctors would have a better chance of preventing them! Once you do shake off all the blame, you will certainly feel a lot better about yourself.

better life with a chronic illness

Try To Keep Active

Some chronic illnesses can reduce your mobility, including the likes of MS. Even if you do struggle to move around, there is still no reason to try to include some exercise into your daily routine. Trying to move as much as possible will help to relieve some of your symptoms, and exercise has also been proven to be a big mood booster. Of course, you might not be able to go running or on long bike rides, but there will be other ways to stay active even with a chronic illness. You might want to look for gym classes that are led by someone who has their exercise referral certification as these are often aimed at people with reduced mobility or other medical conditions. You can be sure that the activities in the classes will be gentle enough for you to take part in, while still being able to feel the usual benefits of exercise.

better life with a chronic illness

Eat Well

If you are living with any kind of illness, it is necessary to follow a very healthy diet. This is especially the case when you are dealing with a long-term illness. By following a balanced and nutritious diet, you will be supplying your body with all of the different nutrients that it needs in order to be healthy. You might find that making some unhealthy food choices can cause some of your symptoms to worsen, so it’s best to try to eliminate as much junk and processed food from your diet as possible. And then you should feel a lot better most of the time!

Lean On Your Medical Support Network

Once you have a diagnosis for a chronic illness, you will be referred to a specialist doctor who has lots of knowledge and experience of the disease. They will then be your point of contact in the future whenever you need to book an appointment or seek any help and advice. You will probably also get to know one or two nurses who will help you whenever you attend your appointments. These are very important people who will start to play a large part in your life. They will always be there for you whenever you need them, so if you do ever have any questions or face some problems regarding your illness, you should always reach out to this medical support network first.

better life with a chronic illness

Accept Help And Support From Friends And Family

As well as your medical support network, you will also be able to rely on your family and close friends for help. The majority of people’s friends and family would do anything they can to help, however some people with a chronic illness can be a bit too proud to ask for help and support. But you should never struggle with your health. If you are having a difficult time, you should definitely reach out to your loved ones. You might be surprised at the various ways they can help you out!

Understand Your Limitations

Once you do develop a chronic illness, you will quickly realise that your body and mind have new limitations. For example, you might not be able to exert yourself quite as much as what you could once do. You might also start to get confused quite a bit more regularly. It’s important that you understand that you now have these limitations and that they will no doubt start to affect your life. Don’t push yourself beyond these limitations, as it could put you at risk of getting injured or making some of your symptoms quite a bit worse.

better life with a chronic illness

Be Honest About Your Feelings

As well as understanding your physical limitations, you will also find it easier to cope with your chronic illness if you are also honest about your feelings too. Are you feeling a bit low at the minute? If so, then don’t be shy and let a family member or close friend know. They will surely want to do all that they can to try to improve your mood and make you feel better about yourself.

Consider Keeping A Journal

Another way to work through any bad emotions and feelings that you may be experiencing is to keep a journal. Many counsellors and therapists recommend doing this to their patients. Keeping a journal will show you what you were feeling and when. You will be able to go back through your entries and figure out if there are any common triggers that set off certain emotions. If you do notice some, then you can always try to keep away from them in the future. Not only that, though, but journalling gives you the chance to look back over your journey since receiving the diagnosis. You can look back and see how you are now a lot more stronger and positive in your life!

better life with a chronic illness

Listen To Any Fatigue

When you are living with a chronic illness, you might find that you start to experience fatigue a lot more often than usual. It’s important that you listen to your body when this feeling starts to occur. If you are feeling tired, then have a rest or a nap. Make sure that you don’t push yourself to do too much when you are feeling fatigued, as you will be drowsy and this could put you in danger in certain situations. For example, you shouldn’t drive when fatigued as there is an increased chance that you might fall asleep at the wheel.

Attend Your Regular Checkups

You will also be given a lot of regular doctor’s appointments and checkups once you are diagnosed with a chronic illness. These are just to make sure that your condition is managed well and that you can be given any medicine to deal with some of the more serious symptoms. It is really important that you attend these regular appointments. After all, they are all in your best interest. It gives you the chance to raise any issues or concerns with your doctor, and you will also be able to ask them any questions. If you start to miss some of these appointments, then you could find that your condition starts to slowly worsen.

Hopefully, all of these useful tips will make it a lot easier for you to live with a chronic health condition.

This is a contributed post.

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Claire Kirby

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