Living with a chronic illness can sometimes feel like you are enduring invisible pain that no one can see but you. At times this can be really frustrating. Suffering in silence can feel really isolating and asking for assistance remains challenging. If you are living with a chronic illness like glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration or any other type of disorder, there is a way you can not only survive chronic illness but thrive. Here are some tips to help you live your best life with a chronic illness, but before we dive into that let us first look at what is a chronic illness.
What Is A Chronic Illness?
As a rule of thumb, a chronic illness is a health condition that lasts more than a year or more, according to the CDC. This condition also requires continuing medical attention, which can make it challenging to go on about living your daily life. Sometimes it can cause a little of both. These illnesses include things like heart disease, cancer, diabetes or glaucoma. No matter how many times you try to find the best new brand to treat your illness, it will never go away.
Chronic illnesses such as those are known as some of the most leading causes of death and disability in the United States as well as the leading driving force behind health care costs. When you do things like smoke tobacco or expose yourself to second-hand smoke, have a poor diet, do not exercise and drink too much alcohol, you are allowing yourself to be vulnerable to adopting a chronic illness.
Living Your Best Life With A Chronic Illness
Chronic illnesses are very common as six in ten adults in the US have a chronic illness and four in ten adults have two or more chronic illnesses. Now that you have a better understanding of what a chronic illness is, we can finally get to how to thrive with a chronic illness. It is super simple. All you need to do is shift your mindset.
Shift The Blame
Your chronic illness is not your fault. You did not cause this. Avoid blaming yourself for having or developing a chronic illness. To some extent, maintaining healthiness is a common obstacle that most people have to overcome. You are not alone in your feelings. You should also note that your illness is a part of living life.
Let go of your self-blame and you will feel 100 times lighter and happier. You will not longer have to carry around the burden you placed on yourself. You can live freely knowing that everyone has to face health challenges at some point in their lives. That does not make them any better or worse off than you.
Life is unpredictable, unplanned, uncertain and ever-changing. The faster you accept that the faster you can move on to living your best life. Since life is always changing, you can never be sure if something is going to go your way. The best way to prepare for life’s unpredictable twists and turns is to keep a calm and balanced mindset. Only then will you be able to handle anything that life tries to throw your way to detour your plans.
Quell Feelings Of Loneliness
Often times when you are diagnosed with a chronic illness, it may be instinctual to withdraw. Depending on your illness, you may not have a choice. Your chronic illness may cause you to sacrifice certain aspects of your life that made you feel social. This inadvertently can bring along feelings of loneliness, which is normal. Make sure that you are not wallowing in this loneliness. It is ok to feel lonely sometimes, but do not let that feeling stay too long. Do something that changes your loneliness into peaceful alone time. You will be surprised how much of a difference doing that simple thing can make.
Find A Community
Now more than ever there are easier ways to connect with people without having to leave your house. You may have a chronic illness that keeps you housebound, which can make being social difficult. Thankfully, there are plenty of outlets for you to connect with people online. You have things like social media, Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, online forums and chat groups. All of these platforms you have at your disposal to socialize with your friends and to meet new people even though you may be stuck at the house.
You have a chronic illness. It is fine if life does not gel smoothly in the first few months or so after your diagnosis. Remember to pace yourself. Start small when it comes to getting out and being social. Do not rush your healing process or the journey you are embarking on. A chronic illness is ongoing, so it is recommended that you pace yourself. You do not have to know how to cope with it right out of the gate. Take some time and learn yourself in this new phase. You will get there eventually!
Be Happy For Others
When your loved ones are feeling down, be their shoulder to cry on. This will not only improve your relationship, but it can also put some things into perspective as it pertains to your own situation. Being good at this is easier said than done. Sometimes being happy for other people when you are going through a tough time can be challenging.
Think about someone who is ecstatic about something that you do not want for yourself. Maybe your best friend bought a new puppy but you are not a dog person. Or maybe your parents went to see their favorite artists in an exclusive live-streamed concert. As you fix your mind on their joy, try out feeling happy for them simply because they have joy.
Once you have that down packed, you can train your brain to be happy for someone who is doing something you wish you could do. All this takes is mindfulness and practice. You will be great at it in no time.
Be Nice To Yourself
You may practice compassion with everyone else but yourself. Break this habit. If you want to feel better about yourself and your situation, be kind to yourself. Be gracious with yourself. Learn to love yourself despite your flaws and know that you are still a good person. You are strong, and you are dealing with a challenging situation. That means a lot. Have compassion toward yourself and you will be able to live your best life and thrive despite your chronic illness.
Your chronic illness does not have to be a death sentence and you do not have to watch your body deteriorate before your eyes. That is why staying active is so important. If possible, exercise at least once a day. Consistent exercise can ward off more issues, making your chronic illness even worse. Make sure that you consult your doctor if you are feeling unsure about the best type of exercise to pursue. You do not want to make a problem worse unnecessarily.
Keeping up with a healthy diet is another great way to better adjust to living life. You want to make sure that you are providing your body with the best environment for it to maintain and sometimes improve your health. Eating a healthy, well-rounded diet may not cure your chronic illness, but it is certainly better for your health overall.
Keep A Healthy Lifestyle
You do not have to turn into a juicing, health-nut but keeping a healthy lifestyle is a great way to keep other illnesses at bay. Your healthy lifestyle should not put your chronic illness in danger of becoming worse. Talk to your doctor about ways you can live a healthier lifestyle without putting too much strain on your chronic illness.
When you know more about your illness you will feel better equipped to handling any situation that may arise because of your chronic illness. You may not be a doctor, but you can at least have a better idea of what is going on inside your body. Educating yourself about your illness can also help you better articulate what is going on.
Run To Your Support System
Your support system is there to support you. Turn to them when you need anything like transportation, a shoulder to cry on, someone to vent to, or whatever you need. Your support system is there to support you. Do not be afraid to help and embrace your support system.
Take Your Medicine
Remember to take any medications your doctor prescribed to help your illness. Missing your medication can sometimes make your illness worse. Do whatever you have to do to remember to take your medication. Set a reminder on your phone, or put it in your calendar. If you are someone who has to take several pills a day, consider getting a pill container with dividers for each day of the week. That way you do not have to fumble with the medication bottles every morning before you eat or at night before you go to bed.