Living with any form of chronic illness or condition is hard work. You may have fluctuations in the severity of your symptoms that make it difficult to know how each day will be, as well as family members who don’t fully understand how to cope with your illness. Fortunately, there are changes you can make in your daily life to help you cope better while you learn to manage your chronic illness successfully. Reduced stress may lead to better symptom control, so it’s always worth giving any calm-boosting tips a try.
- Stay on top of your medication. If you take regular medications or supplements for your chronic illness, its important to ensure that you always have enough at home so that you don’t run out suddenly and suffer adverse affects. Maintaining a regular scheduled appointment with your specialist doctors will make this simpler. You can also use an online chemist to manage your prescriptions and supplements, reducing the amount of time that you need to spend standing in queues or dealing with busy shops.
- Know the signs of depression. Depression can strike very easily in those of us who suffer from chronic health conditions. Between the isolating effect of the illness and the hopelessness that some sufferers can feel, its no surprise that depression has a way of creeping up on us. Know the warning signs of depression, and be prepared to reach out for treatment and additional support if necessary.
- Educate yourself. If you don’t understand the triggers, treatment, and pathology of your chronic illness, you’re more likely to be overwhelmed by it. Educate yourself thoroughly and read up as much as possible on your condition. Join support groups so that you can connect with others who struggle with similar issues, and don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions at every doctor’s appointment. Knowledge is power, after all.
- Learn anxiety-reduction techniques. When the stress of being unwell starts to make you feel anxious, have a variety of tried and tested relaxation techniques available to use when you need to unwind. Guided meditation audio tracks, mindfulness meditation techniques, and deep breathing exercises all have an important part to play in stress reduction. It can be difficult to get the hang of some of these techniques, but it’s definitely a worthwhile skill to develop.
- Pace yourself. When it comes to most forms of chronic illness, proper pacing is crucial. This skill is best learned with an occupational health specialist, but the tools can be picked up alone if you have no outside support. Learn to divide your activity into categories based on your energy levels, and try to organise your time wisely so that you don’t burn out too quickly in the day. Don’t forget to give yourself plenty of time to rest.
- Focus on nutrition. Some aspects of your treatment are likely to be outside of your control, but nutrition can be a great way to take charge of your health on your own terms. Research foods that can help or harm people with your particular condition, and try to incorporate more nutritionally dense foods into your diet wherever possible. Don’t neglect foods that help your mind to relax, like those containing magnesium and healthy