Coping with chronic illness can be utterly exhausting. Not only do we have to struggle with unpleasant symptoms and deal with often unsympathetic doctors, but we also have to deal with all the normal challenges day to day life brings! Such a combination can leave a person feeling worn out and pessimistic. Here are some tips which I have found help me when things start to get too much!
1) Have a good moan
We need to give ourselves the space to just recognise how we are feeling. Dealing with chronic illness is hard. It often feels like we have been given an unfair burden to carry and we wish that things didn’t have to be so hard. Find a way to let out your negative feelings: vent to a friend, write in your diary – anything to get the feelings out! It can be incredibly helpful to seek out a professional to talk to, or if you are in a crisis there are many helplines you can contact. Don’t be afraid to reach out, we all need a bit of extra support at times!
2) Re-evaluate your life
So things are difficult right now. Why are they difficult? Is everything completely out of your control, or can you identify some areas in your life you do have the power to change? Could you eat healthier, drink less alcohol or make other lifestyle changes that might improve your sense of physical and mental well-being? Do you need to remove a toxic person from your life? Is it time to look at changing jobs or even careers? Taking an objective look at your life might help you identify ways in which you can make positive changes. I find that even identifying small areas I can change change gives me back a sense of control over my life and hope that things can change for the better.
3) Make time for yourself
You deserve good things in your life. You deserve to be treated well, and you deserve to treat yourself well. Recognise that dealing with chronic illness requires a great deal of perseverance and inner strength, and you’ve got these things! Arrange some time out and do something nice for yourself. It can be something big or small – from going on holiday or booking tickets to a concert to painting your nails or just taking some time to enjoy the beauty of nature! Whatever your budget do something nice for yourself and help boost your mood!
4) Take time to be grateful
No matter how difficult things get there is always something we can be grateful for. Although we don’t want to deny how hard things can get, we don’t want to get stuck dwelling on them either! You can choose what you focus on. Will you think about all of the things you dislike in your life, or will you choose to try focus on the good? One of my favourite activities before bed is mentally listing all the things I am grateful for. On good days it’s an easy task, on bad days I have to work a bit harder, but I never find nothing to be grateful for. Try it! List out everything you can think of that you’re grateful for. Even small things, such as having fluffy socks on your feet, should make the list!
5) Go to bed!
My last tip, and one that has saved me countless times, is to just call it a day and go to bed. Often the negative thoughts are worse at night. You’ve had a long day, your brain is full of toxins and the body needs time to rest and recover. Instead of mulling over all your problems – hit the hay! A sleep may not fix all your problems, but you will be better equipped to handle life with a spell of rest under your belt!
I hope these tips have been helpful. Remember: you are a fighter and you can get through whatever life throws at you!
Peace and love. x