It has been quite awhile since I have posted anything related to chronic illness. I’m gonna tell ya…..even though I have this blog, and have plenty of advice for everyone else, I certainly am far from having it all figured out. I have a lot to learn and a lot to work on myself. At times, I’m challenged to listen to my own advice and need the support, guidance, and wisdom from those around me. (Thanks guys :)) What can I say….I am a continual work in progress!
Chronic illness can be anything from mast cell disease, to arthritis, to multiple sclerosis, to anxiety, to depression, to migraines, to seizures, to a bad back, to GI disorders, to diabetes, and more. Chronic illness is a health condition or disease that has persistent effects and is a condition that lasts longer than 3 months.
Living with chronic illness is as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical challenge. How you mentally handle the challenges that come with chronic illness can make all the difference in quality of life, severity of symptoms, and your overall resilience and resolve. So, how do we mentally overcome symptoms and not feeling well, to live as much of a “normal” life as possible, doing the things we need to and want to do? I will tell you….it is exhausting…and difficult…but it can be done. There are specific strategies that can help get us chronic peeps through each day. For me, there are 4 main strategies that I use. Let’s take a closer look…
- Self-awareness tunes us in to our behaviors and habits and helps us pay attention to our choices. Self-awareness means we are paying attention to what is going on in our hearts and our minds. Self-awareness allows us to self-reflect, so we can learn, grow, and make changes to help us manage our health challenges.
- We all know what it is like to have negative self-talk. It isn’t beneficial to anyone, but especially to someone with chronic illness! An effort to maintain positive self-talk helps to foster a positive attitude and positive outlook on each situation and each day. Positive self-talk can literally change your perception of and reaction to a situation, ultimately, making things more manageable.
- Being honest with ourselves allows us to recognize our strengths and acknowledge our weaknesses. With chronic illness there come a lot of weaknesses, which can be hard to admit. But being honest with yourself can make your day-to-day life more manageable.
- Working to truly accept strengths and weaknesses that come with chronic illness creates inner peace. We are all different to begin with, and our illnesses are all different as well. We all have different abilities and a different threshold as to what each of us can handle. Comparing ourselves to others can set us up for unrealistic expectations of ourselves, and then when we don’t meet those expectations, we feel let down and disappointed. Learning to accept our “can’t-dos” helps to decrease stress and pressure on ourselves, ultimately, making our days more manageable.
For more, check out my FREE Resource Collection here at TheWellNurseLife! Here you will find two worksheets that focus on helping you identify your “can-dos” and “can’t-dos”. Print these so you have them handy as you start working on self-awareness, self-honesty, and self-acceptance, and work to identify, celebrate, and accept what you can and can’t do. There is also a printable that outlines additional strategies to help make each day manageable. Keep the “Strategies for Making Each Day Manageable” printable handy for a quick reference to get yourself focused and back on track when you hear that negative self-talk in your head.
This is a lot to take on, so remember…slow and steady. I’ll be back soon to check in with another post on mental challenges of chronic illness. In the meantime, be good to yourself!