Being diagnosed with a chronic illness or having a loved one deal with a severe health problem comes with numerous challenges. On top of managing the symptoms of the condition and the side effects of the medication, you may have a burdensome health program and several appointments to keep. Also, the uncertainty about the condition can leave you with many questions. You may wonder if you’ll ever get better or how the condition will affect your daily life and relationship with others. All these can be overwhelming and have a negative effect on your mental health.
In order to cope with a chronic illness, you need to care for your emotional and physical well-being. It’s crucial you learn about your condition so you can make the right choices to help you feel empowered. The more you know and understand what’s happening in your body, the better prepared you’ll be to comprehend your treatment options. And, it’ll be much easier to adhere to medical advice and follow through with instructions concerning palliative care to help manage the pain and discomfort you may be experiencing.
Also, you must find the right provider with whom you can comfortably express yourself and ask questions. Consider asking a trusted teaching hospital, your doctor, insurance company, or other people living with the same condition for caregiver recommendations. Try contacting local support groups so you can meet and discuss with others who have faced similar health challenges to yours. You may build friendships, obtain valuable advice on how to cope with your condition, or get links to other helpful resources. You can also contact a trained counselor who can provide guidance or other tools to help you and your loved ones deal with the emotional challenges that accompany chronic illnesses.
Acknowledge that your medical condition may present some limitations; as a result, some self-compassion is required. You must recognize the need to care for yourself without guilt or shame. Live life to the full and give yourself permission to take a break and save any task you cannot complete today for another day. The following tips can help you work towards staying inspired and living your best life with a chronic illness.
Live on Purpose
Living on purpose means spending time doing what truly matters to you, in line with your beliefs and values. Identify what’s important to you or what gives your life purpose and meaning. Many people find purpose through connecting with friends and family; now’s a great time to focus on those relationships. These people have known you the longest, so they’ll likely understand you best and be most interested in your welfare. Maintaining a strong, positive connection with them can be pivotal to living your best life when diagnosed with a chronic illness.
If you have a bucket list of places to visit and your doctor says it’s ok to travel, you can hit a travel destination in another city, country, or continent. Take all required vaccinations and carry a copy of your medical records when traveling. Many hospitals use medical records translation services to ensure that medical histories are available in other languages. So, it doesn’t matter if English isn’t the predominant language spoken in the place you’re visiting.
Also, if you find purpose through spirituality, religious affiliation, or volunteerism, create time for activities in those areas. You can set up a scholarship fund or charity to help the underprivileged or people struggling with life-threatening illnesses. The point is to explore what you value or what enriches your life. When you do, you’ll experience joy, satisfaction, and increased optimism, hope, and resilience, despite your health challenge.
Relax, Appreciate the Little Things, and Relive Your Memories
Instead of thinking about the big things you’d love to do, take some time to enjoy the silly or fun things around you. Indulge in activities you love; it could be ping-pong, go-karting, or golfing. You mustn’t be a pro at such activities to enjoy them. You may have recollections of experiences and memories you’ve lived through. Consider documenting pieces of such events you’d love to share with others.
You can record your family stories or write and publish a memoir for future generations. Or, you could put mementos and photographs together in scrapbooks that can be passed down to your kids or grandkids. This is a great way of showcasing experiences and places that are important to you and passing down complete and accurate records of history to your descendants.