I’ve had the opportunity to research and try many things to help cope with chronic illness, and they can apply to any challenge in life. Here are some that might work for you as well:
- Learn: everything you can about whatever you are dealing with, but stick to reputable sources. Try to read up-to-date books and online medical sites, but don’t become a slave to Dr. Google. That can get dark, dangerous and scary really fast! Some good medical sites are included at the bottom of this post.
- Exercise: Move your body, in whatever way is available to you, as much as you can and as regularly as possible. Try to include cardio, stretching and strengthening. Start low, go slow.
- Drink: lots of water. This is important for general health, and especially when you are taking medications.
- Yoga and/or Meditation: Each morning and night. Or one longer session at least twice a week. Meditation is most effective as a daily practice.
- Pets: There is no better ally in the world than a loving pet. Forever loyal, by your side, warm, soft, cute, cuddly and funny. Dogs also make great fitness partners! They know more about keeping a regular schedule than any human. Just try skipping that after dinner walk! The guilt will eat you up inside.
- Read: Just for fun. In addition to research. You can really lose yourself in a book, and forget your troubles for a while. I don’t believe in sticking with a book that you’re not enjoying. If it doesn’t capture me after 2 or 3 chapters, I move on to something else.
- Write: A mental purge is a great antidote to free-form anxiety and can help you to figure out just what the problem is and how to start fixing it. Just dump it all out on the page. I believe that pen and paper is best for this type of writing. Destroy the page after, if that helps. Try to come up with one simple thing you can do to improve your situation.
- Sleep: I have read several good books and articles about sleep hygiene. There are many things we can change to help us with sleep. Traditional medical advice tells us to avoid sleeping medications. I believe that chronic pain is an exception to this rule. It is impossible for the body to heal without consistent good quality sleep.
- Nature: Get outside every day. Here is where your dog is going to be a big help! Parks, forests, beaches, fields and other natural spaces are very healing.
- Share: There is an online forum for just about everything. These can be both good and bad. It’s great to share with others who understand you, and good to know that you are not alone. Endless sad stories can be really hard to read, so I have gotten away from this, but at first I found it helpful. Just pay attention to how it is making you feel. Informed and included? Or depressed and hopeless?
What is one easy thing that helps you cope? Answer in the comments. Thank you!
Reputable Medical Websites: