9 Ways To Live Happily With A Chronic Illness
Living with chronic illness can sometimes lead to focusing on what we can’t do instead of what we can do. This pattern of negative thinking can ultimately impact your recovery and quality of life. Because your chronic illness is something you’ll be living with the foreseeable future, it’s important to learn how to keep things in perspective and shift your thinking.
Here are 9 ways to live happily with a chronic illness:
Stop blaming yourself: Some people truly believe that being sick and not fully regaining their health is their fault. Chronic illness is not a personal failure. Only by accepting this will you be able to treat yourself with compassion and remove any unnecessary suffering.
Be present: Don’t compare your life now to the one you had before your chronic illness. When we reflect on our past, we naturally often focus on the best moments. Focus on where are you now and be grateful for the things you’re able to do today.
Educate yourself: Instead of running away from your illness, embrace it. Learn as much about it as you possibly can. This will enable you to take better care of yourself and create a plan of action to face your symptoms head on.
Let go of needing to be in control: Chronic illness is unpredictable, if nothing else. Your symptoms can suddenly flare up after a period of feeling great (and vice-versa). But while you can’t control every aspect of your chronic illness, you can control how you react to it. Accept that you won’t be always be able to be on top of your symptoms and focus on the things that you can manage.
Celebrate small moments: Whether it’s completing a full day at the office or cooking a meal for friends, these day-to-day moments are a clear indication that your illness isn’t taking over your life. You’re in control.
Maintain your routine: Although this may not always be possible, taking care of daily responsibilities towards your life will help you with having accountability with your own health. It will also instill a sense of pride and accomplishment in knowing that you’re in control of your illness.
Be of service: When we’re focused on something that’s bothersome, these thoughts can become all-consuming. Volunteering in the community or even something as simple as helping a stranger carry groceries to their carry takes us out of our head and forces us to focus on something other than ourselves.
Accept “good enough”: You may not be at your best every day, but that also doesn’t mean the day was a failure. None of us operate at our peak levels every day. If you can’t cook dinner for a friend, but you can order take out and eat with them, then you still kept your dinner plans.
Develop a support network: Having the outside perspective of friends and family is incredibly valuable. It not only gives you a shoulder to lean on in difficult moments, but helps you feel less alone. These support networks can include local meetings for people with chronic illnesses and even online groups for people with the same condition as you