Chronic illness doesn’t always look sick. Sometimes, medical tests might even miss what is plaguing you. That doesn’t mean it’s imaginary or something that you can just get over. In fact, chronic illness can be just about as debilitating as any other disease. It comes in many forms and masks itself with symptoms such as pain, fatigue, sluggishness, dizziness, nausea, depression, numbness, insomnia, indigestion and so on.
As I take time to work through my own chronic illnesses, I’ve discovered a few things that have been helping me and I thought to share my experiences with you. If you have any of your own steps to healing, please, reach out in the comments section of this blog.
Without further delay, here they are – my 5 ways to overcome chronic illness.
Number One: Keep a journal. Writing how you feel, what you’ve experienced and what you’ve done can help you to recognize patterns in your health. With these records, you can sometimes find the common denominator that triggers or even settles the “malade” of your chronic illness. These journals can either be for your own reference or even to bring with you to doctor’s appointments as notes.
Number Two: Find a hobby. Do something each day that forces you to get out of bed. Make it something that challenges and also soothes you. Some people paint, play music, go to the gym or even make collections. For me, I enjoy running my entrepreneurship through It Works (my stay at home – health, wellness and beauty side job). Having a hobby can keep your mind sharp and your body moving so that you don’t make a patient out of yourself staying in bed all day and every day.
Number Three: Get outside. There’s no better medicine than the great outdoors. A walk a day can keep the doctor away. The vitamin D of the sun kissing your skin in the summer, or the smell of the autumn breeze can invigorate you. Even finding a way to dance in the rain or play in the snow on the days where the weather isn’t so hot can teach you the valuable lesson that life is for the living. Embrace nature and be thankful for the beauty of our great planet.
Number Four: Don’t over do it. It’s OK to feel like you need to rest or take a break. Make yourself a healthy snack. Sit back and relax in a epsom salt bath. Read a book. Take a nap. Snuggle with a loved one. Don’t let anyone tell you to push through. Honour your body.
Number Five: Change your lifestyle. OK, so this step is not as easy as it sounds. It might mean diet and exercise. It might mean regular check ups at the doctors office. It might mean finding a counsellor or taking new medications. It might even mean cutting out the nay-sayers in your life or going back to school, changing your career, having children, moving somewhere new. Whatever it is – you know deep down what you have to change. You just need to take the first step.
Nothing is going to change over night. In fact, this is a life long struggle – the struggle is DEFINITELY real. That being said – we do not have to make it harder on ourselves. Embrace your reality. We can’t change our chronic illness but we can overcome it.