The defining factor of having a chronic illness is that it never leaves you. You may go through periods when it isn’t so bad, and also have periods where you suffer more than usual. Therefore, it is incredibly important to know what to do in the harder times as well as the good ones to preserve your energy and health. A topic that you can read more about below.
Do set yourself goals.
One thing that can be useful for those of us with chronic illness is to set goals to work to. Of course, it can help to do this in a slightly different way than others would.
What I mean is that you have goals for the good days where you push yourself a little more, and also targets for the bad days where you do things that are not so strenuous or demanding, and that have more restorative effects.
Don’t ignore the warning signs.
Next, when you suffer from a chronic condition, you get pretty good at recognizing the warning sign of a relapse. However, it’s vital that you always listen to these signs and use them as a message from your mind and body that needs extra care.
In fact, for some suffering from chronic conditions the severity of a relapse can be mitigated by recognizing the warning signs early and seeking out additional medical help.
A particular example of this being addiction, where the re-emergence of the use of the desire to use substances suggests that an additional stint in rehab is necessary to strengthen the patients’ resolve. Something that if caught early enough can prevent a relapse before it has even begun.
Do be compassionate.
Compassion is a vital to skill to have when you suffer from a chronic illness. In fact, I think that it is something that living with this type of condition can teach us to have both for ourselves, and for others.
Of course, it’s not always easy to direct compassion to yourself, especially if you are frustrated, tired, and in pain. Although one thing that can help is to write a statement that reminds you that you are suffering from a condition and that it affects your normal range of function, as this can help you to realize that it is not your fault.
Also, the Buddhist practice of Metta or loving-kindness is an excellent way of developing a more loving heart towards ourselves. You can even find a guided meditation to help you complete the practice here.
Don’t be unrealistic.
Lastly, when you suffer from a chronic condition, it’s important to be as realistic as possible with what you expect from yourself on a day to day basis. Don’t compare yourself to others whether they have your illnesses or not, but learn to be able to feel from the inside where your limits and boundaries are, and be OK with that.
After all, no one else is living your life or has the particular challenges that you have to face. Therefore, by learning to be realistic, you can help yourself live your life to the full, without putting any additional strain on your body and mind.