5 Tips for Self-Care with a Chronic Illness

You may have read about chronic illnesses online and in magazines, but for some, it can be tricky to know if they have a chronic condition.

In simple terms, a chronic condition or illness is one that lasts for a year or more and requires ongoing interactions with medical staff, as well as impacting everyday living. Some examples include cancer, heart disease, ankylosing spondylitis, diabetes, and any long-term mental health issues, such as PTSD or major depressive disorder. 

Of course, self-care is crucial if you have any chronic illness, and here, some of the best self-care tips for managing these issues will be explored.

Stay in Touch with Your Medical Team

Some people who have a chronic illness will be diligent and stay in touch with doctors and nurses. Other people, however, will become overwhelmed (which is understandable) and avoid them at all costs. The latter option is, for obvious reasons, not a good idea. If you have just been diagnosed with a condition like cancer, head to a relevant website like moffitt.org to seek out the best treatment options in your area and to see how medical teams near you can help you. Don’t avoid the people in white coats – they are there to help you!

Be Patient with Yourself

If the diagnosis of a condition like ankylosing spondylitis or cancer has meant you have had to give up your favorite activities, it is easy to feel immense frustration. 

So, this is why it is worth practicing self-compassion and patience. After all, if this illness was happening to someone else, you wouldn’t be angry with them, would you? Therefore, reflect and practice self-compassion, as this will help you to see things clearly in the long run.

Take the Small Pleasures Where You Can

If you are having a bad pain day and are stuck in the house, try to do something that you enjoy. Of course, take the appropriate pain relief, but engage in a hobby that is not too demanding. Bird watching, painting, and other crafts can be easy on the body and relieve stress, and they can also help you take pride in what you have created. Or, why not engage in cooking meals or baking treats for you and your friends? That’s easily done from home, and if you are baking bread, kneading the dough can be very beneficial for alleviating stress.

Meet Up with Friends

Social media and platforms like WhatsApp mean that you can meet up with someone without having to leave your home. So, if you are having a bad pain day or you are ill, why not FaceTime a friend? If you can leave the house, even meeting up with someone for coffee once a week can be helpful for mental health, as well as keeping you in touch with the outside world. After all, nothing is worse for the mind than isolation and not socializing.

Seek Professional Help

Chronic illnesses often come with chronic pain. Rather than try to face this huge burden alone, seek help from a therapist or counselor who is trained in chronic illnesses and can help you cope with the daily pressures that these issues can create. It will also be good for you to get advice from a third party who is not directly involved in your life.

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