Living with a chronic illness poses many challenges. When faced with the reality of such a diagnosis, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and feel like you’ll never be able to manage them. That’s why reflection is so important. By taking time to assess where you are in your journey, you can gain perspective and hope for the future.
Zero, the German Shepherd we rescued, has come a long way in the past seven weeks. With that said, we still have a few issues to work on. I bring this up because I would be frustrated if I only focused on those issues. By looking back and assessing how far he has come and how much he has learned since joining the family, I have hope that those other issues will be or at least come close to being resolved in the following seven weeks.
Here’s how I use reflection to manage fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, endometriosis, and surgical errors.
Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee-drinking habit if you use these links to make a purchase. You will not be charged extra, and you’ll keep me supplied with caffeine. It’s a win for everyone. I am not a medical professional, and nothing stated in this article should be mistaken for medical advice…
Reflection and My Chronic Life
Reflection allows me to zoom out from my daily struggles and take a step back to observe the big picture. It gives me a chance to assess what has changed or improved since my last assessment, as well as what hasn’t and why that might be the case.
The first thing I do when reflecting on my condition is take note of my pain levels and points. This helps me determine if there have been any changes in terms of pain intensity or new pain points that have developed over time. It also helps me identify any lifestyle factors that may have contributed to these changes, such as diet, exercise, stress management techniques, etc. Doing this allows me to make adjustments where necessary in order to minimize discomfort and improve overall health outcomes.
Next, I look at what I can or cannot do physically. This includes activities that may no longer be possible because of chronic illness-related limitations like fatigue, difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time, etc., as well as those activities that are still achievable but require more effort than before due to symptoms like pain or swelling in joints or muscle weakness. Identifying these areas gives me an idea of ways I can still stay active despite having a chronic illness to maintain physical strength and mobility as much as possible.
Lastly, I assess the overall quality of my life. This involves evaluating how well I am managing mentally and emotionally in addition to physically by looking at things like whether I am engaging in activities that make me happy (e.g., hobbies) if I am spending quality time with family and friends (or even just making an effort to reach out), whether there are any sources of stress impacting me negatively (and if so, what steps can be taken to reduce them). Taking all these things into consideration helps give me an idea of how well I am managing day-to-day life with chronic illness and what changes need to be made if any improvements need further attention.
Must-Have Chronic Illness Management Tool
Reflection has become an essential part of managing my psoriatic arthritis—it helps give me perspective on what has changed since my last assessment while also providing insight into areas where improvements may still need work going forward. By taking the time every few weeks or months (whatever works best for you) to reflect on your condition, you too can gain valuable insight into its progression over time, the insight which may ultimately help you better manage your own chronic illness journey going forward!
Reflective Journal Prompt
Your deep-dive journal prompt for this month is to take time to reflect on your chronic illness life. What’s changed? Have there been improvements? If so, what areas have improved? Lifestyle, mobility, pain? What’s worse?
Then brainstorm ideas and ways to make changes to areas you struggle with. And most importantly, take note and continue to do the things that make your life enjoyable.
New to journaling?
Not sure where to start?
Check out my Printable Chronic Illness Life Journal!