Twelve Ways to Improve Your Chronic Life
Every year I see hundreds if not thousands of posts on social media from people with chronic illnesses wishing for a better new year. Their wishes for less pain, more energy, and for an easier life are not unreasonable. The problem is that they are just that, wishes…….. Today I am going to share 12 ways to make them a reality.
*Disclosure: I am NOT a medical professional and am NOT issuing medical advice. I am sharing my opinions, thoughts, and experiences. You should always confer with a medical professional when considering changes to your medical or pain management plan. This post includes affiliate links. Meaning that at no additional cost to you, I receive a commission when you make a purchase through my links. The proceeds earned fund the giveaways I host in my Facebook Groups.
1. Identify dietary triggers
You may have heard about keto, paleo, low fodmap, and other diets, but there is not a one size fits all diet that helps reduce pain from your particular chronic illness. You may not need to cut out an entire food group, instead you may find that it is a certain ingredient or additive that you need to avoid. I tried and failed to experience relief from multiple diets. What helped me find my triggers was to journal what I ate and drank and compared that information to how I was feeling. You can find details about how I did this in my eBook Make Pain Your Bitch: How to Dominate Your Chronic Life.
2. Move your body
I know being told to exercise is the last thing you want to hear, but as I have learned, lack of movement only increases chronic pain in my hips and spine. Movement really is necessary. Now before you close this tab, hear me out….. I am in no way suggesting that you begin with intense workouts at the gym or going for 5 mile walks every day. What I am suggesting is that you find ways to move your body that doesn’t increase your pain. Before I was able to walk for miles, I had to start with what I was able to do, which at that time was one or two five minute walks a day. There is nothing wrong with having to do seated yoga, tai chi, or simple stretches. Click here to discover another fun way to incorporate movement into your life.
3. Listen to your body
Do you feel like you spend all of your time recovering from every activity or outing? Listening to your body could decrease that time. Rest when your body wants to rest. Unless you have to keep a set schedule, nap and sleep when your body demands. Pace yourself by breaking large tasks down into sets of smaller amounts of time.
4. Utilize mobility aids
If walking or standing for extended periods of time are forcing you to stay home instead of going out, it is time to start using a mobility aid. Seriously, get over yourself and do something your body will thank you for. Click here to read about what helped me get past the stigma of using a mobility aid.
5. Ask for help
Put your pride aside and ask for assistance!!! Stop assuming that people know your needs. Just as difficult as it is for our friends and family members to understand our complex chronic illnesses, it is just as difficult to know how to help us. Most don’t want to insult us, while others truly have no clue, so do everyone a favor and speak up!
6. Plan with your chronic illness/pain in mind
Always consider your chronic illness and pain when scheduling appointments, outings, and social events. I like to think of mine as invisible traveling companions. Click here to see how this mindset helps me plan, prepare, and enjoy traveling with my chronic illnesses.
7. Stop living your old life
If you haven’t made changes to how you live your life, it is time to do it! I know you want to show your chronic illness who is in charge and that you are hopeful that you’ll be cured in the near future, but let’s get real, it is NOT going to happen. I too want a cure, but not making changes to how I lived until that day comes would be a huge mistake. The only thing living my life the way I did before becoming chronically ill only resulted in more pain and less time enjoying life. Putting my pride aside and making changes decreased my pain level and allows me to spend most of my time seeking adventure. Need help recognizing the changes you need to make? Check out my eBook to figure out what they are and be challenged to made them.
8. Stop comparing yourself to others
How often do you find yourself comparing your life to others? STOP!!! There is no comparison. Even if you are comparing yourself with people who have the same chronic illness, there is no comparison. Another person you may not have realized that you are comparing yourself to is the old you….. Life changes whether you like it or not, get over it, adjust, and move on.
9. Try something new
For twelve years I did everything the same and for twelve years the quality of my life plummeted. It wasn’t until I allowed myself to try new ways to combat chronic pain that I finally experienced a lower level of pain. By permitting myself to do things differently than I did in the past I opened the door to a new and better life.
10. Don’t give up
I see too many people give up after they discover that they are unable to do something the same way that they did before becoming chronically ill. Stop it!!! Don’t give up! Get creative and find new ways to do what you love. Need help? Click here!
11. Embrace the tools available
There are so many different tools and devices to make our lives easier. Stop resisting them and put them to use. Whether it be a mobility aid or assistive devices to make getting around your home safer, be thankful that they are available to use.
12. Take care of your mental health
Living with a chronic illness or in constant physical pain takes a toll on your mind as well as your body. I am no stranger to therapy and highly recommend seeing a therapist if you are struggling. Our illnesses and pain often trigger bouts of anxiety and depression. Let us not forget the fact that we need to mourn our old life and figure out a future that includes our illnesses/pain. The good news is that you don’t have to do it on your own. If pain or lack of insurance coverage is keeping you from seeing a therapist, you may be interested in Online-Therapy.com. Online-Therapy.com is a service that gives you more access to a therapist for less than what it would cost under many insurance plans. Caring for your emotional health is the most important thing you can do to improve your life.