8 Ways to Manage Chronic Illnesses
There are so many people today suffering from "invisible" illnesses - many of which have no cure. With the tragic deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, depression and suicide conversations have been prevelent the past couple weeks. There are also those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and rheumatoid arthritis to name a few. Dealing with these illnesses has the added difficulty of the shame of having to cancel many social gatherings, because although they make look perfectly healthy to those around them, the symptoms can be debilitating.
And it doesn't just "get better." Canceling social obligations can happen regularly because the unfortunate truth is that these conditions are long-lasting. Many are misunderstood and difficult to find relief. While we are not medical professionals, we do have some tips to help manage your chronic illness.
1. Take it one day at a time.
Some days will be good; others not so. It's important to be patient with yourself. You may have an obligation to get through tomorrow or a week from now, but it's important not to get overly stressed about it. Get through today. Prioritize today. It will ease your anxiety and change your perspective in a positive way. Consider the reiki principles:
2. Diet and Nutrition have an effect on pain.
Nutrition and health are closely related. Chronic illnesses can be caused by an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use, and alcohol consumption. Evidence over the past 20 years from a variety of sources, including epidemiological, prospective cohort, and intervention studies, has documented that physical activity, diet, and combined activity and diet interventions can mitigate progression of chronic disease and in fact reverse existing disease. (Physiology.org) Try eliminating certain foods from your diet to see how you feel. Start with sugar! Sugar has been said to be more addictive than cocaine and it's effects on the body are many, including low energy, memory loss, weight gain, and high blood pressure.
Massage is known to reduce pain levels and increase circulation to blood carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells. It also improves mood and helps you sleep better at night. All so important for everyone but especially those suffering from chronic illnesses! As you *ahem* might be aware... we can help with this! Consider a massage chair as an investment in your health. Daily massages will help you mind, body, and spirit! It does this by lowering cortisol levels while raising levels of serotonin and dopamine. This helps fight depression and the body's response to stress.
The Luraco iRobotics i7 Massage Chair is specifically designed as a medical massage chair! With its exclusively patented Integrated Health monitoring features, the i7 allows the user to measure blood pressure and heart rate enabling it to be the first UL and FDA listed Medical Massage Chair in the world.
The benefits of saunas are many, including stress relief, relaxing aches and pains, flushing toxins, cleansing the skin, and inducing a deeper sleep. All of these so important to someone fighting a chronic illness. In-home near infrared saunas have become quite convenient! Purchase as a stand-alone package or shower converter. They are safe, convenient, easy-to-use, and provide you with so many benefits in just a few minutes a day. Find SaunaSpace packages right here at Wish Rock Relaxation! Don't forget about our lowest price guarantee, complete with free shipping and no tax.
5. Find a Support System
Having people to rely upon when facing chronic illness plays an important role in making healthy choices. Strong social support will help with reminders and transportation to medical appointments, monitoring changes in health, getting regular exercise, eating healthier foods, and just having someone there to talk to when you need it. If you isolate yourself, depression and anxieties can creep in, so please find some caring people to help support you!
6. Stretch and Meditate
Relaxation is key! Search YouTube for some great free videos on beginner yoga or meditation music. We recently blogged about The Happy Body plan, and they recommend "Meditation from Thais" which is about 5 minutes of music to help you relax. Last week Joanna mentioned aromatherapy as well, which can help in your relaxation!
In many cases, when we try to manage pain and keep functioning, hobbies are the first thing that get dropped. But did you know that a happier brain feels less pain? When we take pleasure in a hobby, the brain releases a selection of chemicals that balance out the pain signals and reduce anxiety - serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. (Stillpain.com) Artistic hobbies can double as therapy; they can help you manage stress and improve mental health. Being active during the day also helps you sleep better at night.
8. Goal Setting
This can be a tough one! After all, your chronic illness leaves you wondering what you'll be able to handle one day to the next. Goals not only give you something to look forward to and focus on, they also give your life meaning and purpose. Remember the key to making effective goals is to ensure they are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Take it step by step and it will not only give you something to look forward to, but will improve your outlook as you progress.
Each of these methods can really be drilled down into and researched and planned! That could be your first goal, to choose one area, such as nutrition, and really dive into it. Find nutritious foods you like and come up with new recipes. Set a goal to cut out sugar for a month, or to read a book a week on healthy ways of eating.
We love this quote found on Pinterest, relevant to those living with chronic illness or not:
One morning she woke up different. Done with trying to figure out who was with her, against her, or walking down the middle because they didn't have the guts to pick a side. She was done with anything that didn't bring her peace. She realized that opinions were a dime a dozen, validation was for parking, and loyalty wasn't a word but a lifestyle. It was this day that her life changed. And not because of a man or a job but because she realized that life is way too short to leave the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket. (i.pinimg.com)
Take your happiness back.
Don't let that "someone else" be chronic illness.
Yes, there will be days where chronic illness drags you down but don't stay there! Lean on your support system. Take steps to manage the pain. We believe in you and support you!
- Joanna Walters