If you live with a chronic illness, it is easy to be resentful and feel sorry for yourself – and you know what, that is okay. However, to feel these emotions constantly is draining and you will be missing out living your life to the fullest, despite your illness.
I know it is easy to get bogged down, going through your news feeds with people living ‘amazing lives’. What is important to remember is these people show you their best selves on social media and everyone has those inner demons. This post is to share my top 10 tips to live your best life with a chronic illness.
- Show Gratitude
It is true manners cost nothing. Showing gratitude to those who have helped you are more likely to help you in the future and we should all be grateful for what we have. When I feel sad, I just try to remember there are many people that do not have a family, access to permanent shelter or food and water.
Accept your Chronic Illness
I appreciate – that accepting your chronic illness is not easy, especially if there is not a cure. However, once you accept your chronic illness, it will be easier to generate a plan of action of how to manage it. There are many ways you can accept your chronic illness from attending therapy, finding others with the same illness to talk to, start a blog, buy self-help books, write a letter to yourself or simply just acknowledge it.
Take time to Understand your Chronic Illness
To truly meet any goals or aspirations you should take the time to understand your chronic illness and how it affects you. I cannot reiterate the importance of understanding on how it affects you because people with the same illness can have very different symptoms and challenges. To get a basic understanding of my illnesses I read journals, but I take the time to actively listen to the doctors.
Knowing your limits can be difficult when living with a chronic illness but pacing yourself is essential. You are not a failure just because it may take you years to achieve something compared to someone else – because this makes you one patience and resilient trooper. Top ways you can pace yourself include: listen to your body, prioritize your plans, schedule most draining tasks accordingly, take breaks and keep a diary.
Find a Hobby
If you are passionate about raising awareness of your illness you could start a blog surrounding it. Although, when I want to purely escape from my illness I find doing art is something beyond it and a great distraction. Remember you don’t even need to be amazing at the hobby if you enjoy it.
Take your Medication
It can be difficult to take all your medication, but it is important to help you manage your illness. I find setting timers on my phone is the best way to remember to take it. However, if you live with other people you politely ask them to remind you to dispense it.
Rest when you Need It
Resting when you need it may be harder for some than others if you are studying or trying to keep down a job. Although, if you do have these duties you should spend the evenings to recover to be able to carry out these tasks the next day.
Take Time to Communicate
Some people may be more patience with you, if you take time to communicate any support you need or why you are feeling down one day. I am not going to lie to you there will still be people who ‘wish you better soon’ or just don’t care that you are ill. Although, if you don’t take time to communicate how you are feeling or your chronic illness there is no chance of someone understanding – is there?
Take Photos of the Good Times … and Maybe even the Bad
Taking photos of the good times, will help remind you of what you love about your life. If you have a lot of time of your hands and are creative, you could even make them into a scrapbook. I also take photos of the bad times to remind myself, I will not always have flare days.
Buy a Pet .. or Borrow One
Pets have been known to relieve stress and can be the perfect companion if you fear abandonment. If you have a mobility disorder walking a dog may not be the best pet for you – but a bunny rabbit or cat could be perfect. If you do not want the responsibility or a full-time pet or your landlord won’t allow one you could investigate pet sitting other peoples – and even earn a little bit of money on the side.
Sharing is Caring
I would love if you shared this post to spread some positivity to how those with a chronic illness can live their best life.
Have Your Say
Is there a favourite tip of mine in this post – or one you would like to add of your own? – If so, why not comment below?
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8 Body Language Mistakes you Might Be Making due to your Chronic Illness & How to Fix Them
Body language is visual communication that expresses negative and positive information but is often overlooked. We all use body language in our social lives and in a business environment communication is important to help you subconsciously and consciously get your dream job or make new friends. However, with an invisible illness I must be more conscious of my body language – as it is not always conveying the right message.
May is Ehlers Danlos Syndrome awareness month, so I wanted to create a post based on the condition…
This post will reveal how living with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome causes me negative body language and some simple tips I have used to overcome them – which I hope can be beneficial to you to.
The Links Between Chronic Illness and Body Language
- Holding objects tightly – portrays uneasiness to share and a negative attitude.
- Weak handshake – represents anxiety and a lack of confidence.
- Slumping and poor posture – communicates a lack of confidence or boredom.
- Repetitive movements – portrays you are bored or like to be in control of the situation.
- Folding your arms and legs – communicates defensiveness and someone is uncomfortable.
- Lack of eye contact – communicates rudeness and hinders trust being formed.
- Touching your face – portrays you are being deceptive
- Putting your hands in your pockets – represents you are unsatisfied with how your appearance
You know might be wondering how does my illness cause me to do all these things?
Slumping and poor posture
Holding Objects Tightly
These four things above are due to my weak joints. I frequently stand in awkward positions to relieve pressure off my joints. When my head becomes too heavy for my neck, so I will rest my head to the side, no matter where I am… and holding objects tightly and repetitive movements are to test I am strong enough to carry the weight of the objects.
Lack of eye contact
Due to not being blessed being with height (5ft 1) I must look up at most people when I am talking to them. The problem with this is that it means I am also looking at direct sunlight, which is not ideal when you have photosensitivity to light.
Folding your arms and legs
I often fold and uncross my arms to relieve the tension in my shoulders because I spend a lot of time typing on my placement at work. I also cross my legs a lot to minimise hip pain.
Putting your hands in your pockets
I will my hands in my pockets when I hard to regulate my body temperature to try and warm up.
Touching your face
Eating and drinking foods can cause my flares up on my skin. So, I often to touch my face to check that I do not have swelling.
Tips to Overcome Negative Body Language
Weak handshake, holding objects tightly, repetitive movements – Buy wrist support braces, buy a hand exerciser, practice holding objects more in your private down time.
Slumping and poor posture – Buy medical ankle / knees, neck braces, lose weight, start physiotherapy.
Lack of eye contact – Ask people to sit down when talking to them, ask for the lights to be dimmed.
Touching your face – Cleanse and moisturise your face daily and look in the mirror less.
Folding your arms – Buy ergonomic equipment to help you work comfortably. You can buy ergonomic keyboards, chairs, leg rests & more.
Putting your hands in your pockets – Keep wheat bags handy, buy gloves, or wear more layers
I hope you have found this post useful , even if you don’t have a chronic illness.
Sharing is Caring
I would love if you shared my post to help those minimise negative body language.
Have your Say
What are your negative body language habits and how do you overcome them?
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Discover Chronic Illness Awareness Gifts
Lets raise awareness of chronic illness together. View my handmade chronic illness awareness gifts at ChronicCreationsGB. A portion of the proceeds from each sale are donated to Ehlers Danlos U.K.
These are all great tips! I think a lot are easier said than done – like pacing (so frustrating!) and accepting your illness (a continual work-in-progress for me) – but they’re so important in trying to live your best life, with the circumstances you’re in and the body you have. This post serves as an excellent reminder!
Thank you Caz , yes pacing still remains a hard one for me and I think many others …..mainly because of the lack of sleep x