Tips to Manage Arthritis
Chronic illness is an unwelcome and permanent guest. How you cope depends entirely on your willingness to make room for chronic illness in your life. This might sound unusual or seem impossible, but it is critical to coping and having a fulfilling life alongside your chronic condition.
Here are five ways to help you make room for chronic illness.
1. Allow yourself to grieve.
Grieving is not an easy process and no one just quickly adjusts then never grieves again. Your grief over your chronic illness is always with you and often times, you will find that you will alternate between acceptance and denial and you will continue to relive the process over and over for the rest of your life. Acknowledging that your grief is normal, healthy, and acceptable is the first step in making room in your life for chronic illness. Doing so also allows you more control over your health and your ability to manage your disease.
2. Understand that accepting and adapting takes time.
Acceptance isn’t something that happens overnight. As you make the changes your illness requires, you will find that you become more open to adapting to your new life. Doing so will allow you to become truly aware of your loss. You should take steps to manage your health and think about how your chronic illness will affect you. Further, by expressing anger, worry and even sadness, you are allowing yourself to perceive the situation and the parts of your life that you feel you have lost. You may even question why this has happened to you and wonder where you will go from here. In end, the final result will always be acceptance. Accept that your feelings towards your loss will not be deep forever and that you will learn to adjust to changes and manage your disease. Over time, you learn to establish and live with new routines and with your new found flexibility, change becomes easier. Slowly and surely, you are making room for chronic illness.
3. Don’t lose yourself.
When patients are newly diagnosed, they can feel like the illness takes all their time and energy. That happens because you are trying to work through emotions towards your illness and you are trying to create a relationship with your disease. You feel as if you are tripping and stumbling as you make sense of your new life and sometimes, that can lead to depression. If you find that you are constantly feeling like you are losing yourself, consider talking to a therapist. Talking to a professional can help you to resolve your feelings and anxieties towards your illness without any fear of judgment. Making room for illness doesn’t mean you tough things out or to try to dismiss your emotional state of mind. Instead, by allowing yourself to get the help you need and deserve, you making a positive difference in living with and managing your illness.
4. Be honest with yourself and loved ones about your chronic Illness.
By learning all you can about your illness, you are attempting to figure out your relationship with it. Create a routine where you take time out, whether it is once a week or once a day, to think about what you are experiencing and feeling. You can write things down and or just close your eyes and reflect on whether your feelings are proactive or damaging. You can designate a small area in your home and keep the rest of your home an illness-free zone. You can also use the same place to sit and talk to loved ones about how you are feeling and what you’re experiencing so that they are not in the dark. By taking the time to recognize feelings and emotions, you are another step in the right direction towards incorporating chronic illness in your daily life.
5. Change your Perspective.
You cannot make room for chronic illness in your life if you are not willing to change your perspective about it. You may not control some aspects of illness but you can change your point of view about it. For example, if you are no longer able to play a musical instrument because your hands constantly hurt, find an interest in composing music or attending concerts of your favorite genre. Or share your passion and experience with others by teaching music. Find a way to keep what you are passionate about in your life and don’t let chronic illness take that passion away from you. If you are willing to change how you feel about your chronic illness, you can work with it rather than against it.
Own Up to Feelings and Emotions About Your Illness
Making room for chronic illness in your life can be difficult because of the physical limitations imposed . However, if you are willing to work alongside your illness, rather than against it, you will find yourself stronger and more open to having a better quality of life. Just remember, you will always have control over your feelings and emotions even when you don’t always feel in control of your illness. Owning up to these feelings will allow you to successfully make room for your chronic illness in your life.
Originally Posted at Arthritis Connect.