Chronic illness affects millions of people each year. When diagnosed with a chronic illness, you may feel depressed, angry, hopeless, low energy, and a wide variety of emotional symptoms. This could be due to the isolation patients feel when they are not able to keep the same pace in life as their family, friends, peers, coworkers, etc. It is important to understand that these feelings are normal and valid. Chronic illness can be difficult to live with, but finding ways to cope can help bring some relief. Since chronic illnesses can range in severity, symptoms, and the ways it affects people, it is good to find ways to cope that best suits your lifestyle while not making your symptoms worse.
How to Cope with Chronic Illness
Follow Your Treatment Plan
When diagnosed with a chronic illness, it is important to work with your doctor on a treatment plan to manage your symptoms. Your treatment may include medication, physical activity limits, diet changes, more frequent check ups, and more. Complying with treatment can increase emotional wellness, and even quality of life especially once the right regime is found. With some patients, it can take time to find the right treatment which is why good communication with your physician and compliance is very important.
Create a Support System
Having support from people who understand your chronic illness can seem daunting, but necessary to feel connected with others. Support networks could look like family, friends, counselors, church groups, support groups, and even your medical team. Phone calls, walks, or other activities can do a heart good when you feel isolated due to chronic illness.
Find Ways to Stay Active
Depending on your chronic illness, it may be challenging to be active. With streaming resources such as YouTube, there are many channels who have low impact or alternative ways of doing an exercise. Other ways to stay active that are easy on the body are swimming, walking, or light stretching. Please make sure to consult your physician before starting a new exercise routine.
Journal Your Experiences and Feelings
Journaling is a great way to recognize and release your emotions. There is no right or wrong way to feel about your chronic illness as it affects individuals differently. It may take some time to see the positive results, but using a journal to get out what you feel can help feel like a weight is off your shoulders. Once you start journaling regularly, you may be able to recognize activities or situations in patterns that trigger negative symptoms or find patterns and situations that may positively impact your health and mood. Additionally, using a journal to find patterns could help your medical team in terms of what treatments are working or not especially when it comes to medication. There are many ways to journal such as reflective journaling, art journaling, gratitude journaling, devotional journaling, and even prompted journaling if free writing is not your preference.
Coping with Chronic Illness
Chronic illness affects everyone differently, especially depending on the diagnosis. Likewise, the coping tools that work for some, won’t necessarily work for others. It may take time and trying different tools and techniques to find the best fit for you. Chronic illness can be challenging to live with; however, our hope is that we can provide ways to help bring positivity and helpful tools to manage symptoms so you can enjoy your life. If you would like to speak to one of our concierge physicians, please contact us today so we can get started with a new patient consultation.