A chronic illness means that the illness cannot be cured and the person would have to live with it. Illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, kidney disease, heart disease and HIV/AIDS are good examples of chronic illness. When a person has a chronic illness, it can be stressful for the person to deal with their condition day in and day out. Even family members can get stressed out. However, it is possible to lead a stress-free life with a chronic illness, if you know how to deal with it.
Do Not Get Depressed
People with chronic illnesses often get depressed and shun friends and family. However, having a chronic illness is not a death sentence. You just have to be more careful than a person, who is healthy. You can avoid depression by reading inspirational books, watching motivating movies and getting proper counseling. You can also join a support group to help you accept your illness and learn to live with it. The idea is to accept your condition and work within its limitations to enjoy your life to the fullest. This can mean crying about it on and of, but not wallowing in self-pity. Surrounding yourself with friends and loved ones can help you accept your condition.
Speak About Your Feelings
It is important to speak to your loved ones about your feelings honestly and not shutting them out. Just as you are upset about being diagnosed with a chronic illness, your family and friends are also upset. However, speaking about how you feel and expressing those feelings openly will allow you to cope with your condition and ailment. It will help you accept it.
Someone once said that laughter is the best medicine. This also holds true for chronic illness. Being able to laugh at things will help you feel good. It will help you develop a positive attitude in life. You can laugh and be happy by reading a funny book or watching a funny movie. Spend time with friends that are jovial and funny, so that you are always cheerful. At times, laughter can be a miraculous cure even for chronic illnesses.
When a person has a chronic illness, it is essential to remain stress-free. Stress can worsen the symptoms and have and adverse effect on the person’s immune system. So, it is important to learn how to handle stress of life and illness without getting yourself worked up. Learn to do relaxation exercises, meditate, socialize with friends, cultivate a hobby and do not get worked up about your illness. These will help you cope with stress and also minimize it.
Make sure that you speak to your doctor about your diet. The doctor will direct you to a qualified nutritionist, who will devise a diet plan for you. This plan will ensure that you eat balanced and healthy meals. Stick to the diet plan and stay away from all foods that can worsen your condition or symptoms. Mostly, people with chronic illnesses have to eat lots of fresh veggies and fruits, whole grains, seeds, nuts, fish and poultry. All other food items are a big no-no, including saturated fats, processed foods and refined foods.
Get Knowledgeable about Your Illness
One of the best ways to deal with a chronic illness is to educate yourself and find out more about your illness. Speak to your doctor, read up on the Internet and check health magazine to learn what your illness is all about. Once you are knowledgeable about your chronic illness, you will be better equipped to make the right choices and accept your illness.
Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
Make sure that you take the medications as prescribed by doctor. Follow the treatment and all other recommendations that the doctor gives you to lead a fulfilling life. Never skip your medications or stop them abruptly without consulting your doctor. Also, go for checkups as scheduled by the doctor to get a periodic update on the progress of your disease and treatment.
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Cleveland Clinic: Chronic Illness and Depression
Healthy Holistic Living: Tools For Dealing With A Chronic Illness