Living with a chronic illness or disease that causes pain can be isolating and even life destroying. With it comes canceled social events, family outings, and vacations; interferences with employment and personal relationships; and a huge impact on a person’s independence.
Chronic illnesses include arthritis, kidney disease, endometriosis, severe back pain, heart disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and many more. And with so many people in the world suffering from these, how can we live with such debilitating conditions, whilst maintaining an active and happy life?
Some say that there’s something to the power of positive thinking. And, whilst we don’t advocate that positive thoughts can eradicate an illness or its accompanying pain, it’s surely true that it can encourage us into the wonderful world of self-care and self-motivation.
Whether you’re simply feeling under the weather or have woken up to your usual bout of agonising aches, these tips and tricks might help to motivate you and support you along the difficult path of living with pain.
Redirect Your Thoughts
When you’re in the midst of battling with pain, it can be easy to get consumed by it. By picking up a good book or a coloring book, you provide yourself with a little distraction. It won’t erase the pain but it will bring something into your day other than the pain. If you’re feeling a little more active, try some simple yoga stretches or pop out to visit a friend. It’s important to rest on the days you are ‘under attack’ and even more important to make the most of the good days!
Of course, reducing stress is much easier said than done! That said, understanding the stress-pain connection can be a significant step in moving forward with your health, and can have a vast impact on the ways in which you deal with your pain. So getting to grips with your stress levels can only be a positive thing. It would be unrealistic to expect a zero-stress life, but it’s worth thinking about areas that you improve on. Are there financial changes that you can make to eliminate stress in that area? Or perhaps you could use some help with childcare? Stress is a very individual thing and only you know if and where it can be lessened.
Getting to know others in similar situations via the use of forums or online chatrooms can provide huge relief. By having the opportunity to talk to people who understand your issues or grievances, you have the best platform on which to get information, tips, and a feeling of belonging. Even if you don’t feel comfortable or confident enough to chat to others, it can be great to have an information source that’s full of ideas from actual sufferers, and can even help with more personal problems.
The famous quote ‘You are what you eat’ rings true when it comes to chronic pain. An unhealthy diet benefits no one, especially not chronic pain sufferers, and certain foods can help you to live a healthier lifestyle, and perhaps in turn even help you to heal your body. Ginger is thought to be an anti-inflammatory, whilst reducing caffeine and alcohol can be kinder to your kidneys and liver. And don’t forget to include plenty of water in your diet is essential!
Fatigue can be common amongst chronic illness sufferers, so making sure you get not only enough sleep, but good quality sleep, can make a world of difference to how you feel whilst you’re awake. Maintaining a regular bedtime and waking time, even on your days off, can instil a healthy and realistic routine, ensure you get enough rest, and also help you to battle the emotional side-effects of chronic pain more easily.
Having a ‘real-life’ friend in the same situation can help tremendously! Whether you choose to help each other on flare days, or simply manage a once-a-month coffee together, having support and understanding not only helps you to battle with your own issues, but also creates a sense of accomplishment when you’re able to benefit others. Volunteering can be a great way in finding new friends, and with alike conditions can spur you onto helping others on a more regular basis.