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Coping With Chronic Illness While Caring for Your Emotional Well-Being

When a medical diagnosis can be a life altering experience, explore how to enhance your emotional and mental well-being while coping with chronic illness.

Coping with chronic illness, therapist for chronic illness

For many individuals having a chronic illness may make you more vulnerable to mental health conditions, like anxiety, depression, and stress. When you are trying to manage chronic pain or trying to cope with a chronic illness, feelings of sadness or anxiety can show up since it may feel like you don’t have control over your physical and emotional well-being.

Despite the fact that many people coping with chronic illness are also managing a mental concern, it doesn't mean that it's easy to deal with or that there is only one way to manage your situation. In the article below, we have shared some tips for coping with chronic illness, so you can maintain emotional well-being and foster self compassion and kindness.

Maintain a Strong Daily Routine

Chronic illness can affect our lives and our routines. Many things that once were “normal'' now may feel out of reach. However establishing a daily routine can help you maintain some sort of normalcy even if that routine might look different that what it use to.

When establishing a daily routine it is important to tune into your body and your emotions and have realistic expectations for what you’re able to do. Small but effective practices in your daily routine, can help you build self efficacy and acceptance of what you’re coping with. Some ideas may be going for a walk every morning with your dog, journaling, or practicing mindfulness.

Whatever it is, it can be helpful to start small and as you are able, incorporate more challenging tasks into your routine. There is a correlation between maintaining a daily routine and improvement in your mental health. At times it can be an anchor that you can rely upon when things feel stormy in your life.

Coping with chronic illness, therapist for chronic illness

Build and Call Upon Your Social Network

Chronic illness may cause social isolation and you may feel like you’re having difficulty maintaining your relationships with your friends and family. However it is important to recognize that you are not alone, and that reaching out to your community can positively impact your mental health.

If you feel like you lack a strong social network, it may be beneficial to find a support group related to your chronic illness. Social media has its own challenges, however one of the benefits is the opportunity to connect online with other individuals who are also experiencing your condition. Finding a community of individuals coping with chronic illness can also validate your feelings and normalize your experience.

Identify Your Core Values

At times chronic illness may feel like it’s taking over your identity, and thus it is important to recognize that it is a part of your life, however it is not all of it. Many people with chronic illness may experience symptoms similar to grief regarding the future they had imagined or what they previously were able to do. Clarifying your core values and what is most important to you can provide you with an opportunity to be intentional with your actions. Despite having a chronic illness, people can still choose small committed actions that are in alignment with their values so they can live a life that is fulfilling.

Start a Mindfulness Practice for Chronic Pain

Daily mindfulness practice can be helpful for folks with chronic pain or other chronic illnesses because it helps people feel more grounded in the present moment. Many people who experience chronic pain want to avoid their experience and understandably so. However, by bringing mindful awareness to their experience without judgment, and tuning into their physical sensations, thoughts, and feelings, people can create a moment of choice to act in alignment with their values. Mindfulness allows people to deepen their self awareness and also practice self compassion regarding their situation. It is important to note that a mindfulness practice can be short and sweet. Even five minutes daily will make a significant difference in your mental health status.

Coping with chronic illness, therapist for chronic illness