11 Ways to Manage a Chronic Illness

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Don't give up is written here. 11 ways to manage a chronic illness.

Here are 11 ways to handle prolonged health issues every single day and come out stronger in the end. Not all of these ways to manage a chronic illness will be applicable to you, but implementing those that can fit into your daily routine may be beneficial. Only do so though after getting your doctor’s approval.

Finding Ways to Manage a Chronic Illness

When you are suffering with a debilitating illness it can feel really restricting on your entire life. You want nothing more than to continue your regular routine, but you realize you are now slightly different to everybody else around you. While they are getting fit for the summer or planning their latest vacation, you may feel pretty lonely. There is something quite isolating about having a prolonged illness or disease; you never quite know when your symptoms will flare up.

You can have good days and awful days, so you can never really make plans in advance just in case you have to cancel. It can feel so difficult to maintain solid friendships when you can’t hang out with them regularly. All you want to do is feel like everybody else, instead of constantly having to think about your medication. The key here is to learn ways to manage a chronic illness.

Help break free from the shackles of your health problems by remaining positive as often as you can. There is nobody else who can really sympathize with you, although they can show empathy. You feel the way you feel for a reason, and you have to let people know. Don’t let these emotions bring you into a deep dark hole. Instead, step out of the box and look towards the future. Everything is looking brighter for you when you do so. Embrace life more fully.

Ways to cope with a chronic illness include getting out of bed to socialize
You may isolate yourself when you have a long-term illness, but social activities can do your mind good. Photo via Unsplash.

1. Keep Your Equipment Clean

If you suffer from an illness that affects your breathing or you have obstructive sleep apnea, you might be using special equipment to increase the air pressure in your throat. This type of device makes sure your airway doesn’t collapse, so is truly necessary to your health. If you have been getting sick more than usual lately, a dirty CPAP machine might just be the culprit.

Bacteria and germs can thrive in that type of warm and moist environment so it is vital that you keep it clean with a SoClean CPAP cleaner. By using a reputable cleaner for your machine, you can prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Ensure all of your medical machinery is clean and disinfected so you can start to feel better. Dirty equipment can be lethal if your immune system is already quite low, so treat your medical machines with proper care and attention. If the thought of maintaining everything yourself is overwhelming, then get somebody on board to help you.

2. Ask for Help at Home

When battling with a chronic illness, it’s really important to have day-to-day assistance at home. You might need extra help doing everyday tasks, such as making tea, showering, and getting dressed. To maintain a good quality of life, these things are truly important, so ask for help if you need it.

You could either have a family member or spouse as a carer, or hire from a professional care company. Be aware of the costs of a regular carer and try and explore all of your options before you commit to that.

3. Get a Cleaner

Keeping your home clean and tidy will likely be a very tiring task for somebody who suffers from an illness. Some days you feel like you can conquer the world and tackle all of your chores at once, but other days you need help to keep the house clean, wash dishes, and do laundry.

A cleaner can be an extremely useful addition to your life by removing the stress of daily chores. That’s why we recommend it as one of the ways to manage a chronic illness. A weekly visit from a cleaner can lighten your burdens and allow you to focus on getting your health back up.

4. Try to Get Fresh Air

No matter how you feel on a daily basis, getting a little bit of fresh air every day is really going to help you. Depending on the illness, you might find that a short walk in the park once a day helps clear your mind and get your body moving. If you are bed bound then crack open a window and open up the curtains, so you can experience some sort of fresh air and daylight.

Ways to manage a chronic illness include getting fresh air like this woman
Fresh air and daylight can perk up your mood. Photo via Unsplash.

5. Eat Nourishing Foods

Food should be seen as medicine for everybody in the world. So many people take their health for granted and fuel their bodies with sugary, refined, fatty foods that don’t provide them with the nourishment they need. You might see a huge improvement in your health if you choose to make some small changes to your food choices.

Try to incorporate more fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains into your meals. Doing so can increase energy levels, which is important to fight off disease more easily. Taking care with what you put into your body is amongst the top ways to manage a chronic illness.

6. Don’t Forget to Take Your Medication

As important as food can be to repair cells and reduce damage in your body, there will probably be no adequate replacement for your medication. When the doctor prescribes you with medicine it is essential that you follow their orders and take it as and when you need it.

Ways to manage a chronic illness can include setting reminders to that that medication. For example, schedule it on your phone and set an alarm when it’s time to consume the meds. Or buy a special medicine container so that you remember where your pills are at all times.

7. Keep In Touch With Your Doctor

It is really important to maintain a good relationship with your doctor and communicate regularly. They will want to keep assessing your condition as time goes by and they may even alter your medication depending on how you progress. Have their phone number on speed dial and if you have any questions or worries don’t hesitate to contact them.

Ways to manage a chronic illness include keeping in contact with your doctor
Phone your doctor if you have questions or worries. Photo from Unsplash.

8. Find an Activity to Distract You

Boredom is another issue to address. Learn to stave off boredom as another way to manage a chronic illness if it restricts you from pursuing everyday activities. Find an activity that you enjoy doing and that distracts you from any pain you are experiencing.
It could be anything, such as reading, coloring or baking. Do what makes you feel most content and relaxed during times of trouble. If you have enough energy and your health permits it then an outdoor activity would be ideal.

9. Don’t Miss Out on Social Events

Try not to isolate yourself from upcoming social activities because you feel insecure or depressed about your illness. One of the best ways to manage a chronic illness is to surround yourself with a supportive social network. These are the people who truly care about you.

They might be related or close friends, teachers, neighbors… You get the picture. Being in their company will make you feel so much better. Many people use their illness as an excuse to skip out on social activities, so don’t let anything get in the way of having a good time when you feel up to it.

10. Create a Bucket List

Try to put a positive spin on your illness or disease. Depending on how serious or long-term your illness is, you might want to create a bucket list of fun activities to complete by a certain point in time. This list will keep you looking ahead and make sure you are actively seeking out experiences you really want to do.

Which activities you select will be unique to you. Maybe you want to go and see a professional musical on stage. Or perhaps deep sea snorkeling is on your list. You could literally add anything to your list and keep ticking them off over the years.

11. Always Remain Positive

Maintaining a positive outlook on your life, no matter how much fear, pain or suffering you have, helps you live a life full of valuable experiences. When you start to feel low about your situation, look at the positive aspects of your life and try to change your current mindset. Think of those people who love you and try to live to the fullest despite the tricky cards you have been handed in life.

Consult Your Doctor Before Making Any Changes

No matter how small or large your health issue is, it is still a problem that makes you feel different from everybody else. If you have been feeling low, deflated, and isolated, then these ways to manage a chronic illness can hopefully help you to get back on track.

Depending on the seriousness of your health problem, you might find that some of these ideas simply don’t work for you. As always make sure you consult a medical professional before changing your medication, equipment, eating habits and any part of your routine. If you think something is going to have an adverse effect on your health, then steer clear from it or ask your doctor for advice. This post aims to lift people up when feeling down.

25 COMMENTS

  1. It’s a great list! Always having had a busy mind, I find no shortage of distractions (movies, books, series on DVD or Netflix. Reading can help immerse us in another world like nothing else. Challenging yourself to move your body even when it’s difficult is critical. It helps us get that all important deep sleep. Being retired and disabled gives me lots of time for contemplation, prayer and keeping in touch with my loved ones (bucket list items for sure 🙂 Having several conditions which need monitoring, I’ve learned we have to become our own health care advocates and make informed choices about food, medicine, and treatments. Best of luck to everyone struggling with chronic illness, who I always find to be great personal inspirations. xoxo

    • Thank you for sharing what you find works in your everyday routine, Mary Jo. It sounds like you also include prayer and I appreciate your adding that. Religion can help center us and give us purpose ♥

  2. This is a great post to generate options for people with chronic pain and health issues. A big part of having these issues is the uncertainty of how one will feel for the day. A flexible attitude is important. I know for myself getting fresh air and connecting with nature uplifts my spirit. Thanks for your post Christy!

  3. Excellent advice, Christy. I don’t suffer from chronic illness but my son does. This advice applies equally to children.

  4. This is a great post, Christy. My daughter can function normally, but she’s in the midst of planning a big move, and now the worry is doing it without a lapse in insurance. Right now, she’s fully covered, and even though she’ll get ins. with a new job, it won’t be immediate. Now with a pre-existing condition, we’re worried and pray that all works out for her because eventually, she’ll need a liver transplant. Keeping the faith and staying optimistic does help…xoxo

    • I am sure your daughter is thankful every day for your love and the beautiful family she has, Lauren. I send prayers that her move goes well – and will keep her and you all in my heart ♥

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