Living With Chronic Illness - How To Cope


Scary and overwhelming, a diagnosis of a long-term condition is a concern for the well-being of everyone. However, after accepting the initial shock of a diagnosis, figuring out coping methods for living with an illness is beneficial.

Chronic health ailments tend to leave people feeling vulnerable and add new layers of stress on top of the usual challenges most people face. For example, these new challenges may include:

  • Managing pain or discomfort brought on by your symptoms
  • Formulating a plan to manage your condition and engaging in self-care
  • Coping with further lifestyle limitations brought on by your condition
  • Adjusting to increased financial demands
  • Getting through feelings of isolation, frustration, or confusion

Learn everything you can about your condition.

Understanding all there is to know about your symptoms and treatment options is beneficial to coping with a long-term illness. For starters, you can inquire with your doctor about specific concerns regarding your condition. Then, to expand your knowledge, you can look to your local library and patient associations specializing in particular conditions.

Being self-aware of your body is also helpful - carefully pay attention to what keeps your symptoms at bay and what causes them to flare up. Record relevant patterns and observations in a notebook or calendar, which may help you manage your symptoms. For your healthcare team to better assess the effects of your condition, you must share these notes with your healthcare provider.

Learn how to self-manage yourself.

You can learn to become your self-manager to gain control and improve your quality of life. In addition, keeping your symptoms and stress under control can be accomplished by adhering to your recommended treatment plan. These can be achieved by taking prescription medications as directed and attending your scheduled healthcare visits.

How efficiently you handle stress is tied to additional daily choices impacting your actions and lifestyle. For example, following a healthy diet and getting adequate exercise may benefit your mood, increase mobility, and calm your symptoms. In addition, you should also take action to stabilize your relationships, emotions, and attitudes.

Regulate your emotions.

To nature of chronic illness can be all-consuming to your well-being. Not only can it derail your life and plans altogether, but it can also bring forth a flood of emotions, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Grief

To regulate stress and hurtful emotions, there are many helpful coping methods. Once you discover a technique that helps, find ways to include it in your routine. Some valuable methods include:

  • Working out
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Reading
  • Listening to music
  • Deep breathing
  • Cooking
  • Journaling
  • Socializing with loved ones

Be selective about relationships.

When you have a chronic illness, you may discover your time and energy for socializing are limited. Friends and family who don't have the issue may not understand the limitations you deal with.

To live your highest quality life, being selective about where to direct your time and energy may be beneficial. For example, you should focus on the most significant relationships in your life while letting go of unnecessary stress relationships is okay.