COPING WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS
By Mary Ann Wilson, RN
If you have a chronic illness, it’s very important to learn to be a good stress manager. Some stress is good because it motivates us. When it gets in the way of sleeping, decision-making, or causes you to feel you can’t get started, it’s time to do something about it. Remember, you are not the illness. You need to separate yourself from the illness. Even though you have limitations, focus on what you can do.
Here are some other ideas:
• Practice positive self-talk
• Practice prayer or meditation
• Start a daily journal
• Take deep cleansing breaths often during the day, letting them go with an audible sigh
• Determine what you can control and what you cannot control
• Focus on controlling your response rather than just reacting
• Live for today and stay in the moment
• Explore your humorous side
• Have a hobby
• Cultivate a social outlet
• Write a letter, call a friend
• Watch funny movies and TV shows
• Close your eyes and soften the muscles around your lips, eyes and forehead
• Practice self-massage, gently stroking your face, arms, and along your collarbone.
• Read humorous or inspirational books and publications.
• Begin and end your day thinking of all the things you are grateful for
• Surround yourself with natural light and uplifting, soothing colors
• Listen to music that you find relaxing
• Watch children or animals play
• Think of ways you can reach out and help others
• Don’t forget a smile is the best gift you can give yourself and others!