Around 15 million people in England have at least one chronic or long-term condition, according to the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care. This means that about 3 in 10 people live with incurable conditions, making everyday life more challenging than it is.
Among the most common long-term conditions are diabetes, asthma, and Alzheimer’s disease. People with these conditions sometimes require round-the-clock care at home, as well as different medications. These aren’t to mention the limitations they have to live with because their condition doesn’t allow for some activities.
However, if you’re a person with chronic illness, this doesn’t mean you’re sentenced to a life of simply surviving and coping with your symptoms. Below are a few ways to live well despite a long-term condition.
1. Choose your support team members well
Chronic illness is a lifelong battle that not only you will have to fight. The people around you must be able and willing to help you through the highs and lows of your condition. This is why the first step to living well is having the right support team. Start with a physician that understands your healthcare needs and is invested in your overall wellness. Then, stick with people who are equipped to support you. These people might be your family members and sometimes, even friends step up.
2. Be your own ally
It’s easy to blame yourself for the chronic condition you may have. You may have plenty of “If only” moments thinking about what you could have done to prevent your illness. You can use your past mistakes to know what the right way to take care of yourself now, but you shouldn’t dwell on them any more than that. The sooner you accept that a long-term condition isn’t a personal failure, the sooner you can move forward with your life.
3. Open yourself to new things
Your chronic condition might prevent you from doing the things you used to do before you had it. For example, you cannot run anymore if you have arthritis since the bone-on-bone contact can make your condition worse. This may be disappointing, especially if you loved running before. But just because you can’t do one thing doesn’t mean you can’t do other activities. Open yourself to new hobbies or find a purpose that gives you a sense of fulfilment.
4. Set goals
Nothing is more motivating than working to achieve something. In this case, if your chronic condition has got you down, create goals to motivate yourself. These goals must be something you care about, such as doing something nice for those who care you or achieving a feat you thought you couldn’t do because of the limitations from your illness.
5. Prioritise your body’s needs
Pushing yourself past what you think your body can do can be a great way to make progress and feel accomplished. However, be careful of pushing yourself too hard since it might cause more harm than good. Apart from this, it’s also a good idea to keep your body as healthy as possible by consuming the right food and getting enough rest.
Most importantly, remember that you are not your illness. You’re a whole person with their own abilities and dreams. And as long as you receive the right support and you recognise your value, you can live well with a chronic condition.