Being ill really sucks but most of the time, you know that you’ll be better in a few days. With a long term illness, this isn’t the case and for many people, not knowing when or even if they will get better is really stressful. This is why being kind to yourself throughout this time is so important.
Being kind to yourself is surprisingly difficult when you are used to being up and about and can’t quite get used to your new state of being. The good news is that whether you are struggling with a chronic illness, going through cancer treatment or fighting off a nasty virus, there are a few things you can do to help yourself.
Accept Your Feelings
No matter how betrayed you feel by your body, how angry you are that this has happened to you and how sad you become as the illness wears on, being kind to yourself is something you can do to ease your suffering. Accepting your feelings and allowing yourself time to grieve for your past, healthy self is entirely normal.
Acceptance takes time and often comes in waves interspersed with a renewed sense of frustration. However, the most important thing is that you don’t deny these emotions, work through them with the help of your family, friends and a therapist if you need one. Time is a great healer and even if you never return to your previous state, just know that you are as loved and valued as you were before.
Do What Feels Good
Learning to manage chronic pain is a matter of finding what works for you and simply getting used to your pain. It’s a strange thing, but over time, you will adjust to your new normal and be able to ignore at least some of the pain that irks you now. In the meantime, you should learn what feels good.
For some people, gentle exercises and eating foods containing spices such as ginger and turmeric can really help. Others prefer to turn to alternative therapies such as reiki and meditation. But here’s the important thing: pain is weird so as long as you are not putting yourself in any danger or forking out a crazy amount of money, doing what feels good is probably a wise move.
Remember: You are Allowed to Enjoy Yourself
As a kid, staying off school with a heavy cold could be genuinely enjoyable – why? Because your mum let you have your favourite food and watch endless TV while snuggled under a blanket. While your illness may be more serious, the main lesson here is that you are allowed to enjoy yourself while you are poorly.
Distraction can be a really effective way to reduce pain and laughter can also help to maintain positivity and optimism. So, it makes sense to watch your favourite sitcom or comedy shows while you aren’t so good. In fact, your health requires it!
Being kind to yourself might not provide a cure but it can help you preserve your mental health and stay optimistic.