By Lucy Reed
About half of the American population lives with a chronic disease. Some illnesses are more debilitating than others, but they all come as a shock and often require mental and physical adjustments. If you’ve recently received a diagnosis, you might be feeling overwhelmed. Here are some tips to help anchor you and improve your quality of life.
Listen to Your Body
See how your system responds to various situations. Over time and with physician–approved research, you’ll learn what to avoid and how to mitigate the problem with contingency plans and preparation. Monitor relevant markers such as your weight or your blood pressure consistently, and you’ll be able to spot potentially harmful trends in a timely manner.
Build a Team
If you have to see multiple specialists, ensure you’re getting coordinated care. This might mean going to a dedicated clinic or center for your condition, where individual doctors communicate and work together to assist patients. Alternatively, find a general practitioner who can look at your various prescriptions and pick up anything that might not be synergistic. It may take some time to find dedicated health professionals you trust to be there for you, but once you do, your health will benefit, and you’ll feel a lot less stressed.
Nourish Your Body
Sound nutrition doesn’t just contribute to healing your body. It can give you the energy you need to make the most of every day.In addition, chronic illnesses may necessitate dietary interventions that affect when and what you can eat. Consulting with a registered dietitian will help you sort through non-negotiable changes and areas where you have leeway. Delicious food is not off the table. In fact, you may find that you enjoy your new change in diet.
Go for Counseling
Chronic illness diagnoses, especially when they arrive out of the blue, can be jarring. Coming to terms with being perpetually sick is a process. You may also struggle to unburden yourself with friends or family members as often as you’d like.
Social ties and connections aid immensely with chronic illness outcomes, and therapy can be one of the pillars bolstering your mindset. A mental health professional can navigate emotions such as grief and anger with you and provide you with tools to cope better.
Move Homes if You Need To
Your home could be playing an active role in your illness if, for example, you live in a heavily polluted industrial area, or where the climate isn’t suitable for your condition. And if your mobility could soon be compromised, shifting from a two-story to a single-level home is probably a good idea. Perhaps downsizing could take care of upcoming medical bills too.
Check property websites to see what’s out there for your needs and budget, or outsource the job to a reliable real estate agent. If you are needing regular medical help, it can be wise to look into nursing homes in your area, as well. Consider all factors in looking for your next living space.
When you first discover you have a chronic illness, it can be a time of great upheaval and anxiety. But taking action and seeking help can settle your nerves. Get in touch with a local support or advocacy group, or look online for a community of fellow chronic illness patients. You can take hope in the experience of others.
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