15 Life-Changing Habits People With Chronic Illnesses Should Do All Year


People have always asked me what my New Year’s resolutions would be. I never really liked the idea of resolutions but found myself making them regardless, sometimes to no avail. Often times, resolutions cause too much pressure and don’t always have to be started once the New Year starts. Instead, they should be things we continue to do throughout our lives.

I realized that as we get older, priorities change, as do our resolutions. Those of us with chronic illnesses usually have the same priorities as our peers, but one thing that will always have to be the biggest priority is our health.

Stress is one of the worst things for a person with a chronic illness and can make any condition flare up. In the world we live in today, stress is inevitable. However, these life-changing habits that we all know about, yet oftentimes tend not do enough of, can help keep our mind, body and spirit strong, so we can overcome the daily obstacles we all face.

Here are some tips and advice that have helped me throughout the years living with a chronic illness:

1. Drink more water.

This is something we all have heard throughout our lives, but it’s one of the hardest yet easiest things to do. Some of us with chronic illnesses may have to take medications that are toxic. Water is our natural defense to flush out toxic medications that help us ease our symptoms yet hurt us at same time. If you don’t like plain water use lemon or lime wedges. I like using the Salubre Fruit and Tea Infuser Water Pitcher by REM concepts.

2. Eat better.

Eat less sugar and fried, packaged and refined foods. Instead, eat more fruits and vegetables. Sugar is known to create and make inflammation worse. If you have food allergies and sensitivities, keep up with your diet.

3. Get more sleep.

Go to bed early and wake up early. This matches our bodies natural circadian rhythm. When you get enough rest, you will feel better overall.

4. Leave negative things and people behind in 2016.

Those of us with chronic illness already have enough on our plates. This is extra baggage we don’t need. Be around those who love, care and support you no matter what.

5. Keep up to date with your doctor appointments.

When life gets busy, it’s easy not to miss annual dental checkups or other screenings. Keep a calendar in your phone to remind you or have someone you trust keep records.

6. Learn to say no more and don’t feel guilty about it.

Priorities change in a big way when you have an illness. If you know it will take you three days to recover after an event, then consider not going or leaving early. We have to pick and choose wisely what we do with our time. That’s not to say you shouldn’t go out and have fun. Just make accommodations to not spread yourself too thin and that you have time for yourself.

7. Keep up with physical activity of any kind.

Depending on the chronic illness you have, it may be hard to do certain workouts. But you can adapt any workout to suit your needs. If you’ve done physical or occupational therapy, keep up with the home program. Don’t keep putting it off for the next day. It will help in the long term.

8. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

Having a bad day? This too shall pass. Stay positive. The sun always shines through the clouds.

9. Treat yourself.

Have a spa day. Buy something for yourself. Go to the movies. Go out with friends and family. These little things can lift your spirits.

10. Talk a walk in nature.

Feeling sick can often leave you cooped up inside. Fresh air and sun will give you the energy you need to feel better, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.

11. Pick up a hobby that helps you de-stress.

It allows you to have “me” time, so you can forget about everything for a while.

12. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and open up to people who don’t have a chronic illness.

People in our lives who love and care for us are always willing to help, but sometimes they don’t know how because we don’t let them in. Opening up to people can be healing.

13. Don’t worry and have faith.

This is easier said than done when there are constant doctor’s appointments, tests and medications to take. Worrying is a dead end, though. It doesn’t lead us to anywhere good and can only make us feel worse.

14. Talk to others who have your condition or are in similar situations.

This is also healing because you realize you’re not alone. People who have been in your shoes can share tips and have empathy about your situation. You may even make a new friend. Support groups in person or online are great options.

15. Enjoy life.

We oftentimes can’t control what happens in our lives, but we can control how we react to life’s events. We can sit back and wallow in self-pity or go out and experience what life has to offer no matter what our circumstance.

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