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We Need to Pamper Ourselves Sometimes in Our Lives With Chronic Illness


As a patient with many different health issues, it gets to be a bit much having 11 different physicians. Whether it be blood work, scopes or scans, they all want a piece of me. I’ve had months where I had an appointment every day for a week, and times when it would be just once in a while.  It gets very tiring after all of that running around. I just want a break from all of the chaos.

I made sure after I recovered from my stroke to set aside some time just for me. That meant no chores, appointments or running errands. I’d take an entire day just for myself to sit at home to relax and unwind from all of the stress from the weeks before. Each “me day” would be something different, from giving myself facials to using my back massager to knead all the knots out or just taking a walk near the harbor.  If I felt creative, I’d crank up my music and make greeting cards or if I was really under the weather, I’d break out my comedy DVDs of Gallagher, Carrot Top and Gilda Radner. As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine.

I realize some of us have a lot of responsibilities such as running a household with children, caring for elderly parents who are ill, and working a full-time job. When we don’t stop and make time for just ourselves, we can become run down and worn out. Then who’d do our tasks? We’d be no good to anybody. That’s why it’s so important to put ourselves first a few times a week to just unwind and de-stress. The house cleaning can wait. Martha Stewart’s not coming in for an inspection, so it’s OK if we put up our feet and get lost in a good book, have a glass of wine (if allowed), or spend some quality time with our spouse.

If others are demanding our attention, ask them if it can wait for a while or the next day as we’re exhausted. If they can’t be supportive and understanding, it’s OK to walk away. Good friends and supportive family members will understand you need time and space in order to rejuvenate.

Living with chronic health problems can be a drain on our bodies. By making time to take care of ourselves, we’ll be able to function better in our household and on the job. There’s only one of us and we have to remember it’s OK to set aside the phone calls, dusting, vacuuming, bill paying etc.  if it means we can do something to recharge our batteries. I always stand by the mantra of “life’s too short.” If we don’t take time to stop and smell the roses, we’re missing out on some pretty amazing things. 

Photo provided by contributor.