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10 Ways to Reduce Stress When You Have a Rare, Chronic Illness

With any chronic or rare condition, stress is always present.

We all deal with it. We all know how much better off we’d be, mentally and physically, with it under control.

Let’s face it, our stress isn’t going anywhere unless we react differently to it. I try to adhere to these following practices to help feel less pressure and manage my stress on any given day.

1. Don’t respond to negativity. Slow down. Meditate for at least five minutes a day. Resist the urge to tightly pack your schedule. Take a few seconds before you respond.

2. Stay active. Only do what’s comfortable. Go at your own pace. Find your motivation. Remember to keep it fun. This includes people and technology. Talk to people via online or phone to keep your brain alert.

3. Eat healthier. I try to eat more plants and less meat. I believe plant based-foods have healing components. Try to use food as a medicine and eat foods that help reduce illness.

4. Read and write more. Writing helps me work through my feelings. It helps me stay positive, and I learn to express my thoughts clearly. Read things you never thought about reading. It’s really easy to get caught up in the same things over and over.

5. Give without expecting a “get.” Let someone vent, even if you can’t offer a solution. Ask, “what can I do to help you today?” I’ve been asking myself, “what are my expectations?” before I do something for another person.

6. Spend time outside. Allow nature to re-energize you. Get plenty of fresh air and breathe deeply.

7. Spend quality time with family. Even with a busy schedule or being stuck in bed, you can find 30 minutes to do something with family. When time is more available, do the bigger things you wish to accomplish.

8. Make “me-time” a priority. Carve out 15 minutes a day. Schedule it. Use this down time to take a nice bath, shower, light candles, play soothing music.

9. Ask for help. If you need help with any of your daily tasks, ask. It’s not that others aren’t willing to support you, you simply haven’t articulated your needs.

10. Perform random acts of kindness. Seek out an opportunity to help every day. Every small interaction with someone is an opportunity to have a positive impact on both of your lives.

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