The Big Picture
Managing a chronic illness can feel like a part-time job all by itself. Juggling multiple prescriptions and doctors appointments is just the tip of the iceberg. Planning your diet around good- and bad-for-you foods becomes second nature. If you travel, you probably need extra “stuff”. Add a cumbersome bedtime routine and it can quickly zap your energy and feed the symptoms you’re trying to minimize. First and foremost, keep these things in mind about managing chronic illness:
- Prioritize your focus: With abundant information about how diet, sleep, exercise, meditation (among other things) all affect your health, you may find yourself trying to control it all. Starting an all-out elimination diet and an exercise routine while getting your meditation on every day on top of your “regular” life responsibilities, you will quickly burn yourself out. Talk to your doctor about which change can have the biggest impact on your autoimmune symptoms, and start with that one.
- Grab quiet moments: Taking a minute here and there to be mindful and present in the moment can help let some dust settle from life’s daily stressors and allow you to refocus. Standing in line, waiting at a red light, waiting for the microwave to “beep” – use those moments to ground yourself, no matter how small they may be.
- Don’t beat yourself up: You may not be able to do as much as you could before, or you may feel like you’ve let your loved ones “down”. You’re human, remember? Give yourself some credit – you’re doing the best you can given the hand you’ve been dealt.