Living with a chronic illness means taking steps on a daily basis to optimize activities of daily living while minimizing risk. This often means taking matters into your own hands. For instance, avoiding the opioid crisis is critical for chronic pain sufferers—dangerous and addictive substances like prescription opioids are not meant for chronic pain. In some cases, you might find yourself searching for alternative treatments and trying to find a stem cell doctor. Naturopathic therapies and getting multiple opinions while staying self-informed can be tiring, but it’s paramount for safety and quality of life.
Fortunately, there are also some comforting and easy daily tips to help with self-care. One of the biggest falsities of chronic illness can be the idea that you’re alone in your suffering—that’s not true. Many chronic conditions are invisible, and you are likely in better company than you think. However, particularly if you’re someone with an invisible condition, extra steps need to be taken for self-love and protection. Here are six tips to improve your day:
- Make time to meditate. Meditation has a bit of a lingering stigma around it. Some people think it requires hours of sitting in silence and others think there’s a goal or final destination to be reached. Neither are true. You can start a meditation practice that only lasts one to two minutes per day. It’s best to meditate as soon as you wake up and right before bed so you can set intentions for the day or help to de-stress before sleep. There are many ways to meditate, ranging from guided online sessions to chanting.
- Listen to your body. It’s sage advice that we often put on the backburner. Let your body tell you how it wants to move, what sounds good to nourish the body and mind, and when you need to take a break. There is no glory in pushing through a tough time. Your body is smart and is always sending you signals. Practice listening to it and following intuition.
- Try to laugh at least once a day. Can you remember the last time you really laughed? It’s great medicine, truly enjoyable, and can take virtually no time. Discover what makes you belly laugh and add more of that into your life. Cat videos are a great place to start.
- Attempt to put an end to procrastination. It’s not true that working against a deadline makes a person work better—they simply have no option but to hurry up, fueled by stress, to get the job done. If you’re a procrastinator, one of the best things you can do for your well-being is to work on changing this habit. Learn the joy of a job done early.
- Assess your relationships. Are all the of voluntary relationships in your life healthy? Do they make you happy, or do you feel drained? It might be time to end some relationships or tend to others. The people you choose to have in your life can make a huge difference in your health.
- Ditch the tech addiction. If you’re constantly needing a screen nearby, that’s a sign of addiction. It’s common in the US, but that doesn’t make it healthy. Try to avoid screen time at least two hours before bedtime for better sleep (and to stifle the addiction).
Chronic pain can get triggered or worsened with stress and lack of sleep. Taking steps to reduce these two common issues can make a huge difference in how chronic illnesses present in your body. They’re also a natural means of taking care of yourself and making the most of your hours.