Hey there. Today I wanted to discuss strategies with coping with Chronic Illnesses. I am currently battling Chronic Liver Disease, and have started taking medication for it. I went to the doctor yesterday to have blood work done to see if the medication they prescribed me is doing it’s magic to reverse the scarring and inflammation. Stay tuned…
I reached out to my fellow bloggers in the Engagement Group for Special Needs, Mental Health, and Chronic Illness Bloggers. I asked some them to share ways they cope with chronic illnesses. To share if they have a chronic illness coping strategy!
First up, Laurie Harmon from Seeking Serenity and Harmony.
“Coping Skills to get through the day:
Mentally and Physically I find one thing very helpful to me is making lists of what I want or need to do and prioritizing them. It helps me stay on task through brain fog and gives me a sense of accomplishment. I don’t spend energy running in circles and accomplishing nothing. Most recently I have gotten back to making time to write which is something I have always enjoyed.
Of course, It is always good to have a list of a few people you can count on to call if you need to talk or a hand. Don’t be afraid to ask for help whether to do a task or just for them to listen to you. I found that for my friends with mental health issues it is always good to have a list written and posted where you will see it if you are in a crisis and need someone to talk to.
When going through your day allow extra time, don’t rush it adds to stress. Be patient with yourself. Try to limit stress I know I always laugh at this, but the point is if you can decrease it take the opportunity and do so.
Physical coping skills that work for me:
Eating healthier food choices, drinking herbal tea and plenty of water, making sure I listen to my body and give it a rest when it needs one by taking a nap. I use essential oils and salves for pain relief along with my heat and cold packs.”
Melissa Temple from Disabled Disney
“One of my favorite ones is breathing slowly, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Do this while you’re counting in the background (out loud) from 10 to 1. This one is easy to do anywhere and anytime you have a crisis. This doesn’t require any money or equipment.
I also like to have a pencil case with some coloring pencils and an adult coloring book with me in case I get anxious or upset. This one requires a little more planning because you have to carry things with you.
My last coping mechanism that I really love is listening to relaxing music. I like to keep a pair of ear buds with me in my purse and download relaxing music to my phone. I have the app ‘Relaxing‘ that has soothing sounds like the rain and ocean.”
Gina Morris from Steps to Self
“Struggling with anxiety can be so exhausting. When your mind is constantly working against you, it’s important to have a variety of coping strategies you can use to fight back.
Mindfulness is one coping strategy I learned to help with my anxiety. With mindfulness, you focus on being in the moment and taking in your surroundings using your senses. By noticing small details like the smell of the air or the touch of something against your skin, it helps to calm anxiety.
I find mindfulness particularly useful when I can feel my anxiety ramping up—chest tightening, thoughts racing, breath quickening. I’ll use it before an important event to keep my nerves at bay or any time I feel my thoughts are spiraling out of control.
Meditation is another coping strategy that can help to clear the mind and combat the worry and tension that drag those of us with anxiety down. Taking as little as 5 minutes a day to empty your mind of all thoughts can really make a difference over time. Anyone can do it. I schedule meditation time each night, and I add a mid-day session during extra stressful times.”
Elizabeth Sorrell from Despite Pain
I use a combination of ‘tools’ to help get me through each day.
Primarily, I use breathing and relaxation techniques. There are so many types of breathing exercises to help when you are in pain. My favorite is breathing in through my nose, count to four, then exhale through my mouth, again counting to four. I think really focusing on that breath can help distract from the pain.
Distractions help too. I enjoy writing, watching television, listening to some music (either upbeat or relaxing, depending on my mood), doing puzzles and playing games on the computer. Sometimes art too, even if it’s just doodling or zentangling.
Also, laughter. I think laughter is such an important coping mechanism. Pain can drag me down at times, and I might not always feel like laughing, but, as the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. I watch old reruns of my favorite sitcoms, a rom-com or often search You Tube for funny pet videos.
Each day could be different, so I need to have a full toolbox. One day, something might help, the next it might not. Or something might only help for a very short time. When that happens, I need to go through everything I know, to get through the day.
How do you cope with Chronic Illness? What is your go to “coping strategy”?