Dealing with chronic illness can be difficult
When a person becomes chronically ill or injured, trying to adopt new health routines can be challenging. This is especially true when you are in pain and your illness affects your weight. Chronic illnesses have been known to affect our body image. It’s hard to feel confident in one’s body when it is in the process of betraying you with pain and a variety of symptoms. However, with a little patience and a dose of self-love, adopting a new health routine can be done. Here are some tips for adapting to a new health routine while chronically ill.
1.) Be kind to yourself.
Chronic illnesses, when first diagnosed, can cause a spiral effect of sorts in our psyche. Depending on what type of condition you’ve developed, you will have to grapple with your body’s limits and learn to accept them as you learn to adapt to the new changes in your body. Remember to be kind to yourself. Remind yourself of the things you can do. Say it like a mantra, rinse, and repeat. These little doses of kindness will make the transition easier and will help you when you dive into your new health routine.
2.) Remind yourself that dealing with chronic illness is a cycle.
One of the hardest things I had to do before jumping back into the world of exercise and health a year ago was dealing with the cycle that is chronic illness. The majority of chronic illness tends to run on a cycle that influences our body and its ability to function. There are going to be times throughout your illness that you fluctuate in weight or your performance in the gym goes awry due to, for example, a lupus flare or inflammation. It’s during these moments where you are going to get the most frustrated, especially if you’ve been seeing visible progress. This is where the reminder comes in. You need to remind yourself that this is just an active cycle in your illness and that not all is lost. Eventually, the cycle will reach a passive state and you will be able to resume your routine.
3.) Consult a dietician.
For chronic illnesses, sometimes exercising isn’t as much of a weight loss or health option as we’d like. This is where diet comes in. As we’ve heard time and time again, what we put in our bodies has a major influence on how our body reacts. For certain medical conditions, there are foods and diets that are recommended to help decrease the symptoms we feel. Although we have the internet to point us to diet advice, I suggest a dietician consult because their information is more concise. Consulting a dietician was how I discovered I needed to start consuming more foods with anti-inflammatory properties. Whatever I could not eat via food I could make up for in supplements like omega3s. A dietician can provide the concise dietary focus you’ll need as you seek out ways to pursue a healthier lifestyle while sick.
4.) Listen to your body.
I can’t emphasize this enough. Listening to your body is essential regardless of whether one is sick or not, but the art of listening to your body becomes a prized possession when you are dealing with chronic illness, especially if you are trying to hop into exercise. If something hurts, don’t push yourself further or, if you are in a class, ask for a modification to an exercise. Our bodies, especially during an active flare up cycle, are more susceptible to damage if we do not listen to our pain levels. Make sure to listen!
Although these tips I have suggested may seem like common sense, when you are dealing with chronic illness firsthand, these simple things can fly out the window. However, if these tips are kept in mind, it’ll make the transition process easier as you adapt to a healthier lifestyle while adjusting to your chronic illness.