Chronic illness can leave you feeling helpless. There are so many things out of our control it can be overwhelming. I’ve found that too often this leaves people in a pit of despair without any hope of progress.
In order to feel like you’re taking charge of your life and your illness, you have to put some work into it. I’m a big proponent of being a well-educated patient because chronic life is a full time job.
Whether you’re newly diagnosed, haven’t found a diagnosis yet or you’ve been in this battle for years – these things can help you in your daily fight with chronic illness.
For most suffering with chronic illness, it affects their entire being.
Everywhere you look and everything you read tells you to track various things like your diet, activity, meds, etc. But how are you supposed to keep track when absolutely everything affects your body and your symptoms? Thinking of your body as a whole – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual – is essential to making any progress. But where do you begin?
The key is just to begin somewhere. We all have some idea of certain things that affect our symptoms. Start there.
I’ll use myself as an example. I have fibromyalgia, ME/chronic fatigue syndrome and polycystic ovarian disorder.
I can list a few things from the top of my head that cause my symptoms to flare:
- Physical exertion
- Getting too cold
- Forgetting my vitamins & supplements
- Mental stress such as negative thinking
- Not getting enough sleep
I can also list a few things that help me:
- Eating protein at every meal
- Gently moving my body daily
- Spending time daily with God
- Staying hydrated
My daughter has POTs – for her, drinking Gatorade daily and increasing her salt intake are necessary. So those are things she would add to her list.
Now take just a few of these things and make a habit tracker.
I don’t know about you, but I can get up and start my day and the next thing I know it’s noon and I didn’t take my morning meds or get anything to eat. Creating good habits is a must!
Here’s what a daily habit tracker may look like…
Don’t worry about having this many items – you may only want to start with two or three things. Don’t overwhelm yourself, this is just an example. Also, you don’t have to get fancy and you don’t even have to use a computer spread sheet. You can just use a piece of paper – anything that will work as a way to keep track.
Doing this will allow you to see what helps maintain a balance in your health and put you in a proactive position, instead of a helpless one.
So I’m curious – what things do you know of that help you and your symptoms? Share a few in the comments! Taking a moment to share with others may help them think of something that should be on their own daily tracker – we’re in this battle together!