Did you know that I don’t just work with cancer survivors? I also work with people who have chronic illnesses too. In fact, my very first client has a chronic illness and she found the coaching experience invaluable.
Having a chronic illness can beat your confidence down and make you feel pretty shitty. On top of that, you might not even feel like the person you used to be before you were diagnosed.
In my opinion, accepting your chronic illness is the first step in re-building your confidence. Why? Well, once you’ve accepted it, you’ll stop trying to resist it which means you’ll have more energy to focus on you and what you need right now.
Here are my five tips for accepting your chronic illness:
Don’t let yourself be defined by it
Easier said than done when pills and appointments and pain are part of your everyday life. BUT you are not your illness.
In fact, you are MUCH MORE than your condition. And yes, those capital letters are needed because this is important. You are a whole person with dreams and hopes, memories and wishes, interests and passions. None of that is your illness. None of that is your condition. That is aaaaall you, my friend. Just you.
You are made out of actual stardust, you know. Remember that.
Talk to yourself and others openly & honestly
It won’t do to tell others that you’re fine if you’re not. It won’t do to push yourself too far if you really don’t feel up to it.
Open up to your friends & family about what’s really going on. Ask them to come & visit you if you’re not feeling well enough to step outside. People will understand if you tell them the truth. And if they don’t…well, do you really need those people around you?
If you want to talk to an objective outsider who won’t judge you, ask your GP to refer you to a counsellor who can help you work through how you’re feeling.
Know your limits
This is a biggie. When you’ve got a chronic illness, you want to show up just like everyone else and fit right in. But sometimes you can’t. And that’s okay. More than okay.
We all have our limits. Mine will be different to yours and yours will be different to the next person’s. But once we reach them, we know that pushing ourselves will cause us more pain or tiredness and it’s honestly not worth it. So get to know your limits and rest when you need to.
Take good care of yourself
All of us are so busy, we rarely take time out to spend time focusing on ourselves. We think it’s selfish or we don’t have enough time for it.
The truth is that you can’t pour from an empty cup. If your priority is your loved ones, consider how much better you’ll be able to care for them if you’re not exhausted yourself.
Just 10 minutes a day spent meditating or doing something you love like reading can make a huge difference. Try it out and work your way up to 20 mins, then 30. See what works best for you.
Focus on what you can control
We all have things we can & can’t control. Generally, we have control over our own thoughts, feelings, behaviours and actions. We don’t have control over other people or external events.
Although you can’t control what may be happening around you or even how your body may be behaving, you have power over your reaction to the situation you find yourself in. You could see this as unfair and think ‘why me?’. Or you could think ‘why not me?’ and take ownership of your situation.
Focus on what you can control and let go of the stuff you can’t.
What other tips have helped you to accept your chronic illness?