I hope these 4 tips for taking C.A.R.E. of yourself will help you improve your mental health when you have a chronic condition.

When I was first diagnosed with my chronic illness I remember feeling an incredible sense of relief. 

I wasn’t crazy! It wasn’t all in my head!

I finally had a diagnosis. I had an answer for all the weird symptoms I had been experiencing. But after that moment of relief, came a new and rather unnerving revelation. 

From that day on my life was going to look very different. 

The doctor helped me with ideas on how to manage the symptoms but there was no cure. There was no going back. My life would never be normal again.

And the toll of that on my mental health was staggering for quite some time. But after 7 plus years of living with a chronic illness, I have finally found some ways to thrive mentally. You can live a full life even with a chronic condition!

Let’s learn to C.A.R.E. for ourselves by shifting the way we think!

Taking C.A.R.E. of Yourself: How to improve your mental health when you have a chronic condition

Concede that you will grieve sometimes and that is okay! 

Anyone who has lost someone will tell you that while things get better with time, you will always miss the one you lost. In the same way you are always going to miss the life you once had.

Even after many years of dealing with a chronic condition, there is still a sense of loss sometimes. There are going to be reminders of what you can’t do, and it is going to hurt.

Don’t rush through those sad moments. Recognize that there is a loss to be grieved. And that is okay. Go ahead and grieve the loss, but then . . . 

Acknowledge what you CAN do rather than focusing on what you can’t.

It can be easy to get caught up in all that we can’t do but dwelling on that isn’t good for our mental health. Instead, we need to focus on all that we CAN do. 

Learn how affirmations can improve your mental health!

I may not be able to go for a walk to the park with my kids, but I CAN snuggle with them on the couch and listen to them talk about their day!

See the difference? So, celebrate the little things that you CAN do! 

And perhaps brainstorm ways to make things easier for you. Ask your physician for the handicap parking placard. Buy the wheelchair, the cane, or anything else that will help you do more of what you love. But keep in mind that you may need to . . . 

Learn how to set achievable goals for yourself even with a chronic condition!

Release your expectations of what your day should look like. 

For many years with my chronic illness I continued to operate like a healthy person. I decided to work from home to make it easier, but I still worked full time, managed the home, took care of the kids, etc.

And then I wondered why I felt sick all the time! I was caught in the mindset that I was a “normal stay at home mom” and pressuring myself to keep up with it all. But I wasn’t. I was a “work at home mom with a chronic illness”. I had to change my mindset so that I could start placing reasonable expectations on myself. 

Maybe that is what you need to do as well. Say “I have a chronic illness,” and then release your expectations of what you think you should be able to do. But remember to . . . 

Embrace the reality that you are enough!

This is one I really struggle with. I tend to tie my identity to how much I have accomplished. When I have a bad day and don’t get much done, then I tend to beat myself up about it, which is not healthy. 

Think about this. Is a life only valued by the amount of money we make? Or the daily tasks we checked off our to-do list? 

Or is a life valued by the amount of memories we make? 

The number of smiles we gave? 

The amount of encouraging words we spoke? 

Or the amount of people we inspired? 

When you feel like you are less than because you cannot do what a normal person does, remind yourself that you can still make a difference. You are enough as you are! Your life matters!

Living with a chronic illness can be tough, but I hope that these tips will help you to shift your thinking and make the most of your life even if it is not “normal”.

Taking C.A.R.E. of Yourself: How to improve your mental health when you have a chronic condition text with girl wearing sweater

 Taking C.A.R.E. of Yourself: How to improve your mental health when you have a chronic condition

Concede that you will grieve sometimes and that is okay!


A
cknowledge what you CAN do rather than focusing on what you can’t.


R
elease your expectations of what your day should look like.


E
mbrace the reality that you are enough!

About The Author

Hey everyone! My name is Collene. My husband and I have been married for 14 years and we have three kids. Seven years ago, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness and realized I would never be able to work full time again. I have worked many part-time jobs since but my main passion in life is to write and encourage others. I love to share my struggles, failures, and all that I am learning through my blog restandchaos.com. It is my hope that by being real about my life, I will be able to encourage and inspire others to live their best lives.

7 Comments on 4 Tips For Taking C.A.R.E. of Yourself: Improve Your Mental Health When You Have A Chronic Condition

  1. Love this post! Great advice. I don’t have a chronic illness, but my mother does, and I see her put so much pressure on herself. She deserves to take the best care of herself possible!

  2. Some really good advice in this post especially for the people who do suffer with chronic illnesses, I know some close to me and they need to take better care of themselves. Great post 💗

  3. Really helpful to read this. For me, the need to release the self-imposed expectation of what the day should look like is what I really struggle with. Thanks for sharing your wise words!

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