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If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a chronic health condition, you may be feeling overwhelmed. News that you have a long-term illness or disease can be shocking and disorienting for anyone, and it’s essential to process your thoughts and emotions while giving yourself grace along the way.

Once you begin to cope with your diagnosis, you will want to start thinking of maintaining your quality of life. From evaluating your budget to adjusting your lifestyle to nurturing your relationships, consider these practical tips from Nicole Athena:

Change Your Budget

Depending on your specific illness, you may need to make room in your budget for medical bills, home modifications, and other changes. Take a close look at your monthly budget so that you can make any adjustments necessary and leave more room for saving for unexpected costs.

Sometimes, it is as easy as finding less expensive alternatives or canceling subscriptions and memberships that you rarely use. You may also consider learning some new recipes so that you can reduce your monthly dining out expenses.

If you adjust your budget and still find that you need more funds for medical care or home modifications, another option is to refinance your home. This means replacing your current mortgage with a new one with a higher balance. You can cash out the difference between your refinance home loan and old loan to keep handy for any needs that come up related to your chronic condition.

Adapt Your Lifestyle  

Chances are, you will need to make some adjustments to your lifestyle to accommodate your chronic condition. The best approach is to view yourself as your health and wellness manager.

For instance, make sure you keep up with any treatment plan and prescribed medications to maintain your quality of life. Don’t miss any of your scheduled doctor appointments, even if it means using phone alerts or a paper calendar to remember. And remember to take practical self-care steps, such as eating a nutritious diet, exercising regularly, and prioritizing your sleep.

Depending on your illness, you may need to speak with your doctor and research different types of exercise movements that can allow you to stay active and healthy without exacerbating symptoms. And if you have trouble falling and staying asleep, try other bedtime routines to help your body and mind unwind and relax.

Reduce Your Stress

Along with fostering your eating, exercising, and sleeping habits, make sure you are actively reducing stress in your daily life. Find a calming activity that you can look forward to every day, whether it’s first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, or after you get home from work. Many individuals diagnosed with a chronic illness find that picking up a new hobby can go a long way in helping them manage stress.

Express Your Thoughts and Emotions    

Your illness will likely disrupt your life and plans, which has a way of invoking various thoughts and emotions. Each day, take time to reflect on your overall well-being. Keep tabs on any grief, fear, depression, stress, or any other emotions you are feeling. Then, find an outlet for expressing your thoughts and feelings.

Exercising is a great start. Listening to your favorite music, cooking, writing in a journal, maintaining close relationships, reading about topics of interest, and an array of other activities can help too.

Manage Your Relationships

Finally, you will need others around you to support you as you navigate the challenges that come with your chronic illness. Depending on your specific condition, you might not have quite as much time or energy to put into socializing with friends or relatives. However, do your best to maintain your most important relationships and don’t hesitate to explain your challenges to others.

Being diagnosed with a chronic health condition is not easy, but you must fight the temptation to allow your illness to define your everyday life. Consider the tips above as you review your budget, make the necessary lifestyle changes, and find stress-reducing activities to incorporate into your routine. And remember to identify outlets for expressing your thoughts and emotions and maintain your closest relationships.

April Meyers, a huge advocate of embracing the mind-body connection. She teaches yoga full time to help her students nurture both their physical and emotional health, and she created Mind Body Health Solution to support people far and wide in their wellness journey.

Today, a quote: “The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid: the state of being alone. – James Baldwin

 

Here are some ordinary/extra-ordinary moments from the day:

Rain. The sound. The feel on my face. Some days I love the gloominess of the rain.

Morning cuddles with my kitty cat. A few scratches thrown in the mix, of course (I am accustomed to having scratched up arms).

Peeling a big red “violation” sticker off my side window (Long story; I parked in a 2-hour visitor’s parking spot all day because I didn’t have my work parking permit). The rain helped.

Making progress on a work “to-do” list.

Early evening yoga practice with some core work … the feeling of building strength.

“Nonna’s pizza” from local pizza place. Pretty tasty.

A photo of my friend’s new puppy. Scrumptious.

A caring text from a friend.

My cat sticking his nose in my drink and then attempting to stick his paw into it. He’s obsessed with ice cubes. Needless to say, I got a new drink.