Posted on Mar 01, 2023, 1 p.m.
Have you recently been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition? If so, your head is likely swimming with questions. How will this affect your life long term? Will your symptoms ever go away? Where should you turn for help? It’s completely normal to experience a rollercoaster of emotions as you process your diagnosis, including knowing whether your insurance will cover expenses for treatment. This is especially true if you’re a contract or freelance worker because finding the right health insurance can be daunting.
While it can be tempting to try and ignore your symptoms and pretend you never received a diagnosis, facing it head-on is the best way to move forward. There are so many resources out there that can answer your questions. Today, we’re sharing some helpful tips to hopefully help you to cope with some of the challenges of a chronic condition!
Treat Your Body Right
Adopting healthy lifestyle habits can go a long way toward relieving your symptoms and making life more enjoyable. For example, NYU Langone Health notes that doctors often recommend that people with chronic pain manage their symptoms with lifestyle changes. This includes your time at work, whether it’s at the office or working from home. Be sure you factor in ergonomics when it comes to your office furniture, including your chair and desk, as well as items like your keyboard and computer mouse.
Also, on a daily basis, eating a diet low in sugar, managing weight, and exercising regularly can help you combat obesity and avoid complications like diabetes. If your condition allows, consider getting an exercise bike to help you get controlled physical activity despite the weather. You can look for reviews online and then search for discounts or sales on those models. Also, getting enough high-quality sleep can help to reduce stress and control mood swings associated with chronic pain. This is particularly important if your chronic condition causes fatigue, trouble sleeping, and anxiety.
Physical therapy can also be incredibly helpful in learning what you can do safely with your condition. Therapists can help determine your current strength, balance, and coordination, and create a customized routine for you.
Start a Mindfulness Practice
For those facing distressing chronic conditions, mindfulness can foster a sense of acceptance. Genentech explains that bringing mindfulness to your emotions can help you see them more clearly so you can recognize them as temporary. Distressing thoughts and emotions come and go like waves, and mindfulness practices can help you avoid ruminating on negative feelings associated with your condition. Mindfulness can help you deal with the anxiety and depression that often come with the condition.
Organize Medical Records
Keeping accurate and thorough medical records is essential for tracking a person’s health history. The process of organizing medical records can be challenging, as it requires gathering information from multiple sources such as online and offline providers, paper charts, lab results, and more. To make the process easier, you can also convert your PDF online by using a PDF converter to quickly digitize documents for easy access and organization. Doing so will help you create an organized record of all your medical information that is readily available whenever needed.
Ignore Unhelpful Advice
Well-intentioned people often share unsolicited advice with people suffering from chronic conditions that can make them feel bad. The worst of this is likely people telling you to think more positively, be happy, or put on a smile. This is called toxic positivity. Toxic positively may show up when someone minimizes your experience with “feel-good” statements or tries to give you perspective by saying something like “it could be worse”. Don’t let anyone make you feel shame or guilt about how you’re feeling. You have every right to feel sad, angry, anxious, or otherwise unhappy about your situation, so try not to be so hard on yourself either!
Change Your Environment
Sometimes, a change in environment can be welcome after receiving a serious diagnosis. Moving can give you a fresh start and a new perspective, especially if your current home is making you feel worse. Living in a stressful environment can exacerbate your physical and mental symptoms. As a result, moving to a new location may improve your mental health and make it easier to cope with your condition.
If you’re planning on buying a new home, be sure to explore your options carefully and plan ahead for a smooth transition. Follow a step-by-step checklist so you can stay organized. For example, you will need to research home listings, determine your home affordability, get pre-approved for a mortgage, and find a real estate agent before you can start looking at homes.
Renting is another idea that can allow you to move to a new location with less hassle and commitment. You may simply not want to be responsible for the day-to-day problems of home ownership, or perhaps selling your current home is a wise financial decision for upcoming medical bills. Or you could rent closer to your friends, family, or specialists. It can be easy to downsize for simplicity, or upsize if you anticipate wanting to have family or caretakers live with you in the future.
No one is prepared to receive the diagnosis of a chronic condition. While a diagnosis may answer a lot of questions you have about yourself and your body, it can open up many new concerns. Take the time to process this news and formulate a plan to manage your condition in a way that works best for you whether that involves finding a new home or implementing some healthy habits.
This article was written for WHN by Scott Sanders who is the creator of Cancer Well, which provides resources and support for anyone who has been affected by any form of cancer. He is also the author of the book Put Yourself First: A Guide to Self-care and Spiritual Wellness During and After Cancer Treatment.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of WHN/A4M. Any content provided by guest authors is of their own opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.
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