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3 tips for living with a chronic condition

When you receive a diagnosis for a chronic condition such as arthritis, cancer, kidney disease or Parkinson’s disease, it blindsides you. It is normal to experience confusion, sadness, fear and anger when you get this kind of news. However, you can learn to manage your emotions and face your chronic condition with resolve. 

Your disease or illness will be a large part of your life, and it is important to practice self-care. Here are some strategies for coping with a chronic illness.

1. Pay attention to your emotions and seek help if needed 

According to Healthline, a chronic illness may disrupt your life with the following emotions:

  • Fear 
  • Anger
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Anxiety 

Developing depression due to a diagnosis is not uncommon. In fact, it is entirely understandable. If you develop serious depression due to your chronic disease, it can worsen your quality of life altogether. Depression can keep you from pursuing healthy habits, going to your doctor or taking crucial medications. Seek treatment for any associated mental illnesses. Try techniques for managing your emotions, such as exercising, meditating, reading, playing a musical instrument or simply spending time with family.

2. Build a strong support network 

The friendships and relationships that you build and maintain during this time are very important. Get the support that you need. Whether that means finding a support group specific to your medical condition, joining your buddies for a weekly round of golf or joining a book club, these are all ways to feel surrounded by those who care about you. You might also want to consider seeing a therapist who can help you develop coping mechanisms for dealing with the difficult parts of your illness. 

3. Live a healthy lifestyle 

Your lifestyle habits can help you feel better. Eat healthy and within the dietary restrictions of your illness, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight and if you smoke, stop. A healthy lifestyle can help you manage your condition and may help you feel better.  

You are the only person who truly knows what it feels like to live in your body and have your specific chronic illness. By maintaining a good quality of life, seeking support and sticking to healthy lifestyle habits, the challenges of your condition can be faced with confidence. Social Security disability benefits can also help you through this difficult time. 

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