Coming to terms with chronic illness and trying to recover from your ill health has to be one of the hardest challenges we could ever face. To find the answer of how to recover from ill health is essential for your future.
Our illnesses become the focus of our lives as treatment regimens, periods of discomfort, medical appointments and the difficulties of carrying out many of the day-to-day activities that once were just effortless mundane activities that now push us at times beyond our limits, take over our days. Everyday life seems so restrictive.
Is it truly possible to improve your life drastically through changing your choices and lifestyle habits even if you cannot completely cure yourself?
Through my writing I provide advice on living a healthy lifestyle and coping with chronic illness. I’m a life coach and was a physical fitness/gym instructor whose life changed through chronic illness. I know how difficult it is to get ourselves back off the floor after ill health and the enormous difficulties you face rebuilding your life. I have successfully managed it and know so can you. I know it is important for those of us who have recovered from chronic ill health to share how to recover from ill health solutions we have used.
My loss of sight and all the health problems that soon followed saw me become devastated, confused, and I fell into a depression. I floundered for way too long, trapped in my negative emotions and unable to make any sense of what was happening to me. My lifestyle fell apart.
There have been so many ups and downs over the past few years. I have had periods of time where I have felt great – working out, running, energy for my family and work. And yet, at other times I’ve been energy less, in pain, feeling sorry for myself. Thank god the bad days are virtually a thing of the past.
When you develop a long-term illness you may feel like you have entered a new world in which all the rules of life have changed and there is no obvious way forward. Your situation can make you feel helpless. You are dealing with the fact that your illness was neither a temporary interruption of your life, nor a life threatening condition, but a third type of problem: an illness that lingered, but was neither self-limiting, nor fatal.
Yet I’ve gone on to learn that chronic illness diagnosis is not a death sentence. Many others I know with chronic illness have rebuilt their lives and have gone on to launch new ministries, careers and friendships.
I want to help you feel as energetic, symptom-free and happy as possible, by showing you how to create lasting health habits and by giving you advice on how to cope with (chronic) health problems. My illness has seeped into every single element of my life – my marriage, my family, my work, my hobbies, my state of mind. I let it dominate my life for far too long.
How do you begin rebuilding life after a serious illness, or “shift” to a new way of living?
There’s no doubt that your chronic illness wounds you. But a wounded warrior gets up, in spite of the wounds, and moves forward again, and again, and again. No matter how hard this is. The truth is the biggest test is being willing to get up and try to rebuild your life. Once you do, you’re giving yourself the chance to achieve life changing improvements. If you don’t, if you just allow your illness to get the better of you, things will never improve.
The first step as they say is always the hardest. Refusing to lie in bed all day, to push on even when you feel your mind and body are totally exhausted, you still keep going no matter what.
There’s no point in denying the facts you at times need to face. For me my eyesight wasn’t going to improve dramatically nor would its effects on my life, but the way I’d let my body fall apart, my fitness evaporate and my healthy choices all but disappear, this I could change.
So although chronic illness may have imposed limits and brought symptoms that persist, touching many parts of your life, affecting your ability to work, your relationships, your moods, your hopes and dreams for the future, and even your sense of who you are, you can still manage things if you show the determination and make it your priority. It’s not easy but it is possible.
One thing I want each of you to realise is that there’s far more that you can be doing over and above taking your medications and not missing a single dose. Even though of course it is vital that you do.
So what can you do?
You can bring about improvements to your life by making changes in your daily habits and lifestyle. Let me provide you with some of the important lifestyle changes you need to adopt in answer to how to recover from ill health.
1. Eat healthily
When trying to recover from ill health, eat a balanced diet to regain all that strength you have lost and begin laying the foundations for your improvements. My diet had fallen apart, partly due to my limitations in the kitchen caused by bad vision, but I have been able to adapt myself to get back to eating healthily, and the benefits of this have been enormous.
You need to eat more of these foods:
Fruits and vegetables
Whole-grain breads and cereals
Fat-free or low-fat dairy
Fish, lean meats, and eggs
Beans, nuts, and seeds
Limit these foods and drinks:
Man-made processed foods.
High sugar laden foods
Sugar-sweetened drinks and desserts
Foods made with butter or other fats that are solid at room temperature
Refined grains (bread, chips, and crackers)
When trying to rebuild yourself after illness you need to regain fitness and build yourself up, so you must begin to do exercise. Start lightly, try a 15-20 minute walk. I didn’t say run, go to the gym, and take aerobics classes, simply walk. Start slowly, over time build up to a power walk, but walk. Again to start 10 minutes a day is better than nothing, build to 30 minutes every day or even up to an hour. The more the better. You will start feeling so many benefits of this. It is important to make sure that you begin regular exercise as soon as you are able to.
3. Develop positive thinking
By controlling your negative thoughts and allowing yourself to think positively instead, you will build the motivation and belief that you can bring about change. There’s healing power in positive thinking. Positive belief, hope, and expectation will support self-healing in your body. Positive thinking can help boost your immune system, lower blood pressure and decrease the likelihood of heart disease. You have been ruled by your uncertainty, now it is time for certainty, certainty about your future, you can make it happen. Changing your perspective has profound consequences to your emotional well-being, which in turn affects your body in a positive way as well.
4. Spend time with others
Love and support I believe are essential for recovery from ill health. I spend as much time with my daughters and grandchildren as is possible and the love I feel for them, and receive back is no doubts the best medicine I can be prescribed. We humans are not meant to be alone, when trying to recover from illness it is important that we meet friends and socialize to pick up our mental and psychological well-being. When I first began to return to ‘normal living’ I found support groups (in my case for the visually impaired) a great starting point. Meeting people that experienced similar to you, and understood the difficulties helps greatly.
5. Be clear on your Goal
Be clear on your goal, make it so compelling that nothing will hold you back, nothing will get in your way of where you are now and where you want to be. For me it was to live everyday on my own terms, to get myself away from acting and feeling like someone 30 years older than I was to be once again a fit old man in a young person’s body. Ambitious maybe, but it got me going, and gave me the willpower to break through all obstacles. We cannot have “intent” if we uncertain of what we want. Clear definite intention will power up your goal and your actions to bring it about.
6. Take responsibility
You have to accept responsibility for your life, and even though there may be nothing you can do about your illness, there is much you can do to improve the quality of your life if you accept responsibility for taking care of yourself. Remember improving your life dramatically is not fully reliant upon the elimination of the illness, but its effective management. You now have to make wise, healthy choices. If you’ve been struggling for a long while now, what you are doing currently is obviously not working.
7. Don’t let your frustrations stop you
Don’t get frustrated by your limits. The saying goes that Rome wasn’t built in a day, so be patient with yourself because you have the power to change and most importantly change your outcomes. Achieving what you want starts with believing it’s possible, no matter how difficult it may be. Achieving what is beyond our pre-conceived limits is what strengthens not only our bodies, but also our own minds. You have to push beyond the pain and frustration, go beyond your limitations.
8. Drink plenty of water
Hydrate yourself. Water is the unsung hero of recovering from illness. In researching your answers to how to recover from ill health this is one of the simplest yet most important changes you can make. It flushes toxins from the system so cells can devote energy to getting well rather than fighting germs and viruses. So turn on that tap, or buy bottles of water and make sure you drink 2 litres a day, with nothing added, like tea, coffee or squash. Just plain old, boring, healthy water.
9. Get outside
Without pushing yourself too hard, it’s important that you find the time and energy to get outside, even just for a few minutes. Nature has amazing healing powers. To my surprise and delight I have found ‘nature’ to be one of the common denominators in peoples healing journey. Whether it is walking on the beach, spending time in the garden, getting a daily dose of sunshine, or simply watching the clouds float by, nature provides healing to our mind, body and soul.
10. Get enough sleep
Getting plenty of rest is probably the single most important factor to recuperating from an illness. Rest can include sleep as well as sitting and resting. Without sleep, your mental and physical processes suffer. It helps to go to bed at the same time every evening and get up at the same time every day. Aim for 8 hours. No more. No less. As some of you know, there are times when fatigue just overwhelms your body and your body shuts down. But there are also times when we allow ourselves to stay in bed far to long and let life pass us by.
11. Relax for health
Regular relaxation is just as important as diet, sleep, and exercise; it plays a major part in helping you feel your best, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It reduces the effects of stress and anxiety. Getting into the relaxation zone will benefit you greatly. It’s so simple to do. From using progressive muscular relaxation and deep breathing to meditation and mindfulness it will have a fantastic, beneficial effect on you.
12. Create a regular routine
We all need structure in our life and this can be provided by having a regular daily routine. It is of particular importance when recovering from ill health. When we are trying to get our life back up and running after a particularly difficult health problem it is important to get our days back under control and it’s proven we function better when we maintain a regular daily routine. Adjust your schedule as needed, but try to include as many of these changes as you can.
Now you have solutions of how to recover from ill health by simply making some wise, healthy choices.
Feel better soon!