8 Steps To Recovery From Ill Health

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8 Steps To Recovery From Ill Health

When we suffer from illness our world can seem to standstill, we struggle both physically and emotionally, and it is essential to find the steps to recovery from ill health as soon as possible.

There is a high price to pay when illness strikes. The economic burden of ill health in the UK to the National Health Service in 2006–07 relating  to  poor diet was £5.8 billion. The cost of physical inactivity was £0.9 billion. Smoking cost £3.3 billion, alcohol cost £3.3 billion and obesity cost £5.1 billion. These are just a few examples. We already know that ill health brings with it a heavy cost. Two of the leading factors in lost working hours are back problems and stress. The cost of this to businesses as well as our National Health Service is enormous.

The personal costs to those suffering with ill health are also high!

My health has not been good recently. This has affected me in many ways including me not having been particularly productive at work since November 2014 because I can only   look at my computer screen for 5 minutes at a time before my eyes decide to un-focus leaving me blinking in a slightly dim manner at the screen. As a writer and blogger this has made work near impossible. To be able to read anything on a computer screen I’ve literally got to stick my nose up to the screen.

Just using my eyes leads to me tiring very quickly. By 8pm at night I’m finding myself completely exhausted and I’m fit for nothing but sleep. Yet no matter how many hours of sleep I get, everything seems to exhaust me. Certain tasks have become so difficult like shaving where I can’t see much of the right side of my face or cooking where I can’t see the knob on the cooker let alone tell if the food is cooked by looking at it. Doing the laces of my shoes up is a challenge that drives me nuts.

Then there are the things I don’t mention that very few know about. A week after my operation I felt a severe stabbing pain in my side. I assumed having had to posture 50 minutes an hour in the same position I must have strained myself. For 5 months I’ve been backwards and forwards for tests, x-ray,  scans, cameras inserted into me from all ends and now I face in a few weeks an exploratory operation. So far every test has shown what it’s not and my fingers are crossed that this operation will provide the answer.

While undergoing these tests it was also discovered that there was an abnormality on my lungs. This is now receiving further examination.

When someone posts parts of their life online, you are giving them a little piece of you, confessing your weaknesses.  As a fitness professional, although retired, you are expected to be healthy and fit, well not right now far from it for me.

I’m not a great advert for a healthy lifestyle blogger. I even considered quitting and closing this site down. But I realise that I’m probably even better placed now to offer advice as I have been on both sides of the fence. A gym instructor who enjoyed the benefits of fitness and a healthy body and now someone who has gone through ill health. It is quite amazing what you can learn suffering from ill health.

I recently read an article where it was said people suffering from illness are a drain on the NHS and economy, but I wonder if they consider what the personal cost is to the individual of illness. The personal costs of   ill health can be devastating. Life is never the same again when your ill health carries on for a long period.

Ill health itself is only part of it. There are many more consequences which have to be included in the cost of ill health.

  • There is also a sudden drop in income.
  • This in turn results in financial concerns.
  • Which then means you have to cut back on expenditure
  • The Costs can spiral out of control with all the necessary medicines and transport backwards and forwards for treatment.
  • While the physical challenges of illness can be difficult, sometimes the emotional ups and downs can be almost as bad.
  • All the stress can then result in mental health related problems
  • There is the strain placed on the other members of your family

Coping with poor health is no fun, but hopefully, in most cases, you will in time heal and feel better. In the grand scheme of your life span, your time off work and subsequent recovery period are but a drop in the bucket. But it is your responsibility to get yourself back up there and today I’d like to offer you some steps to recovery from ill health that you need to take.

  1. You just have to make sure you take care of yourself.

You have to do everything you can to bring about your full recovery. Recovery is a very personal experience unique to you. It is governed by a huge range of factors that include: how ill you’ve been, your age, general fitness levels, how much support you have at home, the type of work you do and whether you have additional stressors to deal with. So, take it easy, do as little as possible, look after yourself and let your body recover. Make sure you get plenty of sleep, eat well and be as mobile as you can.

  1. Create a recovery action plan

By creating your own personal Action Plan you are ensuring you are focusing on your own self-management. This will enable you to take more control over your own wellbeing and recovery. Studies show that self-management demonstrates a person’s determination to get better, manage their illness, take action, face problems, and facilitate recovery. You need to determine what actions you need to take and pursue them.

  1. Practice Encouraging Self-Talk.

Empower yourself with positive self talk. Our words have the power to encourage or discourage, to build up or tear down. I am sure that we have all experienced the healing power of positivity. Our ongoing dialogue with ourselves, whether internal or verbal, has a direct influence on our recovery. If you use self-talk to stress yourself out, remind yourself how unwell you feel, express doubt in seeing improvements, how do you think that will influence your sense of self worth? Obviously, it won’t produce beneficial results. On the other hand, positive and encouraging self-talk will contribute to feelings of inner strength and self-respect, which will have a very beneficial effect on the way you view yourself and your personal recovery.

  1. Don’t forget your big picture

You must keep in mind your Life goals allowing your dreams and aspirations to keep you excited, and focused on what is really important and what drives you. Imagine what life will be like once this goal has been achieved. What will you be doing? How will you feel? What have you learned along the way? Taking time to think about your goals will  help remind you where you are going. The big picture will remind you to stay the course, and not allow ill health to knock you off track. To remind yourself that life will not always be about medication, surgery, hospitalization. It will spur you on to recover as quickly as possible.

  1. Focus on What You Can Control

Many people react to their period of ill health as though they have no power or control over their own lives. Instead they feel vulnerable and at the mercy of others. Family members, friends and health care providers may have made decisions and taken action on your behalf. Often, the decisions that are made for you and the resulting action are not those you would have chosen. They may even make your situation worse. Taking back control of your life by making your own decisions and your own choices will get you on the right track, will help you to feel better about yourself and will likely help you to relieve some of the issues that have been troubling to you.

  1. Build a Healthy Lifestyle

Illness, especially if severe and long lasting, can disrupt our lives and cause stress. Positive lifestyle factors like a healthy diet, regular exercise, sleep and social support can relieve or manage the symptoms of illness or injury and help improve recovery. Living a healthy lifestyle is important to everyone, but it is crucial to someone struggling with ill health.

  1. Keep seeking support if needed

You can’t do it all on your own. You need help and support, a team in your corner. When I was first struck down with eye problems I had nobody to discuss it with or offer me advise or support. Second time around, 5 years later I have found there are groups and associations out there. Explore for yourself, make contact and I assure you the connections you can make will really help you.

  1. Enjoy the little moments

Learn to appreciate those moments of peace and happiness and enjoy the positivity they bring. . Take the opportunity to read your favourite author, listen to music, go for a nice meal, spend time with those you love.  I certainly find myself empowered every time I spend a moment with my grandchildren, and I just appreciate every second I have with them. The feelings it stirs within me certainly counter my illness. It allows me to forget about my troubles.

Concentrate on your recovery with high expectations that soon you will be well and once again focused on making your life fabulous.

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About the author: Larry Lewis
My name is Larry Lewis, Health & Wellness Life Coach, Founder of Healthy Lifestyles Living, contributor to the Huffington Post, recently featured in the Sunday Mail Newspaper and somebody who went from being an owner of a chain of gyms and fitness fanatic, to a visually impaired overweight and incredibly sick person. Read about my illness to wellness story.