When you have been experiencing illness for a prolonged period of time, it is imperative that you look after your mind and your emotions. Of course, many of us choose to seek help in the form of counselling and other therapies but I have found that there are many things I can do for myself to keep me smiling when I’m in pain. Here are just a few of them...
- Comedy – I know it sounds obvious but watching something funny on telly has often helped to remove me from the seriousness of my situation, even if just for half an hour. When the programme is over, I feel just that little bit lighter and can face reality with a degree more positivity.
- Meditation – If you’re anything like me then your mind tends to chatter a lot. When things are rough, my head has been known to play a loop of “I’m tired – I’m in pain – this sucks”. For me, meditation helps to quieten this unhelpful mantra and replace it with “I’m tired – it’s ok – everything’s going to be just fine”.
- Writing – Writing is extremely therapeutic. I do like keeping a journal, even though some days all I do is list my complaints. It’s also a great way to track your progress over time and I find it really helps to keep things in perspective.
- Singing – When I’m feeling unwell I have very little energy but I just love music so much that I am willing to use what little breath I have to sing. I’m pretty sure it releases feel-good endorphins.
- Getting a Massage – When in pain, our bodies often tense up and even muscles that are far from the site of pain can become tight. Even though a massage does little for any internal pain I may have, I find that it reduces not only physical stress but psychological stress too.
- Reading – This is a powerful one because reading provides escapism. As a teenager, reading took me out of my bed and into the corridors of Hogwarts to cast spells with Harry, Ron and Hermione. Go, go Gryffindor!
- Chatting With Friends – Spending time with my besties really lifts my spirits and luckily for me, mine never shut up so I don’t have to do much of the chatting if I’m not feeling up to it.
- Making Myself Useful – When I was forced to give up working due to ill health, I started to lose my sense of purpose. So, when people started asking me to help them with things, it was like a saving grace. A little bit of administrative work here and a little bit of tutoring there made all the difference to my wellbeing.
- Listening to the radio – Long-term illness can leave us feeling lonely and isolated but I find that having the radio on really helps because it is like having someone in the room talking to me. Just be sure to choose a cheerful channel!
- Observing Nature – When I was recovering from surgery, my Mum used to take me for drives in the country. We would blast music and stare at the fields. It was my favourite time of the day.
What makes you happy when you’re feeling ill? Does your list overlap with mine at all?