Resource: Tips for Living with Illness

This is a Guest Post by Sarah Caddick (who also wrote Capturing the Essence).

Tips for a carer

  • Get time for yourself

  • Get extra support, so that you’re not the only carer

  • Acknowledge that there’ll be times when you’ll feel trapped, irritable, frustrated.  It’s only natural.

  • When you feel like this, put yourself in the patient’s position. It’s probably even worse for them.

  • When you’re caring for a loved one, find ways to preserve your loving relationship alongside, but separate to, your caring duties.

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Tips for a patient

  • Appreciate what your carer is doing for you and remember to say thank you.

  • Ask for what you need. Don’t expect your carer to be a mind reader.

  • Try to plan in advance and ask for several things at once so that your carer isn’t running back and forth to you.

  • Try to talk about something other than your illness!

  • When you do need to share how you’re feeling with your carer, maybe ask first if it’s an OK time to do so; and put some limits around how long you’ll spend doing it.

  • Remember it’s hard for the carer too.

  • Try to have several friends with whom you can talk about the illness, so that one person doesn’t have to cope with it all.

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Other Tips for living with illness and pain

  • Plan something to look forward to each day (like a little trip out, or sitting in the sun listening to the birds, phone call with a friend, favourite TV programme)

  • Find what distractions help to take your mind off the pain. (TV programme, comedy? reading, playing a game) Then do them regularly.

  • Keep reminding yourself that this WILL change. It won’t be like this forever.

  • Practise acceptance – “it is what it is”; but also know the difference between acceptance and resignation – they’re not the same thing!

  • Get advice and help; make a health plan to follow. Then stop going over it all the time in your mind.

  • Try to keep contact with friends by explaining to them that you’d really appreciate a visit, but can only talk for X length of time, so they know what to expect. Try to show interest in their lives too when they visit. (Although this can be hard when you’re in a lot of pain, it can also help to take your mind off yourself, especially if you find that you can actually help your friend with something.)

  • Try to find something that you are able do which gives you a sense of purpose. (make a card, knit, sew, play a game, help a friend with filing, read a story to a child)

  • Use relaxation/ meditation recordings

  • Use “Capturing the Essence” idea (See my article)

By Sarah Caddick

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