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.


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.


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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