Here are some tips for managing a chronic condition:
• Understand how to identify and manage common symptoms. Most chronic conditions share common symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, pain, sleep problems, depression, anger, stress and memory problems. Learning to recognize and manage these symptoms is an important part of living well with a chronic condition.
• Exercise and eat right. Yes, it’s true. Moving your body will keep it moving. Find something you enjoy doing such as walking, seated exercise classes or water aerobics. Exercise will strengthen muscles and increase lung capacity. Plus, you release “feel-good” hormones when you are active. Eat a diet full of lean meats, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. All of these things will make your body stronger and help decrease symptoms.
• Find ways to relieve stress. Dealing with a chronic condition and the changes it causes in your life can be very stressful. Find ways to relieve stress that work for you. Talk to a friend, watch a funny movie, pray, practice deep breathing. There are many ways to relieve stress…find one that works for you.
• Understand how to manage your medications. It is important to know what medication you are taking and to take it as prescribed. Devise a system to help you remember when and what medications you should take. A pillbox, chart or list works for you.
• Ask for assistance when you need it. You don’t have to do it all yourself. If you are having a day when you are not feeling well, ask a friend or family member for help. They will be glad that you did. ••
Jill Schlosser and Michelle Moriarty are wellness nurses at Wesley Enhanced Living.