Around three million people in the UK are living with a serious illness. Whilst serious physical illnesses affect your body, they can also take a toll on your mental health and affect every area of your life. They can impact your relationships, career, spiritual or religious beliefs, socialising habits and can make you feed sad, scared, worried and even angry.
A diagnosis of a serious illness can make you feel helpless and out of control of your body, and it can make you feel lonely and isolated. A lot of diagnosis’s come unexpectedly which can leave you feeling overwhelmed, numb and in shock. The emotional turbulence can make it hard to function or think clearly, and can lead to mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
In today’s Wellness Wednesday post we’re sharing some coping mechanisms that you can use to reduce your stress levels and help you navigate your serious illness.
- Speak out
Serious illnesses can make you feel cut off from the rest of the world. Reach out to your loved ones or a professional for support during this difficult time – social connections and support can really help with your mental health. There are lots of support groups out there too which can be very helpful. It’s a safe place where you can speak about how you’re feeling and what you’re going through, and get valuable coping tips from those who are also navigating a serious illness.
- Let yourself feel
Don’t bottle up your emotions. Facing them head one can help to reduce your stress and suffering and better come to terms with your illness. Suppressing your emotions is an unhealthy habit to have, and it can actually make you feel worse both physically and emotionally.
- Practice stress management techniques
Being diagnosed with a serious illness can cause a huge amount of stress, so it’s important to manage it correctly and effectively. Stress can actually lead to a whole range of health problems like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal disorders and chronic pain. Why not try meditation or deep breathing? It’s also essential to get plenty of sleep and be as physically active as possible, even if that means doing arm exercises from your bed.
- Do something that you enjoy
A serious illness doesn’t mean your life has stopped – you can still do things that bring you happiness! Why not try a new hobby, or return to an old one that you previously neglected? Learn a language, volunteer for a local charity, go for a walk in the countryside, visit a museum, join a book club – the list goes on!
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a serious physical illness, get in touch with Dalton Wise and we can work with you to protect your mental and emotional wellbeing.