Disclaimer: While I offer tips for maintaining wellness while dealing with a chronic illness, I’m not a licensed medical physician, psychotherapist, or psychologist, and I’m not offering medical or psychiatric advice.
For my full disclaimer policy, go here.
Are you new to living with chronic illness or pain, and wondering how you’ll get used to all the changes that being a spoonie brings?
Maybe you’re newly diagnosed (psst – self-diagnosis always counts here!) and are struggling because you’re still trying to keep up with the lifestyle you had before you realized the impact your condition has on your daily life.
Or perhaps you’ve been living the chronic illness life for a while now, but have been feeling burnt out and like your life is controlled by your diagnosis – and you wonder if there’s another way of doing things that will still honor your new needs while also helping you feel empowered.
Whatever brought you here today, welcome! In this blog post, I’ll be sharing my story from fighting against my chronic illness to learning the practice of adaptability, and why I’m making that my personal and business focus for 2023.
So keep reading to learn all about it, and get your hands on my newest resource to help you start adding some adaptability to your life today!
As someone who’s been living with a chronic neurological condition for nearly 5 years, I’ve come to deeply understand that adaptability is the key to managing my condition, maintaining a sense of general well-being, and even thriving with a chronic illness.
Like other spoonies I’ve talked to, I felt like this condition was a punishment for not taking care of myself. I felt overwhelmed with the details and possibilities of my illness, and uncertain about what the future might look like for me.
I had just gotten to a point in my life and career where I was pretty independent after overcoming some challenges along the way, and I was excited to be heading towards even more success in these areas.
Then, once this condition showed up so powerfully (over time I’ve realized I’ve actually been suffering for years), suddenly everything changed and I realized quickly that I’d have to let go of some things and learn to take a different approach to life if I didn’t want to keep struggling with the frustration and exhaustion that pushing through was causing me.
This is where adaptability came in!
After struggling with severe side effects from medications and trying to keep up with my 9-5 job in the stress-filled financial industry, I realized that something had to change if I wanted there to be more to my life than just this condition and the chaos it created.
I had to be open and flexible to the way my neurological condition was impacting my life and to make changes that may be temporarily uncomfortable so I could experience a more permanent sense of ease in my daily life.
Over the years, I’ve also learned that adaptability isn’t just about being willing to do things in a new way.
It’s also about being willing to let go of the lifestyle I had before my life was so impacted by my chronic condition. I also had to let go of the expectations I had for how my life would go because they’ve been drastically changed by this chronic condition.
For example, I used to be upset when thinking about some of the activities I can no longer enjoy as much – like dancing or yoga. But now, I’ve learned that there are some adaptations I can make on good days, and I’ve taken up some other hobbies and activities that are easier on my body, too! If it weren’t for this illness, I probably never would have discovered online adult ballet programs and how much I love them – even if due to my low stamina I remain an eternal beginner!
So, why is adaptability so important to those of us living with chronic illness that I’ve decided to dedicate a whole year to it?
First of all, I’m a strong believer in the concept that we never stop learning. Even though I’ve been living with a chronic neurological condition for almost 5 years, I’m still learning to adapt to the different ways it impacts my life.
Additionally, embracing adaptability allows us to better manage our condition and empowers us by helping us feel less at the mercy of our condition and increases the possibility of experiencing less setback from our condition.
Adaptability is also a huge player in maintaining our mental and emotional health and well-being, making it worth focusing on.
When we’re not adaptable, we can get stuck in less-than-helpful behaviors and thought patterns that can lead to excessive frustration, anxiety, and depression.
Maybe you’re in that place now. Maybe you just learned that you have a chronic condition, or have realized that you’ve been living with chronic pain, and you’re struggling to keep up the same pace you’ve always had.
How does that feel? Does it feel sustainable? Does it create more discomfort in your body?
Now, imagine what it might feel like if instead of fighting against your body’s current experience, you partnered with it and became adaptable to what it really needs. How would that change things?
Being adaptable opens us up to the possibility of having a different perspective on our lives, and increases our chances of finding a sense of peace and happiness – even though we live with chronic illness and pain.
Another reason why adaptability is so important is that it allows us to stay connected to the people and things we care about.
Think about it: if we’re not willing to adapt to our chronic illness, we’re either fighting against it and pushing ourselves, or we’re avoiding doing anything at all because we know we’ll pay for it later.
We go from one extreme to another. And we probably end up missing out on time with our loved ones and doing things that bring us joy.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
By being open to new ways of interacting with others and finding ways to participate in activities that are meaningful to us, we can maintain our relationships and sense of purpose.
If we can find ways to manage our condition and honor our body’s new limits, we can actually experience more possibilities than we may have realized at first. All it takes is a willingness to be flexible and to let go of our ideas of how things “should” be done.
The biggest reason I’m focusing on adaptability this year is that it’s absolutely crucial for our overall resilience.
Life with chronic illness can be hard – you never know how you’ll feel day-to-day, and may be faced with numerous setbacks, sometimes one right after the other.
If you can learn to adapt to the challenges and changes that you’ll face with courage, grace, and tenacity, you’ll be able to bounce back from whatever it is you’re up against.
I hope this post has given you some insight into why adaptability is such a crucial skill for anyone living with chronic illness.
Here are a few key takeaways from everything I shared with you in this post:
- Adaptability helps us manage our conditions
- It allows us to maintain our emotional and physical well-being to the best of our ability
- When we’re adaptable, we can stay connected to others
- And we build resilience – an important part of living well with chronic illness
Are you ready to embrace adaptability?
I’m so excited to share my new resource with you – absolutely free!
I created the 5 Keys to Adaptability for Chronic Illness Workbook because I know difficult learning to live with a chronic illness can be – and how learning to adapt to this new way of living instead of fighting against it can be so empowering and add a sense of ease to your life.
In this workbook, you’ll learn the most important aspects of adaptability for chronic illness, get some ideas on how to implement these concepts, and be encouraged to put them into action with guided exercises.
Sound like just what you need? Then click the link below to get your copy and start living your life by design – not by diagnosis!
May your flares be few, and your spoons be plenty!