I thought I Was Living Until I Realised, I Was Just Managing

Jun 30, 2024

Sometimes, I get so caught up in managing my life that I forget to live it. Over the past few weeks, I was super focused on managing my symptoms, scaling up exercise, eating well, recognising what my mind and body were telling me, and finding ways to address it, all while doing lots of work. Then, the last few days, I felt really low, disconnected, and lonely.

Finally, it dawned on me that I’d been so focused on managing my life that I wasn’t actually living it. I hadn’t connected with friends, watched anything that made me feel good, or just had a decent laugh. So, I hit pause and tried to recalibrate. I messaged my friends, and they came through. I’ve had a great laugh, watched things I love that feed my soul, and just chilled a bit. I feel much more like me again.

Living with a chronic illness often feels like balancing on a tightrope. You’re juggling appointments, medications, lifestyle adjustments, and the constant task of managing your symptoms. In the midst of all this, it's easy to forget one crucial aspect of life: living it. Life isn’t just about managing your condition but also about living it and enjoying some nice things along the way. Here’s how you can ensure that fun is part of your life, even with chronic illness.

  1. Schedule Fun Like a Doctor's Appointment

You wouldn’t miss a medical appointment, right? Treat fun the same way. Schedule time for activities that make you smile, laugh, and feel alive. Whether it's a hobby you love, a movie night, or a simple walk in the park, putting it on your calendar ensures it happens.

  1. Embrace Spontaneity in Small Doses

While planning is key when managing chronic illness, a little spontaneity can be incredibly refreshing. Allow yourself to be open to impromptu moments. Say yes to an unexpected coffee date with a friend or a last-minute trip to the beach. These small, unplanned events can bring a lot of happiness.

  1. Incorporate Fun into Everyday Tasks

Find ways to make routine activities enjoyable. Play your favourite music while cooking, turn mundane chores into a dance party, or listen to a comedy podcast during your commute. Turning everyday tasks into fun activities can lift your spirits and make your day brighter.

  1. Connect with Others

Social connections are vital. Surround yourself with people who uplift and support you. Plan regular catch-ups with friends or join support groups where you can share experiences and laughter. Positive relationships are a great source of joy and can help you feel less isolated.

  1. Celebrate Small Wins

Living with a chronic illness means recognising and celebrating even the small victories. Did you manage to get through the day with less pain? Celebrate it! Found a new strategy that works for you? Share it and celebrate! Acknowledging these moments can create a sense of achievement and happiness.

  1. Mindfulness and Relaxation

Sometimes, having fun is about simply allowing yourself to relax and be present. Practicing mindfulness can help you appreciate the small joys in life. Whether it’s through meditation, deep breathing exercises, or simply sitting in the garden and enjoying the sunshine, taking time to be mindful can enhance your well-being.

  1. Try Something New

Doing something new can be invigorating. Take up a new hobby, learn a new skill, or explore new places (even if virtually). The excitement of trying something new can bring a lot of fun and a sense of accomplishment.

  1. Prioritise Self-Care

Self-care is not just about managing your illness but also about pampering yourself. Treat yourself to a spa day at home, read a good book, or indulge in your favourite treats. Taking care of your mental and emotional health is just as important as your physical health.

  1. Laugh Often

Laughter is truly the best medicine. Watch a funny film, read a hilarious book, or spend time with people who make you laugh. Laughter reduces stress, improves your mood, and can even help with pain management.

  1. Reflect on What Brings You Joy

Take some time to think about what truly makes you happy. It could be as simple as enjoying a cup of tea in the morning, spending time with loved ones, or pursuing a creative activity. Make a list and ensure you incorporate these joy-bringing activities into your routine.

Wrap up

Living with a chronic illness is undoubtedly challenging, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun along the way.

Have you found yourself managing your life rather than truly living it, just like I did? What steps are you going to take to change that? Email them to me, I’d love to hear from you!

Remember, it’s not just about managing everything; it’s also about living and enjoying the ride. So, go ahead and schedule that fun activity, embrace spontaneity, and laugh often. Your well-being will thank you for it!


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