Often when we run our online programs we get comments from people who are afraid of falling behind.
Especially those people with a chronic illness.
It depends how I’m feeling that day as to whether I can complete the task
I can’t always complete the task so I’ll have to come back to it later
I tried but couldn’t do it today, I’ll try again tomorrow
They may sound like excuses to some, but to those with a chronic illness this is reality, not procrastination.
According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine,
- “More than half of Americans live with chronic or recurrent pain.
- Leading causes of recurrent or persistent pain affecting Americans are headache pain, back pain, and neck pain.
- About four in 10 Americans say pain interferes with their mood, activities, sleep, ability to do work or enjoyment of life. Two-thirds report interference with any one of these.”
So, to our chronic pain sufferers, I want you to know… we get it. We can’t imagine how hard it must be for you, but we understand that we will hear from you when you are well.
To help you stay focused and productive when you are feeling well, we suggest the following tips.
Tips To Help You Stay Focused When You’re Not Feeling 100%
Write checklists. Buy yourself a lovely journal and pen, and write down everything you need to do or remember. Then when you are feeling well, you know exactly where to start.
Rank your checklist in skill order. For example, highlight all the easy tasks in yellow, moderate tasks in green and hard tasks in orange. This will serve as a quick visual for you.
So if you are having a bad day but think you could manage an easy task, look for the yellow tasks on the list. This will help you feel less overwhelmed as you’re working your way through your checklist.
3. Forget Perfection
Perfection is not allowed. Ever! Whether you have a chronic illness or not. You can find a quick tip on short-circuiting perfectionism and procrastination here.
4. Rally The Troops
Ask for help!
When someone takes the time to ask, “can I help you with anything?” Or, “I’m going to the store, can I get you something?”. Say yes! Yes, yes, yes! This wonderful person has offered to help you, and while your pride may be injured, it would more-than-likely be in your best interest if they did help you.
Remember, you are not a burden to those who genuinely care about you and want to help.
5. Be Kind, Understanding & Patient … With Yourself
Yes, it’s frustrating. At times you’ll feel inadequate or useless. Your thoughts become negative and you want to retreat.
Be kind, understanding and patient with yourself.
Be as independent as physically possible but accept your limitations.
Your self-esteem and mental well-being are just as important as your physical self, so surround yourself with people and things that make you happy.
Anyone suffering with a chronic illness knows there are good days and bad days. Accept that today might be a bad day and remember a good day is coming!
And when you are having a good day, log in and tell us what you’ve been up to!
Due to the popularity of this blog, we are adding some links to resources that might help ease your daily struggle.
Australian readers: Australian Department of Human Services: Chronic Medical Condition Assistance
US readers: How To Cope When Diagnosed with Chronic Illness
UK readers: Living With A Long Term Condition
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published June 2014 and has been updated to provide useful links for readers.