Chronic illnesses are no joke. They have the ability to bring people to their knees, to make life exponentially more difficult, and to cause serious emotional and psychological turmoil, in addition to the physical constraints that might come along with them.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple “solution” for dealing with these sorts of conditions. But there is every reason to believe that keeping hope alive, during a period of suffering, is of the utmost importance.

Here are a handful of things that might help you to keep your own sense of hope alive, in the face of a prolonged illness.

Set yourself small daily goals – as small as they have to be to be manageable – and do whatever you can to accomplish them

One of the worst things about chronic illness, is that it generally forces you to radically restructure your life, and reduces your capacity to do all the things you might once have done, and might want to do.

No matter how much a chronic health condition may limit you in various areas of your life, however, it’s always possible to set yourself small and meaningful goals, and to take steps to move towards and accomplish them.

When you do this, you help to keep alive a sense of capability, intent, and possibility – and there’s a lot of evidence that shows that simply ticking small items off a checklist can help to significantly boost feelings of well-being.

The thing to do is to set your goals small – as small as they have to be to be manageable. There is nothing “too trivial” here. Even just deciding to brush your teeth or read a page of a book, and then actually doing it, is valuable.

Set small goals on a daily basis. This will always give you something to focus on.

Be compassionate with yourself, and explore as many therapies and options as you can for finding those moments of relief

Self-compassion is extremely important when you’re suffering, because we are often our own worst enemies and harshest critics, and manage to find ways to inflict emotional abuse on ourselves when things aren’t going the way we want them to.

Treat yourself as you would a loved one who needed help. Do whatever you can to explore as many therapies and options as you can, for finding those precious moments of relief.

That might mean visiting The Wellness Sanctuary, pushing to be prescribed a new medication, or even just giving yourself permission to sleep for an extra few hours.

Try to surround yourself with people you trust and care for, and who trust and care for you

If you have people who you trust and care for, and who trust and care for you, you should try to surround yourself with them as much as you can.

Often, chronic illness leads to isolation from other people – and this often causes a great deal of pain in its own right.

If you don’t currently have such people in your life, try to find them – maybe via support groups, maybe via hobby groups.

Human connection can make a lot of things more bearable.

This is a collaborative post.

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