When illness or injury strikes, it can sometimes take one unawares. So often doctor appointments, hospital visits and a myriad of other tests and procedures take over your life. This can be completely overwhelming and worse. While illness might take centre stage in your life, the rest of your normal activities do not always disappear. Bills still need to be paid, lawns cut or driveways shovelled, and laundry is a never-ending task to attend to. Even when appetites disappear as a side effect of treatments, meals still need to be made and eaten. That goes for whomever is ill, as well as their immediate caregivers.

So how does one cope during a time of stress and at the same time maintain all the necessary tasks required of a normal existence? First off, it takes patience and a whole lot of understanding. Almost as important is reaching out and accepting help when you need it most. Running a household is a challenge at the best of times, but can be that much more difficult when your home life is under duress. Here are some tips on how best to cope with an illness and still function in a day-to-day life.

Coping With Illness in your Everyday Life

  • Accept help however it is offered. If someone offers to cut the grass, let them. When someone shovels your driveway, be grateful and know that whomever has helped out is trying to do whatever they can for you because they care. Know that the casserole dropped off on your doorstep is the least that said person can do and appreciate every mouthful that sustains you. Accept any help that you can get and put that gift of time to better use by convalescing when you are offered.
  • Ask for help when you need it. This can sometimes be difficult when you are used to being an independent and self-sufficient individual, but just might be the best gift you can give yourself during a difficult time. Ask someone to take out your garbage. Request that someone pick up your medications for you. Suggest that a break for the primary caregiver might be the best help you offer all day. Knowing when you can’t do it all isn’t a sign of weakness, rather it’s a badge of strength.
  • Let go of the little things. We don’t all need to be Sally homemakers with spotless houses. When you are ill, the most important thing is to focus on getting better. Nobody will judge you for a few crumbs in the corners or a little dust on the mantel. If it really bothers you, then ask a friend or family member to help out or hire a company to keep up with your housework while you can’t. When you are better, you can resume those regular tasks. They aren’t going anywhere.
  • Automate whatever tasks you can. You might like to see all your bills and personally pay them at the bank, but when your time is compromised, this might prove to be difficult. One of the easiest ways to ensure that your household bills continue to be paid on time is to register your bills and have them paid automatically. Registering bills online is a quick and easy solution nowadays that will ensure peace of mind and a warm house to come home to at the end of the day.
  • Embrace the important things. Even while crisis dominates a life, there are still ways to maintain a little normality in life. Fit in a coffee date with friends when you can(especially important for caregivers to prevent burnout). Put out a vase of your favourite flowers to enjoy. Go through photo albums with family, just to spend time with them. At the end of the day, no one cares about how many loads of laundry you’ve done. It’s the moments spent with friends and family doing what you love that really matter.
  • Fit in time for you. We all have hobbies we love, roles we take on and things that we just need to do. That isn’t a bad thing and shouldn’t cause feelings of negativity. It’s important to still read a book when you can. Attending a support group might recharge your personal batteries to help you keep going. Allowing yourself to break down and cry or scream in anger just might help you to ease some of the tensions that are natural and often build when faced with illness. Do what you need to do when you can, so that you can be there for those that need you when they do most.
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