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Normalcy When You Have a Serious Illness

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One of the things that makes a serious illness so stressful is the fact that your world is turned upside-down. Familiar things are often replaced with new and scary things, normal routines are disturbed, and your sense of peace is shattered.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could take a break from your illness or caregiving responsibilities and have your life back, at least for a little while? How great would it be if all of this turmoil just disappeared?

I’m here to say that you can and it can! Naturally my concept will only be temporary, but that short break will do you a world of good.

How is it done? Add something “normal” to your day.

In this context, “normal” is something that is normal for you. Something that you used to do but can’t or don’t any more because of your new life dealing with illness.

For example, if you enjoy taking a walk in the park but no longer take the time to do so, start making the time and get out there and do it. Maybe you have stopped watching your favorite TV show. Stop running around like a crazy person and take the time to do it.

In this way, you can ‘pretend’ that things are the way they were before the diagnosis. Even if it’s just for a little while, you will enjoy the feeling.

A way to improve on this concept would be to revive a “normal” MORNING activity. If you are skipping your morning routine of reading the paper and drinking your coffee, then make a point of taking those few moments for yourself. It is very comforting to start your day in a familiar way so that when your head clears and the morning cobwebs dissipate you’ll be ready to rock ‘n roll. Think of it as a “warm-up” for your day; athletes warm-up before a big game, singers warm up before a concert or before entering the recording studio, and so on. It must make a difference, or they wouldn’t do it!

This article is one in a series on coping strategies for patients and caregivers alike. For more thoughts on caregiving, coping strategies, reducing stress, and just plain fun subscribe to my free monthly newsletter at www.CaringAndCoping.com Need a speaker for an upcoming event? I have a program that will knock your socks off!

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.