If you've experienced chronic illness, you'll likely know all about crashes and setbacks. Here are my top tips for dealing with them.
Setbacks on your chronic healing journey are tough.
In my experience, these periods can be the toughest of all. The sense that the hope, belief & momentum you were generating is all starting to slip. The questioning why. The wondering how long these symptoms and more intense feelings will last. The fear that this might be your new reality, that maybe this won’t get better after all. The cycle of negative thoughts in your mind, the sense of stuckness, of helplessness.
If you’re in that place right now, I’m sending you all the love in the world - as I know how all consuming this can feel. Here are a few ways that I’ve learned to find some safety and softness in those moments, that I hope will be really helpful for you.
1) Practice deep kindness & self-compassion.
Sometimes searching for the why behind chronic symptoms won’t get you anywhere, and may just lead you down a road of self-blame and the inner-critic.
Remember that through each moment in your healing journey you’ve done your best, everything in your power. You’ve made the best dish with the ingredients you’ve had every single day. Take small moments to reflect on this and deeply honour what your body needs.
2) Focus on today & do one small thing to nourish your nervous system.
It’s easy to get caught up in stories and narratives around the situation you face - making predictions around the impact of this period. The mind has this power!
But it can be helpful to remember that all we have in life is today. The only reality is this moment. The rest is unknown.
So if it’s all overwhelming, just focus on today and one small thing you can do for yourself that’s going to nourish you and your nervous system, going to support you through, going to bring you joy. Take it moment by moment. Breathe.
3) Remember every setback will build your nervous system resilience.
Everything that doesn’t quite ‘work out’ on your healing journey will in some small way be taking you closer to what does. It won’t feel like it, but through each of these moments you’re building incredible nervous system resilience that is going to serve you in powerful ways in the future. Your ability to bounce back again and again, each time showing more compassion to yourself is a unique gift.
4) Build connection & reach out so someone who get’s it.
I often talk about the hardest part of chronic illness being the gap between how you feel and how the external world can understand and relate. And in my experience being seen and heard deeply is one of the most healing and calming things for the nervous system.
So, reach out to someone who’s been there, who knows how it feels - connect with them, be vulnerable and open that door to be really understood.
Sending lots of love to you all.