Whether one has a chronic illness or not, self love is always important to the overall emotional health and well-being of an individual. It can be hard on its own to just acknowledge and accept yourself as you are but imagine having an illness or chronic disease to that and it can almost be near impossible for some to love themselves. The ability to love yourself inspite of an illness can be an uphill battle and people will always tell you to stay positive.
However, not many will tell you exactly how to do that when you are battling something as serious and life threatening as sickle cell disease.
Having witnessed two siblings who have lived with this disease, it became more important than ever to encourage self love within themselves. As family members, our duty is to love and support through difficult days but it is also vital that they can love themselves despite their health status in those trying moments. Telling them to 'stay positive' can be an empty statement in itself without offering suggestions on how to do that so below I've come up with 5 ways to practice self love with sickle cell or any major illness/chronic disease.
1. Appreciate & Celebrate Your Small Victories - Because the onset of sickle cell pain can be sudden and abrupt, I encourage you to celebrate and appreciate everyday you go without suffering a crisis pain. Just the ability to enjoy the simple things like making breakfast and getting dressed are small victories you can focus on rather than the days you struggle.
2. Plan To Do Things You Love & Enjoy - Make or schedule time to do those things that genuinely bring a smile to your face. It could be anything from watching your favorite netflix show to shopping online for that one sweater you've had your eye on for days. You never know when the pain will hit so rather than wasting time obsessing over it, plan something you can look forward to.
3. Remind Yourself That Your Feelings Are Valid - 'Never feel bad about feeling bad'. Nobody really knows what you are going through except you so instead of dwelling on how others may feel when you are having a bad day and stressing over it, remind yourself that it's okay to feel the way you do. You are dealing with a major health issue after all.
4. Minimize Your Stress Levels - Nobody can ever live completely stress free all of the time but understand that science proves that stress only ever makes things worse. When you feel yourself threatening to stress over your situation, be intentional about re-focusing your energies on more positive things.
5. Advocate For & Cheer Yourself On - Seriously you are doing a phenomenal job living with this disease and dealing with all of the things that come with it. Tell yourself how amazing you are doing and believe it because you really and truly are.
Self love with sickle cell is crucial. Others can shower you with all the love in the world but if you don't love yourself, it means absolutely nothing.
What are some self love tips you can share with anyone living with a chronic illness? Please comment below because sharing is caring...