Being diagnosed with a long-term disability doesn’t have to destroy your quality of life. With the technology that’s available to us today, and the breadth of research and work that’s gone into understanding disability and emotional health tools, there are many ways to improve your quality of life without necessarily being cured of your disability. Incorporate these tips into your daily life wherever possible to ensure that you’re living well regardless of your physical circumstances.
- Get out as often as you can. Staying cloistered in your home can be detrimental to your mental health. It leads to feelings of isolation and loneliness, and can make you feel more fatigued and uncomfortable. This is particularly true if your form of disability could benefit from increased exercise. Make it part of your routine to leave the house several times a week, or however often is appropriate for your health at this point. Using a wheelchair hoist for cars can make this far easier, and give you the independence necessary to travel with others and explore the world outside of your home.
- Nurture the hobbies you enjoy. When one becomes disabled, they can sometimes feel like they’re missing out on all of the things they used to enjoy in life. Although some of those hobbies may no longer be possible, you can still find activities you enjoy and make sure you make time for them each day. This may be something you’ve always enjoyed, like reading or writing, or a new skill that you find more entertaining than you expected, like studying, crafting, or needlework. Experiment with hobbies until you find something that makes you happy.
- Ask for support from others. It can sometimes be tempting to put on a brave face and never admit to others that we’re struggling. While this is understandable, particularly if you’ve been disabled for some time, it can be unhelpful. When you need attention and care from the people you love and trust, try to speak up and ask for it. Express yourself freely and surround yourself with people who give you the support you deserve.
- Advocate for yourself. While it can be unhealthy to obsess over your diagnosis in a negative way, it’s important to learn what you can about your disability so you can advocate effectively for yourself. Find out what treatments are available, seek out the professionals that may be able to help in your area, and speak up if you don’t feel you’re getting proper care. Remain educated and take charge of your health so you don’t slip into a feeling of depression or hopelessness.
- Join a support group. The people we love don’t always know how to relate to us when disability is in the equation. It may be helpful to join a local support group where you can connect with others in a similar situation. They’ll understand as others can’t, and will be able to offer valuable advice and suggestions based on their experiences.
- Practice self-care. Caring for your physical and emotional health is crucial for anyone, but it’s particularly important when you’re struggling with disability. Pay attention to your nutritional intake, as well as the physical exercise you’re engaging in. Care for your body and mind as best you can.