Bringing comfort to our lives with a chronic illness can be very difficult, especially if the illness comes with physical and emotional pain. We might not have the energy for stress-busting activities we enjoyed before our diagnosis. We might not have any money for recreational activities after we’ve paid for our medical care, medications, and the “props” that go along with some illnesses. Very few of us can redesign our living spaces, making them easier on ourselves and our aching joints. And still fewer of us (probably) can move to a climate or geographically desirable area that will be cooler/warmer/more humid/dryer for us.
Nonetheless, as we battle those early days of our illness (and in many ways, it is a battle), we do ourselves a tremendous favor to find even very small ways to bring comfort into our illness-drenched world.
Some of the things that brought me comfort in my early days after diagnosis were seeminly ordinary, but very powerful. A blooming houseplant that I could admire from the “comfort” of my living room sofa. The play of fish in my aquarium (also observed from my sofa). A new, softer pillow. A taste, however small, of my favorite food. Reading from a few pages of the comics that never failed to make me laugh. A gentle walk on a shady street. A few moments of meditation on one of the many comforting psalms.
One of the most comforting things for me was, and still is, refocusing my eyes, mind, and heart to only the now. “Checking in” with my breath, heartbeat, and giving special, relaxed attention to anyplace where I might have worry or carry stress.
We don’t have to spend a lot of money or completely redesign our lives to bring comfort to ourselves after a harsh diagnosis. We can find it nearby, within our hearts, and it will have as much, if not more, of a positive impact upon us as we nurture it today, now, and in the days to come.