Sunday, 15 June 2014

Live Well: Nurture the Spirit

I reflected in Surviving Chronic Illness: Positive Affirmation that one’s spirit can take a beating when living with chronic illness.  It can leave one feeling less than a whole person and emotionally fragile. 

It is important to maintain one’s sense of identity, self-esteem and strength to cope. 

When faced with the undesirable aspects of chronic illness it is important to counteract the negatives with positive feelings and experiences.  It is easier to cope if one can find ‘the little joys in every day’.

Nurture the spirit

  • Surround yourself with beauty – music and things that are meaningful to you and make your heart sing. I have artwork and pretty ornaments, plus an aromatherapy oil burner for filling the room with favourite scents.
  • It’s okay to be vulnerable and ‘give in’ to the body’s needs.
  • Ask for help and accept help when needed. Use the help available to you.
  • Pamper yourself daily.
  • Find luxury in special soaps and toiletries and big fluffy towels.
  • Increase creature comforts.  When I realised that I would be spending many hours in bed, I bought fresh, beautiful bed linen, good quality linen and plush cushions to make my bedroom a sanctuary instead of a prison cell.  Even with the frustration of  being bedridden, I can make it as comfortable and luxurious as possible to provide something pleasurable on which to focus my mind.  Finding the little pleasures in each day is a recipe for joy.
  • Treat yourself to favourite foods. I like a square of dark chocolate every now and again. Trying different fancy teas is a happy adventure.
  • Keep in touch with people who bring you up and avoid people who bring you down.
  • When feeling down, allow yourself time to grieve but don’t dwell there indefinitely.  Give yourself a set time and then move on. It is important to acknowledge and work through emotions and not ignore them, yet not get bogged down either.  Talk to a trusted person or seek help if having difficulty working through your feelings.  Talking to someone is the first step to solving problems.
  • Make plans so that there is always something to look forward to. It might be as simple as sitting in a chair for a short time or doing some crochet, or as elaborate as interstate or overseas travel. Where there’s a will there’s a way but be willing to compromise depending on health status. Often it is a matter of problem solving.
  • Nurture relationships.  Chronic illness places a lot of pressure on relationships. Try to be aware of the needs of others and not take out your frustrations on those close to you. It is tough for them to be full-time and/or long-term caregivers to someone they love.  Honest, open discussion with each other is important.
This is the final of seven main strategies that I use to survive chronic illness and to 'live well even if I cannot get well'.

To summarise:

'Live well, even if you can't get well' is an affirmation that reminds me to stick to these strategies.  It reassures me that even though I cannot control the fact that I have a chronic illness, I can control my reactions to it and have some influence over my quality of life, regardless of the level of restriction the illness may cause.

Related posts on Lupey Loops

Live Well: Back-up Plans", 8 June 2014:

"Live Well: Organise Your Life", 1 June 2014:

"Live Well: Make It Easy", 25 May 2014:

"Live Well: Organise Support", 18 May 2014:

"Live Well: Manage Illness", 12 May 2014:

"Live Well: Be At Your Best", 4 May 2014: 

"Surviving Chronic Illness: Positive Affirmation", 16 June 2013: 


  1. Thank you for this post! It sums up somuch which is important!

    I would also add things like have coffee in a nice little cafe, go to concerts and so on to the list! That is have little outings with family and friends!

    I love to try out teas too! I remember a huge tea shop fro the time i lived in Australia (it was a chain brand... tea for two or something lile this?)

    Take care

    1. Thank you Anne. I am glad you agree on the importance of these things and I love that you have added more ideas to the list. Your outings cover so many points - maintaining relationships, having something to look forward to, treating yourself etc. One simple activity can nurture your spirit in so many ways! :-) My daughter is looking forward to taking me to a new shop near us which may be the chain that you are thinking of - T2. I look forward to it being lovely mother-daughter time. I like chamomile and also pearl jasmine tea. Do you have a favourite tea, Anne?

    2. T2 - that right! I loved that shop because you got to smell and try so many teas!

      My favorite tea (at the moment) is a tea from a local tea shop. It's called Happy Mood Tea and is a rooibush mixture. So good, so yummy! I don't think I can post tea to Australia otherwises I would send you a back sometime!

      I prefer loose teas. What about you?

      Take care

    3. I like most teas except Earl Grey. I just cannot get my palate around that one. It depends on my mood at the time. I prefer loose teas in the teapot - I love to make a pot of tea when friends visit or for a constant supply while I am working - but when I just need a quick tea for one, I will grab a teabag for convenience. It is nice that many herbal and fancy teas now come with that option. My girls have taken a fancy to fruit teas.

    4. This week my daughter took me to T2. We had a lovely time and the staff were friendly and knowledgeable. She came home with a fruit tea and I came home with a Kenyan blend of black tea and ginger.

  2. I would love it if, like Anne, you added your own ideas and special ways that you nurture your spirit. Whenever we are feeling down, we can come to this page for inspiration and perhaps try something new. It is often said that "a change is as good as a holiday" . Feel free to add to the list. :-)

  3. Replies
    1. I'm glad, Cami. I hope this blog series has been useful and thought-provoking.