Your Long-Term Condition Journey

Self care: living with a long-term health condition

Unless you have experienced it, no one can understand what it’s like to live with the ups and downs of a long-term condition.

You may have regular follow-ups with your doctors, with even more tests and medications, and more treatments to try. Or you may largely be managing your condition on your own, with little contact with medical professionals.

Every illness, and every person, is different. You may feel well but have to manage your illness carefully. You may feel ill for much of the time, or have periods of good health alongside relapses. You may have times of great hope, and others of fear and despair.

We’ve worked with many people who are living with long-term conditions, and have found that the thinking tools below have helped them to look ahead, and to live well.

Thinking tools for managing your health routines

If you find it difficult to:

  • keep doctors’ appointments
  • take your medication regularly
  • stay on your diet
  • get enough exercise
  • complete regular testing

We suggest you try these thinking tools:

Thinking tools if you’re frustrated at not getting better

If you find it frustrating that you’re not recovering, are staying the same or getting worse, or have had a relapse, we suggest you try these thinking tools:

Thinking tools if you’re worried about the effect of your illness on relationships and work

If you have concerns about:

  • your fertility
  • your sexuality
  • your ability to work and earn a living
  • finding a partner
  • having relationships

We suggest you try these thinking tools:

Thinking tool if you worry about a health emergency

Sometimes a long-term condition can flare up and cause a health emergency. You may want to plan good ongoing support to try to make sure this doesn’t happen. Or you may want to describe what help you’ll need if a crisis does occur.

We suggest you try this thinking tool

Thinking tool for better communication and understanding

It can be hard to tell other people clearly how you’re feeling and what you’d like them to do to help you, especially if you’ve been ill for a long time. If you’d like to find ways to communicate more effectively, we suggest you try this thinking tool:

Thinking tool for living a new, positive life

You may have a new perspective on life as a result of your experience of illness. It’s not unusual to have a desire to live life to the fullest, to give something back, or to find your true calling in life. Now’s the time to rethink the way you’ve been living, and to begin to make some changes.