More Than Asthma - Chronic Illness Burnout
Last updated: May 2023
A few months ago I wrote an article about asthma burnout - tiring of the day-in and day-out of caring for this chronic disease. I have many other chronic illnesses in addition to asthma, and the burnout with these other conditions is just as real.
This past week I experienced what I will call "chronic illness burnout." I have had a lot of health issues going on lately, in addition to an asthma attack earlier this month. I have been recovering from a major surgery, coming to terms with some additional diagnoses, and dealing with more medical garbage than I care to admit. (I would share the details of the "garbage," but we would be here for a while, so I will not bore you...)
Coping with chronic illness burnout: Asthma and more
It has been a lot lately, and frankly, I am over it. I am tired of dealing with all of these issues day in and day out with little to no reprieve. None of these are things that I can escape, ignore, or let go by the wayside. And it’s been really frustrating and discouraging.
I spent one day this week throwing a pity party for myself. I stayed in bed all day and refused to answer any phone call, message, or text that related to health issues. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I did ignore a few calls, which reminds me, I still need to return those...oops...
Burnout or not, my health cannot be ignored. Being overwhelmed, tired, and completely over all of it does not stop the issue from being there. So, I thought I would share some of the things I have done this week to cope with this burnout.
First, it is okay to experience burnout. In fact, I think it would be odd if anyone did not have moments where they just don’t want to deal with health issues anymore. It’s okay to throw a pity party, cry a little bit, and maybe get in the car and scream at the top of your lungs while driving down the freeway. It is important to "feel" these emotions and validate the struggle. So I did. I had my day, I threw my party, and I acknowledged the burden that having multiple illnesses can cause.
When experiencing this kind of burnout, I have found it really important to invest in some serious self-care. Self-care is always important, but even more so when struggling.
I love to craft, anything with my hands and creativity makes me the happiest. I spent a little while mulling over some different projects I could pour myself into. With some planning and shopping for supplies, my next project is well underway.
For you, it might be a massage, a trip to the salon, or a day out at your favorite venue. Talking to a counselor is another great avenue of self-care to help cope with chronic illness and the burnout that comes with it.
The day after my pity party I was still in a funk, so I decided to do a gratitude exercise. Instead of dwelling on everything that was wrong, I spent time carefully considering all the things I have going for me. Once I got started, it was hard to stop. There are so many things I have to be thankful for in spite of all the health issues I grapple with.
Reorganize and regroup
Finally, it was time to reorganize and regroup. As I said, these issues are not going away, but the more organized and prepared I am to tackle my health issues, the better I can handle them mentally. I always say that knowledge is power, but organization and preparedness are incredibly important when I feel the weight of everything I am facing. It is the difference between being on top of the issues instead of being buried under them.
My toolbox for managing chronic illness burnout
I am still feeling the weight of everything that’s going on. Do not let my concise article on "how to cope" fool you into thinking that I have got all of this under control. I do not. But it is a work in progress.
As I incorporate each of these tools I am better able to handle the burden of chronic illness. I hope one or all of these tools might also be helpful for you!
What are some of the things you do when you experience burnout? Do you throw a pity party like I do? Let us know in the comments!
How often do you find time to focus on yourself?
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