Whether you were just diagnosed with acromegaly or have been navigating life with acromegaly for years, you’ve probably had some version of these questions running through your mind:
- Will people act differently around me now that my symptoms have a name?
- Would things be easier if I just kept to myself?
- Will it be hard to make new friends because my symptoms limit my ability to be social?
- How will this affect my relationship with my family?
- Will I be treated differently because of changes in my physical appearance?
These kinds of questions are understandable. Underlying these concerns may be the fear of adjusting your lifestyle or losing the ability or desire to sustain and make new relationships.
While learning to live with a rare disease does require accepting that your life will change, you can still cultivate meaningful relationships of all types. This post identifies self-care behaviors you can adopt to help you regain (or retain) the energy in your marriage, partnerships, friendships, and work relationships.
Some Ways to Practice Self-Care
With or without a rare disease, it can be easy to lose the motivation to practice self-care. However, taking the time to do things for yourself, no matter how small, can remind you that acromegaly does not define you. According to the World Health Organization, “self-care is what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness.” Here are some ways you can invest in your overall wellbeing:
Treat your body right: Make sure your diet is balanced and contains lots of fruit and vegetables and that you’re drinking enough water.
Rest: There may be days when you’re too tired to do anything, and that’s okay. Rest is another form of self-care. Doing absolutely nothing can be beneficial mentally and physically, as well. And no, you’re not being lazy!
Spend time on your appearance: Self-care doesn’t have to mean a trip to the spa or a weekend getaway: you could go to the barber or salon to get your hair done. According to Linda Rio, MA, MFT, “Paying attention to how you’re dressing and taking care of yourself can have a profound impact on your mental and emotional health and sense of closeness to another person.”
Carve out time for friends: If you’re craving social interaction, invite a friend over and try a new recipe together. Or maybe you scrap the home-cooked meal and order takeout together. Whatever you do, it doesn’t have to take a lot of planning to make your time together meaningful.
If you’d like to learn how to apply these tools to your life, download the free exercise resources.
While living with acromegaly can feel overwhelming, you can live an independent life full of meaningful connections by prioritizing yourself and your health. To maintain your relationships, however, you must first invest time in yourself. By making sure you’re physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy first, you can be more present in all your interactions and feel a true sense of connection.
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