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Guest Post: Realistic Strategies for Helping Someone Living with a Chronic Condition

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This Guest Post was written by Suzanne Tanner.

Many people who live with CRPS or chronic conditions know what it’s like to have loved ones who don’t really know how to help them. Well-meaning family members and friends can do things they assume will make a positive impact only to find they have the opposite effect.

Does that mean you shouldn’t try to help your loved one lead a healthy and fulfilling life? Absolutely not! By showing extra compassion and learning about the specific condition, you might be surprised by how much you can improve your loved one’s life. Below, My Journey With CRPS/RSD discusses some ways to start helping someone with a chronic illness today:

Find Self-Care Activities to Do Together

First of all, understand that self-care is crucial for people living with chronic health conditions. If you can help your loved one keep self-care a priority, you’ll be well on your way to improving their life.

One practical way to do this is to help your loved one identify stress trigger points so that they can take steps to avoid specific situations, people, and things that can cause them anxiety. Also, introduce them to easy breathing exercises that can bring their stress levels down. And think of simple exercises you can do as a team to boost their mood and benefit their overall health.

Listen to Their Whole Story

It’s important not to tune your loved one out when they are telling you about their suffering. Regularly ask them how they are doing, and listen attentively to everything they have to say.

The worst thing you can do is ignore the fact that they are struggling; simply acknowledging the situation can help them feel comforted and supported. It’s also crucial to remain aware of specific battles your loved one is facing, which means you need to hear the bad parts of their illness along with the aspects that make your loved one stronger.

Learn When to Offer Help

When it’s obvious that your loved one needs help with something, offer a hand. You may not be able to cure their illness, but showing you are willing to help can sometimes be enough to brighten their day. It doesn’t matter how big or small the action; just remain ready to assist in any way possible.

Be OK with Lounge Days

It’s common for people with chronic illnesses to have days where they don’t feel like doing anything productive. If your loved one asks you to come over and watch a movie or lay in bed, say yes! 

You might have days when they cancel plans because they are in pain, but realize that it doesn’t mean they don’t want to spend time with you. Ask your loved one if they would like to hang out and do something relaxing on such days, and just enjoy being together.

Understand They May Cancel

Don’t be surprised when your loved one with a chronic illness cancels on you. Try to be patient and compassionate because there is probably a good reason. Your loved one doesn’t need to see your disappointment or frustration. So try to reschedule or have a lounge day instead!


Have a loved one living with CRPS or another chronic illness, you can play a vital role in helping them maintain a high quality of life. Help them keep up with their self-care routine, listen to them when they explain their suffering and be willing to help at a moment’s call. 

Lastly, be patient when your loved one cancels plans, and enjoy your time together being unproductive. There are plenty of other ways that you can help your loved one, but following these tips is a great place to start.

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