Living with a disability, whether newly acquired or if you were born with it, can be pretty challenging. For many people with disabilities, executing regular day-to-day activities becomes extra tough and sometimes entirely impossible. While such events may limit what you can do, they don’t have to compromise the quality of your life.
You can still be happy, improve your independence and live the life of your dreams while living with a disability. You’ll, however, need to know to navigate and overcome the challenges of disability. For example, you first need to accept your condition. Living a quality life starts in your mind. You can also sort after support and help whenever available, for example, from disability service providers. These are just some ways to help you live well with a disability. This article has details. Please keep reading to learn more.
1. Start By Accepting Your Disability
The thing about having a disability is that it often takes a toll on your mental and emotional health. If you were born with a disability at some point in life, you might realize that you’re different from most people around you. This realization may be the onset of mental and emotional anguish.
If the disability develops along your life’s journey, it might be hard to accept your new reality. However, in both cases, you must acknowledge your reality. Not embracing your condition keeps you stuck in your past or what could be. It will distract you from making the necessary adjustments to help you live a healthy, quality life.
The journey of accepting your disability can look something like this:
Allow Yourself To Mourn
It would help if you allowed yourself to grieve over your loss. As said before, sometimes having a disability means your independence is taken away. Your health and life as you knew it might change as well. It’s okay to sit with these emotions and acknowledge them. Avoiding grief only makes situations worse. If anything, the only way to deal with pain is by accepting it.
Go Through The Spectrum Of Emotions
Grief isn’t a one-sided emotion. It’s a cocktail of many different feelings, from pain to sadness, regret, anger, denial, and sometimes disbelief. There isn’t a particular order in which you’ll feel the emotions. All you have to do is be patient with yourself through these emotions. Hold yourself with love and grace, and know that with time the intensity of all these will lessen, and you’ll find your ground again.
Don’t Dwell On What You Can’t Do.
Acceptance sometimes looks like letting go of control. If, for example, you lost your ability to walk after an accident, it would be best to gradually think less about things you can’t do on your own. Focusing on the negative can sometimes drive you to mental torture and depression, especially if the condition isn’t reversible. Instead, focus on what you can do. For example, you.
Can still use your hands. When grieving, the ultimate goal is to accept that you can still be happy while living with a disability.
2. Educate Yourself About Your Disability
Once you know that you have a disability, whether newly developed or congenital, you must learn as much as possible about your disability. The thing about living with a disability is that you strive to be your best advocate. Suppose you negotiate for favourable systems for your disability, for example, a wheelchair ramp on buses. In that case, you need to know about the disability and ways to improve living with it. This knowledge will also come in handy to help you navigate the challenges of having a disability and live a fulfilled life.
So, where do you start with the learning? The first thing you want to do is to understand your diagnosis. How severe is it? What are the possible complications? Is it reversible? What changes is your body experiencing, and what should you expect? You also want to educate yourself on the rights of people with disabilities and the resources to make their lives easier. For example, some governments have support programs for people living with disabilities. You can inquire about special programs that provide benefits to people with disabilities.
Lastly, learning about your disability will help you know when and where to seek help and support, as discussed further below.
3. Ask For Help Whenever Necessary
One of the biggest challenges you’ll have to overcome when living with a disability is being comfortable with asking for help, especially if you’re new to the disability. Often, you may feel embarrassed and like you’re a burden or seek pity when you need help. However, this isn’t the case. Your friends and loved ones are always ready and willing to help make your life easier. You only have to cast away your preconceived notions in your head.
Therefore, knowing when you can do things on your own and when you need help is crucial. Sometimes, pushing your limit because you don’t want to ask for help may harm your health. They would be handy if you can afford to hire a caregiver or a nurse.
4. Surround Yourself With Friends, Family, And Any Other Kind Of Support
Living with a disability makes it easy to feel misunderstood and alone. Since you assume nobody understands your journey or circumstances, you may isolate yourself. It is always a bad idea. Isolation puts you at a greater risk of developing mental conditions like depression and anxiety. Such illnesses are common among people with disabilities, and they compromise the quality of their lives.
Therefore, one of the steps to helping you live well with a disability is to surround yourself with people you love. Now more than ever, it’s time to nurture healthy relationships in your life. You’ll open up to these people whenever you’re overwhelmed. They’re the people that’ll include you in the fun activities, and you’ll realize, indeed, your life isn’t over.
Other forms of support include:
Seeing A Therapist
As mentioned earlier, living with a disability impacts your mental and emotional well-being. While friends and family may offer a helping hand, it’s always best if you also see a professional. In his case, a therapist. The therapist will help you process your emotions and grief and unpack your traumas. They’ll also be instrumental in helping adjust to living with a disability.
Join A Support Group
In your town, there’s likely a support group consisting of people living with the same disability as you. Experts recommend that you join such support groups. It helps when you realize you aren’t alone. By listening to the stories of the members of the group, you may gain knowledge to help navigate your challenges.
It may also revive hope in living your dream life by seeing some people who have made lemonades from the lemon.
A support group is also a good place to share your experience. Unlike with your friends, in a support group, you’ll feel understood since most people can relate.
5. Look For A Job That Suits Your Abilities
Sometimes a newly acquired disability may affect your job performance. That is, you aren’t able to do some tasks at work. As such, you may need a new job. A new job will help you stay financially afloat. It’ll also help to keep you busy so that you don’t focus on your disability only.
When looking for a job, it’s always best to look for a job that suits your new abilities. You may therefore need to reconsider your career. Experts recommend that you write a list of things you’re currently able to do with the least effort while living with a disability. Based on the list, search for the available jobs. You could also turn your hobby into an income generator.
If there are no jobs, consider starting a business. Whatever you settle for shouldn’t be strenuous for you.
6. Try To Maintain Your Hobbies
Once you stop doing what you love, you stop living. It applies to everyone, whether they’re living with a disability or not. Therefore, one thing that will help you live a happy life while living with a disability is reconnecting with your hobbies and interests.
However, sometimes the capacity to do your hobbies and interests is also affected by disability. In this case, it helps when you develop simple ways to do hobbies or start taking an interest in new things. For example, a disability may affect your cognitive capacity, challenging your capacity to read. If this happens, consider listening to audiobooks.
7. Maintain Your Health
Good health comes from regular exercise and healthy eating. It would be best if you also considered getting ample sleep. Having enough sleep allows your body to recover from the stress, both in your physical and mental aspects. Other things you can do to maintain your health include:
You must have some physical exercise according to your abilities. Even if you’re a wheelchair user, you can still stroll outside and catch some sun. Please don’t be confined to one place for a long time. Movement helps with your mental health. It reduces anxiety, tension, and stress. It, therefore, lowers your chances of being depressed.
Exercising helps to keep you fit and healthy. When living with a disability, start exercising by achieving small milestones. Don’t be too glued to hitting big goals. You risk sustaining an injury or getting discouraged.
Also, learn to listen to your body. That way, you can detect earlier in case you sustain an injury, and so you can seek medical attention.
Eat A Good Diet
When living with a disability, eating may sometime be difficult. However, you must put even the slightest effort into healthy eating. First, make sure you eat regular nutritious meals. The meals should preferably include fruits and vegetables to help your immune system and body repair. Proteins are also good for immune system functioning and healing. Finally, take a lot of water.
When you eat healthily, your body heals, helping you accomplish the little tasks that improve your quality of life.
Living with a disability isn’t easy to deal with every day. However, it’s also not a death sentence. You can still live a happy life while with a disability. By following the steps detailed in this article, you stand a better chance of living a quality life when living with a disability. All the best!