Benefits of getting away when dealing with chronic illness

Last weekend I had a wonderful time away with my mum and my sister, T. We visited my Aunty and Uncle at their home on Dangar Island. This visit got me thinking a lot about the way our environment impacts our health.

Before starting this blog, E and I went on a holiday to Port Elliot where we spent a lot of time outdoors and away from technology. This trip to Dangar Island was the same sort of experience.

Today I’m going to focus on the overall health benefits I experienced from getting away. These are things that I experienced during both of my trips away since being ill. I will do a separate post that focuses specifically on getting away or reducing our time with technology and the benefits I see from that.

When we are home all or most the time, as many of us with Chronic Illnesses are, we can get into a routine of daily living that doesn’t change very often. This routine that we get into can be a good thing as it makes sure we don’t push too hard and get a lot sicker, but it can be a bad thing as well. If we have set our routine at a level that is lower than we can actually achieve then we can get sicker through de-conditioning. But even if we have set our routine at the right level to maintain our health, we can still fall into a rut where we are too scared to move forward and increase activity levels.

Getting away from our everyday environment can help us by getting us out of our routines and pushing our boundary limits. By doing this we realise if we have set our limits correctly or if we can increase our activity levels appropriately (i.e. slowly but surely, no more than 10% increase a week).

We can feel as if there has been no progress in our health and, for a lot of us, it can get very lonely being home every day. The realisation that we can increase our activity levels can help us realise that although we don’t feel like it we are slowly improving and being in a different environment and meeting different people can help combat loneliness and any feelings of depression that may be starting to appear.

I also notice that when I’m out in a different environment I tend to be focussing more on things around me and less on myself. This helps me by reducing my focus on my constant pain levels and I feel I can do more before the pain levels reach unbearable levels.

Even if we can’t get away on holidays, I’ve found that just changing up my routine occasionally can have a similar effect on my mood and perspective.

Feeling like “normal” human beings and doing different activities can motivate us to change our routines when we return home as well. I know that when I returned from Port Elliot I was motivated to take the next step and actually start this blog because while we were away E and I were able to talk about how things were going and what I could be doing to help myself feel a bit better. I also know that seeing my Aunty’s meditation room and being in a totally isolated environment with no access to technology most of the day have motivated me to make changes to my environment and routine now that I have returned home.

I will go into the changes I am planning to make since returning from Dangar Island in future posts.

Do you find getting away from your everyday life is beneficial to your health?

What do you do when you find yourself stuck in a rut or routine that isn’t benefiting you?