In part, this is because patients suffering from chronic illness must juggle additional responsibilities like scheduling and attending numerous doctor appointments, tracking and taking medications, logging symptoms, and more. The physical and mental drain that comes with chronic illness can make these and other common tasks exceptionally difficult. Fortunately, it may be possible to lighten your load and improve mental well-being by utilizing tools built specifically to support those suffering from chronic disease.
The Link Between Chronic Illness and Mental Health
Chronic illness is frequently accompanied by psychological dysfunction and emotional issues. In part this is due to the heightened degree of stress and anxiety that comes from living with chronic disease. Additionally, some chronic conditions trigger fundamental changes in physiological activity that may make individuals more prone to mental dysfunction and mood disorders. This may be a primary reason why many of those suffering from chronic illness experience psychological and mental disruptions including forgetfulness, malaise, irritability, anxiety, and depression. These symptoms are a significant impediment, which can significantly increase the difficulty every day responsibilities.
Find the Right Tools for Supporting Mental and Physical Health
Mental health issues coupled with physical symptoms of chronic illness can make management of everyday responsibilities exceptionally difficult. Fortunately, modern technology has facilitated the creation of easy to use, accessible, and effective tools for managing various aspects of life. Those with chronic illness and mental health issues may find that the apps below help manage everyday life, improve organization, support mental wellness, and even provide a supportive community.
The process of accomplishing your everyday chores can tax mental resources resulting in a decrease of motivation and organization. Habitica attempts to reverse the mental drain associated with daily activities by gamifying your life and turning tasks into monsters to defeat or quests to accomplish. Changing the brains perception of chores or other responsibilities from a daily toil to an organized and structured game can provide notable drive and motivation.
Stop, Breathe & Think
Stop, Breathe, & Think is a meditation tool that provides periodic reminders to check on your mental state, refocus, and practice mindfulness exercises. The app also allows users to track their physical and mental state throughout the day. Stop, Breathe & Think uses this information to help construct meditation plans and mindfulness exercises that suit your specific needs. In this way the app adapts to your needs as you progress towards greater mental wellness.
Those with chronic illness typically have a great deal of medical information to track and maintain. CareZone lets users keep all their relevant info in one easily manageable, secure, and private place. Features of CareZone include a symptom journal, to-do list, customizable care provider contact list, in depth medication tracker, and a calendar. CareZone frees up mental energy that would otherwise be spent recalling or searching for information allowing users to focus more on getting better.
One of the most common problems among those with chronic illness is remembering to take their multiple medications throughout the day. Medisafe is an app that provides illustrated and text-based reminders as well as specific information for each of your medications. It also allows you to track what medications you have taken and when you took them with an easy to use interface. Additionally, physicians and pharmacists can communicate through Medisafe to ensure patients are doing their best and staying on track with their doses.
Reducing stress can be invaluable when it comes to managing chronic illness and restoring mental wellness. TaoMix2 is an app that provides mixable soundscapes that can be used for meditative purposes or to simply create a soothing and relaxing backdrop to your life. The environments found in TaoMix2 range from bustling café to calming ocean waves giving you the opportunity to live in the mental space you resonate with most.
Tracking symptoms and potential triggers can be incredibly useful when treating chronic illness. Daylio has a simple interface that allows users to track how they are feeling, general mood, and activity level throughout the day. This information can be used by patients and their care providers to find potentially harmful patterns in daily life and subsequently make appropriate lifestyle changes to resolve them.
Riley describes itself as a social network for those with chronic health conditions or disabilities. Users are able to create a profile providing information about their conditions. They can then navigate through other profiles to find individuals who share similar experiences and interact with them. The Riley community promotes mutual sharing, support, and discussion among its users. Riley focuses primarily on chronic conditions and mental health issues including anxiety, depression, Lyme disease, and several others. However, as the community grows, the number of conditions discussed is expected to increase.
The Mighty is perhaps one of the best platforms for sharing your personal experience with chronic illness. This social media app provides a community for those with chronic illness to connect with others, comment on articles, and discuss a wide variety of topics. The individual communities contained within The Mighty touch on a wide range of topics that patients with chronic illness may find engaging and useful. Users may benefit greatly from community involvement as well as the wealth of information shared on The Mighty.
Support Your Success with the Right Tools
Because of the great impact physical health can have on mental health (and vice-versa), it may also be beneficial to seek out a professional that understands this and can better help you support your overall well-being. This is why Holtorf Medical Group has partnered with Andy Balazs, MFT. You can learn about the therapy services Andy offers here.
Managing the numerous physical and mental demands of daily life can be overwhelming. The task is made even more difficult if a person is suffering from chronic illness and related neurological or psychological dysfunction. Fortunately, there are many tools available that can support your efforts in managing the many facets of chronic illness in everyday life. If you are having difficulty staying on top of your condition and mental well-being, or simply want to better organize or improve your current wellness practices, consider using one or more of the apps discussed above.