Navigating life can be difficult at the best of times, and for the 61 million people in the U.S. who live with some type of disability, this can be even more challenging.
This is especially true if you are having to learn to adapt to life as a newly disabled person, and the emotional and mental effects of losing your independence can understandably take their toll. However, with the right tools and support, it is possible to build a fulfilling life while living with a disability.
Ask for Help and Support
It takes time to accept and adjust to a disability and at first, you may feel withdrawn and isolated, but it’s important to remember there is always help and support available. Friends and family can help you to stay in a positive frame of mind and also offer a shoulder to cry on. Nurturing these relationships can make all the difference to your state of mind and overall wellbeing.
Disability support services are also available which can provide anything from financial and practical support to help in finding local support groups with like-minded people who can understand and relate to your circumstances. This can be a place you can share your struggles as well as be a source of encouragement and motivation.
You may also benefit from talking to a therapist who is trained in this area to help you come to terms with and process what you are going through. They may also provide useful coping strategies and help you to reframe your outlook.
Find Meaning in Your Life
In the aftermath of a disability, it is natural to question your identity and your life, and feelings of apathy and depression can understandably arise. This is why it is important to find things that give you a sense of purpose and meaning, and there are many ways in which you can do this.
There are always new hobbies and activities that you can explore, allowing you to develop skills and talents you may never have known you had. If you are wheelchair-bound, certain physical activities may be more challenging, but you can still practice a musical instrument or write that book you have been meaning to.
Volunteering is another great way to offer your time and feel like you are making a difference. There are many causes you can get involved with and some of them can be done from the comfort of your own home. If you are an animal lover, consider volunteering at your local animal shelter. Taking care of an animal or pet of your own is a great way to feel needed and give you a renewed sense of purpose in your life.
With a little courage and motivation to get you started, you’ll soon realize many of the limitations were only in your mind.
Take Advantage of Technology
Thankfully, technology has come a long way and there are many tools available to help disabled people. Assistive technology and software can play a huge role in making your life easier, so it is advisable to take advantage of the tools and equipment that are available to you.
Whether it’s mobility aids, talking devices, cleaning robots, or smart home assistants, there are a plethora of devices that can support you in your day-to-day life.
Some of this equipment may be provided to you but it can also help to do some research on the areas you may still need help with. If there is technology available that can help to improve your quality of life and independence then it is worth investing in.
Health and Exercise
It’s important to take care of your health by exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep. Certain physical activities you once may have enjoyed may now be difficult to continue, but exercising your body in the way that you can is still vital. It will not only keep your muscles active and strong but is also a great way to reduce stress and tension and keep you mentally positive.
Whether it’s some gentle walking, lifting light weights, or stretching exercises, take time to ease yourself into a routine. As your strength and confidence increase, you may then be able to do more strenuous exercises. Having someone to assist you with your exercise is also advisable, especially at the beginning.
By following the guidance in this article you can soon find your way to living a fulfilling and happy life finding that many of your challenges can be dealt with or overcome in time.