Claire Peters
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Tips for Thriving with a Disability

No matter how hard it is, you should always tell yourself, "I can do it."

Living with a disability can be frustrating. Some disabilities make everyday tasks a little more difficult, while others make them almost impossible.

But no matter what your challenge is, there is often someone else in the world who learned to thrive with something similar. That isn’t to say it’s easy, but people are finding ways to thrive, despite the odds, every single day. Here are just a few tips that might help change your outlook and your life.

Eat right.

A healthy diet will go a long way toward making you feel your best. Studies indicate that people with disabilities are twice as likely to become obese than the rest of the population. With the proper nutrition and portion control, you should be able to keep off excess weight without too much trouble. And both maintaining a healthy weight and getting all your nutritional needs met will help with energy levels and a healthy mental state.

Depending on the disability, however, some people find it difficult to prepare healthy meals. But in almost every city, there is a solution. Services like Meals on Wheels are available even in most rural communities. They deliver healthy meals to those who are unable to prepare them themselves. Other people also have caregivers who cook for them on a daily or weekly basis.

Exercise.

To the best of your ability, develop a consistent exercise routine. Even if you use a wheelchair, there are many exercises you can do to keep you fit. For example, most upper-body dumbbell work can be done from a sitting position. Or some people find resistance bands more convenient. These can even be stashed beside you in your chair for quick workouts whenever you can squeeze them in.

Of course, you should always consult your physician before beginning any sort of fitness routine. But you should consistently move whatever parts of your body you’re able to. Find a way to elevate your heart rate and to do some resistance training at least three times per week.

Seek counseling.

Mental health plays a big part in anyone’s outlook on life. And someone who is newly disabled may even need a little additional help to cope with his or her difficult situation. This may be even more true if the disability was caused by a traumatic event. In these cases, victims often suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and need extensive therapy to overcome it.

Increase your mobility.

Being unable to do things for yourself can be frustrating. It can increase health risks as well as attributing to depression. Your doctors or therapists more than likely have suggestions to help you with mobility. But many times, people are hesitant to try anything different, or quickly give it up because of discomfort. If this is the case, talk to your doctors about things that might help.

For example, if you find a prosthetic too uncomfortable to use, try prosthetic liners to cushion your leg and avoid irritation. Or if a walker will help stabilize you for more movement, don’t refuse to use it simply for the sake of appearance.

Socialize.

One of the worst things you can do is to isolate yourself because of difficulty or embarrassment. Connecting with other people is one of the best ways to maintain a sense of normalcy and balance.

You’ll probably find that your friends are happy and willing to give you a little extra help to include you in their events. But you can also find plenty of meet-ups and support groups for people with similar disabilities. Socializing, along with counseling, diet, and regular exercise, could be the main motivator for helping you stay healthy long-term.

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