In my last blog post I promised to share 11 tips for keeping busy because, if you have Dry Eye symptoms, keeping busy can help distract you from your symptoms and give you some relief. Or, even if you don’t find relief, at least you’re accomplishing something, staying positive, and feeling like you’re the one in control, not your eyes. It’s not always possible, but it’s always worth a try if you can manage it.
These are 11 things I do to help keep me busy and distracted from my Dry Eye symptoms.
11 Tips for a Better Dry Eye Day!
1. Keep a Schedule, Make a List
Keep a schedule or make a list of tasks you plan to accomplish. Even if you feel horrible, keeping to a schedule and knowing that you’ve accomplished the tasks you set out to do, will help to maintain order in your life. That alone can help reduce stress.
2. Talk to Someone who Makes You Laugh
Talk to family members and friends who make you laugh. Laughter in the Dry Eye world can set the tone for your day or night. Plus it can also bring tears to your eyes. Laughter, no matter where it comes from, can be amazing for your frame of mind.
3. Find Support
Join a Dry Eye group. Interacting with others that are also afflicted with this disease can help you gather valuable information. You’ll find support and realize that you’re not alone. There are many of us out there.
Remember, we’re all different. What might work for some may not work for you. So don’t get discouraged if you find that a particular medication or treatment worked well for someone, but you aren’t getting the results you hoped for. That just means you’ll have to keep working at it until you get better results.
4. Eat Something Crunchy
Crunchy foods seem to distract the mind. Consider a bowl of celery, carrot sticks, radishes, pretzels or nuts. Even just chopping vegetables can be a good distraction for the mind.
5. Listen to a Recording
If reading is no longer an option, try relaxing with an audio book or some good music.
6. Plant a Garden
Plant a garden or, if you already have one, spend time pulling weeds and maintaining it. If sunlight bothers your eyes, wait for a shady time of the day or wear your sunglasses. I’ve found pulling weeds, as tedious a task as it is, puts me in a Zen like state.
7. Rediscover the Great Outdoors
Rediscover the natural world. Find a comfortable outdoor location and just close your eyes and listen to the sounds of song birds, the breeze rustling through the trees, or water lapping along a shoreline. Connecting with nature eases the mind, body and soul.
If you can, take a walk or engage in any other outdoor activity. Just be mindful of your eyes and wear sunglasses, preferably wrap-around.
8. Take a Nap
If your day allows it, take a short nap in the afternoon. I find resting my eyes for a period helps me through the later part of my day.
9. Play with your Pet
If you own a pet, spend some quality time each day together. Playing with my dog or taking her for a walk gives us a chance to spend some time together while we’re getting a little exercise. Speaking of which…
Exercise when you can. A brisk walk, dancing, running, whatever gets you moving, helps release endorphins, which in turn provide a sense of well-being.
Finally, one of my favorite stress reducers is an adult coloring book. On days when I find myself obsessed and worried about my eyes, sitting down and coloring a picture seems to calm me down. Just don’t try it if you’re eyes are feeling bad already because you might not blink enough.
Facing each day as a Chronic Dry patient is an enduring task. We have to learn to cope with what’s now our new normal. We may have limitations, pain, maybe fear, or even sadness, but we still need to live and move forward with our lives.
Hopefully, my tips for a better Dry Eye day will help some of you get through your day. In the meantime, stay strong, hopeful, and remember to always be your own advocate.
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