Joanna Charnas’s latest book, 100 Tips and Tools for Managing Chronic Illness (100 Tips for Manging Chronic Illness ) recently came to my attention. This book is short and filled with tips and ideas. Library Journal calls it, “An excellent resource worthy of multiple reads. For those with a determined spirit during discouraging times.” Actually, after reading through the book, I think that most of us are “chronically human” and can benefit from most, if not all, of the suggestions. It would even by a nice Mother’s Day or birthday gift.
Joanna has personal experience with chronic illness, have been ill for seventeen years before she learned it was a condition that had no cure. Following the publication of her first book, Joanna spent two years as a Huffington Postblogger, and she currently writes articles for an international health website. Her first book, Living Well With Chronic Illness, (Living Well with Chronic Illness) was an American Book Fest Finalist in the “Health: General” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.
I like the size of this latest book because it is easy to carry and look through if you are waiting in line or just need to glance at it for encouragement. The range of ideas surprised me, from a recipe, to a poem, comments on smiling, managing money, determining how to use time, as starters. The book is well organized and easy to use.
Joanna Charnas answered a few of my questions regarding the book and more:
1) In what way does your experience with chronic illness inform your interactions with your clients?
My experience with chronic illness is a constant reminder for me to never assume I fully understand what my clients are going through. Everyone responds to physical and mental illness differently, but our emotional pain is similar. As a result, I strive to always be kind, and I make an effort not to make assumptions.
2) Your books are geared to chronic illness. In what way are chronic illnesses “the same”? What factors and/or specific illnesses and their effects, need to be considered in relationship to the tips you share?
Living with any chronic illness has some similarities, which include the need to pace oneself, being sensitive to individual triggers, whether they are psychical or psychological, being forced to make decisions about how to present outselves to the world, depending on if our illnesses are physical or mental, and many more. I think that most people with chronic illness struggle with issues that are universal as well as ones that are specific to each illness.
I think everyone needs to be mindful that we never truly know what someone else’s life is like, whether they have an illness or not. Being kind to ourselves, and others is always something to strive for.
3) How do you judge the value of meditation, relaxation, breathing in managing chronic illness?
I am a huge proponent of meditation, relaxation techniques, and deep breathing as means to enhance good health and mitigate health challenges. I routinely use of them all. They don’t cure illness, but they make living with one much more manageable.
4) Is there any advice beyond what you include in the book that you would like to share with our readers?
Yes, I would advise all of us not to judge each other. Everyone is struggling with some form of stress. We are all doing our best, even if we are not succeeding.
Joanna Charnas, (Author, LCSW), clinical social worker at Navy Medical Center San Diego, has thirty years experience in social work, and is a licensed psychotherapist specializing in group therapy. Having her own medical issues, including a chronic illness, she is highly intuitive about her work with people with physical and mental illness.
Photos: Courtesy of Joanna Charnas
Meet the Author: Q&A, Book Talk & Signing
Fri, Apr 27, 5PM – 7PM
Sun, Nov 18, 2 PM – 4 PM