Expert Guidance

How to Deter Chronic Illness

Designer Creative - Wednesday, May 24, 2017

As we grow older, there are certain health issues we simply cannot avoid, depending on our environment during various stages of aging.

However, there are actions you can take now to make your future more positive and bright.


1. Drop the junk food.

It’s no secret that food high in sodium, sugar and saturated fats can wreak havoc on our bodies. Try limiting your junk food portions to one or two meals a week. Instead of a sugary cereal or baked pastry, try a hard-boiled egg or baked sweet potato. Instead of fried food for dinner, try grilled or marinated instead. You can still have flavorful food without the harmful effects of junk foods.


2. Find active hobbies.

Be it gardening, disc golf, hiking, biking or walking around the neighborhood, try different activities to get you moving around. Exercise doesn’t have to be something you do on a treadmill in front of a TV; however, if you enjoy catching up on your favorite shows while using an exercise machine, go for it! The point is to be active and find ways to make it fun for you.


3. Seek emotional wellness.

This can be easier said than done. If you have a stressful career or living situation, improving your mental well-being can mean completely reprioritizing certain sections of your life. You may need to speak with your superiors at work or learn how to say no when you cannot take on any more projects.


Remaining active and eating healthy can also help reduce symptoms related to stress. Hobbies that keep you active will help you sleep better, which will have a domino effect on your emotional wellness. No one expects you to be perfect, but work to remember these three factors as you live your life. Your future self will thank you for it.

How Chronic Illness Affects Mental Health

Designer Creative - Monday, May 15, 2017

If you or someone you love is diagnosed with a chronic illness, you will probably be met with a barrage of emotions. Unfortunately, learning to cope with a chronic illness is a long and arduous journey that never gets easy. It’s unfair, and often able-bodied or mostly healthy individuals do not have the necessary depth of understanding to comprehend what you’re going through. Sometimes, this can create a communication barrier and those with chronic illness may develop feelings of resentment and frustration toward well-meaning individuals.


From just about every angle, life with an invisible or chronic illness is never easy. Daily tasks require far more patience than they would for the average person. For example, where getting dressed or doing the dishes may be a simple task for your co-workers and family, depending on the chronic illness and the severity of pain, an individual with a chronic disease may struggle buttoning a blouse.


Where tasks were once afterthoughts, they may now require planning. At the same time, debilitating symptoms are often unpredictable. Schedules are hard to keep, and this leads to frustration and anger. Without proper coping techniques, those living with chronic illness and those caring for someone with a chronic illness may struggle to remain in a good mind-set. In fact, studies have shown those with chronic illnesses are at a higher risk for developing depression.


If you believe you could be struggling with clinical depression, use the symptoms we’ve listed below as a starting point for the conversation you should have with your healthcare provider. Please know that although someone may have all these symptoms we have listed, he or she may not be depressed. At the same time, if someone only has one symptom and no others, he or she could still be depressed. Lining your symptoms up with those we have listed should not replace the opinion of your professional healthcare provider.


Symptoms of depression:

  •    - Insomnia
  •    - Restless sleep or excess sleepiness
  •    - Lack of appetite or excessive hunger
  •    - Irritability
  •    - Lack of interest in social activities that were once interesting
  •    - Weight changes
  •    - Inability to concentrate
  •    - General apathy or lack of interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • We want you to know it’s okay to have bad days, but at the same time, we want to help you find ways to conquer days where outside or internal forces are just too much. If you are caring for someone with a chronic disease or you have a chronic disease, please consider attending one of our free programs in your area. You do not have to work through this alone. M Power offers multiple levels of support.


Coping with the emotional and physical affects of chronic disease

Designer Creative - Wednesday, March 15, 2017

“You don’t look sick.” If you or someone you love is battling chronic disease, it’s a sure bet you’ll encounter that sentiment, or one similar, at some point. So much of chronic disease – from lupus to fibromyalgia to diabetes – is invisible to those around you. And as devastating as the physical symptoms may be, the emotional toll can be overwhelming as well.


If you’re newly diagnosed, it’s not uncommon to go through the stages of grief as you learn to cope with your condition: from denial to anger to sadness. The stress that comes with living day-to-day with symptoms can escalate both emotional and physical effects – compounded when friends, co-workers and loved ones struggle to understand what you’re going through.


That’s what led Christine Miserandino to create the “spoon theory” in 2003, as a way to help explain her life with Lupus. Christine compared living with chronic disease to holding a limited number of spoons each day. Every activity, every choice made, eliminates a spoon.


“When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war. It is in that lifestyle, the difference between being sick and healthy. It is the beautiful ability to not think and just do. I miss that freedom. I miss never having to count "spoons,” Christine wrote. You can download her full explanation of the “spoon theory” here.


The emotional and physical effects of chronic disease are tied closely together. That’s why it’s important to have a strong support system in place, with strategies for coping with both sides. Some tactics that may help:


Distraction: Sometimes, just focusing on something other than your disease can help relieve stress – like reading a book or watching a movie.


Physical activity: Depending on your illness, physical activity may be extremely difficult some days. But the old adage that a “body in motion, stays in motion” is true. Physical activity is not only good for your body, it’s good for your mind as well. Yoga and tai chi, for example, are both exercises that are easy on arthritic joints.


Spend time with loved ones: It can be all too easy to shut friends and family out when they don’t understand what you’re going through. But from both an emotional and physical standpoint, one thing is certain: You can’t do it alone. Use the spoon theory to give others tangible insight into your life with chronic disease.


Find support: Connect with others going through similar experiences and find local resources to help you cope. M Power offers chronic disease self-management workshops designed to help you stay active and enjoying the things you love. Find one near you.

Chronic Disease Self-Management Class Preview: Action Plans

Designer Creative - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

To successfully manage your chronic disease, you must start with wanting to change, to feel better and to be better. The road to managing your chronic disease will never be easy, but there are tools and techniques you can use to aid in your journey to good health.


Part of the curriculum within the M Power Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshop is learning how to set up and implement successful action plans.


A program coordinator will help you choose something about your habits you want to improve. The key is that you agree with the final choice and want to follow through with whatever this action plan entails. If you set a goal just because someone suggested you do it, you may not have the motivation you need to succeed.


On the same page, whatever you want to do must be possible. Deciding to do something impossible will set you up for failure and could hurt your self-esteem for pursuing further goals. Before you commit to your action plan, evaluate its difficulty and your mindset. Are you ready for something really challenging, or should you start smaller?


Your action plan should answer very specific questions: what is it, how much, how often and when? How will you know you’ve succeeded?


Example: I will be a more active person by walking 15 minutes at least three to four days a week this month.


Once you have an action plan, write it down and post it around your living area. Ask those who support you to check in on you. Make daily notes of your moods and energy levels. Did you skip your walk last week because you were too tired? Did you find you didn’t have time to go on your walk? Why is that?


Making daily notes about your action plan, positive or negative, will help you discover what you are doing successfully and where you might improve. You may also discover hiccups you didn’t anticipate. By taking notes, you can brainstorm methods to deal with those hiccups.



The M Power Workshop will also help you develop the confidence you need to embark on your action plan on your own. You will learn the best way to reward yourself and how often. If you want the best path to success, sign up during the next open enrollment period in your region.

You deserve to be happy and healthy. Let us show you the quickest way there. 


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Understanding the Difference Between Acute and Chronic Conditions

Designer Creative - Monday, January 30, 2017

What is an acute condition?


 If you’ve ever broken your leg, sprained your ankle or had a bout of the flu, you’ve encountered an acute condition.


Acute conditions are characterized by their sudden onset and relatively quick recovery time. These types of illnesses or injuries do not persist once a person has healed within a few weeks to a couple months.


Those suffering from acute conditions can almost always look at time as a positive indicator, knowing they will get better if they follow the proper healing regimens prescribed by a healthcare provider.


What is a chronic condition?

Chronic conditions are not instantaneous episodes like broken bones. Over time, symptoms may appear, worsen and last for months to years, spanning across the life of those affected.


This includes conditions like diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure, stroke, arthritis and more. Many mental conditions, such as chronic anxiety and bipolar disorder, can also fall under this umbrella.


A chronic condition can cause acute conditions, such as how chronic anxiety can lead to panic attacks.


Those diagnosed with chronic conditions know that time is not always on their side in terms of feeling well. While today may be a good day, tomorrow’s symptoms may be difficult to endure. Planning vacations or events can also pose problems as symptoms are almost never predictable. In short, while an acute condition will go away, a chronic condition doesn’t heal on its own and a complete cure is rare.


Most importantly, those with chronic conditions benefit highly from supportive networks with people who understand their struggles. Many without chronic diseases often try to offer those with chronic diseases advice for getting well. No matter how well-meaning this advice, it is often wrong and can be a source of frustration for those who have lived with chronic conditions most of their lives.


M Power offers free workshops along, with support, to those with chronic diseases in Missouri’s Bootheel. The workshops are based around Stanford University’s Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and can work alone or in conjunction with other programs or treatments. Attendees develop skills for disease and symptom communication, techniques for dealing with pain and assistance with developing healthy habits for combating symptoms.


If you are living with a chronic disease, help is here. Find a class near you, and discover a happier, healthier life with chronic conditions.


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Every Project Has a Beginning. Welcome to Ours.

Designer Creative - Monday, January 23, 2017

Missouri is ready for growth.

Southeast Missouri is a wonderful area. Boasting an array of features and opportunities, many find it easy to make their home here in the quaint towns scattering the countryside. The landscape is perfect for raising a family, and the improved economic outlook makes it ideal for those looking to start a business. In addition, community members are often welcoming and warm to new and old friends alike.


However, for too long Southeast Missouri has been an underserved region in many aspects. Those suffering from chronic disease symptoms deserve a better support system, so M Power is initiating chronic illness support programs throughout Southeast Missouri.


We can help those with chronic disease and reduce the onset of chronic disease throughout the area.

M Power is regionally situated within Missouri’s Bootheel with goals dedicated to

• Improving the health of those with chronic diseases through the teaching of evidence-based self-management programs

• Caring for individuals diagnosed with diabetes in Southeast Missouri’s rural counties

• Bettering cardiovascular health and quality of life throughout the region with prevention education

• Promoting healthy choices that lead to individuals living with a reduced risk of developing a chronic disease 

Ensuring those with or at risk for chronic diseases have access to the necessary prescription medications and support they need

  • Through a coordinating effort among health departments and social agencies across Missouri’s Bootheel, M Power will contribute to the improvement and quality of life of those throughout the region.
  • Even if you believe you’re healthy, you could be at risk for developing chronic health conditions. Find out if you’re at risk for diabetes, obesity complications or heart disease.
  • We need your help.
  • To reach your coworkers, neighbors, friends and family, we need you to share our content on your Facebook page, in an email or over the phone. Our programs are free because we are grant funded. We have no sponsorship and we are not selling anything.



This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,754,999 with 0 percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit

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