(HumanCare podcast) How to Own Your Chronic Illness: Raquel Hellenga

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“Take care of yourself, trust yourself, be willing to be misunderstood.”
-Raquel Hellenga

Raquel Hellenga is a Life and Business Coach for entrepreneurs and creatives with chronic illness. Diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis as a child, she has had chronic illness for over twenty years. She has an undergraduate degree and Master’s Degree in Organizational Communication and is a proud member of the LGBTQI+ community. Her practice involves working with people one-on-one to help them build sustainable businesses that work with their chronic illnesses, not against them. In this episode, she tells her story learning to accept her chronic illness and how it helped her find her path in life. She discusses the importance of mindset and how you can learn to own your illness and work with it to build the life you want. Her message to fellow spoonies is one of compassion and hope.


Visit: www.raquelhellenga.com


Time Stamps:


4:20 – Her diagnosis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

5:35 – How accepting our limitations is the gateway to the business and lives we want

6:58 – The year she was diagnosed

7:16 – How her diagnosis affected her family

8:18 – On her pediatric rheumatologist

9:10 – On bullying by other girls

10:07 – The importance of exercise and chronic illness

10:35 – Her temporary remission in her teens

15:06 – Admitting the long-term nature of her illness in adulthood

15:32 – Her decade of doubling down and fighting the truth of her illness

16:21 – Her work as an adjunct communications professor that led to burnouts and flares

16:55 – The effect of auto-immune disease

17:33 – Her realization that she physically could not continue her current path and how it led to her business

19:45 – Baby Yoda

20:33 – Her career as a Life Coach for chronically ill creatives and entrepreneurs

21:14 – What Hellenga does vs what she doesn’t do in her practice

23:28 – How she helps her clients

25:23 – The importance of being honest with ourselves about how to be successful without being in constant flare

26:51 – Stories of people she’s worked with

28:21 – Denial and chronic illness

28:50 – Admitting chronic illness to take ownership of it

31:03 – Unlearning people-pleasing

32:05 – Advantages of being chronically ill

32:49 – The value of a willingness to be misunderstood

42:25 – Coaches vs consultants

52:50 – The value of taking breaks from personal development



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