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For this week’s post, I wanted to do something a little different. I wanted to write a post that can help everyone while shedding a little light on life with chronic illness. So, I surveyed some spoonie blogger friends to get their ultimate self care tips to share with the world! (For those that don’t already know, a “spoonie” is someone who lives with one or more chronic illnesses. The name comes from The Spoon Theory, which is an explanation of what life with a disability or chronic illness is like. To learn more about spoon theory, click here). These Self Care Tips from Spoonies are exactly that: self care tips for everyone, from those who know just how important it is.
Self Care Tips from Spoonies
- “Sometimes, self care for me is knowing when I need to socialize and when I need to isolate. When I need to socialize for self care, I plan a time for spending time with friends or family. Other times it may just be reaching out to others and talking. When I need to isolate, I’ll plan a time for relaxing. Sometimes I’ll get my favorite drink (iced tea or diet coke), take a nap, binge watch tv, exercise, garden, it whatever”. -Jenny at Life’s a Polyp
- “For me, self care truly has become about adaptivity. I love creating self-care routines but the most important thing has turned out to be the art of creating schedules and routines that adapt and flow with the ups and downs of chronic illness.” -Amber at Rubye Dreams
- “Self care is a huge part of healing and for me it is when to say NO and take a break for me. Very easy to get caught up in work and house and everybody and then stressed out- so getting a good book and finding a quiet place and reading for an hour for me is my self help.” -Linda at Autoimmune Pharmacist
- “I think it’s important to focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t. This can really help change your mindset and improve your wellbeing.” – Ali at Notebooks and Glasses
- “Be kind to yourself, focus on what you have achieved, rather than what you have not.
Did you manage to get out of bed today and have a shower? Fantastic! Celebrate the wins, no matter how small they are!” -Sass at Thinking Out Loud-Sass Style
- “For me self care means putting myself first. When I’m asked to go somewhere I no longer feel guilty for saying no and staying home. If I need to rest then I rest and I know it’s for the best. Pacing myself and allowing my body to get the rest I need without worrying what others think is really vital to my wellbeing.” – Angela at The Inspiration Edit
- “Knowing when to say no. That could be an extra shift, a day out or whatever but knowing when my body needs a rest and learning not to agree to everything I’m asked to do.” -Fiona at From Fiona
- “Self care for me is learning to not hide when I’m having a really bad day. I try to act like everything is fine when it’s not, which is no help at all. Accepting that I’m having a flare up or struggling mentally with life with fibromyalgia is really important. It means I can then actually start to think about what I can and can’t do at that point in time, rather than being in denial and pushing myself too far.” -Abbey at Diary of a Fibro Girl
- “I’ve learned different ways to take care of myself over the 8 years I’ve lived with my illness. For a while, whenever I felt bad, I would curl up in bed with TV and a glass of wine and not do anything until the feelings went away. Now, while I often still do that, sometimes I challenge myself to go outside for a walk or cook dinner or do something small that takes me outside myself. When it works I feel more refreshed and proud of myself. Of course it doesn’t always work – but the bed is always there, so I think it’s worth a try!” -Sarah at Travel Breathe Repeat
- “Remember to take care of your mental health as well as your physical health. When you are in physical pain it’s very easy to focus all your energy and time on that pain. The worst thing you can do is neglect your mental health. You don’t want to wake up one day feeling totally lost, struggling to cope and feeling helpless. Remember to focus on your mind, body and soul.” – Sarah at Sarah Jenna-Jayne
- “For me self are means listening to your body. It’s hard to do or even to accept our limitations some days when you have plans to get things done, but listening to your body is so important… Be kind to yourself and celebrate the small victories. Focusing on what you have achieved rather than on the things you couldn’t manage.” -Char at Chronically Hopeful
- “Big part of self care is learning to accept the reality and your limitations. Prioritize the “to do list”. Also prioritize the fun things you want to do. Doing them all might be too much so pick one or two and do those with all your heart. Enjoy the little things.” -Tuula at My Tuesday Therapy
- “I’ve recovered from chronic fatigue syndrome now but the six months before it felt like everything was in turmoil because my CFS severity had increased dramatically. So one thing I did – I call it my moment of pleasure – was just to sit in my garden, wrapped up warm with heated wheat bags because it was winter, having a hot drink and a biscuit, listening to the birds. Those ten/ twenty minutes were like an oasis of calm in my day and gave me strength.” -Ali at Everyday Kind of Life
- “Spend 5 minutes in a restorative [yoga] posture before you go to bed. If you need restorative yoga tips for when you’re having an autoimmune flare, read my blog post on restorative yoga focused on lupus flares.” -Christa at Be Content Yoga
- “Knowing that accepting there is no cure is not negative – it is empowering and allows you to move on, live life to the full and enjoy Netflix without guilt!” -Claire at Pain Pals
- “Nature: Nature has always given me a sense of peace. I have found ways to enjoy it even if I can’t get outside or take a long walk. I love experiencing nature with all of my five senses. I have a beautiful view from my kitchen and bedroom window where I can see mountains and wildflowers. I can hear birds singing. It helps me feel like I am still a part of the outside world even when I can’t be outside.” -Tanya at My Fruitful Home
- “Give yourself grace! No one expects to deal with such a hard illness, and it’s so important to be patient with yourself as you find your new normal. Surround yourself with those who will support you and encourage you. Don’t be afraid to say no.Sometimes your body won’t be able to keep up with the schedule you had previously, and you have to honor your body’s new needs. For me, distractions have also been a big key. Watch a funny movie, play a board game, hang out with people who lift your spirits. Most importantly: be kind to yourself.” -Jubilee at Magic in the Everyday
- “Give yourself a little time every day to do something for yourself. Whether it’s gardening, the gym, watching Netflix, or playing with your dog, do something that brings you joy. You deserve to be happy, so do what you need to to get there.” -Shannon at Simply Shannonagins
Take Care of Yourself
While some of these Self Care Tips from Spoonies may seem specific to people with chronic illness, they really are applicable to anyone and everyone. Take out chronic illness, and insert your own personal burden(s). We all have challenges in our day-to-day, and the difficulty of someone else’s doesn’t diminish the difficulty of yours. Our challenges are each our own and are not meant to be compared. Life is hard enough without the guilt of “It could be worse” or “I should have/should not have done that”. Make your life a little better and a little easier by simply taking care of yourself, whatever that means to you. What self care tips do you have? Let me know in a comment below!