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Disclaimer: While I offer tips for maintaining wellness while dealing with a chronic illness, I’m not a licensed medical physician, psychotherapist, or psychologist, and I’m not offering medical or psychiatric advice.
For my full disclaimer policy, go here.
Have you ever felt like you’re missing out on the secret to creating routines when chronically ill?
You may have seen or heard other spoonies mention how much easier routines make navigating life with chronic illness, but it may not feel accessible to you.
Or, maybe you just don’t see the point in having a routine when it’s bound to have to change due to your chronic illness.
There is no doubt that if you’re living with a chronic illness, you’re faced with uncertainty on a daily basis.
You never know how you’ll feel, whether or not your energy is sustainable, and if your plans will trigger a flare-up.
And even if you think you can get all of this figured out, your chronic illness can throw a wrench in even the most carefully thought-out plans.
So, what’s a spoonie to do?
Routines give us a cushion to fall back on when our flare-ups cause things not to go as planned, and they can also give us a supportive framework to help maintain our wellness to the best of our ability.
Keep reading to learn the best secrets to creating routines when chronically ill, and how they can support you in thriving through chronic illness.
Why are routines important when you’re chronically ill?
When you’re chronically ill, having routines helps with energy management and pacing. These are two things that are crucial to managing chronic illness & avoiding burnout. This is because routines help you manage priorities and give you room for flexibility when it’s needed.
Routines can also help to boost your confidence because they help you manage your symptoms, energy, and tasks.
When you spend time creating your own personal routines, you’re able to cater them to your needs as someone with a chronic illness. This can also help you pinpoint areas where you need to scale back or ask for help.
Personalized routines can also help you remember to pace yourself – which is important on both good days and not-so-good days.
When your health is so unpredictable, routines provide a level of comfort because they offer some predictability and stability, and can help you be more self-sufficient.
But wait – how can I stick to a routine if I’m chronically ill and can have a flare-up without warning?
It’s important to remember that routines are not schedules.
According to dictionary.com, schedules are “a series of things to be done or of events to occur at or during a particular time or period”.
Routines, on the other hand, are “commonplace tasks, chores, or duties as must be done regularly or at specified intervals; typical or everyday activity.”
Routines are more flexible than schedules, simply consisting of things that you’d like to get done without the time constraints attached to them.
They can help you manage bad days by giving you a framework for your “must-do” tasks and those things that can wait until you are less symptomatic.
Purposefully created routines also help you realize what things you may be able to do on your own, and where you may need to ask for help.
Relying on your routines will give you a sense of comfort because it can work like a plan of action when you have a flare-up, and help you feel less at the mercy of your illness and more in control of things.
Ideas for types of routines you can create to help you cope with chronic illness
Your daily routines can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose, though for obvious reasons I strongly suggest that you keep them as simple as possible, to begin with. Here are some ideas for your daily routines:
- A daily check-in on your energy levels and symptoms to help determine if your routines need any adjustments that day
- Morning & nightly routines for personal hygiene, and personal growth or spiritual pursuits
- Good day routines that may include extra fun or priority items to prep for bad days
- Bad day routines that are adjusted to the most necessary things & scaled down to accommodate your energy & your symptoms
- Mealtime routines
- Chore routines
- Routines for working
- Routines for any care-giving you do (pets, children, etc.)
After reading this post, I hope you can see how routines & schedules are so very different from each other, and how creating routines can help empower you every day as someone living with a chronic illness.
Get the Daily Routine Guidebook for Spoonies!
You may still be feeling afraid of disappointing yourself when you can’t stick to your routine. That’s why being purposeful and taking time to reflect on your needs beforehand can help.
And I get it – when your health & symptoms are so unpredictable, creating any sort of routine and making any kind of commitment can feel really scary
To help support you in creating routines when chronically ill, I’ve created a Daily Routine Guidebook you can download and/or print out.
It has some questions to help you clarify what your daily routine needs in terms of tasks you should prioritize on good days, and what you can let go of on bad days.
This guidebook also features a weekly planner sheet you can use as a framework for your routines, with space to add notes on what needed adjustment so you know what to prioritize or get support on in the following week.
Just fill out the form below to get your copy!
May your flares be few and your sppons be plenty,