Achieving a sense of stability in your daily life with chronic illness might seem challenging, but with the right approach, it can be within your reach. However, by acknowledging my limitations and adapting activities to suit my health needs, I gradually found a balance that allowed me to lead a more stable and fulfilling life despite the persistent challenges of chronic illness. In this post, I’m sharing these strategies so that you too can discover ways to navigate the ups and downs of chronic illness and carve out your own path to stability.
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.
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Strategy One: Adaptive Daily Routines
Working towards creating more stability while living with chronic illness, the first strategy I adopted was creating adaptive daily routines. This provided me with a sense of structure, while also having the flexibility to be able to adjust things for my chronic illness (and ADHD) when needed, which helps contribute to a more manageable and fulfilling lifestyle.
Here’s what you can do to create adaptive daily routines for yourself:
- Create flexible routines for both good and bad days that you can turn to so that you can have structure with the adjustability you need for whatever your experience is that day.
- Figure out which tasks take the most energy, and which can be saved for another day. Also, consider the urgency and overall impact of the tasks. You can make a list or chart if that helps. Use these to help you create a flexible routine for days when you’re feeling well, and days when you need to shift due to your chronic illness.
- Make time for self-care & symptom management in your daily routines. Pushing through or avoiding spending time on things that help calm your nervous system or bring pain relief will just make things worse. Your well-being is worth making a special effort to include in your daily routine!
Strategy Two: Stay Connected
The second strategy that propelled me towards finding a sense of stability while living with chronic illness was finding ways to stay connected to others. At first, I was hesitant to reach out to others when I was having a bad day or felt lonely, but now I know the power of connection – especially when I can connect with others who have chronic illness and share similar experiences.
Here’s some ideas for staying connected while honoring your limitations:
- Have an accountability buddy. This is someone you can be completely honest and candid with, whether you’re feeling your best or your worst – you know you can count on them to be there for you, and you for them. Bonus if they also have experience with chronic illness, to really anchor the support you can give each other.
- Find online support through workshops, social activities, and supportive groups on social media, like The Thriving Spoonie Collective. Connecting with such communities can not only provide emotional support but also offer valuable insights, shared experiences, and practical tips for navigating the ups and downs of chronic illness.
Strategy 3: Organization
Living with chronic illness is a daily challenge, but being organized has become my go-to for stability. Calendars and reminders help me manage my energy and plan tasks based on my health needs. Keeping my living space streamlined reduces stress. Whether it’s setting realistic goals or adapting daily routines, staying organized is my lifeline, providing a practical roadmap in the midst of unpredictability. It’s not just a strategy; it’s how I navigate the complexities of chronic illness with resilience and control.
Take a look at how getting more organized in my physical space as well as in my daily tasks has helped me, and how it can help you, too:
- Decluttering and streamlining my living and work spaces has really helped me (and my husband!) in terms of having less to manage and spend energy on. There’s less to manage, and less stuff in the way, which improves accessibility. It also helps motivate us to not get too behind on chores (if we only have a few dishes or towels each, we’re more inclined to make sure they get washed before we need them again). I’m not into minimalism personally, but having only the things that I use or bring me comfort or joy and letting go of the rest has definitely helped when it comes to pacing my chores and daily routines.
- Use tools like planners, calendars, and reminders to help you stay organized and know where your energy needs to go. This can be a bit of a challenge for my ADHD, but the method that works for myself and my husband is putting our plans on a clear calendar on the fridge. We can write on it with colorful dry erase markers, and because we look at it several times a day, it’s not likely we’ll forget things. I also use my phone alarms to set timers when I need them, and sync everything through my Google Calendar to remind me of any events 30 minutes beforehand so I have a buffer period if needed. These methods help me know how to pace myself on any given day, and offer different ways to adjust my schedule if needed.
- That brings me to my last tip for this strategy, which is being sure to prioritize tasks and events to give yourself the best chance for pacing according to energy expenditure, as well as what your current energy level is. Of course, chronic illness fluctuates, so there are no guarantees, but we can do our best.
Unlock Your Potential: How My Daily Routine Guidebook for Spoonies Can Facilitate Your Success
Learning from my experience, I’ve put together the Daily Routine Guidebook for Spoonies to help you streamline your journey toward stability with chronic illness. This guidebook is your hands-on resource, offering real-world insights and actionable tips that I’ve personally found helpful. It’s a roadmap tailored for your daily life, covering everything from managing self-care to setting achievable goals and adapting routines to fit your energy levels.
Navigating life with chronic illness while finding a sense of stability is a journey filled with learning. But armed with the right strategies, you can turn your aspirations into reality.
Ready to follow my path to success? Start your journey today by downloading my Daily Routine Guidebook for Spoonies below!
Until next time,