Being sick for long periods of time, dealing with chronic pain and being chronically ill all comes with not feeling or being better for a longer time span than just a couple of days. Since I’ve been forced to figure out how to deal with these scenarios myself due to my illness and the aftermath of the accidents I was in, I thought it would make a good post to share some of my coping methods with you!
This post is not about feeling absolutely joyous about life when it feels like it currently freakin sucks, it’s about making an effort to add all sorts of good stuff to your life so that the feeling of good becomes a bigger part of your everyday - so that the bad isn't what completely weights you down even though it’s still there.
So you can be like – yeah, I’m not at all happy to having been dealing with this crap for months now but I just got my hands on this cronut from Dominique Ansel’s bakery so I’m good.
I know that when it comes to illnesses and chronic pain there’s never a one size fits all as with all things in life. Knowing that - here’s my take on how to feel a little better when you’re not better...
"Lot's of people making lots of small decisions in their everyday lives can and will lead to huge impact... So let's start small, practical, and realistic." - Abigail Driscoll
Wear something you love
Don't you feel so much better when you wear stuff you love? Well, I do. It empowers me. It makes me feel less like crap + more like a human who just doesn't feel very well. Some sick-days I have energy enough to dress up real pretty even though I know I probably won't even leave the house, but some days are simplemente sweatpants or no-pants-at-all days.
When it comes to the sweatpants situation I always think of Finn in Adventure Time saying “Yeah, don’t you always say call sweatpants, give-up-on-life-pants, Jake?”
This makes me laugh so hard, but seriously I think Jake's onto something. Having a nice pajamas, or sweatpants that doesn't make you feel like a hobo makes all the difference. Then you can lounge around in your sweats and still feel like you actually had energy to put together a decent outfit. Unless you love your old sweatpants, then by all means wear them. After all - let’s be honest here - who wants to wear skinny tight jeans when the whole week is dedicated to recovering (aka laying on the sofa watching Netflix) anyways.
Do something that makes you feel beautiful
I don’t know about you, but when I’m sleep deprived, really sick or in more pain than usual, I often tend to feel – dare I say it – ugly. It’s a phenomenon I have yet to figure out, because it is by no means an everyday scenario, but it happens nonetheless.
So, doing things that me feel beautiful automatically make me feel less sick. I’ve already covered clothing, and if that is what makes you feel pretty that’s awesome. But if you feel beautiful when you put your hair in a bun and cover your face with a nutritious homemade avocado face mask, I say - go for it. If you feel beautiful when dancing in front of the mirror wearing nothing but your underwear, do it. If, after weeks of bad sleep, putting some makeup on makes you feel more like a human, by all means, wear that blush with pride.
As long as you do these things for you and yourself only and it truly makes your soul a little happier, you win.
This can be really hard especially if you live by yourself and have no partner to help you out or if you have kids to cook for, because I know how hard it can be to cook something worthy of one’s body aka skipping out on Burger King or McDonalds when one barely has energy enough to take a shower. For me, if the latter becomes a habit instead of an exception, I end up feeling drained, full of junk, tired and my body has a hard time recovering. So, I have come up with two techniques to make these scenarios more of a rarity:
1. The “For the bad days” jar where I put change whenever I have some to save some money for take-out that isn’t just a $1 burger, but rather a good meal that strengthens me and contains everything that my body needs.
2. When I cook – I usually make sure there will be leftovers. I just put the leftovers in the freezer and eat it on days I'm not able to cook.
“I cry very easily. It can be a movie, a phone conversation, a sunset–tears are words waiting to be written.” – Paulo Coelho
I always feel like crying is important. I believe in crying. When I’m exhausted I cry. When I’m convinced my body is trying to kill me I cry. When I’m grateful or see something awfully beautiful I cry. If you ask me I say crying is pretty damn badass. The feels have to go somewhere, right?
Crying is cleansing, a forward motion and it even helps your body rid itself of nasty chemicals that raises cortisol. Feel ALL the feels! *high five*
Wear the prettiest underwear you own
Especially on the no-pants-at-all days. Nuff said.
Make room for the good stuff
Clutter is not just physical stuff. It's old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does not support your better self. - Eleanor Brownn.
This quote pretty much explains it all. So next time you’re waiting for your laundry to dry – delete all of those FB friends that you never talk to; all of those who give your bad vibes or make you a tad bit uncomfortable. Ponder about what things you do during the day that doesn't benefit your health and contentment or add any quality to your life and if you can - cut. them. out. One of my favorite pins ever is this quote: "Never put off 'til tomorrow what you can straight up cancel."
There's a lot of things that you don't have to do. Like for real - think about it. These things add up and drains you on your precious energy. Declutter. Feel a little lighter. Feel a little better. Make more space for awesomesauce.
Find pleasure + prioritize feel-good habits
Yeah yeah so I'm convinced that letting go of stuff that doesn't serve you is the bomb. "Make room for the good stuff" was intentionally before this part since I think it's pure insanity to just add activities to your life if you're already overwhelmed by to-do's, demands and unnecessary crap. Know where your spoons are going! So, when it's appropriate, I think adding stuff/activities to your life that make your heart & soul happy really is one of the best ways to feel better when you're not better.
Since I freeze on a daily basis one my favorite feel-good habit is taking hot baths. If I want to make it a little extra special, I bring with me something to eat + drink, one of my current reads and sometimes add some lavender essential oil to the water. Two other things I find pleasure in is slow mornings and dancing, the latter which also happens to be one of the few sports I am able to practice without jeopardizing my health. These are things I've decided to make time for, because I know how important they are for me and my well being.
Other rad stuff to find pleasure in can be scheduling alone-time to watch a couple of episodes of your favorite show, working out (if you are able to), making a cup of hot chocolate and cuddle on the sofa, listening to music, lying in the hammock, getting yourself those donuts you've been longing for all week or working those cooking skills. It can even be as simple as using your favorite tea cup. There's a lot of pleasure to be found in simple things. Whatever works for you.
Remember to do what you can, don't do what you can't do and treat yourself like you would a loved one. I myself will most likely revisit this post every now and then to remind me of that too, because it's easy to forget.