A day with chronic illness: 5 tips & tricks to help you get through it

I would never say it is easy to get through the day, when you have to deal with chronic illness. Cause let’s be honest: most of the time it just sucks tremendously. However, there are certain things you can control! Here are some tips & tricks that we can choose to follow, every single day again, that might help us and give us the little nudge that we often need.

Drinking coffee with friends in a coffee bar: that is my way to get through the day with chronic illness
Continue reading for the final tip: Find your tribe! Mine is with friends in coffee bars around the corner

1 ~ Routine and how it helps getting through the day with chronic illness

The first one, and one that is very important to me: stick to your routine. Whether you wake up with many “spoons” or you have a day that already feels hard from the start: give your body and brain the gift of routine. Unfortunately, the unpredictability of chronic illness-life is something we always need to consider. To counter that, routine can give a sense of stability and control. This will help reducing anxiety. It will also provide you with a sense of purpose and achievement, which is an amazing gift to give yourself (and your brain! The hormones released after ticking of an “accomplishment” can even be pain-reducing!).

Routine also encourages you to look after yourself: certain actions of self-care can be very helpful getting through the day.

Routine will also help you to not make too many plans on days you have a few more spoons left, avoiding a backlash the day after.

Keep it simple though! Make it as easy as “brushing your teeth in the morning”: give yourself a reason to get up out of bed (even if it is to get to the sofa straight away).

Not sure what you can incorporate? I’ve made a “Morning Routine” freebie guide that can help you with the first steps to creating that routine! You can download it for free by clicking here or the button below!

2 ~ Listen and set boundaries

Listen to your body and set boundaries. I strongly believe that your body tells you everything you need to know. Dealing with chronic illness makes it harder to listen to and trust it, so take the time to get to know your body and signals again. And sometimes you can’t tell/feel and that is okay. I find that taking time to meditate, journal or intuitive dance, helps me ground and get back in touch with my gut feeling.

With regards to setting boundaries: personally, my friends & family know when making appointments that there is always a chance I need to cancel. We made a pact with my friends that we now cheer each other on if we cancel, even if it is because of simple reasons as “not feeling my greatest” or “tired”. We trust our friendship and know that it is not a personal rejection, but a need of something different in that moment. So we cheer each other on!

Talking about it with my friends & family, really helped me setting boundaries. I am still not the best at it: many therapy sessions I still attend, even though I feel my body might need something different at that moment. And that is okay. It’s all about finding the balance in life and just trying your best is good enough. So never forget that whilst exploring and navigating this area of listening to your body and setting boundaries.

3 ~ Leave room for spontaneity

Leave room for spontaneous appointments or spontaneous chill days/evenings! I have a clear rule: no (social) activities 2 evenings in a row, especially not when I have therapy sessions. Also, I do not plan more than (max!) 2 therapy sessions on 1 day.

I hear you ask: why?! It is because leaving room and time allows for unplanned moments of joy and connection. To me, this brings a feeling of normalcy. Balancing routine with spontaneity helps me feel empowered to prioritize my health and happiness in the “present moment” (and all we’ve got is the present moment!).

A group of people sitting on rocks next to the sea. They are doing different activities from sunbathing to combing hair to being on the phone. Leave room for spontaneity during your day with chronic illness
Leave room for spontaneous activities during your day with chronic illness: go grab a picnic or go for a swim. Or do nothing at all and allow yourself to enjoy that!

4 ~ Watch your diet and the impact it has on your day with chronic illness

Watch your diet: I know: I also love a big bowl of crisps or popcorn every now and then. But your food intake can negatively and massively impact your symptoms. Highly inflammatory foods such as processed food, can put your body under stress and activate your immune system. This can trigger your symptoms. So make sure your normal day-to-day lifestyle comes with a balanced and healthy food diet that stimulates the body’s selfhealing processes and improve your overall wellbeing.

Do you not know how or what it means? I always use the rule: get as many different colours on your plate. And make them fresh, so buy the whole carrot instead of already chopped ones.

Top budget tip: go to the market right before they close. Many stall holders will heavily discount their leftover veggies, as they need to get rid of them!

For some people it can also really help to eat low-inflammatory foods. That means: no processed, lots of different coloured veggies and low/no gluten. You can find many recipes like that on my Instagram @eatcleanwithlien or in the Food & Recipes section on this website!

want this great gluten free enchiladas recipe? click here

5 ~ Find your tribe

Find your tribe! And gosh, I hope you can find your tribe here at The Spoonies Community. Finding the people you can ask for support, who can empathise with what you’re going through, help you out with practicalities, makes such a difference. It can help you with a sense of belonging, battle loneliness (cause trust me: we’ve all been there and unfortunately living your day with chronic illness is a very lonely process!) and acceptation. Finding your tribe can also help you with motivation, inspiration and encouragement. We all celebrate each other and cheer each other on, with “wins” that may seem so tiny to anyone not dealing with chronic illness, but we know it is a massive step.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for the newsletter and you’ll be the first one updated on when the community channels are live!

Do you have any questions or feedback? Then please do not hesitate to reach out via Instagram DM’s or send an email to hello@thespooniescommunity.com

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