Taking Time for Self-Care With Chronic Illness

Taking Time for Self-Care With Chronic Illness

Self-care is important for spoonies, people who live with chronic illness or disability, because it can help them manage their symptoms and maintain their overall well-being. It can also help them to feel more in control of their condition, which can improve their emotional and mental health. Some examples of self-care activities include exercise, relaxation techniques, journaling, and spending time with loved ones. Additionally, self-care can help spoonies to conserve energy, prevent burnout, and better manage their symptoms.

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The information in this blog post is provided for educational and informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read online. The author of this post is not a licensed medical professional and does not assume any liability for any actions taken based on the information contained in this post.

What does self-care with chronic illness look like?

Self-care can take many forms and can be tailored to the individual’s needs and preferences. For example, some spoonies may find that gentle exercise such as yoga or swimming is helpful in managing their symptoms, while others may prefer activities such as reading or listening to music. The key is to find activities that bring a sense of calm and balance to the individual.

Self-care can also include practical measures such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and taking medications as prescribed. Additionally, it can include making time for social connections and activities that bring joy and fulfillment.

How can spoonies take time for self-care?

Making more time for self-care can be challenging, especially for those with chronic illness who may have limited energy and many responsibilities. However, there are some strategies that can help make it more manageable:

Prioritize self-care.

Make self-care a priority and schedule it into your day, just as you would any other important task.

Break self-care into small chunks.

Instead of trying to set aside large blocks of time, break self-care activities into smaller chunks that can be done throughout the day.

Delegate or outsource tasks that detract from self-care.

If possible, delegate or outsource tasks that may detract from your self-care efforts, such as cleaning or grocery shopping, to free up more time and energy for self-care.

Consider utilizing services like Instacart or Walmart Grocery to help outsource your grocery shopping! If you’re able to budget for the additional cost of delivery, these tools can help you save spoons and take more time for self-care!

Be mindful of your energy levels.

Be mindful of your “spoons,” or energy levels, throughout the day and schedule your self-care activities for times when you have more energy.

Create a dedicated self-care plan.

Create a plan for self-care that includes specific activities and the times when you will engage in them. This can help make self-care a more consistent and regular part of your routine.

Consider getting support from loved ones or professionals.

Often, people with chronic illness require support from their loved ones or healthcare professionals to help manage their condition and make time for self-care.

It’s important to remember that self-care is an ongoing process and it may take time to find what works best for you. Remember to be patient and kind to yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed.

What are some examples of self-care with chronic illness?

Here are some self-care ideas that may be beneficial for spoonies:

Gentle Exercise

Yoga, tai chi, and swimming can all be low-impact forms of exercise that are easy on the joints and can help to improve flexibility and balance. They can also help to reduce stress and promote a sense of calm. Regular exercise can help to improve overall health and reduce pain and fatigue. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional to find exercises that are safe and appropriate for your specific condition.

Relaxation Techniques

Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation can help to reduce stress and promote a sense of calm. Meditation can help to focus the mind and promote a sense of inner peace. Deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation can help to release tension in the body and promote feelings of peace. Practicing mindfulness can help you to stay present at the moment and reduce stress and anxiety.


Writing down thoughts and feelings can be a helpful way to process emotions and gain insight into one’s condition. It can also be a way to track symptoms and monitor progress over time.

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Spending Time in Nature

Being in nature can be soothing and rejuvenating, and can help to reduce stress and promote a sense of well-being. Activities such as hiking, bird-watching, or gardening can also be a form of gentle exercise.

Social Connections

Spending time with friends and loved ones, or joining a support group, can help to reduce feelings of isolation and improve emotional well-being. Talking to a therapist or counselor can help you to manage the emotional and psychological challenges of living with a chronic illness or disability. Social connections can also be a source of information, advice, and encouragement.

Creative Activities

Engaging in activities such as art, music, coloring, or writing can be a way to express emotions and promote a sense of self-expression. These activities can also be a form of relaxation and can promote feelings of accomplishment and self-worth.

Massage Therapy

A professional massage can help to relax muscles and reduce tension, which can be beneficial for managing symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and fatigue.


Essential oils can be used to create a calming environment and promote relaxation. For example, lavender oil can be used to promote a sense of relaxation.

Acupuncture or Acupressure

These therapies can help to promote relaxation, reduce pain, and improve overall well-being. I love my acupressure mat, personally!


Curling up with a good book can be a great way to relax and unwind. You can make reading even more spoonie-friendly by comparing formats, such as paperback, hardcover, Kindle, or audio editions, or order a page holder to read with less pain.

Listen to Music

Listening to music can help to reduce stress and promote a sense of calm.

Take a Warm Bath

Taking a warm bath can be a relaxing and soothing way to manage symptoms such as pain and stiffness. However, spoonies with conditions like dysautonomia should be careful to stay safe if they decide to try out a warm bath for self-care!

Get a Manicure or Pedicure

Taking care of one’s appearance can be a form of self-care and can promote feelings of self-worth. Other treatments, like a haircut or facial, can have a similar effect.

Make a Gratitude List

Taking time to reflect on the things one is grateful for can help to shift focus away from symptoms and promote a sense of well-being.


Pacing yourself and avoiding overdoing it is important for spoonies. It’s essential to recognize your limits and respect them, so you can conserve energy for the activities that are most important to you.

Self Advocacy

It’s important for spoonies to advocate for themselves, to communicate with healthcare providers, and to be informed about their health conditions.

Practical Self-Care Practices

Getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and taking medications as prescribed can help to manage symptoms and promote overall well-being. Even napping can be a helpful way to conserve energy and feel more refreshed. Eating a healthy and balanced diet can help to reduce inflammation, improve energy levels, and boost overall health.

Adaptive Self-Care

Adapting self-care activities to one’s physical limitations can make it easier to engage in self-care regularly. For example, a spoonie who has mobility limitations could practice yoga in a chair or take short walks with a walker instead of going for a run.

It’s important to remember that self-care activities can be tailored to an individual’s needs and preferences. It’s important to experiment with different activities to find what works best for you. It’s also important to consult with a healthcare professional before making any changes to your self-care routine, particularly if you have a chronic illness or disability. It’s also important to consult with a healthcare professional before making any changes to your self-care routine, particularly if you have a chronic illness or disability.

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Are there any products that might help promote self-care for spoonies?

Some great spoonie self-care products include:

A Heating Pad or Hot Water Bottle

A heating pad or hot water bottle can provide warmth and comfort to sore muscles and joints and can be used to help manage pain associated with chronic illnesses or disabilities.

Comfortable Clothing and Bedding

Clothing and bedding that is soft, breathable, and non-irritating can help people with chronic illnesses feel more comfortable and get better sleep. In addition, developing good sleep hygiene practices, such as sticking to a consistent sleep schedule and creating a comfortable sleep environment, can help you to get better sleep.

Memory Foam Mattress or Pillow

Memory foam conforms to the shape of the body and provides support, which can help reduce pain and improve sleep quality.

Essential Oils

While they are in no way a cure for chronic illness, essential oils can be used for relaxation, stress relief, and to promote a sense of well-being. Some popular oils for relaxation include chamomile, lavender, and sandalwood.

Weighted Blanket

A weighted blanket can provide a sense of deep touch pressure, which can be calming and can help with anxiety and insomnia. You can also find weighted plush if you’re looking for a more cuddly option.

Adjustable Shower Head

An adjustable showerhead can make it easier for people with chronic illnesses or disabilities to bathe comfortably. You may also consider a shower stool for bathing safety or a handheld shower massager, which can provide a soothing massage for sore muscles, which can help to reduce pain and improve circulation.

These are just a few examples of self-care products that can be helpful for spoonies. It’s also important to note that self-care is not only about products, but also about a holistic approach to self-care like having a good sleep schedule, practicing mindfulness, eating well, and engaging in activities that bring joy.

In short, self-care is an essential part of managing chronic illness or disability and can help spoonies to maintain their physical and emotional well-being, and improve their quality of life.

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