I know all too well how easy it is to become a professional couch potato when you have a chronic illness. And sometimes that is literally all you’re capable of doing. But other times we may be doing it out of habit, and it can get boring at times. Here are some other fun alternatives that don’t require too much physical exertion.
I have borrowed some of the ideas from a fantastic list put together by Michelle of Making Sense of Cents. While her post is great for most people, I decided to make a more doable list for us chronic illness warriors.
Update: Be sure to read the comments below for some additional great activity ideas. 😊
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I don’t know about you, but I find many benefits in doing crafts. One it exercises my creativity. Second, I find it reduces stress, and lastly, it doesn’t matter how fast or slow I move, I can still create something beautiful.
I love doing crafts, and I love even more that it’s something I can still do while I have brain fog. For me, my brain fog can severely affect the left side of my brain. It can take away almost all of my analytical thinking, makes me confused, and can change my speech. I have found, though, that my brain fog doesn’t hinder my ability to be creative. I might still be moving and thinking slower, but when it comes to creativity, that’s okay. My go-to craft is cross stitch, but I’ve provided others below.
- Cross stitch. My favorite patterns are from this shop on Etsy.
- Punch needle
- Rug Hooking
- Crochet – Check out Jonah’s Hands for inspiration and tutorials.
- Adult coloring – I love these chronic illness coloring books I found here and here. I’ve also found adult coloring books at the dollar store.
- Friendship bracelets
- Painting with acrylics or watercolor.
- Cake decorating
- Create a photobook
Unplug with Games
Games can be a fun way to spend time. It can also give you an excuse to invite a friend or two over for a visit.
Here’s a list of a few games to get you started.
- Card games – Ranker has a great list of the most popular card games
- Scrabble or Bananagrams
- Crossword Puzzles
- Word find
- Pass the Pigs – A silly game you can play, even when you have brain fog!
Work your Mind, Body, and Spirit
- Meditate – There are great free meditations on youtube. I also like the app 10% Happier (I’m still using the free version), and there are courses on Udemy.
- Start a gratitude journal. I started writing down what I was thankful for this fall, and it has helped me tremendously in trying to stay positive.
- Write a list of goals. Just because you’re chronically ill, it doesn’t mean you have to give up all your life goals. Yes, we may have to give up some, but we can also rework some of our goals to accommodate our chronic illness. We can always create new ones that we can achieve with a chronic illness.
- Do some stretches and/or a light workout even if it’s from your bed. Here are some videos on yoga for chronic illness.
- Read a book.
- Make a playlist.
- Learn something new. I’ve taken a few courses from Udemy and have enjoyed them. Udemy has frequent sales, and during these times, many of their courses are less than $20.
Connect with People
I don’t know about you, but being chronically ill can be very lonely sometimes. When I went into remission and reconnected with friends, I realized that most of my friends mostly stopped talking to me because they became busy with their own lives. Unfortunately, when you’re out of sight, you become out of mind with a lot of people. Does it suck? Yes, it does, but that doesn’t mean your old friends wouldn’t love to hear from you.
- Call, email, or text a friend or family member
- Handwrite a letter and send it through snail mail
- Respond to or post a question in your online support group
If You Have Nice Weather Get Outside
Sometimes spending time outside can really have a positive impact on how you’re feeling.
- Sit out on your front porch or back deck
- Have a picnic
- Watch the sunset
- Watch the sunrise
- Go for a short walk
- Go to a local outdoor concert
- Look at the stars
- Drive or ask someone to drive you to a state/national park. You may not be able to hike, but you can still take in the scenery and maybe stop at a lookout on the side of the road.
Take pictures wherever you go to capture memories of your adventure.