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12 Things People Do to 'Escape' Chronic Illness

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If you live with chronic illness, symptoms can be ever so present and disruptive to your life. Wouldn’t it be nice to take a vacation from being chronically ill? I know I would. While this is not possible, we can “escape” from being chronically ill for a bit. You just have to find the right distraction or activity.

TikToker Ellen Stafford, who runs the account  @webkinny with her niece, has found that making TikToks allows her to escape from her chronic fatigue syndrome for a bit. Stafford told SomersetLive that she tries her “hardest to be upbeat and bubbly and make people smile” when she makes TikToks.

If TikTok is not your cup of tea, there are plenty of other activities that you can do to help escape from your chronic illness for just a bit. We asked members of The Mighty’s chronic illness community to share what activities help keep their minds off of chronic illness.

Here is what they had to share: 

1. Reading

“Reading fluffy novels has been my go-to over the past year.” – Kat

“I can get lost in a good book or even an article and check out of reality for a bit.” – Linda

“I read comics and some self-help books.” – Tabbey

2. Crocheting

“I crochet when my wrist and hand pain isn’t bad. It distracts my mind for a while and, at the end, I have a handmade blanket, hat, or stuffed animal.” – Rose

3. Coloring

” I color in adult coloring books.” – Patty

4. Going on The Mighty

“Chatting on the Mighty and finding things to post in my group.” – grrrgirl

5. Watching Netflix

“Watching Netflix. I’ve watched all nine seasons of ‘American Horror Story’ recently, and the chaos in that world seems to be a distraction from mine.” – Julia

6. Going outside

“I love to walk and hike outdoors with my husband. I love being outside and being active! Seeing nature reminds me of how blessed I am and distracts me from my fibromyalgia.” – Liz

“I try to get out in nature as much as I can…to breathe the fresh air and feel the warmth from the sun on my body comforts me.” – Sandra

7. Making Soaps

“Soap and bath bomb making.” – Dani

8. Being With Pets

“My kitty is my best distraction. On good days, I take her out for walks. On bad days, she cuddles up to me.” – Donna-Jean

“Spending time with Vega the cat.” – Hanne

“My dogs and music.” – Alicia

9. Listening to Music

“Crank it up and dance and or listen quietly. So many different options. An array of artistry to soothe the body, mind, and soul!” – Gail

“I use music and singing (badly!) to do things like dinner, dishes.” – Susan

10. Catching Up With People

“I also love it when somebody comes for coffee and a chat.” – Beckley

11. Cosplay

“I love making things and getting to dress up as different characters let me forget about my illnesses for a little bit.” – Kayleigh

12. Video games

“Watching Netflix helps a bit but what I find works best for me is playing video games. Now the game depends on the pain level. ‘Animal Crossing’ is a nice, relaxing and low-stakes game to play on high pain days. ‘Pokémon’ is good for high pain days too.” – Emily

What activities help you escape from chronic illness?

Image via Getty Images/Svetlana Aganina

Originally published: January 25, 2021
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