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How to Plan Ahead for Days When Your Body Is 'Behaving Badly'

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Those of us living with chronic illness know all too well how our bodies rebel against us with little warning.

Every morning I tentatively wake up, opening one eye at a time very slowly, scared to move. Will my body behave a little today? Will the slightest movement cause searing pain?

Usually it’s the latter. Pain is my constant companion.

Some days though my body just behaves badly… all day! On those days I find myself having a very one-sided conversation with said body. It goes something like this:

“Really? You’re going to do that to me today?”

“You don’t think I had enough of your pain yesterday?”

“I would actually like to get a few things done today. I need to write, I’ve got to get out for blood tests. I’d love to go for a coffee with my husband.”

The only response I get to this conversation is more intense pain.

How to Handle a Body Behaving Badly

Oh, that there was an easy answer to this. It’s not like we can send it to the naughty corner. We can’t really ground our body for weeks on end. It’s wanting to do that to us already so it would be a happy reward for it. So what do I do?


My body obviously can’t speak to me with words. My symptoms and pain are all ways it communicates with me. If it’s behaving badly it’s because it needs rest and attention. I need to listen to it and adjust my day… whether I like it or not. No point sulking, that will only increase the pain.


On “body behaving badly” days, I re-schedule everything possible to another day. All my activities are in my phone calendar so with a click of a button I can quickly see what’s possible to do and what needs moving to another day. I never move anything to the next day. I’ve learned that a minimum of a few days are required to recover from a full body rebellion.


It’s a bit like waving the white flag and surrendering but sometimes that’s all you can do. Taking the time you need to rest, as boring as that becomes when you are chronically ill, is the one sure way to get back to the activities you love to do.


This is my new life. I don’t have to be happy about the really bad days, but I do need to accept that they are a part of my life.


Having special treats that you reserve for your “body behaving badly” days can help soften the blow. Choose things that help you relax.

It might be you save a favorite DVD boxset. You love it so much, but you deny yourself the pleasure of watching it when you’re doing well, so you have an amazing treat awaiting you when you are laid low.

You’ll be surprised how something as simple as this can ignite a feeling of excitement in the midst of your pain.

The Importance of Planning Ahead

Often we don’t think about how to manage our “body behaving badly” days until they happen. It’s a bit late then.

We need to plan ahead and put in place coping strategies that can be implemented with ease on those bad days/weeks.

So, if you’re having a good day or remission period, take some time to plan for the bad days while you have the energy to put some strategies together.If nothing else you’ll have peace of mind and a few treats tucked away to look forward to.

Next time you open your eyes first thing in the morning and realise it’s a “Body Behaving Badly” kind of day, your conversation now might go something like this:

“Really! We’re doing this again?”

“Well, you might be hurting me, but I have a strategic plan to inject some joy into my day and I intend to use it.”

Getty photo by Grandfailure

Originally published: March 4, 2018
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