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23 Spoonie Hacks That Can Make Life With Chronic Illness Way Easier

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If you’re a spoonie it means you have a chronic illness that probably limits the amount of energy you have each day. You might not be able to do everything you want without crashing later, so saving energy (“spoons”) wherever you can becomes crucial.

Since every spoonie has his or her own tricks and strategies to conserving energy, we asked our Mighty community to share their best “hacks” that help make their lives easier. From getting through a busy work day to saving spoons while showering, this is what real people with chronic illnesses do to manage exhaustion.

Here’s what the community told us:

1. “Shower chairs are an incredible invention. Use them!”

2. “I plan the next day every night before I go to bed with a notebook… what to wear, what to take for lunch, what kind of schedule I have for work, pack any essential items I may need, and etc. It makes the mornings so much easier to have a plan because if I am stressed or anxious it all just gets worse, and if I don’t have a plan and my mind gets all fuzzy then I am just a frantic, confused mess.”

3. “Have stools in the kitchen. Sitting and cooking or washing up is so much easier!”

4. “My slow cooker! I have a family of four to feed so almost every day I slow cook! I put it on in the morning when I still have a few spoons because by 5 p.m. I’m all out of spoons. I also like to precut and have organized foods in the fridge for my boys — that way if I’m not feeling well after I pick them up from school they have food they can just grab.”

5. “If I have four things to do in a day, I only do two, maybe three — that way I feel in control when I stop, rather than letting the pain and/or exhaustion dictate when I stop and make me frustrated.”

6. “I also have baskets under the coffee table with extra meds and things to keep me busy like knitting and coloring when I am stuck on the couch all day. Don’t worry, no kids around to get into the med basket. They’re fabric, nice-looking baskets, too, so people often don’t notice what’s in them. I also do the same for my meds in my closet. A nice pretty basket organized by specific meds so my husband can just grab the whole thing for me instead of rifling around looking for something.”

7. “I order from Amazon on a program called Subscribe and Save. The same time each month I get an automatic shipment of things I buy regularly, like dog food, vitamins, personal care items. This saves me time and money. Leaving the house is always a pain day for me so these shipments keep me from having to go out. It really is very helpful to me.”

8. “The CareZone app has spots to write your symptoms, a medication scanner so you can have all of them in your phone and a calendar to track appointments and it even sends reminders. There’s also an option to get your prescriptions delivered to your door which is nice, but [I] have never tried.”

9. “I suffer from short-term memory problems, or brain fog. When I think of something for later, I often record a video of myself explaining my thoughts. That way, I can reference it later when I struggle to think, ‘What was I supposed to remember?’”

10. “Lots of batch cooking. I spend a day or two whipping up things that are healthy and go in the freezer. Then I can take out something and have multiple meal options with minimal fuss and energy.”

11. “When you tell people you don’t have energy to tackle all your chores at once, they often tell you to break it down by room. Tackle the bathroom one day, the kitchen the next, etc. Well, sometimes I don’t even have energy for that much work. So I break it down by task and order of importance, and then I tackle those one step at a time. If I can only clean the toilets one day and have to put off the other, non-pressing chores, so be it. I’ve come to peace with the fact that my dwelling is never going to be spotless, and that’s perfectly understandable.”

12. “Phone and tablet cases that hold them up without you physically holding them are great. We all know the priorities of still needing to use technology even at our worst.”

13. “I have wellness Wednesday. I take that one day of the week to shut down and rest. I will juice, yoga (if I feel like it), detox bath, and for dinner, I eat super clean. I just allow myself the whole day off. I also use Amazon Prime as much as possible and Kroger ClickList for my grocery shopping. It has been a lifesaver.”

14. “My hack is ‘No.’ I had to learn it for myself, for others, for everything. No, you don’t have to shower today. And it’s OK. No, I can’t cook for ____ work function. No, I can’t direct traffic at school. No. And no with no excuses. ‘I’d like to but no, I can’t. I’m not sure how my body will handle that so I’m going to have to decline.’”

15. “I can’t sit on park benches or stand for long periods of time. So, I keep a camping chair in my car — that way I can take my kids to the park or pool.”

16. “I put together an ER pack for when it’s time to go with all the essentials.”

17. “Fancy leggings and tunic tops I can wear at work and feel comfortable.”

18. “Give yourself the same love and compassion you would give someone you love or even your childhood self dealing with this.”

19. “Something I’ve been doing lately is rolling around on my office chair. When I’m too sick to stand I can vacuum, clean, change room or do many things in my makeshift wheelchair.”

20. “Become very deliberate about grocery shopping, meal planning, and cooking/food prep… When I shop, I meal-plan three to four meals during a shopping trip, then I write a rough schedule for meals for the week so I can have things pulled out of the freezer if need be, and I don’t have to think too hard/process things when I’m not feeling well.”

21. “Have Poptarts and Gatorade by the bed for those days your body can’t fathom getting up.”

22. “If you suffer from sensory overloads (autism, fibromyalgia, etc.) or chronic migraines/headaches, wear sunglasses inside so you don’t have to be in a pitch black room. (Though, if it’s not enough and need to be in a pitch black room, do so and ignore this advice).”

23. “Asking for help. Sometimes its so hard to do, but my friends and family have been amazing to me. I have been carried, pushed around in my wheelchair, helped to eat, drink, change my clothes, wash my hair. They have even helped me care for my children. My support network is my everything.”

What spoonie “hacks” make your life easier? Share in the comments below.

 23 Spoonie Hacks That Can Make Life With Chronic Illness Way Easier


Originally published: February 10, 2017
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