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20 'Habits' of People With Chronic Illness Who Are Having a 'Good Health Day'

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Living with a chronic illness can be extremely unpredictable, including not knowing when you will have better days or be in remission. Many people with chronic illness do not know when their next flare will hit them, which can be very scary. Those living with chronic illness can pick up a habit, or many, when they are in a state of remission or are just having a better day. These habits can range from healthy to harmful.

I have found trying to create healthy habits on my better days to be a major challenge, as I try to get done as much as possible. And even major lifestyle changes that I thought were positive, like trying to change my diet to prevent future flares, can even trigger a flare.

We asked The Mighty community to share a habit they have when they’re in a period of better health or remission. Here are 20 responses from community members of what they do when they are feeling better, the good and the bad. Let us know in the comments if you relate to any of these habits, and if you have any to add.

  1. Questioning myself. I think ‘Am I actually better? Getting better maybe? Or am I in a small remission but it does not matter because I cannot do too much.’ And if it is kind of a long remission, I think ‘Wait. Do I actually have this? Is it actually in my head?’” — Alexandra Brooke A.
  2. “Pushing to get as much done as possible. I never know when I will have energy to get stuff done so when I do have energy I squeeze in as much as I can, sometimes overdoing it.” — Kayleigh B.
  3. “I get outside and try to keep up with my teenage boys, whatever they want and date night with my husband. I’ve also been known to attack big projects like cleaning the garage. Last time I tried that I got everything out into the driveway, sorted, swept, organized and labeled then cried because I ran out of gas and still had to get it all back in from the driveway. Took me three days to recover from that day.” — Tracey P.
  4. [I] shower daily. Also, writing [and] journaling. When I feel well enough I write every day. When I am not feeling well, I am lucky if I manage to write once a week.” — Patricia H.
  5.  “I just go. Like a kid on Christmas, I want to be up early. Coffee with [my husband and] cooking for my family. Let’s leave the house and walk anywhere. I feel good and I don’t want to waste a second of it on anything that I don’t love.” — Tawnee T.
  6.  “I constantly have a list in my head of things I need to get finished. On my good days, I’ll try to catch up and take on the entire list so it’s not there to stress me out on bad days, which I will induce by working my butt off to finish my list.” — Maureen D.
  7. I initiate plans with people! Pretty shocking as usually I would be too scared to even go to an event that others planned.” — Nicholle U.
  8. “[I] constantly wonder when the next flare will hit. For a minute, I’ll be extra cautious but then I’ll overwork myself and screw it all up again.” — Doni N.
  9. “I take the day off. Because the pain will come back anyway, and you have to enjoy life to be able to cope with the bad days.” — Linda B.
  10. “[I work on my] diet. The better I eat, the longer I tend to feel decent.” — Megan D
  11. “[I get] up at a good hour after sleeping well and, [and I] the energy and motivation to exercise.” — Mary-Kate M.
  12. “I try to act as I would have when my body wasn’t in pain all the time. It’s not something I do consciously. It’s almost like a feeling of freedom, and I know the clock’s ticking before the pain comes back.” — Robin V.
  13. “When I’m feeling better, I have a bad habit of letting go of the habits that got me there — meditation, regular sleep, some kind of exercise, neurofeedback — and then I’ll slip back out of remission. You’d think I’d learn.” — Elizabeth H.
  14. I say yes to everything! I spent too many hours in bed, canceling plans or just unable to participate in life. I go 180 mph into everything!” — Samantha B.
  15. ” [I doubt] myself! Every time I feel somewhat good or even just OK, I always start questioning if I’m really that sick, am I lying to myself.” — Tatjana F.
  16. I go for a daily walk. Trying to work up to three times a day. When I’m feeling medium, it’s easy to walk. When I’m feeling bad, it’s easy to couch-potato. When I’m feeling good, it’s easy to forget the damn disease. Truth: I need to remember this disease is forever, and I need to walk daily in the good times and the bad times!” — Keren C.
  17. I go to concerts! I love live music, but it’s hard to rally when I feel terrible. I try and treat myself to concert tickets when I’m feeling OK. Makes listening to that music when I’m not feeling well so much sweeter.” — Haley Q.
  18. I get lax with my diet. It always ends up setting me back again, though! I’m trying to stay on top of healthy eating even when I’m feeling well. My body can’t afford for me not to!” — Tamara D.
  19. “I take advantage of times that I feel better to offer to go out to dinner or to a movie with my husband. Most evenings I’m just not up to it — and while he is very understanding, I know it has to be disappointing when I just want to order in and watch TV or a movie at home. So I try to jump the gun and just make that offer when I am having a good day so that I’m paying attention to his needs as well.” — Renee G.
  20. I get errands done. Little things like returning books to the library on time or trying to take care of my cats better and play with them more while I am in a better mood or have more energy help. I am even thinking of starting a jigsaw puzzle just because I know the cats will have a ball and I concentrate better and bond with them in a quirky way.” — Michelle M.

What “habits” would you add? Let us know in the comments below!

Originally published: September 24, 2018
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