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11 Things I Do to Manage Bad Flare-Up Days

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Living with a chronic illness is hard. I have been chronically sick for more than five-and-a-half years. There are a few things I have found helpful when I’m under bad flare-ups.

Now, every individual is different and doesn’t mean what helps one would help others, too, but I thought of sharing some of my tips to manage your symptoms on those days when you just can’t get up from bed.

1. Rest

Rest is often underrated, especially because we are pressured into working like a healthy person. Sometimes other people make us feel like we shouldn’t be resting. Yet sometimes it’s us who feel guilty about resting so much and force ourselves to be active.

There’s something I want to tell you. No matter what happens, if you feel like taking rest, please leave all work and do so. Your bodies are already fighting. They need energy to work and resting at proper intervals is important for well functioning of your body.

2. Water

Unless there is a medical reason that you have to drink a limited amount of water, be sure to keep yourself hydrated. Well-hydrated bodies work well. Water also helps me fight pain and other infections.

3. Distract yourself.

If your health allows, you can read books. Simple novels or children’s books are good for days when brain fog is high. Or you can delve into fantasy, horror or anything that helps take your mind off the symptoms. It’s totally up to what you enjoy reading!

4.  Audiobooks

For days when reading can be intimidating, audiobooks are life savers. You can just lie down in a comfortable position and listen to your heart’s content. Plus who doesn’t like listening to stories?

5. Inspiration

There are days when we feel stuck in this life and want to get well at any cost. A little inspiration can be really helpful to keep us motivated. The internet is full of inspiring quotes and pictures. You can also follow people on social media who post positive and encouraging stuff. You can always use #inspiration on Instagram and you’ll see a number of people living through this hard life, inspiring others on the way. Or you can read some inspirational stories on Google.

6. YouTube/TV

My illness causes me to lie on the bed 90 percent of the time, so if you are one of those who feel stuck in your room and long to go out and have exciting experiences, I feel you. But for me, watching TV shows, movies and YouTube videos is like forgetting this world and this illness for a while. Travel vlogs are great if you love traveling! I personally love BookTube and beauty-related videos. Plus, there are always cute and funny animal videos! A little laugh is good for your health!

7. Arts and crafts

If you are well enough, you can always go for some mindful coloring or any fun craft. Personally, I’m not well enough for that, so YouTube still remains my biggest savior!

8. Music

I don’t think I need to explain this one but focus on listening to music that uplifts you and makes you feel good. Avoid music or any other thing that brings back bad memories.

9. Pamper yourself

Girls know how much painting nails and simple face masks help improve their mood. And you don’t have to do that on your own. If you have a caretaker, you can always ask him or her to do little pampering for you. It’s crazy how much these little things make you feel better!

10. Simply observe

This is something I do most of the time. I just lie on my bed and observe my family doing chores and talking around the house. It’s very soothing because you don’t have to spend your energy and yet you feel like you are a part of the activity. My family loves to sit with me and tell me everything about their day and hilarious conversations with their friends. I don’t even have to speak. I just nod because they know the intensity of my illness. It’s very enjoyable because you get to listen to so many things about the outside world without having to fear any payback.

And if you are well enough, you could talk to your family or friends and even indulge in some video game or board games with them.

11. Pet therapy

If you have pets, you know what I’m talking about. There’s nothing better than pet therapy and you get to strengthen your bond with your fur baby on these bad days!

I want to tell you that while we struggle with severe illnesses, it’s not necessary to not be happy. Even if you cannot leave the house or bed (like me), I think you can always find little things to make you happy.

And if nothing works, just pull up your comforter and have a good sleep. Take as much rest as you want to and do all that gives you joy, but always remember that not all days are same. Change is constant. You might be traveling to your favorite city the same time next year! You never know!

Until then, just keep holding on and never lose hope.

Originally published: September 1, 2016
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