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8 Tips for Enjoying Hobbies With Fibromyalgia and Chronic Illness

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When you live with a chronic illness such as fibromyalgia, you may be too tired or in too much pain to pursue your interests and hobbies. When even necessary tasks like showering and getting dressed are a struggle, having fun may sound too exhausting to be worthwhile. What can you do about this? Here are eight tips for enjoying hobbies despite, with, and even because of chronic illness.

Karianne, leader of The Mighty’s Fibromyalgia and Friends group says:

Have you ever had moments when you just want to quit following your passions because your chronic illness has taken so much away from you? I’ve been there (and hope to never be in that position again).

Having always been a very active person, my hobbies include hiking, nature walks with my dog and landscape photography. But because I experience intense fatigue that comes with my chronic pain, I’ve had to make adjustments that work for me.

Here are some tips for enjoying hobbies from one fibro warrior to another:

1. Plan ahead if you are doing an outing.

Do you need to bring pain medication with you? Do you have all your mobility aids? Will you need some help getting to your destination?

2. Do not force yourself. Hobbies should be fun!

If you are having a bad pain day, take some time to rest and recharge instead.

3. Know your surroundings.

If you are doing things that require physical energy, plan shorter trips if possible and have an exit plan if needed.

4. Make yourself as comfortable as possible to reduce chronic pain while enjoying hobbies and interests.

For indoor activities such as knitting or embroidery, you could make a pillow mountain on your couch or do it from bed.

More tips from our community for enjoying hobbies while living with a chronic illness:

5. If you’re stuck in bed, you can still find fun activities to do.

Mighty contributor Adele has to spend a lot of time in bed due to severe chronic fatigue. But she’s found lots of fun activities she can do. Read her ideas here — which hobbies would you enjoy?

6. Sometimes you can adapt a hobby to be more accessible to you as someone with a chronic illness or disability.

Gardening might seem like a difficult hobby to pursue if you struggle with chronic illness symptoms, but many people in our Mighty community have found ways to continue growing plants. From raised flower beds to indoor succulents, check out tips for gardening with a chronic illness or disability.

7. It’s OK to experience grief about hobbies you can’t enjoy as often because of chronic illness, or had to give up entirely.

Chronic illness can be life-altering, and sometimes you may have to give up hobbies because of chronic pain, fatigue and other difficult symptoms. Mighty contributor Shannon Jade shares her experience grieving the loss of hobbies due to chronic illness and finding new ways to have fun.

8. You’re not alone — the chronic illness community can help you find ways to have fun and pursue old or new hobbies.

Join Karianne and other fibro warriors in our Mighty Fibromyalgia Friends group, where you can make a post about the hobbies you enjoy doing. You may also enjoy our Spoonie Life Hacks community, where people with chronic illness share tips for tackling everyday tasks, and The Pencil Case, a place to share your poetry, art, and more.

Getty image by smirart.

Originally published: October 1, 2021
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