Why you should change your daily routine when you become chronically ill

Image c/o Bembu
Image c/o Bembu

Every single one of us, chronic illness or not, could do to change something about our daily routine. We rush around thinking of all the things we haven’t done – or haven’t done well – and beat ourselves up for not being the perfect version of ourselves.

When I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, I knew my life was going to change but that didn’t mean that I had to set out to change my life… it just meant I needed to make a few tweaks to my normal routine.

I was recently approached by Pill Pack to share my tips for changing your daily routine. Pill Pack is a US company that replaces the need for your local pharmacy by contacting your doctor and sending prescriptions to your front door. I’ll be sharing some more information about their offer to A Life Less Physical readers in the next few weeks.

When they asked me out my daily routine had changed over the years, it got me thinking… What changes can we make to our daily lives so that things become a little bit easier?

Image c/o Beauty is a Light in the Heart
Image c/o Beauty is a Light in the Heart

1. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

For me, coping with Fibromyalgia isn’t just about what I do, it’s also about when and where I do it. The very notion of routine is just as important as the content of that routine, and so I try to regulate as much of my day as possible. I have no doubt that for many people this means I’m boring and, to a certain degree, I am. I can’t really blame Fibro for that though – I’m pretty sure I was born with a to-do list in one hand and a diary in the other.

So for me, breakfast is where it all begins. I don’t understand how chronic illness patients manage to cope without having a proper breakfast because it’s a mental tool as much as a physical one. It’s how I tell my body that the day has started, it’s time to fix up look sharp and get on through the day.

Image c/o Business Designs Interiors
Image c/o Business Designs Interiors

2. Plan. Plan like you’ve never planned before.

Plannning is second nature to me. I’ve always been a fan of a plan and a good to-do list but this really comes in to its own when you have a chronic illness to manage. I’m lucky enough that my day job allows a certain amount of control over my diary. When a week starts to look busy, I shuffle things around to make sure I have some time to catch my breath. And I never, ever miss lunch. Food is a good way of regulating your mind and body to know what’s going on, but you also need the energy to keep on going.

It’s not just work that needs a solid plan, your social life does too. I block out weekends for down time to make sure I’m not doing too much in a month, and I always make sure I’m free on weekday evenings if I’ve had a busy work day. My friends have come to know that I might need to chop and change plans at the last minute so flexibility is key too. Yes, that’s right, plan to be flexible in your routine. That makes sense, right?

Image c/o Etsy (no user source)
Image c/o Etsy (no user source)

3. It’s all about the web.

The days of wandering around the shops or trawling the supermarket aisles are long gone, which means my weekly routine has changed. Online shopping is my life-line, I don’t try clothes on and I tend to only buy from shops where I know my size. Crikey, this is boring isn’t it? But it’s also easier, and standing in a fitting room in pain takes away any fun I might have felt from spontaneous shopping.

Food shopping is also done differently; it’s either a huge monthly food shop delivered to my door or very small shops every day on my way home. Either way, it takes thought and planning and a change to the way I live life.

Image c/o The Daily Mail
Image c/o The Daily Mail

4. Fibromyalgia sufferer. Will Travel. (Kind of.)

In the pre-fibro days, a friend would suggest we go for dinner and I would agree. Restaurants would be suggested and I would check out the menu online. Nowadays, the restaurant suggestions come in and the first thing I do is check the distance from a bus stop or train station. It’s not an after-thought, it is a 100% natural reaction and shows just how much my habits and routines have changed. Changing your daily routine means really thinking about what it will take to manage your pain, and implementing these changes every day until it no longer requires thinking about.

Image c/o My Cents of Style
Image c/o My Cents of Style

5. It’s the clothes she wears. 

The clothes I buy and how I wear them has changed dramatically, and that’s another part of my new daily routine. I rarely wear heels, I can’t wear heavy necklaces, and I almost always have a scarf with me – partly for warmth but partly for the feeling of protection. Fibromyalgia sufferers often feel quite vulnerable when we’re out and about. We get knocked and brushed against by the general public and the slightest touch can leave us feeling sore. The scarf and the layers help me to feel a bit looked after. I also find leggings help my legs when they’re in pain – it’s like I’ve got bandages on! I never the leave the house without layers and, as with the transport links, this is now just part of my daily routine.

What have you added to your daily routine?


4 comments on “Why you should change your daily routine when you become chronically ill

  1. A big thing for me is no more TV. On TV things happen too fast and it makes me tired to keep up so I read or listen to music instead (never read while listening to music- too much, too tiring). And I have to get ready for bed at 7-8ish because if I leave it until I’m getting into bed, I’m too tired and in pain to get changed. There’s a lot of little things really that become second nature.

    • I like the getting ready for bed one! I only learnt that recently but it makes a big difference.

      • FullofLife

        You get ready for bed at 1? Did I read that wrong. My dr has suggested a night time routine, but some nights are a little unpredictable with kids and their activities.
        Establishing is a routine is definitely something I need to work on.

      • Haha! No, I said I like “the getting ready for bed one”, as in I like that suggestion!

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