Five Self-care Tips, Picks, Tricks for the Chronically Ill Kids On-the-Go

Written by: Ania Majsterek, @chronically_chilled

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If you’re reading this, you probably know a lot about trying to live (and have fun) while suffering from chronic illness. For those who aren’t as familiar, welcome to a whole new world of pain! (Truly wish I was kidding!)

As a 22-year-old with severe Fibromyalgia, I deal with issues ranging from TMJ, memory fog, extreme fatigue, severe pain, negative mental health and a laundry list of other physical and internal setbacks. From my experiences and with a lot of personal research, here’s a list of tips, picks, and tricks for the chronically ill, ambitious, hardworking young people on the go!

1. When you need a little quiet…

Sometimes unsettling noises like plates crashing or babies crying in a restaurant really get to me. My solution to this is to always have a spare pair of little foam earplugs when I’m going out, especially if I think it will be loud. If you want to go one step further, get yourself a pair of musician’s earplugs. These are great for when you want to round out the volume and sounds of your environment, but still, want to be able to hear what the person next to you is saying!

2. When you start to panic…

 I get anxiety at the most inopportune times and I need to find a way to chill fast. My go-to fix to decompressing is turning on some good music, having a little dance and breathing with the melody. If you can’t put your headphones in, focus on breathing in slowly, holding for at least 4 seconds, and then slowly releasing. One more add-on that I do when there’s nice weather is going outside and taking a quick walk to literally get away from your problems!

3. When pain strikes…

With Fibromyalgia, pain is just a part of you. I rely on warmth and (sometimes) medications when my body decides to hurt. Heating pads that warm up in the microwave are truly the bee’s knees; I actually learned this helpful tip as a child from my grandmother who had severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. Electric blankets are another amazing staple for fast body warmth and relief when it’s chilly. When I’m at the office, having a sweater is a great replacement for ultimate discreetness. Last but not least, always have a set of pain medications on you even if you don’t feel like they work hard enough. I sometimes take a precautionary half a dose of my pain meds in an emergency if I feel a flare-up coming on. When it’s a really bad day, I even bring my collapsible cane with me just in case my knees or hips keep me from moving around.

4. When you can’t remember…

You’re going to forget things, it’s inevitable, but when you can help it, write it down! Bullet Journals and planners are great for scheduling, to-do lists, doodles, and any kind of creative brainstorming you’ve got that day! There’s nothing like physically crossing something off of a list. Putting calendar entries in my phone is also helpful especially when I get reminders for all my important events and appointments.

5. When you feel weak…

Don’t forget to rest! With all of the invisible environmental stressors that affect our bodies, you sometimes don’t realize when you need to take a break. Sitting or laying down can help realign your back and takes the pressure off of your knees and feet. Resting not only helps your physical health but your mental health as well. Taking frequent breaks from electronics and work helps me feel less restless and more active. In addition to resting, don’t forget to frequently eat nutritional foods in order to maintain energy. Your body is like a car, when it runs out of fuel, you can’t get anywhere!

I hope this helps your everyday mission to take on the world one symptom at a time. In the end, do what works best for you because no one knows your body better than you!

For more info on living with a chronic illness, follow me on Instagram!

Instagram: @Chronically_Chilled

Peer Health can connect you with a personalized peer community to share provider recommendations, treatment options, and define your best life. Sign up for our beta and newsletter today.

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