Living With Chronic Illness: 5 Questions I Ask Myself When I Don’t Feel Well #Affiliate

living with chronic illness: five questions

DISCLOSURE: This blog post includes affiliate links. Should you choose to click on these links and make a purchase, I will receive a compensation. For more information on my disclosure policy, please read my full policy here.

Spoonies know that feeling. You’re actually having a good day. You’re ticking things off that to-do list that you’ve been staring at for weeks. Your friends and family are surprised to see you doing so much and if you’re completely honest with yourself, so are you. You’re starting to forget that you even have a chronic illness, until…

You start to feel tired. Your eyes feel strained. Your head starts to hurt. Your joints ache. You’re not sure when exactly it set in, but you’re starting to feel your energy fade as you struggle to deal with the onslaught of symptoms.

Before you give up completely, ask yourself a few simple questions.

  1. When was the last time I ate?

And maybe more importantly, what did I eat? A bag of potato chips out of the vending machine? An energy drink? A candy bar? Or perhaps, nothing at all?

Since I have to eat something with my medication to avoid awful side effects, eating regularly scheduled healthy meals and snacks throughout the day is essential. Otherwise, I’m not only depriving my body of nutrients and vitamins, but also my medication.

Two tools that we keep in our kitchen for meal prep and easy, little-effort cooking include: Crock-Pot 7-Quart Slow Cooker and Rubbermaid Easy Find Lid Food Storage Container (affiliate links).

Inspire yourself to create healthy meals and snacks every day by checking out some of these great ideas:

25 Freeze Ahead Breakfasts by Totally The Bomb

24 Healthy Breakfast Ideas For Busy Days by Early Bird Mom

Healthy Lunch Ideas to Pack for Work (40+ Recipes!) by Ambitious Kitchen

Over 50 Healthy Work Lunchbox Ideas by Family Fresh Meals

19 Healthy Make Ahead Lunch Bowls by Sweet Peas and Saffron

70 Portable Healthy Snacks by Tone and Tighten

31 Healthy Crockpot Freezer Meals by Faithful Provisions

19 Healthy 30 Minute Dinner Recipes by Sweet Peas and Saffron


2. When was the last time I had a glass of water?

I often forget to drink water, which eventually makes me feel sluggish and tired. With a chronic illness and a career, I don’t have time to feel sluggish and tired.

In college, I got in the habit of carrying around a Camelbak Eddy Water Bottle (affiliate link) because they were easy to travel with and they held plenty of water. I also really like the Nalgene version (affiliate link) because they’re pretty much perfect for adding fresh fruit to flavor plain ol’ water.

Speaking of flavored water, here’s some awesome ideas to help us drink more water:

30 Fabulous Ways to Brighten up Your Water by One Crazy House

50 Awesome Flavored Water Recipes by 52 Kitchen Adventures

Brighten Up Summer with Melon Ball Ice Cubes by The Kitchn

Fruit Cubes by Pip and Ebby


3. When was the last time I slept?

One of my triggers is not getting enough sleep. I can pretty much count on feeling awful later if I’ve had a restless night. Unfortunately, by the time the exhaustion hits, I’m three-quarters of my way through a busy work day. Since there’s not much that I can do at that point, I try to make my nightly routine as sleep-friendly as possible.

I pick a time for all electronic devices to be turned off. I write down all of the worries/stresses from the day in my journal. I take a shower/bath. I invested in a really soft sheet set like this one from Eddie Bauer (affiliate link).

If you’re looking for tips to improve your sleep, be sure to check out the Sleep & Bedroom Environment webpage by the National Sleep Foundation. They also have a chart to help you figure out just how much sleep you really need.


4. Did I miss a scheduled dose of medication?

At the minimum, I take three pills/day. On a really bad day, I have to take seven pills/day. Let me just say that it is really hard to remember to take seven pills. I inevitably forgot one or two, which means more I have more pain/fatigue/days out of work/etc.

Speaking of Nalgene water bottles, did you know that there’s one available with a pill lid (and dividers) (affiliate link). Literally, a lid that holds your medications and keeps them safe until it’s time for you to take them. I love that it looks like a regular lid, too. If you already have a Nalgene water bottle, then you can get the lid with dividers here (affiliate link).

I tried to find a sewing pattern for a pill carrier (like the ones that you can slip the entire bottle in, kind of like the chapstick carriers) but I didn’t have any luck. If anybody knows of a pattern/design for these, please let me know and I’ll add it to this post.


5. Is there anything triggering your symptoms?

Usually, it’s light that triggers me – not just ultraviolent (UV) rays from the sun, but also fluorescent lights, like those that you see in office and school buildings. I can usually predict that within an hour or so of developing a photosensitive rash, I’m going to experience brain fog, fatigue and joint pain.

What helps me is to write down any triggers (food, stress, light, etc.) on a blank business card or medical emergency card and stick it in my wallet or another easy-to-reach place. Sometimes it can be hard to think of what may be the cause of my symptoms when I’m in the thick of it, but having small reminders helps me minimize the triggers as best as I can.

It can also be used as a teaching tool for friends and family. Whenever they give me that strange look when I suddenly slow my pace or space out, I can gently remind them what triggers make my disease worse.

What things do you do to make your day easier?

DISCLAIMER: All opinions expressed in this post are personal opinions and views only. They are not intended to take the place of medical advice. If you have any questions regarding whether or not it is safe for you to use a product that I review on my blog or implement a new health routine, please seek the advice of a medical doctor. 

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