Being in pain gets old quick. Real quick.
Within one day of being bed or couch bound, I’m restless and frustrated. I am anxious because I feel like I wasted my day. (Side note: resting when you need it is never wasting your day).
And not being able to socialize takes a toll too. We are social beings. We are meant to be with friends and family and not isolated all the time. But when your chronic disease prevents you from venturing out into the world, that’s just not an option.
Thinking back on the decade+ years of living with Crohn’s disease, these are my go-to activities, as well as some that GIH readers suggested (hey, that’s you!). If there is something you would like to suggest that isn’t here, add it in the comments!
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1. ADULT COLORING BOOKS
These aren’t your kids’ coloring books! If you have not seen the adult coloring books, a simple search will pull up dozens of varieties. There are themed books or some with cool abstract designs.
I have this one. As you can see, it’s very inexpensive. I use basic colored pencils, but you can get as fancy as you would like! Coloring does not take a lot of brain power and is actually extremely therapeutic.
Reading books is severely underrated. Before we were flooded with technology, reading was a primary way to entertain and learn.
I have always been an avid reader. I think it’s so great to lose yourself in a different world. This is especially enjoyable when you want to take your mind off your own pain.
3. LISTEN TO PODCASTS
I joined the podcast game way late. In 2016 I listened to my first podcast and I have no idea why I didn’t give them a go sooner. Just like books, you can find podcasts on pretty much any genre.
When you find some you like, press “subscribe” so you get all the new episodes automatically downloaded to your phone.
4. GO TO THE MOVIES OR WATCH AT HOME
This is probably one you already do when not feeling well, but I think it deserves to make this list. If feeling well enough, going to the movies is a great out-of-the-house activity. You can spend time with friends or family while still getting to relax, have some laughs, all while wearing comfortable clothes!
If going outside the house isn’t going to work, why not go through your movie collection and find a movie you love but haven’t watched in a long time. Or, browse Netflix for something new.
5. START A BLOG
Yes, YOU can start a blog too! It’s very simple, actually. A popular platform (and what I use) is WordPress. You can use the free version of WordPress or a paid version if you are more serious about it.
With the paid version you will need a hosting company. I use Bluehost ($3.95/month) and have been very happy with the service!
Just think of what you like or know about. Let’s say you are a huge golden retriever lover. You can set up a website solely on golden retrievers. How to care for them, the best food for them, tricks to teach them, and anything else you want. Helping and equating others is super rewarding!
6. WALK, YOGA, OR STRETCH (IF POSSIBLE)
These are some of my favorite types of movement, whether I’m feeling fatigued or energetic. Walking, yoga, or stretching are low-impact so they are perfect for people with achy joints or low energy.
You can even combine your new favorite podcast with your exercise. I listen to podcasts on my walks everyday!
I’m no experienced yogi, and I have learned so much from Yoga With Adriene (Youtube). She has videos to any level can do.
7. KNIT OR CROCHET
Every fall, I pick up my crochet needle. Some years, it’s still attached to a ball of yarn and a half-done blanket.
My mom taught me how to crochet as a child. As soon as the weather gets crisp, I remember about this hobby that I love. If no one you know can crochet or knit, check out YouTube for tutorials.
It’s fun to see your creation get larger and larger with every stitch. Plus, you can give make things to give as gifts!
8. VIDEO GAMES, BOARD GAMES, CARD GAMES
Do you have a childhood favorite video game buried in your closet? How about a cabinet of board games you haven’t touched? And I’m sure we all have a deck of cards somewhere…
What’s great is there are solo or group options for these, so these kinds of games are a fun way to spend time with your loved ones in a relaxed setting.
Scrabble is a favorite of mine, but the possibilities are endless. And when I was a kid I was crazy over the video game Spyro (the purple dragon- anyone else?!) and playing The Sims on my desktop.
9. Be With Nature
The outdoors does not get enough credit seriously! If you have no energy, simply sit outside. Grab a chair, a hammock or get some grounding in and lay on the grass. Nature puts us into a relaxed parasympathetic state, which is helpful when we are generally stressed during flares.
Close your eyes. Notice the sounds of birds. Marvel at the shapes the clouds make. Take deep breaths. Being grateful for something we all take advantage of really soothes the soul.
10. AT-HOME SPA TREATMENTS
This one’s for the females, and maybe some of the males (guys, spa treatments feel amazing if you have not tried it before).
Giving yourself (or having a friend) give you a manicure, pedicure or face mask makes you feel like a new person. This goes a long way when you’ve been bummin’ it around the house.
There is nothing, I repeat NOTHING wrong with just laying in bed or, *gasp* taking a nap in the middle of the day. During my Crohn’s flare-ups, I am exhausted. On the worst days I truly don’t feel like I have enough energy to get out of bed.
Sleep is when we detox naturally and when cell repair happens. If your body is telling you it needs more of that recharging time, listen! I love to use a warm heating pad for pain and comfort.
These are just 11 activities suitable for someone dealing with pain or a lack of energy due to a chronic illness. What are some of your go-to activities? Share below!