Whether you have a chronic illness or have mental health struggles, these tools for chronic illness might be for you. This is all based on my experience, as someone with Lupus (a chronic illness) and depression, that is easily over stimulated and struggles in a lot of areas in life.
Tools for chronic illness #1: Mobility aids to get around
This one seems pretty obvious, but it is not. The stigma that rests on using a mobility aid sometimes makes it hard to do so.
But really, help yourself as much as you can and if this means using a mobility aid (and if it is an option moneywise) do it! You will be the one benefiting from it in the end. I have got a wheelchair for really bad days, crutches for the okay ones and a cane for the good ones. They all help me get around faster, longer and with less pain and fainting. And that is worth it to me. Other examples of aids you could use are: A walker, electric chair, hearing aids, or a white cane.
Tools for chronic illness #2: Wake up light for troubles with falling asleep and getting up
For as long as I can remember, I have had trouble falling asleep and then in the morning, waking up. I have tried everything to better my sleep by now, from buying a new bed to taking medication to meditating, but nothing seems to be as useful as a wake up light. An hour before bed I set it in ‘sunset mode’ and it slowly dims the light while I do my nighttime routine. It helps tremendously – my body understands better that it is time to sleep and my mind is calmer because of the slow winddown.
In the morning my wake up light starts with a very dim light and slowly becomes brighter and brighter until it lights my whole room. I also love the additional bird song sounds. Now whenever the birds start to sing my mind and body are ready to wake up and I can’t fall back asleep anymore since the room is all lit.
Tools for chronic illness #3: Tsuki, a game designed to be calming while not overstimulating your brain
Ever since I got trouble with shutting my mind up and stopping my worries, I have been using the app Tsuki. It helps me calm down and take a step back, without over stimulating my brain. It is a game that follows the storyline of a bunny, Tsuki, that one day decides to quit its job and go to Mushroom Village to grow carrots and live slowly.
There is not much to do in the game – you can sit and watch the different skies, you can catch fish to sell and grow carrots. Eventually you can upgrade your little tree-shaped house, talk to the residents of the small village, and visit the mountains, the island, or the city. And …. that is about it. Visiting the game at different times a day will be a different experience, since some features are only available at certain times. It is overall a very calming experience, when Tsuki is drinking its tea you can just sit back and relax.
Tools for chronic illness #4: Fidget toy to distract the mind
This is for all the people that are easily nervous, feel overstimulated, stressed, have ADHD or dissociate. It can be helpful to distract your mind from whatever it is doing with something tangible. The intention here is to bring you back in the here and now. You can start naming some sounds you hear or counting the colors that surround you, but you can also buy a fidget toy. Mine is made out of small bubbles that you can pop over and over again. There are all sorts of fidget toys around, from buttons you can click to spinners you can spin. You can search for fidget toy, sensory toy or special needs toy to find varying toys and see what suits for you!
Tool #5: Bed table to work in bed
My last daily used tool is a bed table or lap desk. This is a small desk that you can use while sitting on your bed. It might not be the most useful thing if you make a lot of hours, but especially for people that feel too unwell to leave their bed it can be helpful. On my very tired and sick days I use the bed table to get some computer work done, to write stuff down, or read articles. This makes it possible to take control over parts of your day back and it feels empowering.
These are all tools for chronic illness that I discovered over the years.
Every one of them did something positive for my conditions. They did not simply ‘increase mobility’ or ‘increase productivity’, they gave me back the ability to go out with friends, to calm my mind before it takes over my body and it give my back my ability to work!
*This is not medical advice but based on personal experience. These are also not tools to replace traditional therapy and medicines with, but just tools to additionally explore.
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