Preserving energy when you have a chronic illness

For those of us with a chronic illness, even the most basic of tasks such as showering, cooking, and cleaning is exhausting and overwhelming at times, depleting our energy. In fact, they can take up so much energy that it almost seems impossible to complete them and any other activities as well. However, there are ways that you can preserve as much energy as possible on a day-to-day basis. Something that can help you get more done, and cope with whatever curve balls your illness decide to throw at you that day. Read on to find out more.

Use the spoons analogy

The spoon analogy is a great way to help you and your loved ones understand that you only have a limited amount of energy. It came about because one person was trying to convey to another that they only get so much energy to do things in a day, and the only item around that they could use as a unit of energy were spoons.

Spoon Theory
Spoon Theory

In its very basic form, it’s a way of estimating how much energy things will take, and what effect this may have on your day or the days afterward. Something that can make managing your schedule a little easier and prevent you from experiencing regular burn out.

Eat right

Next, to preserve as much energy as possible when you have a chronic illness it is vital that you eat right. What this means is that while it may be tempting to reach for refined sugar and hydrogenated fats to give you a much-needed energy boost in the moment, it’s a lot more helpful in the long-term to eat in a more nutritionally dense and holistic way.

Sugar can be a bad choice for those with chronic illness.

Refined sugar should be avoided
Refined sugar should be avoided

After all, by upping you nutritional load, and eating foods that release their energy in a more measured manner, you can avoid extreme highs and lows. Something that can be hugely problematic when suffering from a chronic illness that already affects your energy levels.

Get equipment that will make your life easier

Also, when you have a chronic condition that drains your energy levels, it’s a good idea to use any equipment that can make your life easier. This may be in the form of a microwave where you can heat meals that you had cooked on a day when your energy wasn’t so low.

Alternatively, it can be to use something like one of these mobility aids that can help to take some of the physical strain, even when you are in the middle of a flare-up. Something that can ensure that your recovery time is shortened and you get to feel like your true self much more quickly.

Be compassionate

Lastly, it’s essential that you don’t waste energy beating yourself about the things you cannot do.

This is what Buddhists would call a second arrow situation. In that, your first arrow is that you have your chronic condition, something that is bad enough, and you only make things worse or add a second arrow by being unkind and critical of yourself because of this.

Therefore, it is necessary to practice compassion towards yourself, as this can help you preserve as much energy to deal with your chronic condition as possible.


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