6 Ways to Stay ‘Sane’ When Dealing With a Chronic Illness

Dealing with a chronic illness every minute of every day of every year can drive a person insane. It’s important to find ways to relieve stress and anxiety, as it’ll increase your sense of fulfillment as well as your quality of life. Some of these tips may be familiar to you and some may be new (but worth a try!).

Here are some tips to help you stay sane when dealing with a chronic illness:

1. Rachel Cox suggests getting creative. Knit, crochet, paint, draw, play an instrument—whatever you’re able to do. Perhaps you could even get together with a group and take turns teaching a skill to the others. It would not only be fun, but you might develop a new hobby you really enjoy.

MORE: The history of fibromyalgia.

2. Cox also suggests putting some effort into getting ready. Wear something pretty like a scarf or jewelry, put on some makeup and just get out of your PJs and sweats. These simple things may help to improve your outlook and how you feel about yourself.

3. She also recommends getting outside. Even if it’s just for a few minutes. Look at the sky, breathe in fresh air, take a walk in the rain. If you’re unable to get outside, perhaps someone could bring you something to enjoy such as seashells, flowers, pine boughs. Having something to enjoy from nature can mentally transport you there.

4. Femsplain suggests treating yourself to a bath. Soaking in an epsom salt bath and adding a favorite essential oil like lavender is a treat and helps you relax and alleviate some pain, if only for a little while.

MORE: Six remarkable things to know about people living with a chronic illness. 

5. They also advise those with a chronic illness to stay hydrated. Some of the meds patients take can increase dry mouth and/or dehydration. Make sure to drink plenty of water. Drink out of something you can refill during the day. There are also smartphone apps that will remind you to drink water, or you can set an alarm on your phone.

6. Femsplain encourages all patients to take a break. When you’re vacationing or spending holidays and other special events with families and friends, remember to take time out to lay down or take naps when necessary. Watch a favorite show or practice meditation or deep breathing when your energy is running low.

Doing things that bring you joy and a sense of accomplishment as well as incorporating good self-care routines will go a long way to help you stay “sane” while dealing with a chronic illness.

MORE: Three symptoms of severe fibromyalgia nobody talks about. 

Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


  1. Em says:

    I find all of these things very well-I have tried different things w/ others only to discover those I was willing to teach about different things were far more interested in gossip than learning anything. When the gossip and maligning start I leave. I have no need of this type of thing. My time is far better spent doing positive things. Murmuring and complaining never has worked for those I know using this method. Such a shame that others do not even want help, encouragement or even trying to be positive.
    I finally quit trying to help others and focus more on myself. Being a people pleasing person certainly never did anything more than thrust me into a deeper, darker place and my pain even became worse.
    I am not a selfish person and self-pity gets a person…????

    • Nads says:

      Em, you aren’t a selfish person. One thing I’ve learnt from this illness is you need to be the one to look out for you, I agree the gossiping and negativity of some groups is exhausting just to listen to!! Only one person knows how you feel day to day etc…. & that is you! Don’t ever apologise or think your selfish for that. Stay well as you can

      • Dianne Roncal, DMD says:

        Em, you are not a selfish person. It is best to surround yourself with those who understand you more. You deserve genuine people. Keep that positive spirit and wish you all the best. 🙂

    • Tim Bossie says:

      That’s true Valerie! The good news is that with new technologies and connectivity today, many doctors are taking a more virtual approach to caring for patients.

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