Finding Hobbies During Chronic Illness

Posted by: Rebecca Ellison01 Sep, 2019

The last few posts I have been introducing lots of serious topics which are very important when you are recovering from chronic illness as the majority of my clients are (Pacing – The Secret Key To Recovery?, The Perrin Technique, The Truth About Clean and Natural Beauty), which have all been very information based and educational so I thought that this week I would write a blog that was a bit more light hearted and easier to read as I know a lot of people who are poorly suffer with brain fog! I certainly did! 

When we are unwell and spending a lot of time at home resting it’s easy to slip into a routine of watching Netflix series after Netflix series and before you know it you’ve binge watched half of Netflix! I’m not against Netflix at all, I’ll often find myself taking breaks from work and ending up watching Hey Duggee on the sofa with Noah and Fudge but I think it’s important to also find other hobbies to bring us fulfillment and happiness whilst we are recovering from illness. Not to mention the impact EMFs (electro-magnetic frequencies) like watching TV or Netflix through WIFI can impact our health! It’s important to reduce our EMF exposure because it’s an added stressor on our body which isn’t going to help us when we are trying to heal – I wrote a blog post about this a few weeks ago if you would like to learn more here.

I’ve put together a list of alternative hobbies you could try whilst passing the time and day dreaming of what you would like to do post-recovery (I spent a lot of my time doing this and thinking of the bigger picture). Most of these are tried and tested by myself but I’ve also added in the hobbies you suggested on my Instagram and Facebook page @hellohealing so thank you for that! 

 

Listening to Music / Learning How to Play an Instrument  

Listening to music is a wonderful form of escapism, it can take you away from the current moment and transport you elsewhere, I’ve always found it very relaxing to lie down and chill out whilst listening to music. There are so many apps these days as well for ‘calming’ music to help relax us in this stressed and busy world that surrounds us! I really recommend the app called ‘Calm’ which has music specifically to help relaxation and sleep. You can also find lots of relaxing music channels on YouTube which you can just put on in the background whilst resting! If you have a bit more energy and like to learn then you could try to learn a new instrument, YouTube is really helpful for this, I’ve heard that the Ukulele is one of the easiest instruments to learn. When I was bit stronger I went to piano lessons it’s was a great form of rehabilitation. 

 

Mindfulness Meditation  

Last week on the blog I did a post all about ‘The Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation’ which you can read here. I think mindfulness is SO important to incorporate into our lives, it can help to reduce stress levels and having chronic illness is incredibly stressful! It has also been scientifically proven to help reduce chronic pain because it increases our tolerance to pain so our perception of it is less. I believe not just those who are poorly but everyone needs to meditate as the world we live in is becoming increasingly more and more fast-paced so I’ve teamed up with ‘The Mindfulness App’ for a 3 month free subscription to their app! Message me if would like the discount code to try it out.  

 

Yoga / Pilates 

Yoga began as a spiritual practice in Indian but has now turned out to be a world-wide phenomenon, there are yoga classes literally everywhere! Yoga is amazing for the body but it also has its benefits for the mind as a lot of yoga practices incorporate mindfulness. You have to be careful not to over-do it though and pace yourself which you can read more about in a blog I wrote about here because when you are recovering from chronic illness if you push yourself too hard then it can often make you feel worse so I would recommend only doing 50% of your daily limit to make sure you are being safe. Yoga isn’t the best type of exercise if you have Elhers-Danlos-Syndrome (EDS) because it is designed to stretch the joints but people with EDS already have over-stretched joints so chose Pilates over yoga if you have EDS. If you are looking to start re-building strength then have a look to see if you have a local pilates teacher who offers one to one sessions, often they take into account if someone suffers from chronic illness so they can teach at your own pace.  

 

Cooking / Baking Healthy Foods 

One of my favorite things to do is cook and bake healthy recipes! Every Monday I post one of my favourites recipes on my Instagram page so would love to hear your feedback if you try them. It’s really important to eat a super nutritious diet when recovering from chronic illness and cutting out the nasties like gluten, grains and sugar as well as converting to eating organic! Shopping from a supermarket can be difficult (we use Waitrose / Ocado for online organic food) when you eat this way so pretty much everything we make is homemade (not all of the time though because there is no such thing as perfect). When I was poorly, I enjoyed researching and choosing the recipes, which my family would then make me so this is something you could try at home and you can ask for recipe books for your birthday or Christmas! My favourite recipe books are by Deliciously Ella and Madeline Shaw so go check them out for some healthy food that still tastes delicious inspo!  

 

Listening to Podcasts / Reading Books 

If you are like me and you love to constantly learn then you are probably already into reading books and listening to podcasts, they are a great way to learn something new or dive into another world! I find podcasts are a great way to absorb info whilst on the go whereas reading is a great way to pass the time so I usually enjoy this in a quiet corner away from all the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Some of my favourite podcasts if you want to learn more about health, wellbeing and happiness are ‘Myers Detox’, ‘The Alex Manos Podcast’, ‘Get Your Glow Back’, ‘Hormones in Harmony’ and ‘Lauren Conrad: Asking for a Friend.’ The books I recommend to my clients to help with their physical and mental health are, ‘Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway’, ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ and ‘the Goddess Revolution’ to women if they need to love themselves a bit more and be kinder to themselves. I also love to read any chick flick nonsense! If you don’t have the money to buy books then check out your local library (you can reserve and request the books for free if you are claiming benefits – I did this all the time when I didn’t have the money to buy the books I wanted, I’d reserve online for free). 

 

Spending Time in Nature 

I feel like this is really important because nature can have such powerful healing properties. If you aren’t well enough to get outdoors then you can bring the outdoors in by researching and buying your favourite plants to grow them indoors, you could start your own little herb garden! Or if you want to get back into nature oustide then you could make your own vegetable patch to grow your own vegetables, this is a great way to eat seasonal and organic as well. It feels so good to eat food off your plate which you’ve nurtured and grown yourself! Research has proven that spending time in or around nature is a wonderful way to reduce stress, anger, fatigue, depression and anxiety. Just remember if you are getting physical in the garden then not to overdo it, pacing is key! 

 

Get Crafting 

Crafting requires both creativity and problem solving so it’s a great hobby if you are looking for something that incorporates both! I must admit I don’t know much about traditional crafts but if you are interested then you can try knitting, crocheting, weaving or felting. Most of these are activities that can be enjoyed from bed and require little energy so you can watch simple online tutorials to get you started. If you would like to try something that’s a bit less time consuming, I used to make friendships bracelets made from beautiful coloured beads and strings to send to my friends! Card making also brought me much comfort in the past, it can be such a rewarding hobby which doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. The best part about it is that you can give your creations to friends and family on their birthdays or special occasions. You could even find yourself a pen pal. I still do this now just when a friend needs a “pick me up” a handmade letter/card is so lovely. 

 

Writing / Scrapbooking / Journaling 

Journaling is a pretty popular hobby amongst the chronic illness community, it can be a great way to record your thoughts, feelings and experiences and you could even turn it into a blog like myself! I find that writing a blog really helped me to express the way I feel and process what I went through so you might find that it could help you to. I’ve also connected with so many amazing and inspiring people since starting my blog all those years ago, you never know who you might meet from online networking these days, you could meet future colleagues or even lifelong friends. If you are into creative writing then poetry, short stories or simply keeping a diary are all great ways to express yourself. Scrap-booking is also a fun and creative way to arrange photos and other memorabilia in an album, you can even create scrapbooks for your future goals, this is known as a ‘dream board’ of all the things you want to do in life once you’re recovered? I find having a positive mindset and working towards the future really helped my mental state during my recovery and an added touch is how much the mind has a powerful influence over the body.  

 

Other ideas: Fudge was such a great companion for me, she was also my cuddle buddy, if you don’t have a dog maybe borrow one for a friend for the day. If you are watching TV make it something funny like a comedy or anything which brings joy and laughter – scary things which get the adrenaline pumping can be negative to healing so try to avoid this if you can. I used to make my own natural skincare (avocado face mask), I painted my nails (Mavala nail varnish) and friends used to come over to see me and just watch TV with me which really helped my wellbeing just to have some company. Friends would enter competitions to through magazines or social media which is free and you never know what you might win!

 

 

I spent alot of time dreaming up my future life. Now I have to pinch myself.

I hope that you feel inspired by some of these ideas which I’ve shared, I certainly do! I might start making friendship bracelets again as it used to bring me so much happiness. If you have any other ideas please let me know and just remember that chronic illness isn’t necessarily for a lifetime so some of these hobbies can be to just pass the time until your dream board does comes true. Don’t give up is what I’m saying! In the meantime, enjoy 🙂