Being sick can be incredibly depressing; watching your life and your hobbies float away from you can be like a punch in the gut. I’ve found there are two ways to handle this: either you go do the crafty thing you’ve been dying to work on (my way) and end up worse than when you started; or you scrunch yourself into the fetal position and hope your heat pad doesn’t short on you as you watch three hours of television reruns.
Spoonies, I’m here to tell you that there are easy crafts that you can do during a flare that can actually help you relax. There are obvious activities to avoid depending upon your symptom, but all of these ideas involve very little energy, so you might only spend one spoon as opposed to the five spoons I would normally lose sitting uncomfortably at my sewing table.
- Grab some Dollar Store coloring books and a good box of crayons. A friend gifted my department with some fantastic giant crayons that are perfect for fibro flares. They are easy to hold onto and that is so important. Try to avoid big, complicated designs. The simpler the better.
- My go to during a flare is Pinterest. I use this down time to scroll through and find projects for the future. It’s also a great opportunity to design programs around neat DIY ideas I find.
- Finding inspiration can be hard, but if you’ve ever dug around the web, you’d know there are some incredible sites out there hoarding colors and textures and amazement. I’d recommend Colossal and Designspiration.
- Creating planner pages is so relaxing, but if I’m in an energetic mood, the last thing I want to do is sit there and sort through all of my materials. Flares make me painfully aware of every ounce of energy I’m spending, so it’s the perfect time for something slow like making my planner inserts.
- Speaking of planning, it can be a god-send. I plan out future projects, blog posts, sewing patterns – even if you don’t have any steady things to plan, you could run with creating your own planet, planning your perfect home, etc. This task requires you to focus on it rather than on the pain.
Read on to find a positive project (don’t worry, fellow spoonies, it’s easy!) and the rest of my list!
- I don’t know what I would do without my embroidery. My hoops and needles have seen me through some very rough times. The neatest part about embroidery is watching the images take shape. My embroidered tote bags are now my favorite thing to do during a flare!
- Cross stitch has the same effect as embroidery. It’s rhythmic and almost lulls you into a more relaxed state.
- My first introduction to the spoonie community was through Tumblr. When I was in pain, connecting with other patients and sharing my meager graphics was so important. Motion based graphics are not difficult to make, and neither is coding. Take a crack at it. What do you have to lose?
- I have about five art journals that I actively use, plus this blog. Constructing your own journal is easy and incredibly personal. It’s a way to get all of your frustration and anger out in a positive way. I’ll be dishing out all my journaling secrets this week, so watch for that!
My last idea was inspired by a recent “Say Something Nice” day at work; one of my coworkers left an awesome message in my box (really, she’s the sweetest person I know!). This gave me the idea to steal a project from my college days – door decorating!
The mirror I use to get ready hangs on the front of my craftroom door. During my last flare, I wrote out the kind of encouragement I needed to hear, cut it out, and slapped it on my door. Try to take your flare and use it in a positive way. You may not feel like it, but you’re a rockstar and you need to be reminded of this every single day! If you’re not feeling up to writing, you can always print out the awesome messages over at Positive Doodles! This is a project solely for you, not for anyone else, so if you need little pizza eating turtles on your door, tape it up.
Take some advice from my oh-so-rockin’ Neurologist: only you know what you’re going through. Only you know your limits, and what you need to power through your day. For me, I am my weakest during a flare, both physically and mentally. It’s so easy for my inner critic (she’s loud, let me tell ‘ya) to break me down. And once that happens, the day is shot.
How do you make it through a flare? If you’re a caregiver or friend, how are ways you have helped or could help a friend with a chronic illness?
It’s Sunday, which means another mini moodboard tutorial later today! If there’s ever a technique or method you’d like me to tackle in the moodboards, let me know!
Happy Sunday, all!