Self-care when you are chronically ill: Learn easy self-care tips for those of us with a chronic illness, such as Lyme Disease or Fibroymalgia.
Before I fell chronically ill, I didn’t really give much thought to self-care. It wasn’t a word I heard often and no-one really talked about it. I guess we were all too busy living life to be concerned with slowing down. It’s now something that I make time for every day. And it’s taken me a while to realise that self-care when you are chronically ill, can be absolutely anything you need it to be.

Self-care put simply is about meeting our needs and doing things that help to maintain our well-being. For many, this includes things like meditation, yoga and spending time outside. And, while those things are wonderful and great, sometimes they feel completely out of reach.

So today I wanted to share 5 simple, easy and achievable ways to practise self-care. These are the small things that I try to incorporate into my day.

1. Putting on a Fresh Pair of Pyjamas

On the days where I feel particularly rubbish, fatigued and unwell one of the things I do for myself is put on a fresh pair of pyjamas. Sometimes, I don’t feel like I want to get up and change. But, for whatever reason, it just makes me feel that little bit better. And– if someone else is home to do it– I love pairing this up with fresh sheets on the bed. Getting into a clean bed with fresh pyjamas is one of my favourite things.

I’ve always been someone who lounges around in pyjamas, even before I was ill. When I was a teenager, my Dad used to call me “pyjama girl” because the second I got home, my PJs were on. There’s just something comforting about them. And when you feel crap, anything that brings comfort is a must in my book.

I am wearing pyjamas from Simply Be in the photos in this post, which I was very kindly gifted. They are really comfortable to lounge around in. Simply Be have a good selection of PJs, so I’d recommend checking them out if you are looking for a new pair.

Learn easy self-care tips for those of us with a chronic illness, such as Lyme Disease or Fibroymalgia.

2. Taking Time Out to Drink a Cup of Tea

I’ve previously mentioned in one of my Instagram posts that, until a couple of years ago, I was never really a fan of tea. I actually trained myself to like it and now I absolutely love a good brew. There’s something so comforting and relaxing about settling down with a good cuppa.

What I try to do is completely switch off when I am drinking my tea. No distractions, no nothing. I take time out to chill and recharge a bit. It can be easier said than done but if I do it, I know I’ll feel much better for it. Making the time to switch off can be really helpful and improve how we are feeling.

Learn easy self-care tips for those of us with a chronic illness, such as Lyme Disease or Fibroymalgia.
3. Relaxing With a Good Book

Reading can still be a bit of a challenge for me at times but getting fully immersed in a book can be so positive for my mental health. It is a form of escapism I guess. I tend to only read a little at a time but, it’s some time out for my body to rest (I’m normally flat out but I propped myself up for this photo). Though I am now able to read in short stints, in the past I’ve used Audible as I found audiobooks more accessible.

4. Listening to Music

I am one of those people who is very affected by music and I use it so much in my recovery. I have albums and songs that I listen to when I need a bit of a pick-me-up; if I want to feel more energised; if I need to calm down and chill out or even if I’m feeling sad and nostalgic.

I think music can be so powerful and healing. And I’m so glad that music is back in my life. At one point, when I was really sick, it was too overwhelming to listen to. So it’s a really positive sign of progress that I can listen to the bands I love again.

I find that my whole physiology can change when I listen to music. Depending on what I listen to, my breathing and heart rate can slow and my body completely relaxes. It’s amazing. And I love nothing better than to dance (or well… let’s face it… shoogle about a bit) and sing along (terribly I might add). It can really lift and brighten my mood.

And I absolutely adore my record player. It’s actually a great tool for pacing. I put a record on, sit and chill (in the aforementioned pyjamas with a cup of tea) and I rest until I need to get up and flip the record. It’s a good way to time rest and it enforces doing nothing but chill out.
Learn easy self-care tips for those of us with a chronic illness, such as Lyme Disease or Fibroymalgia.

5. Surrendering

This might sound like a strange one to finish on but it’s honestly one that can be so powerful. So much of the time, I can find myself fighting how I am feeling. My health can be very up and down and I find myself not wanting to accept the downs. When I have settled into a new routine of being able to do things (whether it’s as simple as a little bit of housework), I resent when that is suddenly taken away from me.

Fighting gets me nowhere though. It’s learning to accept and surrender to how I am feeling that does. If my body is craving sleep, I surrender to it and sleep as much as I need to. If I need to spend the day resting in bed, I do it.

Surrendering is often the one thing we fight but it truly is an act of self-care. And if we listen to what our body is telling us, in my experience, it always leads to something better.

What are your simple self-care tips? How do you incorporate self-care into your day? Let me know in the comments down below.

Pin for later:
Learn 5 easy ways to practise self-care if you are chronically ill with illnesses such as Fibromyalgia or Lyme Disease.

This post contains photographs of PR samples that were kindly gifted to me by Simply Be.


Hello, I'm Donna. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2013 and started this blog shortly after. After my health declined significantly the following year, I decided to become my own advocate and searched for answers. It took two years but, in 2016, I finally discovered I had Lyme Disease. On February Stars, I share my personal journey back to better health; discussing what has helped me and the mistakes I've made along the way. I also cover topics on self-improvement, managing symptoms and living life to the fullest with chronic illness.


  1. I love just the act of making tea. The ritual itself is so calming! Reading is such a passion of mine; my Kindle has been a lifesaver because physical books can sometimes be a pain to hold with my arthritis. Also, I am really into scents, but I have to be careful to pick ones that are not overwhelming. So candles or wax melts that have a subtle scent really send me into a nice mood!

    • I remember when the Kindle first came out, I was really reluctant about it. I couldn’t see how it could replace a book (the smell and feel and joy you get with a book). But, now, I totally agree with you. It’s a wonderful device. I love that you can increase the text size, that it’s lightweight and easy to hold 🙂 It’s so helpful. I do love scents too. I really want to look into aromatherapy as I’ve heard a lot of positive things about it. And yes, there’s nothing better than a cup of tea 😀

    • Omg i can’t believe I’m not the only one! I’m in process of withdrawing from Fentalyn and cold turkeying as i write this. Because I am i can’t be allowed medication for my spinal pain🤒🤒🤒 Thank you for making my day brighter.xxxxx

  2. My favourite post so far just because I am laying in bed having a flare up, thinking of the things I had wanted to do today and reading this made me feel so much better. I especially liked the stuff about tea and pyjamas.

    • Hey Becca! I’m sorry you are in a flare and I hope it eases soon. I’m glad you found this post helpful today. I often find myself thinking I need to do this or that… when actually doing very little is exactly what I need to do. I was a little hesitant about sharing this post as I worried it was too simple. But, simple is sometimes the best thing 🙂

  3. Good post and yes, it is difficult with chronic pain illness when life gets in the way. I definitely take time to enjoy a drink and music, but need to put myself before my family and home sometimes. I love the PJ’s, there is nothing more comforting than a fresh pair on after a bath, and curling up to enjoy a film or a read. Need to read a bit more this season!
    H x

    • Thanks, Heidi. It’s hard but we do need to learn to be a bit selfish and put ourselves first 🙂 Other things can often wait but it’s easier said than done. I feel the same way! Can’t beat it. I’d like to read more too. Do you have any book recommendations? x

  4. These are some of my favorite ways to self care as well. I really love the record player idea though, I think I might just start adding that to my self care routine. Thanks ????

    • I love my record player and would really recommend one. I think I’m an old soul at heart. There’s something about vinyl that you just can’t beat 🙂

  5. Tea is definitely part of my daily life! Reading as well. My Kindle is especially important for extended doctor appointments and tests, hospital stays, etc. I also started coloring. Journaling can also be incredibly therapeutic. I just started a scrap book of the mini trips my husband and I take periodically together. My doctors encourage me to take a day or two away every couple of months, and it’s nice to focus on happy moments. (My mom is a nurse- self-care is something that has been drilled into my head since my first migraine at age 6!)

    • These are all wonderful Erin 🙂 I also think mini trips, even if close to home can be so helpful! They really do help to create positive memories and take us away from our daily routines. That’s great that you were brought up to place an emphasis on self-care. You have a very wise mom 🙂

  6. Hello 🙂

    I’m in a bad flare at the moment so reading this was just what i needed

    Thanks for your tips 🙂
    helen x x

    • Hey, Helen. Sorry to hear you are in a bad flare. I am glad that you enjoyed the post and I hope that your symptoms begin to ease soon.

  7. Hi. I really liked what you wrote. I always like reading how others with chronic illness deal with all the stuff that comes with it.
    I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia for three years now, I was relieved to have a name for it, but yet I got depressed about it , I have something I will deal with the rest of my life.
    I have learned that I need to rest a little everyday, sometimes I need to sleep,sometimes just to get a cup of tea and read, or watch a show. All the things you mentioned are great advice .
    There are things I had to change, like when I am hurting and so tired, I keep easy meals on hand that I won’t have to stand for long, my husband is understanding, fortunately, he knows just by looking at me he says.
    I love gardening, I had to find new ways to do things, I downsized for one thing, I hated to,but was necessary. I use a small stool I can sit on, I also have a gardening benchmark has two different sizes and a place for my gardening tools that is easy to reach. I ask for help when I need it( which isn’t always easy) I can’t lift anything heavy anymore,shovelling is harder now. My husband or son help as much as they can.

    • Thank you, Donna. I do too and I guess that’s one of the motivations behind me sharing my own perspective on this blog– in case it is helpful to others. I can appreciate those feelings. That’s great advice that you share here and I agree it’s about adapting and learning how to continue to do the things we love but in a way that doesn’t negatively impact on us. It’s lovely to hear your husband is understanding too.

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