Being ill is very hard and it is important to do what you can to look after yourself emotionally (see section on Coping Strategies). Maintaining your morale will always be a juggling act, and you should expect to feel down some of the time, especially if you have insufficient support or are severely ill. Here are some ideas which might help in the battle for a reasonable quality of life.
You will probably have lost many of the things you used to enjoy, but over time people do find they develop new interests and hobbies which fit in with the limitations imposed by their illness. Creative pursuits can be particularly satisfying such as making greetings cards, sketching, painting, embroidery, tapestry, or photography. Pastels, pencils and crayons need no water so they can be used in bed.
Hug a teddy, a pet, or a person. Learn a foreign language by tape, or find out more about science, stamp collecting, birds, religion, or anything else that interests you. All sorts of writing are popular with people with M.E. (letters, poetry, articles, diaries). You might fancy compiling a book of family history, photograph album or story of your life. Genealogy (family history) can be conducted by post, at least back to 1837. Make use of your sense of humour, with cartoon books and comedy on radio or TV. Listen to talking books or music. Having a wash and changing into clean clothes can boost morale, as can bathing with aromatherapy oils or bubble bath.
Cultivate your senses – take time to quietly observe: notice the feel of a cup in your hands, its texture, its temperature, how the light hits it. Hold a smooth pebble. Spend time looking at something beautiful: a flower, reproduction of a work of art, landscape photograph, the clouds or the stars. It might be possible to change rooms to get the best window view in the house.
Think about improving your living space. If your only journeys are to and from the bathroom, these will be more pleasant if there is a nice plant on display rather than shampoo bottles.
If you have a willing assistant and not too many allergies, food can play an important part in quality of life, especially if you spend a lot of your energy eating. Try out new foods and recipes, use an attractive bowl or cup, have sandwiches cut into interesting shapes. Have a virtual holiday (see Holidays) or celebrate a special day (see Celebrations).
Here are some ideas for very low energy levels: watch someone else blow bubble mixture; wear a temporary tattoo; use an aromatherapy burner; practice meditation or relaxation techniques (see Resting); have a helium balloon to watch; close your eyes and imagine a nice place.
Celebrations : Child Protection Procedures : Eating : Education : Games : Gardening : Holidays : Nature : Pets : Special Interest Groups : Talking books : Telephone : Television and Radio : Tray : Washing : Writing : Young People
InterAction 33; 2000; pages 24-26 Beating the Blues – ideas to lift your spirits