Where do you spend the most of your time?
Many people would answer that they spend the most time in their work-space or office. Others may say they spend the most of their time working from home or even in the great outdoors.
For many people who struggle with chronic illness like me, their answers are very different. A day away from home would be an expensive luxury, paid for in pain and fatigue in the following days. Being house-bound or bed-bound is a reality for millions of chronic pain patients.
I have spent many days and weeks cooped up in my tiny bedroom because of my own battles with chronic illness. The countless hours that I have spent there left an impression on me about how much our surroundings impact us.
Wrestling with chronic illness is exhausting because of the endless variables that we cannot control. That makes it so much more important to control what we can to give ourselves the best chance for good days and healing. One of the things we have some control over is our space. Whether that’s a whole house, half a dorm room, or a small bedroom, we all have at least some space to call our own.
I want to give you some quick tips about how to make your space a place that promotes physical and emotional healing and happiness.
1. Surround yourself with what you love.
What do you love? I love books and Bible verses. So, I showcase that in my room. I keep my books front and center, right next to my bed on two bookshelves. My walls are also covered in my favorite Scripture passages. Surrounding myself with what I’m passionate about is an instant mood booster for me. Maybe you love music, painting, or houseplants. Whatever it is you love, keep it close!
2. Keep productive things handy.
Some days, you may be completely debilitated by pain and just want to sleep the day away. There is NO SHAME in that. However, some days, you may feel up to a little more than that. I try to keep books I’m currently reading, work projects, and a laptop close to my bed so I can just reach over and grab something that I can do from my bed. Making even a little progress in a day has the power to completely change our head-space.
3. Keep lighting soft.
Harsh lighting is pretty much always a no-go, but this is certainly the case for chronic pain patients. Because of inconsistent sleep patterns, light sensitivity, and just general atmosphere, it helps to have soft, incandescent light in varying strengths. For me, that looks like, Christmas lights strung from my ceiling for soft light, a small lamp for reading, and traditional overhead light that I almost never use. Also, if you have windows (yay natural light!), I would highly recommend investing in blackout curtains. I keep mine in my closet and only put them up when I have severe migraines.
4. Make sure it smells good.
No one wants to spend time in a place that doesn’t smell good. So, invest in making your space a place that smells great. Air freshening plug-ins, sprays, and candles are great, cheap ways to accomplish this. However, if you struggle with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), I would recommend investing in a good essential oil diffuser.
5. Keep medications close.
If you take any medications, vitamins, or supplements, try to keep them close to your bed. If you don’t have a bedside table, you’ll probably want to get one. Keeping medications (and water!) close will save you energy when you need to take them.
6. Keep storage simple.
This will help you keep a neat, tidy space even when cleaning takes a lot of energy. Adopt as many minimalist habits as you can. Keep your space simple and clean. I don’t know about you, but whenever my room is messy, my head feels messier too. Is that weird? Let me know what you think in the comments!
I hope these tips will help you turn your space from a place that you are stuck into a place where you want to be.
Wishing you a low pain day and sending you all the healing vibes!