8 bad habits to avoid during a flare

I want to be your cheerleader! I want my blog to be a place where you can come for encouragement as you go through your illness.

But I can’t do it. Not today anyway. Today I need a cheerleader of my own!

I have been in a flare for three weeks now. The best I can figure is that it’s due to three different issues.

  • The weather that’s been passing through. Snow storm after snow storm. Barometer running up and down the scale.
  • Pneumonia I’ve had since September. Although the last xray showed quite a bit of improvement I began coughing two days ago. Again.
  • (TMI alert) Current hormonal changes.

All three of these issues are completely out of my control. It’s feels like a trap, or prison.

I don’t think it does any good if I always steer clear of the darker side of chronic illness. It’s constantly in the back of our mind anyway.


bad habits to avoid during a flare

So I thought I’d share what I’ve noticed about myself over these past few weeks.

Here are the top 8 bad habits I tend to revert to during a flare.

  1. I go to a darker place in my mind. I turn to Hulu as a way to distract my mind. No decisions. Just focusing on the images on the screen and words being spoken. It helps sometimes. But my husband noticed I start only watching shows with a darker nature to them, like Blacklist. He urged me to watch something light and funny instead. I get the reason, I don’t need any more darkness in my head. I jumped over to Netflix and watched Jim Gaffigan’s Mr. Universe. I did laugh, and laughter is great medicine.
  2. My supplements become optional. I’m usually good at keeping up with my meds but making sure I get my supplements in becomes a chore. I set an alarm on my phone to go off at different times to remind me to get up and take what I know is good for me!
  3. I don’t move my body enough. The pain and fatigue gets to the point where I just want to stay in bed or at least sitting down. This unfortunately adds to the stiffness. I’m trying to get up for at least ten minutes every hour and walk around a bit and stretch.
  4. I become a hermit. Social media interaction gets limited to facebook stalking. I find myself going to bed earlier to a dark and quiet room where I revert to watching tv by myself. I don’t leave the house. I’ve been trying to make a few phone calls, emails, texts, etc., so I’m interacting. I’m also trying to keep a regular bedtime!
  5. I step back from my relationship with God. Just when I need Him the most, I can’t seem to focus on reading my bible and the dark attitude stops me from watching sermons online or reading encouraging books. This is just something that has to happen! Times like this can really affect our spiritual life and we need to be vigilant in our efforts. I’m trying to keep up with a reading plan to read through the New Testament in a year and, at the very least, reading an online devotional each day. Right now I’m enjoying a study on Esther from She Reads Truth.
  6. I don’t eat healthy. I seem to run toward carbs all day and order pizza for dinner, again. This is hard to combat when my family all works full time and usually rely on me to keep food in the house. Instead of worrying about a full grocery shopping trip, I’ve been giving them each a few healthy items to pick up at the store.
  7. I want others to read my mind. Instead of asking for the help I need or the household chore that needs attention, I want my family to know it and do it without a mention from me. I’m trying to let them know what I need and what needs done. They are willing – just not mind-readers.
  8. I wallow in guilt. I self-evaluate based on today only and not on the overall state of my life. I look at the house that desperately needs cleaned and the other chores that need done and just see failure written all over it. Instead, I’m trying to learn from this. Like the fact that I need to up my freezer cooking game for times like this. Learning and making changes is so much better than self loathing!

So how are you doing? What bad habits do you tend to slide into when your health issues flare up and what do you do to combat this?



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52 thoughts on “8 bad habits to avoid during a flare

  1. Whoa! Have you been in my head? I do all, of those things when I flare. There are 2 things that help me sometimes watching video or tv with TD Jakes, Beth Moore or Joyce Meyers. Also I nest in my recliner which keeps me out of the bedroom and upright helps the blood and air circulate. I noticed you had not been posting. Good to hear from you even if your not feeling well. Your writing encourages me. Don’t give in to the enemy with your mind and have faith He is with you!

    • Thanks so much for the encouragement Lisamarie! It’s good to write again and thanks for sharing your tips with us!

    • Hello Kim,
      I found your blog today as I was searching Google for goal setting for the chronically ill. So good to ‘ meet’ you.

      This blog posts sounds exactly like me today. I have chronic back pain, and today is not a ut
      good day. I try to stay positive, but it’s very difficult today. Some days are wrose, though, and some are better. I am so very thankful for those better days.

      I didn’t see a date on your post but the first coment was Feb. u. I hope you have had many good days since them.
      I will be checking back and try to follow you blog.


      • Nice to “meet” you too Linda!
        Yes, this post was older and the good days come and go,I know you understand what I mean. I hope your day is better today!
        So glad you stopped by!

  2. I do all of these too! Something else I do is stay in my pajamas for days. Not taking care of myself. I do realize that when I do shower and put on some real clothes I do feel better.

  3. I can really relate to these “bad habits!” I’m guilty of all of them, in my daily life with having Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, osteoarthritis, etc etc! It’s a lot easier to just chill with my IPad and not do much of anything! But, by not stretching and doing some gentle exercises, always makes me hurt worse! When I am stressed, or my anxiety is unbearable, I don’t eat right, or not at all! I Was an RN, and I know what helps me, but, I don’t always do what’s g for me! Thank you for sharing your story, and I want to learn more, and follow your blog! I Am a Christian, and I kn that God wants me to be at my best, and helping others! Some days the pain and fatigue are unbearable, so I’ll keep on trudging through my life, with Gods help, one day at a time!

    • You’re right Deana! One day at a time with God’s help. We can only do our best in the moment. It’s great to hear from you! Welcome to Grace Is Sufficient!

  4. I smiled when I read the list of bad habits, I am guilty of 7 of them. The only one I have conquered is #1 I have for a while avoided the darkness in the media when I flare. I chose comedy and Romcoms to pull me through. I have noted your suggestions for the other seven and will work on them. Thank you for writing your blog, you are a star.

    • Thanks Lesley! So glad you’ve taken care of #1. I don’t even noticed I’m heading to the dark side of media until someone mentions it to me. I thought if I wrote these all down I might just be able see ’em coming next time!

  5. Guilty of not asking for help…biggest hurdle for me.
    Re your long flare: I wonder if there is something going on, not just the weather. I’m seeing so many people flaring for two & three weeks (myself included I’m on week 3) recently even where it’s warm and dry.

    Take care!
    Happy to meet you,
    Shelley Twitter @FibroFog

    • I’m guilty of not asking for enough help either! That’s a good one!
      I wonder what’s going all with the all flares lately. I’ve heard of quite a few long ones as well.
      Thanks for stopping by and joining the discussion!

  6. I hear where you are coming from. I’m having a flare right now and I feel the guilt regarding cooking for my family(they are old enough to take care of themselves)but the guilt is overwhelming. I try to keep a clean house but sometimes it’s so hard. I work full time and at times I feel that I am out more than there. It’s hard living with sjogrens when this is the time I should be enjoying it.

    • I’m so sorry you’re in a flare right now Colleen! Don’t hold on to the guilt, it can increase your pain and symptoms! Everything looks negative when you’re in the middle of it. Try to watch or do something fun if you’re able – enough to take your mind off it!

  7. This is so spot on! I would add that even my social media starts to decline- I feel myself discouraged as I look at projects and recipes on Pinterest that I wonder if I’ll ever feel well enough to do. Facebook, Twitter too- somedays it’s hard to read about others complaining about parts of their day I just wish I had!

    • I feel the same way, at times, over social media. It gives us a feeling of inadequacy when we are down. It’s hard to remember that a bad day to someone is so trivial to someone else. I try to remember that there are people out there worse off than I am and they would like to have our problems instead of their own. So hard to do, so easy to say!
      Thanks for the comment, Jenny!

  8. It seems almost as if u were reading my mind. With the way I feel during my flare-ups. I flee to a dark room, only to have a woe is me moment, till I can fall asleep & stay that way as long as I can. If I wake I fight with all my might 2 return 2 slumber ASAP. I LOVE the ideas about the moving around every so often too. This is certainly a page I will follow.

  9. It seems almost as if u were reading my mind, with the way I feel during my flare-ups. I flee to a dark room, only to have a few woe is me moments. Then I fall asleep & stay that way as long as I can. If I wake I fight with all my might 2 return 2 slumber ASAP. I LOVE the ideas about the moving around every so often too. This is certainly a page I will follow. I’m very new to all of this, so plz forgive me. Btw, I’m not much of a tv person. I escape through novels. Living vicariously thru their lives. Lol. I knw it’s sad. I’m a wk in progress.

    • Hi! We are all a work in progress and learning as we go! Novels are a great distraction during a flare-thank you for mentioning it!

  10. When I have a flare I get more depressed. I do know when I need therapy. I just finished six weeks of therapy. I am feeling much better. Still have pain but I must motivate myself to continue with the exercises I learned in therapy.

    • It’s so easy to get depressed during a flare, Lorene. I’m so glad your therapy has been helping. Keep it up! You got this!

    • Hi Lee, that’s exciting! Thanks for letting me know and thank you for having a place where we can all share!

  11. Many of these ring true for me as well. In some way feel as though I’m helping myself by doing them, such as becoming a hermit. Doesn’t it feel better to not have to worry about what others are thinking or needing when we are in a flare? Who, but few family members, want to sit and keep us occupied? however, this hermit behavior may lead to going into that darker place that you discussed in #1. If I get into or near depression that remotely starts my mind down a path without a normally desire able outcome, I am able to recognize it (from having depressive episodes off and on for years), and I tell my husband. We keep track of things until I either feel I’m coming out of it, or I tell him I’m calling my therapist. It has worked for us this way, but may not for others. One thing I found interesting that you mentioned was your television shows. Blacklist is one of my favs, as is Homicide Hunter and most of the ones on ID Discovery Channel. Yet the first thing the therapist told me stop watching wasn’t those (bc there’s a storyline behind the half hour/hour long show and it’s what I enjoy watching) but the News! All it mainly is are sad, bad, and inhumane stories that bring our world around us into a disheartening light. The News every day, whether it was local, regional, state or world had nothing to help me feel safe or comforted. I know it’s the reporters job to get the news to us, but when it brings ppl down into a deep depression bc there are no uplifting parts to it, it’s not helpful to anyone, let alone those of us who suffer with chronic illnesses. So, I Di see my therapist, I stopped watching the news, and everything came around for me — better mood, restful sleep, and a little less pain. It slowed that vicious cycle that was rolling along like a freight train, and I jumped off. All from turning off the News! Amazing. Sorry for ranting so much. 🌺

      • Don’t ever worry about that! In a world of quickly responding on our phones, etc – great spelling isn’t all it used to be. I’m just glad you connect with me! 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing this with us Lori. I’m so glad you have your husband to help keep depression in check for you. Mine does the same for me. I’ve finally learned when he says we’re going for a drive or something else just to get out of the house for a bit, it’s because he can see I’m starting to spiral downward. You’re so right about the news-I swear they’d make a ton of money off a totally positive newcast some day. I’ve also turned off my personal facebook for a while. Things like family drama or other negative things can just pull you down fast.

  12. Wow. I think I experience ALL of these things during flares. The one that makes me feel the most guilty, though is eating poorly. I go for the carbs, too, and eschew eating veggies, etc. But that’s because I can’t even stomach the thought of eating veggies! Going to be adding you to my blogroll of regular reads. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • I’m honored you’re adding me to your blogroll Melissa. I’m trying to get myself to juice daily during flares to get some healthy nutrients in. Why are the quick and easy foods the ones that are the worst for us?

  13. Thanks to you for a supporting arm in our chronic and/or traumatic symptoms in our lives which is reality!
    I choose me time this year!!! because of me a giver there is never me time. Discipline is also necessary to achieve this.
    What I have learned and recognize through years battling with fibromyalgia is flairs most of the time happens after overdo stuff and emotional disturbance together like watering the whole garden and become angry for something will cause a flair to start 2 days afterwards as well with trauma happening with agony together.
    Thanks for the tips on bad habits I also experience some of them
    Blessings to you

    • Thank you Marilou. I think having encouragement and support is vital to living with chronic illness. Self-care is also very important so I’m glad you’re going to focus on that this year!

  14. Thank you for sharing this, I found myself inwardly nodding as I read through your list… I would have nodded outwardly but everything hurts right now.

  15. I am so relieved that I found your blog yesterday. I have osteoarthritis in my lower back that has caused chronic pain for most of the past 16 months. In May God lifted me out of deep depression (last year a friend committed suicide and my grandson was stillborn), and in June I had a few weeks of no pain, but it came back worse than before. I do not want to go back to that dark place every again, but the battle is real. Your blog, and especially this list, show me that I am not crazy. Having nine children still living at home, and two with special needs, I have to keep going, but there are times when I feel at the end of my rope. I keep crying out to God, and inch by inch He helps me go on.
    Thank you so much for your blog, it feels like finding a friend who actually understands.

  16. I’m the opposite in some ways. I tend to push too hard to keep up my normal activities & get sicker. My husband has to suggest to me that I lie down. I’ll keep pushing until I FALL down! 😣😣

  17. Wow! This sounds exactly like me during a flare. Same bad habits and I notice when I come out of it and look back, I think ok I won’t repeat those mistakes. But so far my track record is not great. I fall into the same hole and can’t seem to break the pattern/ cycle. Maybe I can make a change or 2 in what I watch or actually reach out to a friend instead of isolate and pull up the drawbridges. Thanks for posting your thoughts on this!

    • I go back to them at times too Amy. I just try to realize it’s now what’s best and my turn around time (time it takes to get back on track) is getting quicker!

  18. Hi, Kim ! I just discovered your website and I am very impressed. I can check off # 1-7 in your list of bad habits to avoid. In a flare. Also, I become very disorganized; then anxious about being disorganized; and I fall into the trap of discouragement and depression which leads me to procrastinate. What am I doing about it? Whenever I feel some energy I tackle the pile on my desk, get the tiger back in her cage, and hope she doesn’t get out again! My Bible study/prayer group, being with friends, laughter (including slapstick, puns, and corny–my dad was the king of corn), realizing and appreciating the love and support my family and friends provide, and returning to the loving arms of my Heavenly Father and my Savior/Shepherd over and over and over–all pull me back together and set me back on course. Thank you for the opportunity to express my feelings, share what happens in my fibroflares and remember what helps me to move through a flare with a bit more grace.

    • Thank you, Linda! What a great way to deal with your flares! Taking care of some jobs, like your desk, is a great way to get yourself pulled back from the edge and moving again. Resting in the Lord is always a great place to go when you’re needing the strength only found in Him!