Daily Non-Negotiables for Life with Chronic Illness

Ever feel like you’re slipping? Like you need to dig in your heels to stop the downward slide?

daily non-negotiables, chronic illness

Do you ever get tired of taking meds, maintaining a regimen or constantly having to decipher what your body is trying to tell you? 

Some days I just want to forget illness exists and go about life the way I want to. But I never get away with it for too long.

Soon I notice the slipping. I’ll miss a few doses of meds. I won’t get near enough sleep or exercise and I’ll realize I’ve had way too much sugar. (Oh, sugar, why must you torture me?)

When we go through times where we feel like we’re losing our grip it’s good to go back to basics.

There are certain things we should determine as our daily non-negotiables. The things we make sure we do each day no. matter. what.

If you find yourself drained from the militant work involved in dealing with a chronic illness maybe it’s time you go back to basics and make a list of non-negotiables for yourself.

Here are a few things you might want to put on your list:

  1.  Feed your soul. We can live without food for weeks. We can live without water or sleep for days. But your soul? Your soul needs daily nourishment. Spending a few minutes in God’s word and in prayer will keep you grounded and connected.
  2. Get at least 8 hours of sleep. I say “at least” because that’s going to vary from person to person. It might even vary according to your symptom flares. Think about how your body feels at the moment and be sure you’re getting enough ZZZZZs. Start getting your body ready an hour or so before you hit the sheets. Try reading, taking a warm bath or listening to soft music to help calm your body and mind.
  3. Take your meds & supplements. You would think this is a no-brainer, but on your worst days, it’s easy to miss a dose here and there. Maybe you never miss a dose of your prescription meds but, on your worst days, supplements seem like too much work. Slacking in this area will only make things worse.
  4. Move your body. Take a few minutes for gentle stretching. If you’re up to it, take a walk outside to soak in some Vitamin D. Do something that will get your body going and your blood, muscles and lymph system moving.
  5. Do something you enjoy. Whether it’s reading, watching a comedy on Netflix or a simple craft – do something each day that brings you pleasure. Remember this isn’t selfish – it’s self-care!
  6. Connect with another person. It’s so easy to become reclusive when you’re ill but we were designed for community. Our overall health is directly affected when we don’t engage with others. If you aren’t up to a long chat on the phone, take a minute to text someone.
  7. Nourish your body.  Grabbing quick, processed foods seems like the only option at times. Try to have a meal in the freezer or smoothie and green juice ingredients on hand so you can grab quick nutrition for your cells. Be sure to drink enough water. Our bodies are made up of at least 60% water. Make sure you’re providing your system with this key component.
  8. Practice gratitude. Taking a few moments to be thankful is important to your physical, mental and spiritual well-being. This simple daily practice can reduce stress hormones and boost your immunity. It’s also a way to remind yourself that God hasn’t forgotten about you but has placed people and things in your life as a way of showing His love.

What about you? Do you have a list of non-negotiables? What do you do each day, without fail, to stay as healthy as possible?

Don’t click away already! Really, I want to know! Leave me a comment below with your non-negotiable list!



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26 thoughts on “Daily Non-Negotiables for Life with Chronic Illness

  1. Your list is only missing one thing….do something for another living being, whether it is watering a plant, feeding the birds or extra loves for your furry baby. Caring for the little birdies and my kitties motivates me to get up and be outside of the misery for awhile.

    • So true Gail! Actually doing something for someone else goes beyond making a connection. It also makes us feel like we still have something to offer others. Thanks for the addition to the list!

  2. A great reminder of the basics to managing life with chronic illness. I hate thinking about my body’s needs while simultaneously know that if I don’t think about it now I will have to think about it latter! It’s a struggle.

    • It sure is Shelley. It’s a vicious cycle. But I guess I’d probably have some of these non-negotiables even if I wasn’t sick. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Connect with at least one other person at least once a week (hopefully more often but not everyone can do that). It can be face to face, by phone, email, IM, etc.

  4. I remind myself that my identity is in Christ and not my autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia. I’ve seen other people with chronic illness find their identity in it, and while I understand how that happens, and that this is my life and has been for the past almost 4 years, and will be a part of the rest of it, it doesn’t define me, Christ defines me.

    • So true Julie! That’s what we all need to remember. Our illness is not who we are – it’s what we have. And God can use it for His glory.

  5. One of my non-negotiables is that I hug and kiss my husband every day and tell him I love him. I also try and remember to tell him every day how much he means to me. We have been married for almost 42 years!

  6. This kist is similar to Sara’s. I need to remember this. I am also making 2 cd’s one for the hard days that will inspire me and another for the easier days. Christian music mixed with whatever but anything that reminds me I can do this because I have a mighty God!

    • That’s so great Lisamarie! Music speaks to the soul and having a good playlist handy is a great way to help you through the day.

    • I know you didn’t include the link, Lisamarie. Something odd happened and links were popping up in a lot of comments. But I think I have it fixed now. 🙂

  7. This is such a great list, Kim! All so vitally important. One of my favorite ways of soul care is carving out time away from noise and distractions. Trev and I will go for a scenic drive or I’ll curl up on the couch without music or tv playing. It can be time with God or even just a stimulation break which is good for the body too. Thanks for all of these great reminders! Great post. 💕

    • Thanks Kami! Allow yourself silence from all the distractions is wonderful! I think we can be so over stimulated with all of the noise, technology and options of things to do. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. I have found that practicing mindfulness and meditation helps me. You can meditate on a favorite verse or imagine God sending a healing light through your body, anything really. Right now I do 10 minutes a day. I hope to be able to lose the timer and just clear my mind as often and as long as I need to.

    • What a great practice Monica! Meditating on God’s word and clearing your mind of everything else but His word is a great way to spend some time and exercise self-care.

  9. I love your list Kim. I spend much of my day online connecting with others through blogging & the various support forums I administer. It’s been amazing to see it all grow & flourish but in the midst of the excitement & joy I get from writing, blogging & supporting others I forgot to keep an eye on my own self-care non-negotiables & am now acutely ill as well ss chronically ill. Your post is a timely reminder.
    Thank you. I’m looking forward to a quiet afternoon of reflection, a good DVD & disconnecting myself for a couple of hours from my phone….here I go 😄💖

    • Thanks, Sam! I hope you were able to recharge a little. It’s so easy to lose track of our own self-care when our hearts want to be doing all we can to help others. But if we don’t keep ourselves full we have nothing to give. <3