Life with a chronic illness is full of ups and downs. Some days you might feel like you can run a marathon, and others you can barely get out of bed. Here are 11 of my favorite things for navigating life with Ankylosing Spondylitis 🙂
Roomba– We all love to have a clean home, but vacuuming can be EXHAUSTING, especially if you are fighting the fatigue that so often comes with chronic illness. I just have to push a button and Roomba starts cleaning without me having to even get up. I have two dogs and it even cleans up their hair…literally a LIFE SAVER
Heating Pad- Tight muscles, a bad flare, back pain; I love just plugging in my heating pad and finding a little bit of relief. Honestly I keep one of these in my living room and one in my nightstand, so when pain wakes me up in the middle of the night I can plug it right in.
Crock Pot- When I’m feeling bad one of the absolute last things I want to deal with is cooking a meal. Take-out is great, but definitely gets old. Being able to just quickly toss a bunch of ingredients into the crock pot and crawl back into bed makes a slow cooker a true MUST HAVE.
Foam Roller- I was introduced to these foam rollers playing rugby in college, and they are kind of the epitome of “no pain, no gain.” If my joints are bothering me I definitely opt for heat or ice, but when my muscles are tight and sore a few minutes rolling them out feels SO GOOD.
Dry Shampoo- I just recently discovered that you aren’t actually supposed to wash your hair everyday, and you can use dry shampoo between washes (I’m awful with beauty stuff like this…whoops). Game changer! You always see the chronic illness memes about having to rest after taking a shower- but it’s really true! And washing my hair is by far the most exhausting part…so being able to skip the wash and just spray in some dry shampoo is incredible.
Electric Blanket- My husband got me one of these a few years ago for Christmas. Think of it as a heating pad for your entire body. Enough said.
Slip on Shoes– First, putting on shoes can be a pain, so I’m a big proponent of slip-ons. In the summer I have some awesome blue Birkenstocks, but in the colder months I don’t love wearing sandals with socks….I will honestly wear slippers out of the house sometimes, but when I need some more serious shoes I love my slip-ons (I do actually have the exact TOMS shown here). I also get Achilles tendinitis as an effect of my AS, and when that starts to flare up its really painful to wear shoes that put any pressure on my heels- so these are perfect 🙂
Ice Packs- My chronic illness’ main effect is inflammation, and the best way to treat inflammation (aside from medication) is ice! I personally really like the ice packs with a Velcro strap on them so I can just throw it on and not have to worry about holding it in place.
Water Bottle- Hydration is super important for everyone, but staying hydrated is extra important for those of us whose bodies are constantly fighting illness, inflammation, etc. Drinking enough water is key to brain and muscle function, and helps boost mood and metabolism! I also feel like I’m much better about drinking enough water if I have a big bottle I can seal and carry around with me.
Lap Tray- If you have a chronic illness you know there are a lot of days that you spend in bed or on the couch. A little lap tray/desk is perfect to rest a computer, some dinner, or your water bottle 😉
Icy Hot Patches- Last, but DEFINITELY not least, Icy Hot patches. Perfect if you have to go out and are feeling pain from tight muscles. I often have lower back pain, stiffness, and spasms, and when it’s not quite bad enough to keep me home in bed I love being able to stick one of these on and get the effects of a heating pad or ice pack while I’m on the go.
*Bonus- Two dogs who will love you unconditionally, always make you smile, and not get mad when the Roomba tries to vacuum up their feet 🙂