By Erin Migdol,

Sometimes (or often), the fatigue or pain of your illness means you aren’t able to leave your bed — and that’s OK. You’re taking care of your body while it gets the rest it needs. But, let’s be honest — it’s not easy to keep yourself entertained in bed all day, especially if you have a chronic illness that requires frequent stay-in-bed days.

So, we asked our Mighty community to share what they do to keep themselves occupied while they’re too sick or in too much pain to leave bed. They revealed some creative (and relaxing) ideas that can help keep your mind busy without hurting your body. Share your own ideas in the comments below.

Here are the ideas they shared with us:

1. “Having to go from outdoor enthusiast and adventurer to being bedridden and having days filled with chronic pain and symptoms was terribly devastating. Something as simple as bird feeders out my windows has kept me in touch with nature and photographing visiting birds keeps me feeling useful. On difficult days, this disconnects me from being overwhelmed by chronic illness.”

2. “Netflix is my best friend. I’m always binge watching new shows. ‘How I Met Your Mother’ is my current indulgence. I’ve watched ‘Bones’ probably six times all the way through.”

3. “I studied biology at uni, so I pull out the textbooks I never read and learn something new. If it’s an old concept, I might go read some research papers on more recent discoveries. This, plus the documentaries section of Netflix makes it feel like I’ve done something productive (learning), even if I can’t move.”

4. “I decided to take up crochet. Turns out that I am actually pretty good at it. In the seven months since I started crocheting, I have designed and written multiple patterns, one of which has been downloaded around 50,000 times on Ravelry… Finding something creative to engage your mind is key to surviving the bad days with a positive mindset.”

5. “I edit pictures on my phone using tons of different apps. Photography is my passion, and I love editing pictures that I take and coming up with new designs to go with them. It’s really relaxing.”

6. “Knitting. I had a friend ask if I could knit the squares that could be sewn into blankets for domestic violence victims who have to leave with minimal belongings. So she donated the yarn. Knitting is my relaxant.”

7. “I’ve started trying watercolors. Found some cheap supplies at Michael’s. Got watercolor paper $5, watercolor paint $5 and watercolor brushes $5.”

8. “Get some good books, preferably ones with large font so you don’t get a headache along with the body pain.”

9. “In-bed yoga is something I love. It loosens up my joints and I really need that with fibromyalgia.”

10. “I love to blast music and write…with my furry companion. I write whatever I’m feeling sometimes poems or songs. Sometimes it’s just font work but it always helps, and gets out a lot of pent up feelings. The music choice also reflects the pain.”

11. “I think it’s really important to invite friends/family to come and sit with you even if it’s just to watch TV because you’re too tired to socialize. People sometimes ask what they can do to help and the biggest thing is helping us keep from being too isolated. We need company and socialization. Maybe even video chats would be a good idea!”

12. “I have begun sketching, it’s not only something to distract me but I’ve found some great satisfaction from doing something that produces an end product, so I can look at it and see I have at least achieved something.”

13. “I get on social media and congratulate people who achieved goals, encourage those who are trying, and tell people they are beautiful. Lifting up others always makes me feel better.”

14. “Reading cheesy teen fantasy lit. They’re mindless and formulaic enough that you can still follow the story even if you’re distracted by pain and/or on some righteous meds that don’t quite knock you out, but interesting enough that you’re entertained for a few hours.”

15. “I love my Flutter and Flutter: Starlight apps for when I’m stuck in bed all day. They’re like a butterfly garden at your fingertips and there’s always something to do on the app. Very calming as well!”

16. “My awake hours are spent perusing Asos and Beauty Bay, putting together outfits for after I have heart surgery. It sounds like nothing, but for the short time I’m awake, it helps.”

17. “I color. A lot. Lots of books and even way more pens/pencils. Sometimes I tell myself just an hour or two but before I know it the whole day has slipped by and I’m still coloring.”

18. “I would say hobbies that you can find at the front of any Barnes and Noble store. Knitting, plate decorating, origami, painting, cooking, model building, card making, wreath making, etc. I even play with kids toys because I have a young daughter but it helps me as well. I find Play-doh, kinetic sand, and coloring and spin art is a great de-stressor and relaxer.”

19. “I’ve just started a three-month free trial of Audible. Really enjoying ‘reading’ without the fatigue actual reading causes.”

20. “I look for online deals for items to help homeless people. I am slowly (as I have a very low income through SSD) making kits to give homeless people. The kits will have some needs as well as some ‘fun/want’ items that I’m sure they rarely get.”

21. “I’ve gamed since I was 3 years old for pain, it’s so immersive and distracting, and became a huge hobby for me to be a character or avatar that was like me, without my pain or illness, and it made things easier to cope with.”

22. “Duolingo, it’s an app to learn new languages in a game format.”

23. “Listen to podcasts! There are podcasts for every taste. And, as a bonus, some hosts’ voices put me peacefully to sleep.”

24. “I enjoy YouTube a lot. Makeup tutorials especially. I play in my makeup a lot trying to duplicate the things I watch. I just sit up in bed. Or sit in a chair in front of my mirror if I’m having a good day.”

25. “Never hurts to try to learn more. Choose a random Wikipedia entry and start reading. Wikipedia is fun because you can often start on one topic and easily find yourself on another topic far far away.”

What do you do when you’re sick in bed? Share your ideas in the comments.

This was published by The Mighty.

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