Being ill can seem synonymous with spending a lot of time in bed (and not in a good way).
And one of the hardest parts of that (apart from, you know, the bedpans and pressure sore issues) is being lonely and bored.
One of the most challenging things about being ill is that things we used to be able to do may not longer be accessible or possible. When you have low energy, lots of fatigue, high pain levels and similar, going out can be difficult-to-impossible.
Staring at the same four walls all day, looking forward to little but the next meal and meds (when the pain might wane slightly), is not fun.
I’ve been bed bound and house bound and was supported by a wonderful wellness community to find ways to live well within four walls.
I held my 21st birthday party from my bed, posting out packs of princess-party-gear to my friends, who were bed bound too. I had a pointy princess headdress, with a veil, of course. And cake, jelly, and ice cream with hundreds and thousands.
(I couldn’t eat any of it of course, but I could enjoy the colours and my family happily ate everything up).
My attic bedroom was transformed into a canopy bed while I slept and letters poured in as we connected across the distance. (This was before snapchat, remember.)
I made sure the party packs were accessible to different energy levels…there were party games, colouring in pages, pink vegan sugar mice, and dried flowers to smell/hold for people who couldn’t sit up or move, but could still be involved, through tactile means.
I made political change from my bed too, holding the first ever long-distance tea party for Amnesty International; encouraging people to write supportive cards to political prisoners, their families and the governments detaining them.
Though long months bed bound and many years house bound, I learned to find freedom and fulfillment within my own four walls. And I’d love to share some with you today.
I learned to find freedom and fulfillment within my own four walls. @Grace_Quantock (Click to Tweet!)
Whether you are ill with a long-term condition or stuck in bed with a cold or a broken leg, here are 32 fun things to do when sick and stuck in bed:
- Learn to shuffle a deck of cards like a pro.
- Sing an advertising jingle from your childhood. Sing it in the style of your favourite musical artist.
- Begin a painting of a big canvas or paper, add one mark + per day to document your experience. If you are happy, what does that look like on the canvas? A golden dot? five blue swirls, circling over each other? A line that follows the shape of your fingers? If you are mourning something, how does that express on the canvas? See how your celebrations and heart-aches build into beautiful art, through your year.
- Download Eyecare and protect your vision. Future you will thank you.
- Try animal watching, can you see birds from your window? Can you watch online?
- Send a real paper birthday card to a loved one. If you don’t have someone, my birthday is in May and I’d love a card or even an unbirthday card!
- Phone your grandparents. Or your parents. Or someone. But if you can, pick up the phone, even for a moment.
- Plan an imaginary road trip. Mine is going to include a big pair of sunglasses, swing music and a pile of maps.
- Write down something beautiful that you have seen. Do this every day for a week.
- Fill empty (cleaned) jam jars with tea lights and bank them on your chimney piece/desk/table top. Practice fire safety always.
- Read a great essay every day in the End Sex Trafficking Now book.
- Go deep with your books; annotate them with pencils, sticky notes and passion.
- Keep a book of poetry by the phone and read when you are on hold.
- Curate your Instagram feed for inspiration and positivity, may I suggest you follow me @Healing_Boxes
- Take online action for a cause that’s meaningful to you.
- Visualise the feeling of being in a warm bath and let the warmth sink all the way into your bones
- Or think about being in a cold lake, and feeling cool and refreshed.
- Take free classes on line, I love Coursera, Duolingo, Skillshare.
- Pick out your favourite photograph and display it next to your bed
- Make audio books accessible for all those who need them. Read for Librivox.
- Write on your bathroom mirror in a washable pen, sparkly green eyeliner or red-red lipstick. Mine says, ‘Hello beautiful’. How about yours?
- Schedule one nice thing per day into your calendar for the next week. These can be big or small: a Skype date with a friend, time re-reading your favourite book or listening as soon as your favourite podcast drops its latest episode.
- Spiff up your morning routine. What makes you feel best in the AM?
- Participate in micro-volunteering. Change the world in your pyjamas.
- Design a bedtime routine even if you spend all day in bed. It can help bookmark your day and prepare you for sleep.
- Find your favourite essential oil scent blend. Do you need one for different days or different moods?
- Practice yoga in bed.
- Make a list of the meals you find easiest to eat/digest/make and keep it in your kitchen or planner.
- Decorate with washi tape. What to decorate? Your walls, your planner, your headboard. Try it and see.
- Pick an affirmation card, journal and reflect on it.
- Draw a picture of your ideal animal.
- Take an imagination vacation, where can your mind take you? Explore the globe with Google Earth.
What are your ways of coping when sick and stuck in bed? What shall we add to the list? Let me know in the comments!
I’ve got 500 things to do when stuck in bed and bored in my new book, Beyond the Boundaries: Finding Freedom & Fulfilment Within Four Walls. Self-Care Edition. Get your copy here.
Grace Quantock is an award-winning international wellness expert, coach, author, motivational speaker, certified Reiki master and spiritual response therapy practitioner. She is the founder of Healing Boxes CIC and The Phoenix Fire Academy. Currently living – and thriving – with often debilitating illness, she is the real deal and knows, firsthand, the emotional and physical roller coaster that accompanies diagnosis and life struggle. Currently, a resident of Wales, Grace loves reading, gardening and early mornings. She firmly believes that life is meant to be celebrated, and has made it her mission to help others do just that …joyfully and on their own terms. You can follow Grace on Twitter.
Image courtesy of Tirachard Kumtanom.