I live for simple pleasures.
With chronic pain and chronic illness, limitations can be severe at times. This is one of those times. Simple pleasures are things that protect and nourish our wellbeing. They are in fact an important facet of our self-care. Our hobbies and activities that promote well-being and engage our focus and passions. It is important to our sense of self-worth to have things we can engage in that help us feel good. It is immensely difficult when you can no longer work to fill the void of it and you have to adjust your self-identity. These sorts of things help us with that.
But when things get severe even they become something we are limited on.
My example is reading. I am an avid reader. I consume books. And it has always been a pain distraction when the pain wasn’t too severe to be able to.
And now with the vestibular symptoms reading and reading comprehension are severely limited either all day or for most of the day. Sometimes there is a slice of the morning where things are not moving or shimmering so much in the visual field I can read for short durations. Not nearly as long as I used to be able to. Just like a taste. And when that window passes… I have cognitive issues that impair comprehension and the words shimmer too much to focus on them.
It is actually a pretty horrible thing for me. I really love reading. And now it is so very difficult.
What this means is that I have to savour these simple pleasure.
And on bad days, I can’t do them. So on good days… it is something to enjoy in that window of opportunity. I have to pace them, like every other aspect of chronic illness. I have to choose which to give time to. And I know that first thing in the morning is prime time for anything. I also know I have to do things more slowly. Take the time. I also learned these too mean I have to rest and recover. Even these small things we enjoy can cost us, but since we are limited on many other things, the cost is something we cope with. We all need things to engage in.
What I have also learned is that I should seek out simple pleasures that are easier to manage without too much need for focus. And by finding those, we can nourish our well-being in new ways. I just haven’t been able to find a substitute. Lack of money makes it tricky in some cases. Like I have books to read. A lot of them. But I cannot pay for audiobooks which would be a good substitute.
Some things I have considered:
Coloring books: I have nerve damage so I am limited in the time I can spend coloring. But it is relaxing and you do not need to be cognitively all there to do it. I do recommend it.
Audiobooks: These are a great option if you have having problems reading and comprehending what you read. I just can’t afford that option at this moment. Nevertheless, it is a great one for others.
Prime Day – Audible $10 bounty is an Amazon Addible promotion on at the moment.
Netflix: Watching shows doesn’t require any mental effort from us. But you can watch great shows on Netflix. Including documentaries (I really want to see the ‘Out of my head’ documentary, but access to that isn’t on Netflix now or showing around here.) Here is a list of some popular shows, I must not like popular because none of these are on my list.
Arts & crafts: Now writing is ‘my thing’ but there are a lot of arts and crafts to explore within our specific limitations. Before my functionality declined I went to a Paint Nite with a friend. And it was a blast (and I am Not a good painter by any means however my friend had some skills, man). And it makes me think that if people have availability to an art therapy program, that is something to check out. Other things like crochet and knitting, while those of us with peripheral neuropathy or arthritis may be limited on time spent doing it, it can be something interesting to explore. A friend of mine does these fantastic stain glass art with glass cutting, so there are so many options out there for us to engage in arts & crafts. Photography is a great one to explore as well. Well, I could list thousands because it encompasses so much we can explore.
Simple pleasures can be our hobbies and activities but they can be also the simplest of things. A really good cup of tea. A refreshing nap. Sitting outside and just enjoying the day. A short walk outside. All sorts of things.
We just have to savour the things we can do when we can do them. The things that give us pleasure in life and help us cope.