When things in our lives don’t go the way we want them to, we turn to whatever comforts us. Everyone has that one thing that always seems to make things better, even if just for a little while. Those of us who live with migraine and chronic illness rely on our comfort items. So many days are spent in pain, or fatigued, or in the throes of depression or anxiety. What helps to distract us from the discomfort and anguish become staples in our survival kits.
Comfort items can be anything that you enjoy and brings a smile to your face. They are basically distractions from painful migraine symptoms or whatever is ailing us at the moment. The list is endless. There are some very interesting and amazing ways people comfort themselves during a difficult time. They range from the simplest item to very intricate and detailed hobbies. These are a few that my chronic pain pals use in their time of need.
1. Puppy love
Animals are the most loving creatures. Our pets are like our children. They always give unconditional love, are extremely forgiving, and don’t fault us for our flaws or shortcomings. Pets are part of your family and provide an abundance of comfort to their human moms, dads, and siblings. Most can sense when you aren’t well. You may notice that your dog or cat stays with you all day, sitting or lying by you to keep you company. They may bring you their favorite toy because it makes them happy when they play with it and they want you to be happy too. Just holding your fur baby can bring a sense of calmness and peace. They are wonderfully healing creatures!
2. Stuffed animals
Whether it is from your childhood or gifted to you as an adult, stuffed animals hold a lot of significance. There is usually a specific emotion or memory attached to them which make them very special to their owners. They may remind you of a loved one or their smell may take you back to a time when things were better. Stuffed animals are the ultimate comfort item! They are great for snuggling and very easy to transport. Trips to the hospital or emergency room become more tolerable with that special friend in tow.
3. Security blankets
I have a scarf that I take everywhere with me. Since I was a baby, I would always smell my blanket for comfort. It calmed me down when I was cranky, tired, or hungry. As an adult, my scarf is now my comfort when I am depressed, anxious, in severe pain, or extremely fatigued. I love the smell of freshly washed clothes, so I make sure it smells super clean. It is practically attached to my hip. I grab my scarf and gently sniff it when I’m anxious, and it instantly relaxes me. I am not embarrassed or ashamed of my security blanket. It has helped me through some very difficult times in my life. So, if you have a favorite blanket, quilt, pillow, or piece of clothing that helps you cope, go for it!
Doing something you really love to do is a great way to bring joy into your life. Hobbies allow you to spend quality time with yourself and forget about being sick for a while. There is a sense of comfort and peace when you put your energy into something creative. Drawing, painting, creating mosaics, gardening, cooking, making pottery, sculpting, or playing an instrument are all wonderful and comforting ways to cope with a chronic illness. Remembering that you are more than someone who is sick is a huge comfort. We often get wrapped up in how our illness makes us feel, forgetting that we are very special and unique. A hobby creates a space for you to express yourself and show who you really are and helps you to not focus so much on your illness.
A good book is a great distraction to have when living with a chronic illness. You can get swept away to some place new, leaving your reality behind for a few hours. Books bring adventure, mystery, romance, fantasy, and thrills to our lives. They are gateways to the imagination and are the perfect companion to have on our journeys with chronic illness. Whenever things get to be too stressful or overwhelming, it is super easy and convenient to pick up a book and get away. It’s the cheapest form of travel and the destinations are endless!
6. Movies and television
Just like books, movies and television series allow us to escape to somewhere else. Spending time with familiar characters helps us forget that we aren’t feeling well. With services like Amazon, Hulu and Netflix, binge-watching a series has never been easier. If you want to distract yourself for hours on end, this is a sure way to do it. And with a plethora of types of movies to choose from, you can escape to outer space, travel to a mystical land, delve into the mind of a sociopath, or root for the nerdy guy to get the girl in the end.
Adult coloring books are super popular. Many are made specifically to help you relax, meditate, and bring calmness and peace. Coloring the intricate patterns is like listening to a guided meditation. You become focused on how you see the image in your mind and making it come to life on paper. Nothing else exists while this is happening. It is extremely healing and helps to clear the mind of negative and irrational thoughts. When it is complete, you will have a beautiful piece of art worthy of a frame. What a great memento showing how beautifully you cope with having a chronic illness!