A girl lounges on her couch in a dark room, scrolling through her phone showing images of friends having fun together.

Dealing With FOMO

Keeping up with the boundaries and limitations can often be challenging. When everyone we know is out with friends and family, or going for long walks in the trails of a beautiful forest, it is easy to get caught up in the complex emotions that come with living with a chronic illness and want to abandon those limitations altogether so we don’t have to deal with FOMO (fear of missing out).

Remember why you set boundaries in the first place

When these emotions arise I think it’s important to remember why we had set these boundaries for ourselves. Whether it be for preventing burnout or avoiding a flare of symptoms, being loyal to our boundaries is a form of self-love and self-respect. It means you are putting yourself and your health first.

It means possibly saving your spoons for a special day with your significant other, or maybe going to visit family you haven’t seen in a while. Boundaries allow us to actively choose how we want to spend our precious energy that we often lack.

Sometimes doing what is best for you isn’t going to feel that way

Though it is the best choice for us to prioritize our health, we are going to experience moments of envy towards others and hatred towards ourselves. First and foremost, know that this is a normal feeling. Taking care of our broken bodies will prove to be challenging at times and making choices that may be best for our bodies will not always feel good or bring us contentment.

The fact of the matter is it’s not an easy choice because it’s not an easy life. But choosing yourself in this way is a form of self-love and honouring your limitations is honouring yourself.

Romanticize acts of self-care

Make a big deal out of everything—-bathing, resting, reading, sitting outside. If you plan on having a rest day, make your environment something to be excited about. Stock up on some cozy blankets. Pile up decorative pillows. Light a candle. Romanticize the act of taking care of yourself. You have been through so much and are so deserving of this self-care and comfort.

Join an online community who shares your interests

Since falling ill I have found a new passion in playing video games. I spend most of my days doing this and as much as I enjoy it, sometimes playing by myself just isn’t the same. I decided to create a gaming club through Discord—a server where I, among many other chronically ill individuals, can connect and bond through video games.

Not only is there a safe space to support one another through flare-ups and challenges, but you can also set up times to play games together. It’s been such a solace for me in my darkest, loneliest moments. What hobbies are you into? The internet is filled with tons of online forums and communities. You are bound to find something that speaks to you.

Most importantly—remember that you are not really missing out on much.

It might not feel like it in the heat of the moment but, better days are ahead. If there’s anything I know about living through illness, it’s that when those good days do come by, it makes it that much sweeter.

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