3 Things You Can Do to Simplify Life with Chronic Illness

Life with chronic illness tends to be stressful, but there are three things you can do right now to simplify your life.

1) Declutter Your Home

Clutter interferes with a sense of well-being. Too many possessions and too much furniture can make you feel like a bull in a china shop, especially if you have disabilities or problems with fatigue. You can’t do much about places you visit, but your home is within your own control. You don’t have to be an absolute minimalist, but less truly is more.

  • Make sure your furniture fits comfortably in your home with ample room for people to maneuver.
  • Have one spot in the house for newspapers and magazines. After you read them, they should be immediately recycled. If the next issue arrives and you still haven’t read the old one, get rid of it.
  • As much as you adore having books around, learn to let go of most of them, keeping only a manageable amount. The same is true of videos, CDs and other items that collect dust and create visual clutter.
  • Chotskies, brick-a-brak, collectibles… whatever you call them, they take up visual space. Unless they are of particular sentimental or artistic value, you are better off without them, and the task of caring for them.
  • Coffee tables, end tables, and nightstands should be free of items that are not used every day. Even too many decorative wall hangings can interfere with the flow.
  • Save yourself the time and energy of searching for misplaced items. Organize your home so that you have a place for everything.
  • Every time you bring something new into the house, get rid of something else. You will get a sense of satisfaction from ridding yourself of useless things… even more so if you donate your old possessions to a worthwhile charity.

2) Create a Sanctuary

There should be one small space in your home that feels like a sanctuary. It may be inside or outside, but it should make you feel calm and relaxed. Your private get-a-away at home should be free of all clutter and create a sense of inner calm. Your sanctuary could be as individual as you are — whatever makes you feel calm and peaceful. The point is to create a space where you can take even a five-minute break and feel rejuvenated.

  • If you are fortunate enough to have a lush backyard and a good climate, your sanctuary could simply be a lawn chair.
  • A room with a natural view and a cozy chair.
  • An indoor garden, water fountain, candles, etc. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of space to be a focal point.
  • Your sanctuary can even be your bathroom, if you’ve got a good tub, some candles, and soft music.

3) Streamline Your Chores and Errands: Ask for Help/Delegate

If you have a chronic illness and your energy levels are low, work smart. Are you doing chores or running errands that someone else in your household could do? Perhaps it is time to delegate — maybe to children or siblings — or ask for help from other family members.

  • When it comes to chronic illness, other people don’t necessarily know when you are not well. It is perfectly acceptable to ask for assistance or to ask that others simply do their share.
  • Don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself. Break chores down into small parts. You may not have the energy to clean the whole house, but you might be able to manage one room a day, or even one section of a room. The key to this method is to focus on what you accomplished rather than what you did not.
  • If you follow the tips about decluttering your home, you may find yourself less intimated when it comes to cleaning. Much less time and effort will be required.
  • If you follow-up your cleaning/chores/errands with fifteen minutes in your sanctuary, you will begin to feel the pleasurable effects of simplifying your life.



Martha Nieto
Martha Nieto1 years ago

I will try to follow all these tips. Thanks!

Ken W.
Ken W4 years ago


Elisa F.
Elisa F4 years ago

Many great tips. Thanks for sharing!

Emma S.
Emma S6 years ago

Useful stuff for people without chronic illness too.

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Danielle Herie
Danielle Herie6 years ago


Penny Carr
penny C6 years ago

I never thought of my books as clutter but I do have a lot.Otherwise Im pretty clutter free.I try to do as much as I can when Im well so its not so hard for other family members to look after when Im not.

leyna stemle
leyna stemle7 years ago

Good idea

Emmajade G.
.7 years ago

Living in a motor home (as I do most of the year) instead of a house makes clutter a BIG issue. You will honestly be amazed what you really need to get by very comfortably. Three people need three plates........ if you don't drink coffee you need only one glass. Sounds outrageous, doesn't it? Honest, it works out fine and you'll love not having a kitchen filled with dishes to wash and put away. It feels good to give your books, magazines and games you no longer play to the local Friends of the Library to resell, too. They use the funds to buy goodies for the public library so your gift will enrich the minds of others!

Caroline W.
Caroline W7 years ago

I wish I had room for a 'sanctuary' in my small studio apartment, but I don't. In fact, there is little room here for the things I actually 'need',so surplus is out the door immediately. I thought caring for a smaller space would be easier, but I was wrong actually. I'm now looking for a larger house or apartment, but it cannot have stairs. I hope I can try some of these suggestions out, but since I live alone, finding someone to share tasks with is out too. Well, at least I have my computer and my music and the books I love. I DO count my blessings, every single day. Most of us could be a LOT worse off than we are. (Imagine being sick AND homeless!)