A blog about chronic illness, chronic pain, and mental health. Most of my posts are reblogged. I am not a medical professional, and any advice you see here is based strictly on personal experience or opinion. Always feel free to send asks & submissions!


I have spent most of my life in some form of therapy, and I am a MASTER of coping skills. I have lists of tips for every trigger and every self-destructive urge —but after my accident, I noticed that some of my tried-and-true coping mechanisms were not possible in my new physical condition. Since then, I have noticed the same problem on lists circulating on-line. So, I decided to write my own!

These suggestions are from a variety of lists found in my personal collection, the Dialectical Behavior Therapy manual, and on-line. Most of the things included I have actually tried and found effective myself. 

I have broken them down into 3 categories: Pain, Anxiety, and Depression. The “Pain” list is designed for flare days. It holds the least physically-intensive ideas, things that can be done while completely bed-ridden, and ideas that can actually help reduce pain (or at least distract you from it). 


  • Deep breathing exercises (inhale 5 seconds, hold 5 seconds, and exhale 5 seconds- carefully.)
  • Draw, paint, or color. (a tablet, Magna-doodle or even Etch-a-Sketch would work if you don’t want to use paper and crayons.)
  • Blow bubbles.
  • Pet a dog/cat/furry creature.
  • Turn on (or off) all of the lights.
  • Sit outside or under a sunny-lamp, even just for a few moments. 
  • Sip a warm drink.
  • Watch funny Youtube videos.
  • Read. (keep it light, easy to understand, and uplifting)
  • Contact a friend.
  • Stretch or do gentle yoga.  (Don’t push. Be very careful. Know your limits.)
  • Immerse yourself in a computer or video game. Use headphones if possible. 
  •  Allow yourself to feel whatever you feel without judgment; observe and describe. (example: I feel angry. My feet hurt. I am frustrated. I feel sad. I wish I were healthier. My pain is at an 8. I feel upset. - notice the thoughts/feelings and let them pass. Don’t fixate, justify, or analyze. )
  • Meditate.
  • Write a list of things you are looking forward to, things you are grateful for, or things you are proud of.
  • Trace a maze or mandala,with your fingers(or even just your eyes). 
  •  Make yourself as comfortable as possible. (sit on pillows, cover yourself in blankets, change positions, etc.)


  • Put together a puzzle.
  • Hold ice, splash your face with cold water, or go outside in the rain or snow. (be safe, don’t prolong exposure- only long enough for a sensation to “shock” your system.)
  • Clean or organize a space. (even a digital space, if you can’t physically clean!)
  • MOVE. However you can- from crinkling your face muscles to doing jumping jacks. Just MOVE.
  • Drink herbal tea or decaf coffee.
  • Write positive quotes or words on flashcards.
  • Get outside, even just for a moment.
  • Do gentle yoga or simple stretches. (see pain list for link and cautions)
  • DISTRACT. Any way you can: TV, YouTube, Tumblr, read, write, play word games, play a game, etc.
  • Throw balled-up socks at a blank wall.
  • Scream into a pillow.
  • Take pictures.
  • Browse on-line stores. Window shop or put together a “Wish List”.
  • Count. Backwards from 100, forward in 7’s, backward in 2’s, 1-10 getting gradually louder, etc.
  • Plant your feet firmly on the floor or press your hands on your seat cushion. Ground yourself.
  • Think of 3 household objects for every letter of the alphabet.
  • Shred blank paper.
  • Play with silly putty or play dough.
  • Pop bubble wrap.
  • Learn to swear in another language.


  • Comb your hair, paint your nails, or wash your face. (performing a simple grooming task can significantly boost your mood).
  • Pet a cat/dog/furry creature. If possible, visit a shelter.
  • Write a thank-you note to someone you appreciate, or leave a NICE anonymous message online.
  • Make and listen to a playlist of happy and upbeat music.
  • Browse photos of fun memories and people you love.
  • Write a list of things you are grateful for, things you are proud of, things you love, or things you are capable of.
  • Rub lotion onto your arms or legs, mindfully and gently.
  • Draw random designs and color them in.
  • Take a warm bath, shower, or rub a warm, damp, towel over your skin.
  • Do something productive. Cross something off your to-do list! (organize files on your computer, clean a room, do a homework assignment, cook a meal, return a call, etc.)
  • Write (or add to) your “Bucket” list! (keep it fun and upbeat)
  • Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling, without judgment. Laugh, cry, scream, etc.
  • Observe and describe your feelings. (see pain list for details)
  • Treat yourself. Eat something decadent, watch your favorite show, indulge in something!
  • Make a mental list of 5 things you see, hear, and feel. Then list 4, then 3, then 2, then 1.
  • Call a hotline. (International, USA) They will let you talk. They will NOT call  911 unless you say you are in immediate danger. I have used this option many times and I recommend it. 
  • Contact a friend or family member.
Let me know if you have any ideas to add, and I will make a follow-up post! 
Take care of yourselves. 

(via chronicallykatie)

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    Great coping ideas :)
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