It's springtime, something people worldwide look forward to but finding outdoor activities for spoonies is hard!
Spending most of your time in bed is hard on so many levels. When the weather is nice I have the urge to get outside. Sometimes I am able sometimes not but I really cherish those days outside with my feet in the grass. Because my memory is so bad I keep a list of things I want to do when I’m able to spend time outdoors. Coming up with ideas of outdoor activities for spoonies is hard but not impossible.
That being said, we all need to keep in mind that overdoing it today can make tomorrow unbearable. Each of us is unique in our illness(es), our sensitivities and our passions so make sure you put yourself first. If you know you only have a certain window of time you can do something, don’t push it longer. For some people chlorine sets off a reaction, stay away from it. If you hate playing dominoes, don’t.
Family members can mean well by trying to get you involved in something you can’t do (or can but will pay for later) or something you don’t enjoy. Try to get them to understand your abilities, sensitivities, and passions. Let them know that you only want to do things you enjoy after all this is the best you may ever feel again so make it count. Most likely your family or friends are lost as to what you need or want so don’t be afraid to tell them. I know some of them will jump at the chance to help you.
Check out my post “My Life With Hashimoto's – Choose To Create A Life You Love Before It's Too Late” to understand why I choose to create a life I love each and every minute I can.
Sometimes just sitting outside with a light snack and your feet in the grass is enough
I love doing this when I can, it helps me calm my racing thoughts. I use deep breathing to help me relax. It’s a small meditation that makes a big difference in my day. My favorite time is right before daybreak when the world is still sleeping so I don’t have to interact with anyone. It’s not that I’m not social but I just love that “me” time. I don’t have to pretend for anyone or have them hover.
If I’m working on a smallish project I like to crochet outside but the wind here likes to play up and some days it’s not possible. Then there’s the heat…nobody wants to be covered in a blanket they’re crocheting when it’s 100 degrees outside. I don’t even want to be outside when it’s that hot, it makes my fatigue worse, my electrolytes evaporate and my skin feels like it’s on fire.
The manageable spring days or evening are my favorite, at least until the mosquitoes come out. I don’t need to get the Zika virus or anything else on top of what I already deal with and most sprays have an adverse effect on me. I have concocted a spray of lavender and peppermint essential oils that help keep the mosquitoes away but sometimes it’s too much work to use. That’s when I know I should rest instead of going outside.
Outdoor Activities For Spoonies
I came up with a list of what to do when you are able to get outdoors. These may not suit everyone so pick what works for you and go for it:
- Grounding, setting your bare feet on the ground. Usually done for at least 10 minutes. Here’s some fantastic information about grounding at Wellness Mama.
- Walking, I try walking around the yard and sometimes around our RV park but I use my cane for support and take my phone in case I need help.
- Swimming IF the chlorine or heat doesn’t bother you. It can help relieve some symptoms for some spoonies. The heat here in south Texas makes my skin feel like it’s burning and this article on The Mighty made me laugh…I think I’m a little bit Squidward and something like the lady with the umbrella but only if there’s an A/C unit under there!
- Gardening with raised planter boxes may help your back but I’d like to see some chair level so I could either use a wheelchair or scoot my chair over to the next box. Doing this means you can grow your own food so you know exactly what was used.
Fairy Gardens are fun to play with, you can rearrange them or add to them. You can even make more things to add to them using polymer clay or popsicle sticks. Outdoor activities can be a lot of fun, especially with the kiddos.
- BBQ with friends and family. It’s always nice to spend time with others you like because of how isolated you can become due to chronic illness.
- Play cards with friends
- Rock or swing in a rocking chair or loveseat style porch swing
- Draw or doodle (check out my art therapy Pinterest board). Who said you have to be active? Outdoor activities for spoonies are about getting outside not necessarily being a physically active participant.
- Stretch or light yoga
- Crochet or knitting
- Card games
- Crafts and DIY hobbies
- Read a book
- Macrame (it’s made a comeback)
- Write in your diary or bullet journal
- Snap some green beans for dinner
- Make miniature doll furniture
- Listen to music
- Watch the grandkids play, have them bring you flowers and play with you in your fairy garden. My grandkids love this. I ordered this for my grandson for his birthday, talk about a hit!
- Rock painting or decorating
- Make some garden art like this glass beaded garden sparkler
Outdoor activities can improve mental health but there are many more benefits of recreation
Doing some type of outdoor activity can improve your mood and may help with weight or painful and stiff joints. Sometimes this helps me and other times it can put me in a flare so use your own experience as a reference. The sun is good for you (Vitamin D) and being outdoors can help your mood. Socializing helps with mental health. This may not be for everyone but if it is for you, I hope you enjoy yourself.
Outdoor activities for spoonies can be refreshing and top up your mental reserves for the bad days. Use them well and enjoy them, enjoy yourself without guilt. Guilt can erase all the good you’ve done for yourself. Make sure you put yourself first though, don’t land yourself in a hospital or bed for weeks. It’s hard to pace yourself when you’re having a good time, something you haven’t had for awhile. I get it. I even push the limit myself. Just do your best to take care of yourself.
Also, just because you normally do something inside doesn’t mean it can’t be done outdoors. Get creative and try to enjoy at least 10 minutes a day outside with your bare feet on the ground. If you like to doodle bring it outside. Playing a game on your phone? Do it outside, in the shade or somewhere you can still see the screen. Stretching to keep your range of motion can be done using a yoga mat or sitting in a chair.
Whatever you decide to do, enjoy it!
Create a life you love one minute at a time and fill it with things you truly enjoy. You may not be able to cure yourself but there’s no reason you can’t enjoy those little tidbits of time. And remember…always put yourself first <3
Tell me, in the comments below, what you like to do when you are able to get outdoors. We can all get ideas from each other and help make someone else's life a little more fun.
I love hearing all about how you tackle your struggles with chronic illness!
Do you have other tips you can share with us? Most spoonies have found workarounds for all types of things and I’d love to share your advice.
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Kim is a freelance blogger, writer and VA. She loves sharing resources for other “spoonies” to help them create lives they love. Hoarding crochet patterns on Pinterest is her second favorite thing.