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This week I have been struggling with what I suspect is bronchitis. With my normal energy being more limited, I’ve been struggling to get myself to write the blog post I was hoping to write this week. So instead I am spending some time sharing what some of my bad days look like. Having more bad days than good days lately, I feel like I’m able to share the reality of my struggles.

I live with multiple disabilities that play off of each other. Each day I start by looking over my planner while I try to eat which of the weekly goals I will work on that day. Then I set the goals to work towards that day. On bad days, however, I stare at my planner for a while as I look over the goals. Each goal feels overwhelming and I don’t feel up to anything on the list. I try to be optimistic and choose a goal that has the highest priority and put in some work, but often that doesn’t yield much. I try to do bits and pieces, but often end up getting distracted easily and find it hard to get back to what I was working on.

Often, when I’m not feeling great, I start by listening to a YouTube video or audiobook. I give myself a bit of rest and a chance for my medications to kick in which might change how up to things I am. I find something soothing about listening to someone tell a good story or talk excitedly about something interesting. On my worst days, I won’t get out of this stage. I will listen to things and watch.

If I’m having a string of hard days, I may feel guilty about not doing anything. I try to do maintenance tasks that have to be done periodically but are tedious or mind numbing. This includes backing up files, updating bookkeeping, or even updating visual elements on websites.

A common staple of bad days is naps. I’ll get tired in the afternoon and feel like I need to rest in order to keep my brain and body working together. I’ll lie down to rest and possibly nap for a few hours. Sometimes when I feel the need to rest, I’ll put on movies or audiobooks I’m familiar with. These are typically Miyazaki movies like Howl’s Moving Castle or Kiki’s Delivery Service or murder mystery novels, usually by Agatha Christie. These are comfortable favorites that are interesting enough to hold my attention while familiar enough that I know what’s there and don’t feel the need to worry about finding out.

The important thing I’ve learned with my disability is to give myself space to have bad days while still keeping my goals and dreams in mind. I give myself grace on days I can’t do as much and try my best. How do you take care of yourself on bad days? Let me know in the comments below.