Stress & Chronic Illness – How to Cope When You Can’t Get Out of Bed

Stress and Chronic Illness

One of the hardest things to deal with when completely bedridden with POTS Syndrome (Dysautonomia) was not being able to do anything that helped relieve stress.

I was too “out of it” to read a book. I couldn’t listen to music because I was too sensitive to noise. I couldn’t even go outside without severe consequences. I was stuck suffering through each day. During that period, I couldn’t find anything that consistently helped. It was really hard.

My previous coping mechanisms for dealing with stress didn’t work; they made my symptoms worse or caused even more stress.

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  • Went for a run
  • Went for a drive
  • Went for a walk
  • Met up with a friend and talk
  • Went to church
  • Read an inspiring book
  • Listened to music


  • Pray
  • Hope that one day I would feel better
  • And that was about it. 👍

As time went on (probably about 2-3 years into my sickness) I started regaining brain function and began to be able to walk around the house again. At that point I started being able to do more stretching, deep breathing, meditation, reading or listening to books, and I started my travel blog.

At that time my blog was basically a picture book of places I wanted to travel to. I was still too sick to write articles, but I found joy from “trip planning” for the day I would be healthy enough to go on my dream adventures.

I’ve learned that the online chronic illness community is a great source for ideas and experiences of people that can actually relate to the struggle.

I asked my Instagram family at @avenlylaneinspire what tips or advice they have to get through a bad day with chronic illness. Below are some of my favorites…

It depends on the day because sometimes the physical toll is too much. Ever since I was a kid I’ve had extremely bad anxiety and the best way for me to handle it has always been to play music through headphones and swing on a swing set. We have one in my yard and I can’t swing for 3 hours now with pots but I’ll still get on that swing when I’m stressed even to just sit on it and barely move something about being outside and having the music block it all out helps me.


On my bad days I mostly lay in bed asking why me! Sometimes I cry, but at times ill do breathing techniques. Living with a chronic illness and never knowing what the day will be like for your body is like living in prison! I try to not let it control my day to day, but anyone who lives with a chronic illness knows that on our bad days we are at our weakest, and it ultimately does control us.

– Deana Pooley

When my depression and anxiety from CPTSD kicks in and all I want to do is stay in bed.. Well, I hop on here and people such as yourself inspire and motivate me to get out up and moving, it may just be to the mailbox, but i get out of bed lol. But I also like to write poetry to get what is stressing or mentally draining out of me, so it is no longer an anchor on my mind. And those days that I get out of bed but can not muster up enough strength to take on the day I paint. Painting forces me to go outside (as I use spray paint) and also makes me slow the thoughts down in my head so I am able to be more mindful and in the present.

– @808combatvet

What has helped you when you have a bad day and can’t get out of bed?

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