Hack My Life: 10 Hacks For Living with an Autoimmune Disease

Having Behcet’s or another chronic illness means that you are probably limited to the amount of energy you have each day. Sometimes this means making decisions between things like cooking dinner or washing your hair, and can just stink (pun intended).  You might not be able to do everything you want without crashing later, so saving energy wherever you can becomes crucial.

Here are ten tips for conserving energy and “hacking” your life, when it comes to living with an autoimmune disease:

Shower Chairs and Stools:

Shower chairs are not just for the old folks! They can provide a lot of relief to your old lady bones in the shower and out. I have a few metal stools from IKEA that I keep around the house. Not only is one in the kitchen helpful for reaching tall shelves, but it can give me a resting spot if I get tired in the middle of cooking. Plus, showering in a chair almost makes you feel like you’re at the salon. Just imagine someone else’s fingers doing the lather.

Plan ahead:

Y’all know I love my Post Its. Take some time to pick out some outfits for the week. Then only allow yourself to pick from those. Or get militant and pick one for each day, and stick with it. Same can go for picking ahead outfits on days you have class or

Shower at Night:

Not only will this help relax your body and get it ready for sleep, but it will also be one less thing you need to do in the morning when you wake up. There are certain things that I allow extra time for in the mornings (like unexpected GI symptoms or headaches) but showering is not one of them. Some people really need that shower to get going in the morning, but give the nighttime routine a try. Add in a lavender scented body wash (I like Dr. Bonner’s Lavender Castile Soap), and see if this hack works for you.

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Organize Your Chores By Importance:

Sometimes you just don’t have the energy to do more than the bare minimum. Try to conserve your energy by working smarter, not harder. Organize your chores by importance and work on those when you have time and energy. For instance, I prioritize dishes and cleaning the bathroom because those are two areas that bother me the most. I’ll clean my dishes as I go while I’m cooking and take full advantage of my dishwasher for almost anything that can fit and is dishwasher safe. I even wash my wine glasses in there because I hate the scrubbing with a tiny dish brush.

Yes, wine glasses can go in the dishwasher (provided they don’t have any designs or hand painting.) Just tilt them into the center, bottoms toward the outside of the top rack, load in any other glasses to fill the rack (and not waste water and power) and leave the bottom empty. Leaving the bottom empty helps to not throw any tiny food particles into the tops of the glasses.

Using a Slow Cooker:

While we are in the kitchen, I have two more hacks for you. Invest in a slow cooker and make food ahead of time. I love our Ninja Slow Cooker because you can actually use it as a stove top and it has a buffet setting that keeps it warm for up to 8 hours after cooking. Just throw everything in and don’t worry about getting back home to stop the process. Then, factor in doubled recipes and save half in a FoodSaver bag to store in the freezer for another night’s meal. It’s a twofer!

Keeping Camping Chairs in Your Trunk:

Buy some camping chairs and keep them in the trunk of your car for situations where seating is limited. I like to bring some for BBQ/Pool parties because often there is not much seating once the party gets going. I’ve also been known to pull them out at the dog park to let my baby run around and I can find a shady spot to watch him

“First Aid” Kit in Your Car or Purse:

Get a larger makeup bag or Dopp kit and fill it up with all the “emergency items” you might need. For example, mine contains bottles of medication for GI issues, headaches and my Adderal. I also keep a travel size bottle of Mario Badescu Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater to cool me down (this helps a lot of my symptoms) along with Ginger Mints from Trader Joe’s, some tissues, baby wipes, band-aids and Shout Stain Wipes for when tremors impair my ability to hold things not in sippy cups.

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I hope these tips are helpful to you. Do you have any hacks to share? Please leave them in the comments!