5 Spoonie Survival Essentials Spoonie Blog

5 Spoonie Survival Essentials!

Hi guys – welcome to my new readers, and welcome back if you’ve been here before!  When I first started this blog, it was to talk about my chronic illnesses.  Then my love for makeup and beauty sort of took over!  I love writing spoonie posts and connecting with you guys, so I really should do them more often.  With that in mind, here are my 5 spoonie survival essentials!    

5 Spoonie Survival Essentials Spoonie Blog

My 5 Spoonie Survival Essentials

It’s hard being a spoonie (which means having chronic illness, if you haven’t seen the term before).  I have ME (sometimes called CFS) and fibromyalgia.  The ME leaves me so exhausted, weak and immobile that I am often bedbound.  Even on good days, I am mostly housebound.  I do get better days now and then when I can see people or go for a meal for example.  BUT!  Even then I am very limited.  I can’t be upright and out of the house for long, and socialising leaves me exhausted and feeling very unwell.  

Why am I telling you all this?  Well, just to explain why us spoonies have ‘survival’ techniques!  It might sound a bit dramatic, but when you are so constantly unwell, each day can feel like a challenge to get through.  Spending most of your days confined to your bed or house can feel like being imprisoned.  So, much like most of the spoonies I know, I have certain things that I can’t do without.  Things that help me get through each day and feel a little more cheery!  These are my top 5 spoonie survival essentials…


1.  An Organised Bedside Table 

As I mentioned, I am often stuck in bed.  This means that I need everything that I may want during the day in easy reach of the bed.  Over the years I have figured out what I need every day and I’ve made my bedside table as useful as possible!  On the top of the table, I always have my daily medications, sorted into a pill box marked with the days.  I also have all my various painkillers to hand, together with a mini notebook to write down the times I take them.  I also always have a drink of water, plus an extra bottle to top up with if I can’t get to the sink.

In the top drawer of the bedside table I have lots of survival essentials!  The main thing is plenty of food and snacks.  I very frequently can’t get downstairs to make myself meals, so I keep long-lasting things upstairs.  Great things you can keep in easy reach are cereal bars, nuts, dried fruit, seeds, crackers, coconut chips (yum) and peanut butter sachets (goes great with bananas for breakfast).

I also keep face wipes and moisturiser, for days when I can’t do my usual skincare routine.  I have ibuprofen gel, an eye mask, a hairbrush, my Kindle and my tablet.  So even if I’m totally stuck in bed, feeling terrible, I have everything I need to get through the day.

2.  My Beloved Heatpad

Heatpads – a fibromyalgia or chronic pain sufferers’ best friend!  When you have chronic pain, painkillers never get rid of it completely.  They might take the edge off, but sometimes it feels like they do nothing!  Which is why I am always looking for other pain management strategies.  One of the most helpful is using heat, which relaxes and eases the muscles.  

I used to use hot water bottles and microwave heat pads but that wasn’t a great solution, as you have to constantly get up and re-fill or reheat them!  I invested in an electric heat pad and never looked back (I’m on my second now!)  They have different heat settings, can be laid on or even wrapped around the neck.  They are so soothing and helpful, I would definitely recommend one to anyone in pain.

5 Spoonie Survival Essentials Spoonie Blog

3.  A Hot Cup Instant Kettle

When I first got to the point of being actually stuck in bed/my bedroom quite frequently, one thing I really missed was hot drinks!  I would lie there dreaming of someone bringing me a nice cup of tea (until my husband got home and made me one).  A friend very kindly bought me a Hot Cup, which makes instant hot water at the push of a button.  It takes about 10 seconds to boil and produces a cupful of hot water at a time.  I now keep everything to make tea and coffee upstairs, but not only that, it’s actually really useful for food!

I keep pots of instant porridge and soup noodle pots in the bedroom and can have those for breakfast or lunch, just using the hot water!  It’s so useful when I’m tired of cereal bars and snacks, and need something proper to eat.

4.  Ibuprofen Gel

Ah, my beloved ibuprofen gel!  As I mentioned, I have fibro and painkillers don’t take the pain away fully.  Sometimes even after my medication, I am in agony.  I can’t actually take ibuprofen (orally), as it gives me really bad stomach ache and heartburn.  However, I can use the gel with no problems!

Ibuprofen gel is perfect for when a specific area is really hurting and won’t ease off.  You just rub a little gel on the offending area and within a few minutes, it really does give you relief!  If you’re going to try some, it can be a little expensive.  Pound shops actually sell it and it’s just as good as those from Boots etc, so stock up in there!

5.  Netflix… How I Love Thee!

Ahhh sweet Netflix – what would I do without you?!  Now, pretty much everyone loves Netflix, for it’s addictive drama and ability to let you binge-watch all your favourite shows.  But saying that, I feel like spoonies have a little extra love in their hearts for it!  When you’re stuck at home all day, watching TV becomes a big hobby.  We all know daytime TV is crap, so Netflix is the obvious choice!  Spoonies are known for our ability to power through a season of something in half a day flat, so we’re always looking for recommendations of what to watch next!

There’s something great about finding a show you are so absorbed in, that it takes your mind off your pain and how unwell you feel.  Something that has you so gripped, you forget that you’re stuck in bed missing out on everything.  Whether you feel like laughing, crying, learning or just zoning out, Netflix has you covered!  And no, this is not an ad haha.  If you haven’t seen them already, my top suggestions are Orange is the New Black, Pretty Little Liars, How to Get Away With Murder and Breaking Bad – all totally addictive!

“In fact, if chronic pain sufferers are addicted to anything, it’s not painkillers – it’s Netflix!”


I hope my 5 spoonie survival essentials gave you a few ideas of things that will make your everyday life a bit easier.  Or even at the very least, the next Netflix show to watch!  What are your spoonie essentials?  Let me know in the comments!

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11 thoughts on “5 Spoonie Survival Essentials!

  1. Raffael LeFae says:

    Learn a new thing, turns out I’m rather good at knitting when my wrists behave. A little bag in my handbag with pain medication, a trusty little TENS machine, a small self heating pad in packet, anti emetics as nausea is a really big issue for me and an audible account.

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      Ooh yes, some great essentials there! Funnily enough, I ALWAYS, without fail have painkillers on me. But yesterday I changed bags to go somewhere and forgot my pain meds… panic stations! It was awful. That’s great that you’ve taken up knitting, I hope you really enjoy it. I love my TENS machine too 🙂 xx

  2. HayleyLoves says:

    Netflix is 100% a spoonie survival essential! For me it’s comfy pillows, cute PJs, Netflix, my kindle and good WIFI (no medication helps me so that’s why it isn’t on the list). xo

  3. Lee says:

    I don’t expect to get rid of pain completely (hasn’t happened for over 10 years now) but distraction is great – There’s something great about finding a show you are so absorbed in, that it takes your mind off your pain and how unwell you feel – Actualy all your suggestions are great. Thanks for always spreading Fibromyalgia Awareness at Fibro Friday Katie. x

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      I think after we’ve been ill for a long time, we come to realise that we probably won’t be able to be completely pain-free. Once we’ve tried all the treatments and they only help a small amount! But yes definitely, there is so much to be said for finding a hobby or show that absorbs you. I find blogging really distracting too but can only do it on my best days. Thanks for reading, and for all your ongoing support Lee! xx

  4. Kat says:

    Hi Katie <3

    I just found your blog, and this was the second article I read ~ they're all great tips,a and I'm going to see if I can get my hubby to help me implement them 🙂

    I have severe asthma, especially in the winter, and have some chronic lung damage (albeit minimal) from my genetic condition, alpha one antityrpsin deficiency. Besides the weekly outings at the hospital for infusions, I'm pretty much homebound all winter (in Minnesota! So it's a long winter haha).

    Heating pads are great for me, too ~ so I'm going to check out the electric one, AND we just put a mini fridge on the second floor for me – so the instant hot cup sounds like a great idea, too! 😀

    Thanks for all the suggestions ~ pinning it now!

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      Hey Kat! Aww thank you so much for reading my blog – I’m glad you found me! I hope your hubby is able to help you get a few things sorted.

      Sorry to hear about your health issues – it must be pretty tough. Especially being housebound for such a long time – I take it it’s very cold in Minnesota? Oh god my heatpads are my absolute godsend!! I think they’d be the first thing I’d save in a fire lol 🙂 They help with the pain so much. My mini fridge and hot cup are great, and help me make sure I can eat proper food and not just snack foods all the time.

      Thanks for reading! xx

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