Large crate of red apples with text overlay: Learning to Appreciate the Little Things When You Live with Chronic Illness

Learning To Appreciate The Little Things When You Live With Chronic Illness

I just love it when a chore turns into a mini-adventure! I needed to pick up some apples to make an apple crisp yesterday, and though I could have gone to the grocery store for them, we decided to run up to one of the nearby orchards to get them instead.

Crates of Apples (1 of 1)

It’s not a long drive, the scenery is beautiful, and the apples are already picked. All we have to do is pick out the ones we want, fill up our bags, pay, and we’re out the door. Of course, whenever we go, it’s never just that….

The Valley (1 of 1)

They have goats and donkeys outside that usually come running up to the fence so you can pet and feed them, there’s a fat bunny outside in his hutch, and there are lots of locally-made jams and salsas, local honey, and oh yes, apple cider slushies. I almost always feed the animals, but yesterday they must have just eaten because they showed almost no interest in us.

Animals (1 of 1)

Going up there is just a small thing and we don’t usually stay for very long, but it’s something I look forward to every year. It’s one of the little things that brings me joy.

When we live with a chronic illness like fibromyalgia it’s important to learn to appreciate the little things. We often spend so much time grieving our “past life” and what we used to be able to do that it blinds us to the small things we can still enjoy and do. Don’t get me wrong; it’s important to allow ourselves to grieve our former life so that we can move into our new reality. We just don’t need to get stuck there.

Sure, things are different, and we may have to do things on a smaller scale, but they can be just as enjoyable. So how do we move into finding joy in the little things? Here are a few things that have helped me:

  • Replace an “I can’t” with an “I can” statement. For example, “I can’t go out hiking on our gorgeous trails” could become “I can take a drive and enjoy the scenery, or visit the orchard, etc.”
  • Pay attention to the small things that give you a sense of peace, wonderment, or joy.
  • Spend some time exploring activities that fit within your energy levels, allow you to participate without pain, or just make you feel good while you’re doing them.
  • Rather than being too focused on results, just enjoy the process. Sometimes we get so results-oriented that we forget to take joy in the journey.

There are times that I still grieve my old life and the things I used to do, but learning to enjoy the little things has made me more accepting of my new normal and less critical of myself when I can’t do everything I could before. I’ve found some new things that give me sense of purpose and enjoyment, and I continue to grow through the process.

What are some of the little things that give you joy? Has learning to appreciate these small things helped you move forward?




  1. My Fibro is currently flaring due to the stenosis and arthritis in my spine. Waiting for my first injection. Been this route before. Fibro makes everything worse and they can’t tell what is Fibro and what is the rest of my problems. Makes diagnosing anything harder or impossible. I will get different diagnoses depending on who is making the decision. Have been in the ER and the hospital and the drs are fighting among themselves.

    Your post sounds full of hope despite the pain. I am so done with it all. 40 years of chronic pain and not just the Fibro. All of it. I was in my 20’s when the chronic pain everywhere first started. I find being positive about things hard most of the time.

  2. Great blog! I’m hungry for an apple now. I enjoy watching sunsets, listening to the sound of rain, reading a good book, and writing. All of these are very peaceful and help me relax when I’m anxious. Life is about the journey not the destination.

  3. This is so insightful, Terri! Although I may not suffer with a chronic illness, I have a friend who does. Because she tends to be optimistic about her situation, I sometimes forget she even has an illness, in the first place! I’m realizing now that she simply looks for the little bits of good in her life to get her through the flare ups, etc. Very inspiring!

    On a side note, I’ve nominated you for the liebster award! If you’re interested in accepting the nomination, the info is on my page 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comments Haylee! I’m so glad your friend has found a way to live well with her illness. It’s great that she has a friend like you to help her during the hard times too.
      I am so honored that you nominated me for the Liebster Award. I can’t tell you how much it means to me, but I just accepted one last week, and I wouldn’t feel right accepting another so soon afterward. I hope you understand. Congratulations to you though – you definitely deserve it! Blessings to you, sweet friend!

  4. Oh Terri! I can relate in that I went through such a tough time in my life that I now see the joy in so many things that previously I took for granted. In that way I can see what you mean here! The “little” things aren’t so little, are they <3 Another great post!

    1. Thank you so much Christy! As you said, the little things really aren’t so little. It’s wonderful to hear that you were able to come through the tough times and find joy. Blessings to you my sweet friend!

  5. Thanks Terri – such an important reminder to focus on the positives and our new life rather than constantly comparing life to how it used to be, which is such a drain of energy.

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