Prioritizing Self-Care "Projects": 4 Questions To Ask Ourselves

Prioritizing Self-Care “Projects”: 4 Questions To Ask Ourselves

My hubby and I went to a Home and Garden show yesterday. We were a little disappointed because it wasn’t exactly what we expected, but we did have an opportunity to make some connections for some projects we need to have done around our home.

We have several things we want to do, but we can’t do them all at once. Since we’re not made of money and haven’t won the lottery, we have to prioritize. Part of that is figuring out what’s going to give us “the most bang for our buck.” Which project is going to have the biggest overall impact on our home’s comfort, value, etc.?

Just as my husband and I have to decide what’s going to benefit us the most in terms of investment vs. value added for our home, those of us who live with fibromyalgia or another chronic illness often have to prioritize self-care “projects.”

Doing the things we know will make us feel better is vital, but sometimes knowing there are so many different “projects” involved in giving us our best chance to feel better can become overwhelming.

With our limited energy resources and fluctuating pain levels, it’s hard to do everything at once. The good news is that we don’t have to. 

It would be great to be able to do it all, but that’s not always realistic. So how do we figure out what to focus on if we’re limited to only doing one or two things? We just need to prioritize our self-care activities.

Sometimes asking ourselves a few questions can help. Here are some I use when trying to figure out where to focus my efforts:

  • What’s going to make the biggest impact on my overall health? Asking this can help us figure out what’s going to help us most. All of our self-care activities are important, but not all have the same level of impact on our overall health.
  • What do I have the energy to do? Just as my hubby and I have a finite amount of money in our bank account, when we live with chronic illness, we have a finite – and often limited – number of energy “dollars.” Making sure whatever we’re doing fits within our energy budget can help us be successful in completing our “project” and prevent the feelings of failure we often experience when we attempt to do things we simply don’t have the energy for.
  • What will I be most likely to stick with over time? Consistency is key when we’re working to make health changes, so if we choose activities we can stick with, we increase our chances of making permanent, positive changes.
  • What self-care activity might I enjoy more than others? This may not sound that important, but we’re much more likely to stick with things we enjoy. When we can do those things we enjoy and benefit ourselves in the process, it’s a double win.

Deciding which self-care activities should be given priority can help us do those things that are going to benefit us the most, especially during those times when we don’t feel up to doing much of anything. It can make sure we’re spending our limited resources in a way that gives us the most value.

Do you ever find yourself having to prioritize your self-care activities? What do you tend to focus on that helps you the most overall? Please share!










  1. Terri, I can relate to every word of this post! As I wrote today about self-worth, an item I forgot was knowing your limits for self-care also boosts your self-worth. I love the analogy to money. Feeling drained of all energy can be very similar to being broke – you need to do/buy things but you have drained the “tank”/account dry. When my care aid can’t make it I have to do certain things myself and I have to pick and choose depending on pain and energy levels. So clothes will get washed but hubby does the transfers. If he wants it folded he has to do it himself as my arms just can’t do more than a couple of shirts. And I am pinning this as well!

    1. Thank you so much Lydia! You make such a great point about knowing our limits for self-care boosting our self-worth. Accepting our limitations can help us not blame ourselves, and not feel guilty when our bodies don’t allow us to do certain things. Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings to you!

    1. Thanks for sharing Marie! I had to chuckle a little with the falling asleep while meditating thing because I’ve done the same thing.😁 Just think, though, you were nice and relaxed as you fell asleep…. Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

      1. Glad to know I made you chuckle a little, that’s another important element of self-care for me; being able to chuckle as often as possible. Thanks for your kind wishes too. Xx

    1. Thank you so much for sharing Melinda! Learning to cut ourselves a break is a sometimes-hard but important lesson to learn, isn’t it? Hope you’re doing well and having a great weekend!

  2. With Sandy’s fibromyalgia and my MS, we have to manage energy and prioritize. Your organized approach is something we will talk about. Thanks.
    Your timing was prophetic. We spent the day organizing the garage and taking things to a donation center. We had to manage energy and take breaks.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing George! Wow, the garage is a big project (or at least ours would be – too much junk). I’m sure that took quite a lot of managing energy levels, but I’m sure you two felt quite accomplished once it was done. I hope you and Sandy are doing well and having a wonderful weekend!

    1. Thank you so much Kim! I really appreciate you my friend. Hope you have a fabulous rest of your weekend!

  3. Being away from home means being away from my self-care routines. I look forward to getting home and reestablishing some routines. Your post is timely for helping me think that through, Terri.

    1. Thank you so much V.J.! Isn’t it funny when we have to have our self-care routines in place to be able to live well, we kind of chafe at them, but then, when we can keep those routines, we miss them? Enjoy the rest of your weekend – I hope you have fantastic weather and get some more great photos!

  4. Loooong walks looking for street art is one thing I do for health and taking pics is a creative thing that makes me feel good.
    When the weather doesn’t allow it, I stay in, draw and make my Art Gowns, which are sewn all by hand. I don’tknow if you’ve ever seen them. They have their own blog.

    1. Thanks for sharing Resa! I’m glad that I get to benefit from your street art walks. You always share the most amazing artwork. I just visited your Art Gowns blog, and you, my friend are supremely talented! The gowns are beautiful, but even more impressive is the purpose behind them. I’m going back to look some more.😊

  5. You always provide me with things that are important to think about. Somethings in life aren’t as important as we think at the time, but doing what makes us happy is always important, I hope that made sense!!!

    1. Thank you so much Alyssa! We were just talking about the same thing in church yesterday – that some things that seem so important in the moment aren’t all that important in the grand scheme of things. Learning to focus on what really matters is key. I hope your week is off to a great start!

      1. You are more than welcome Terri! It can be easy to learn what is important to focus on and we just need to do what brings us the most happiness! I hope you have a fantastic week!!

  6. Great advice! My therapist once told me, if all you can do is take a tiny walk in a day, do that. Walking is so, so healthy for FM people. The thing is I would prioritize things that were less important and then be too wiped out for walking, but now I rest and get a little stroll in if I’m able. Hard lesson to learn though, when you want to do all the things.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing Mishka! I know what you mean about less-important things taking priority of the really important sometimes…. I think that’s part of the learning process with FM though. Because we have such a limited amount of energy, we have to learn to figure out what’s really most important. As you said, though, it’s hard when we want to do everything.😊 I’ve been thinking of you; hope you’re doing well.

  7. Great advice! My therapist once told me, if all you can do is take a tiny walk in a day, do that. Walking is so, so healthy for FM people. The thing is I would prioritize things that were less important and then be too wiped out for walking, but now I rest and get a little stroll in if I’m able. Hard lesson to learn though, when you want to do all the things.

  8. Terri, this is such an great post and it made me think about how i might be able to structure my life a bit differently. Bless you for all you share with us.

    1. Thank you so much Wendi! We all have to take a look at things from time to time to see how we can make things better, don’t we? I hope you’re doing well, sweet friend. Hugs!

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