I am a warrior fighting to survive multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and interstitial cystitis. When the transition of seasons fading from one to another is always very hard on my body. So, the question, I have been often asked is, “how do you homestead when you are chronically ill,” and I often respond with I just find a way.
Homesteading is much more than a hobby to me. It is a way of life. It brings me happiness and peace to my already weary soul.
Is homesteading impossible when you are chronically ill?
Homesteading is about finding a way through no matter the challenge. When I decided to become a homesteader, I was already chronically ill, but I longed for a more simplistic life. Interestingly no life is truly simple, it all requires some measure of work. So no, I am a firm believer when it comes to homesteading even when we are chronically ill, there is always a way we can bring homesteading into our lives in some way.
Homesteading is about creative thinking
Homesteading requires a lot of out-of-the-box thinking and planning. Unless you have a large amount of financial backing or savings, it is hard to get a lot of homesteading projects off the ground without some creative thinking. Depending on the project you also must find creative ways to adapt it to your illness so you can do what is needed to make it a successful project. One of my projects was building raised garden beds so it was easier for me to tend to my plants without having to worry about the strain on my knees and back with in-ground planting. Whatever project you choose for your homesteading goals finding the best way to adapt it to you and your needs is just as vitally important as the project itself.
Homesteading with mobility issues
When people think of homesteading, they often think about a nice farm or house in the middle of nowhere, but homesteading can take place anywhere even in an apartment in the city. So, can you homestead if you have mobility issues? I would venture to say yes, but it goes back to creative thinking. Homesteading is more than just the picturesque image of canning, raising chickens, and gardening. It is about using what we have and making things from scratch. It is also about doing what we can on our own. My MS often requires me to use a cane, so it makes working in the garden a challenge. I have found having a garden stool helps when working in the garden and container gardening is also a wonderful workaround for me too.
Taking care of a homestead with chronic pain
Homesteading is hard on a normal day, but on days when your chronic pain levels are high… how is one to care for it all? As someone who fights chronic pain and has a passion for homesteading, I will be the first to tell you to know your limits. The dream of homesteading makes it sound so wonderful with the picturesque ideas of a large garden, all the meat and egg chickens we could dream of, and making everything from scratch. Though in reality as someone who is chronically ill, that dream is just that a dream.
In my early years of homesteading, I tried to do it all, lots of chickens, a garden that could feed my neighborhood, homemade bread every week, and everything from scratch. Well… I failed, horribly! My garden became so overgrown with weeds because I didn’t have the energy to keep up with it. My chickens started disappearing to coyotes and foxes, and many of my projects sat unfinished for a long time. I didn’t work within my limits, and my body rebelled. To homestead with chronic pain is to know what you can do with your everyday pain and what can be set aside for a day or two on bad pain days. If you can learn that you will succeed at homesteading!
So YES you can be a homesteader while chronically ill!
Homesteading as someone who is chronically ill is not impossible and can be done. Will it look like all the pretty idealistic pictures on Pinterest or TikTok? Nope, but it will be your way. So, if you can only have a few plants in pots or make things from scratch once a month, you are still a homesteader!