The Difference Between ‘Rest’ Days And ‘Bad’ Days

Living with an illness is hard. It means being ill… I know, crazy right?! It means constant worry that you’re going to be ill. And it means your life is spent managing your illness to avoid being ill. This is where rest days come in.

You can have days when you feel on top of the world and then the very next day you can struggle to even get out of bed. No one would look at me straight after a one-hour exercise class and think that I’d spent the previous day in bed, or would spend the following two days barely able to leave the house, but sometimes that’s exactly how it is! Now that’s not to say that a one-hour exercise class always results in two days in bed because most of the time it doesn’t. But what it does mean is that I have to be really careful about what I do, what I plan, and yes, what I worry about!

A lot of people may not fully understand the difference between a rest day and a bad day – and believe me, it took me a long time to realise there was a difference, and a big one at that! When I was first ill I always saw bad days as rest days and actually, that’s not the case.

So in this post, I am going to go over the differences between the two days and for anyone who, like me, didn’t realise there was a difference, you can read this post and hopefully it will help you to manage your illness just a little bit better! This post is also for any family and friends who struggle to understand why someone they know with a chronic illness misses things even when they aren’t ill, and why some days they can wake up and they are suddenly very ill!

Rest Days

  • On these days, I’m NOT ILL.
  • I have to have these periodically to make sure I’m not overdoing it and I don’t end up having a bad day. In other words, I take rest days to prevent the bad days.
  • Rest days are part of managing the illness, if I don’t have them, I risk relapsing.
  • I plan these into my week or month. They aren’t always a full day but I try and have at least a 1/3 of every day to rest and at least one rest day a week, two or three if possible.
  • Although I’m not restricted, I tend to stay in the house for these but I don’t necessarily stay in bed.
  • I can still do small tasks, such as having a shower, getting dressed, blogging etc. so long as it isn’t anything heavy duty like intense exercise or going to work!
  • I can move about easily enough – there are no restrictions.
  • I’m usually in a pretty good mood and often feel quite productive on these days – I use them to catch up on TV, do some extra blogging or take time to read my book!
  • When I start to feel like my body is giving up on me, I can take a couple of rest days to help prevent a bad day. If I ignore these signs , or triggers, it results in a bad day.

Bad Days

  • On these days, I AM VERY ILL.
  • These happen once I have overdone it!
  • Bad days are a result of not managing my illness properly and I wake up feeling drained and ill.
  • Bad days are part of the ‘crash’ – they occur if I haven’t taken enough rest days.
  • Usually on these days I am housebound, if not bed bound.
  • I can’t do much more than lie in bed, sleep, and watch TV – although I wouldn’t call staring blindly at the TV watching it!
  • I can usually make it to the bathroom, it may take a while but I do get there eventually! Other times I can make it downstairs to the sofa and stay there for the day.
  • Bad days can vary – sometimes I’m ill in the morning and by 3 or 4 o clock in the afternoon I start to pick up again, other times I’m wiped out for 3 or 4 days at a time.
  • I can go a few weeks without having a bad day if I’ve managed my illness properly, and if I haven’t then I can easily have bad days every other day!
  • I don’t plan these into my week or month, but I can feel them coming on when I’ve been doing too much.

I really hope these points have helped you out! I know from experience, as soon as I realised the difference between the two, managing my illness became a whole lot easier! It is such an important factor to establish when you have a chronic illness, otherwise you can start to feel like your whole life is just one big relapse and you start to lose hope!

What are the main differences for you? Let me know in the comments below!

You can read more about my story with invisible illness here.

Until next time,



  1. 22nd November 2016 / 5:36 pm

    I can totally identify with this! I still struggle to take rest days after nineteen years of sickness. xo

    • 26th November 2016 / 12:39 pm

      It’s awful because when you aren’t ill you don’t really want to rest but not resting results in bad days which are a nightmare!

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