Self-care tips for people living with disabilities

A blind person is guided by the arm by someone else

It is reported that adults with disabilities experience frequent mental distress almost 5 times more than the average able-bodied adult. These mental stressors are said to come from poor health behaviours, increased use of health services, mental disorders, chronic diseases, and limitations in daily life.

We live in a world where mental health is fast becoming one of the major issues plaguing young adults. In recent times, it has become an even bigger issue because of the pandemic. A series of unending lockdowns can be stressful when one is all cooped up at home and forced to make drastic changes in their lifestyle, or even have their income impacted.

We’ve rounded up some self-care tips to help you get through the day if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed.

Reorganise your make-up table or bookshelf

Arrange your surroundings to be more accessible so as to ease your daily routines! Find inspiration from websites like Pinterest or Instagram to get inspired to take the first step.

Get out of your wheelchair for a bit

Even though it’s comfortable, it’s good to just get out of it once in a while to just relax. Get cosy on the couch or find a comfortable position elsewhere, however that might look like to you!

Take a break from advocacy and indulge in a little pampering session

Taking a break every once in a while is a great way to recharge. Treat yourself to a facial mask, a relaxing bath, or even spend some time on your favourite activity.

Get active and do some stretches

Sitting down all day can cause your body to feel tense. When it’s safe, try doing some light stretches to loosen up your body. If you can, you may even try activities like chair exercises or yoga to strengthen your muscles.

Don’t overwork yourself

Listen to your body and respect your limits. If you feel overwhelmed or tired and just want a break, go ahead and take one! Don’t push yourself past your limits to the point of exhaustion.

Get your prescriptions refilled

As simple as it sounds, keeping track of your prescriptions and knowing that they are fully stocked can be a huge relief. You also won’t have to worry about them being out of stock when you need them later.

Clean and maintain assistive equipment

Nothing beats the feeling of a clean wheelchair, walking stick or even BIPAP/CPAP machine! Be sure to wipe off unwanted gunk and dirt before tuning up or sanitising equipment so that it’s fresh, hygienic and functioning at its best.

Engage in simple creative activities

Get your creative juices flowing and have fun while you’re at it with activities like origami paper folding, painting, claywork or even crafting with fabric.

There’s no perfect self-care activity

We’re all built differently, same goes with our interests. If you aren’t interested in any one of these activities, you can always opt to try other activities. So long as you relax and have fun while at it!

If you’re still overwhelmed by what’s happening around you despite trying all these activities or more, we’d like to encourage you to seek professional help. There’s no shame in not being okay. Remember that there are lots of people out there who would love to help you!

Here are some links to affordable mental health resources.

  1. Malaysian Care (Service Directory for People with Disabilities) –
  2. Aloe Mind (Free Mental Health Test) –
  3. HumanKind (Counselling) –
  4. Befrienders –


Alex, D. (2019) 13 Disability Self-care Tips For My Fellow Disabled Babes. [Accessed: 2 September 2021] Available at:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020) The Mental Health of People with Disabilities. [Accessed: 2 September 2021] Available at:

Community Mainstreaming. (2021) Activities for Adults with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities. [Accessed: 2 September 2021] Available at:

Compare Hero. (2021) 10 Affordable Mental Health Service Providers In Malaysia. [Accessed: 2 September 2021] Available at:

Life Mobility. (2021) 5 Tips for Maintaining Self-Care with Limited Mobility. [Accessed: 2 September 2021] Available at:

Sara, R. (2021) 6 creatives on how to make self-care more inclusive. [Accessed: 2 September 2021] Available at: