Unfortunately for everyone out there with a chronic illness, you can’t just switch off your health issues in order to take a break and really enjoy the holiday festivities.
It’s difficult to explain exactly what is chronic illness warriors go through or how we feel, but Christmas especially, can be an exceptionally difficult time. One moment you’re spending 90% of your time alone in bed. The next you’re expected to spend 90% of your time with family and friends, thrown in the deep end and an active participant in all the festive season has to offer. It can feel a little overwhelming to say the least.
So what are you meant to do? How are you meant to deal with it all? A lot of managing chronic illness comes from experience, something I seem to unintentionally gathered from years of trial and error. In today’s post I thought I’d share my best tips / tricks / advice for coping this Christmas.
Remember doctors surgeries and pharmacies opening hours may change of Christmas and New Year. Make sure you have enough medication to cover you through this period and remember to take it with you when out and about or staying away from home.
Plan & Pace
As much as possible try and develop a clear plan of what you’re doing and when, who you’re seeing and how long for. Try not to plan to much in one go. Include rest / self care time in order not to crash and burn
Say NO / Communicate
If something’s too much for you, you know it’s going to cause you pain / discomfort or you’re just not feeling it. Don’t be afraid to say no. Friends and family should understand. If they don’t well…. However most of your nearest and dearest wouldn’t want you to make yourself ill. Is there a family member or friend you could talk to about your illness? Someone who could support you if you start to not feel good? Don’t suffer in silence. It’ll only make you feel worse.
Rest / Self Care
If you’ve managed to plan, then you should have included some rest time. For example if I know in advance that I’m doing something active or all day on Saturday then I’ll rest most of Thursday and Friday, as well as Sunday. Take the time to catch up on sleep, have a long soak in the bath, whatever makes you feel good. If you aren’t feeling good and looking after yourself, it’ll be difficult to enjoy yourself.
Acceptance is such a big part of life with a chronic condition and I’ve spoken about it several times before. We need to accept that our lives are different to how they were. We may have to do things differently or accept that we can’t do them at all. It’s not easy buy any means, but speaking from my own experience, accepting I won’t be able to do everything the average person would this Christmas, is a big pressure of my shoulders. I’m totally ok with not being able to go late night shopping. All those crowds, out in the cold, the checkout queues. I’m honestly fine giving it a miss.
Enjoy yourself !!! Having a health condition doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with your loved ones. Live in the moment and make memories you’ll have for a life time.
Anybody got a tip they want to share?
Don’t let chronic illness ruin your Christmas.
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