Preparing for the Holiday Seasons…

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Welcome to the National Health Blog Post Month Challenge hosted by WEGO Health.  Every day during the month of November I will be writing a new blog post related to health and living with a chronic illness based on given prompts provided by WEGO Health.

Today’s prompt reads:

It’s the Holiday Season! Give us some tips you use to balance the holidays and your health.  How do you stay within your own boundaries and make sure you follow your health regime/plan?

Lets's start preparing for the holidays...
Lets’s start preparing for the holidays…

Christmas is perhaps my favourite time of year.  Although it’s extremely cold and miserable weather outside, in my opinion the season still provides a lot of joy and fun for everyone.  However, although it’s an extremely wonderful time of year, it does provide a number of challenges for anyone living with a chronic illness or disability.  So, the question stands: how can we deal with the upcoming holidays and still have fun and merriment and still look after our health and well-being?

The first must-do, especially at Christmas is to pace ourselves.   Although, the Christmas season is a very hectic time of year, and there is plenty to do, it is important for anyone living with a long-term health condition to be realistic about how much you are able to do and cope with.  Perhaps, use a diary and pre-plan your days of what you can do to plan for the holidays and mark down when you plan to carry out specific tasks relating to the holiday season such as when to do the Christmas shopping, going to visit family and friends to drop in presents and cards, as well as finding time to put the decorations up, and so on.  By planning and making time each day to prepare for the holiday season, we can ensure that we can also make time to rest and recover any energy that has been depleted whilst planning for Christmas.  This is especially important, as if we do too much and take on more responsibility than our bodies can handle , then we run the risk of becoming ill and suffering a relapse in our condition, and will therefore have an impact on our enjoyment of the holidays.

Planning is key for an organised and stress-free Christmas...
Planning is key for an organised and stress-free Christmas…

Planning is also key in having a fun and carefree Christmas and New Year.  Make lists of everything that you need or plan to buy for everyone you are buying a present for.  This will certainly help alleviate any extra stress that Christmas can place upon a person.  This is especially important for anyone with a chronic illness as stress can exacerbate illness, which can then lead to a relapse.  Also, it is important not be afraid to ask for help when needed, or when everything is becoming too much as it inevitable can during this time of year.  Again, doing too much can be dangerous for anyone living with a long-term health condition as we then run the risk of becoming ill during the Christmas season, and as a result it would not be an enjoyable time for you, as it should be.

Of course, as a result of the Christmas celebrations it means that we often deviate from our usual routines – we stay up later, get up later, and we may eat, drink and do a lot of different things that we are not used to.  However, it is therefore imperative that although our routines may be disjointed from usual, we still must remember to take our usual medications.  If memory is an issue for you, then remind yourself by setting an alarm on your watch or mobile phone to prompt you to take them.  Also, the Christmas seasons may mean invites to a lot of parties and other social gatherings, so think about perhaps either arriving later or leave early to avoid tiring yourself out, or alternatively ask the host if there is anywhere that you can sit or lie down to rest and recover during the party.

Also, although it may be tempting to join in with everyone else, in enjoying a lot of alcohol, it may be that you need to watch your intake of alcohol, especially if on several medications as it could have an adverse reaction with them.  Check with a pharmacist if it is safe to drink alcohol.  In addition, as I always do before the holidays, make sure that you have enough of your medication to last throughout the holiday seasons,  and ensure that any prescriptions will be processed in time, allow plenty of time as there may be a rush on Christmas Eve; also stock-up on over the counter medications as they may too be needed over the holiday season.

There are my top tips for surviving the Christmas holidays with a chronic illness!  Do you have any other tips for the readers?  How do you live with a chronic illness but also ensuring you enjoy the Christmas festivities?  As ever would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions and other comments you may have!  Comment below…

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