Winter can be a particularly difficult time for those of us with chronic illnesses. Our bones and muscles ache in the cold, we struggle to keep our energy levels up and we are susceptible to everything germy flying around our workplaces/households/EVERYWHERE.
I personally love winter, it's my favourite season, but it can be perpetually disappointing year on year when we discover we are poorly at what should be traditionally the jolliest time of the calendar. When that fat man slides down my chimney I want to be feeling and looking my absolute best! The same applies when Santa appears too.
It's important to prepare well for winter. I've begun treating it like a military operation. Applying the same dedication and preciseness I perform in organising the Christmas shopping list, towards my festive health. So whether you want them or not, here are my top tips for serving the winter with a defunct body. My own early Christmas gift to you, if you will. (I’ve also got you a novelty toy reindeer that poops out chocolate raisins too, I’m not a monster).
1. Prescription: Party time!
Ensure you have organised all your repeat prescriptions in plenty of time: Find out when your doctors surgery closes and reopens and ensure you allow yourself enough time to get it in and picked up.
2. Toasty Marshmallow!
Wrap up warm. Don’t be ashamed of dressing like the abominable snowman if it helps keep you cosy throughout the day. I favour layers - a thin thermal long-sleeved top under my normal clothing, and a pair of heat-generating leggings (the best invention since toast), have been my saviour in the last few years. My joints ache in the cold weather and my arthritis flares so I find thermal anything helps keep the heat in and stops everything seizing up as badly.
3. Interview with a... Bonfire!
Try to arrange any essential appointments sooner rather than later - if you need bloods taken of a b12/flu jab plan in advance, weeks if required as your friendly neighbourhood hypochondriacs who have been sniffing for over a day will soon be bombarding your local doctors surgery under the belief they have a life-threating illness.
4. Chron’smas List!
Make a list of everything you need to do and put the tasks in order of date - what needs to be done first and get that out of the way. What can wait until after the festivities have passed? If things aren't urgent then don’t cause yourself any unnecessary panic to get them done before the festive break. No added pressure is needed on top of planning for Christmas and New Year!
5. I’d like a speedboat, a diamond, a…!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If there is anything you are unable of doing yourself due to time constraints or simply your rubbish health itself then always ask a friend/ partner/family member to assist you. You don’t have to do everything alone.
6. It’s my party and I’ll sleep if I want to!
Don’t feel any pressure to play along with endless frivolity. If you want a nap, take a nap. Just not at the dinner table obviously as that would be rude, and didn’t end well when my head landed in the cranberry sauce last year. If you are too exhausted to party like its 1999 every night, then don't. It may be hard to knock back party invites, particularly at this time of year, but it might be sensible to pick and choose. Don’t overdo it as it'll be worse for you physically in the long run.
7. An extra sprout never hurt anyone!
Try not to massively overindulge. Drink and food on top of more drink and food are AMAZING in theory, but in practice they can floor the healthiest of people. So always try to bear in mind you have delicate insides and may pay for it handsomely later. Slow and steady wins the festive food race.
8. Don’t forget FUN on that list!
Enjoy yourself!!! Where possible do what makes you happy and take care of your body. It will thank you for it in the long run.