The holidays can be a joyous time for so many. Those that suffer from chronic illness can find the holidays overwhelming. Every day is a struggle just to survive and then the pressure of everything surrounding the holidays starting from Thanksgiving till New Year’s can cause an already depressed chronically ill person to be devastated. They know they can’t keep up and do everything that they would like to with their families and friends. It’s not that a chronic ill person is antisocial; they just don’t have the energy to do day to day things and the holiday’s puts enormous pressure on the person who can barely make it through each day.
Here is A Survival List for Those Who Suffer from Chronic Illness.
- Learn and discipline yourself to pace yourself. You do not have to keep up with every activity that is going on. Do things at your own pace. If you can’t do something tell yourself that it’s okay and let it go.
- Plan ahead. Write out a list of events coming up and carefully analyze what is a priority and what is not. From there you can decide what you want to do the most. Do not be persuaded by others that you have to do something. Think for yourself and know that again whatever decision you make is right for you.
- Do not be afraid to ask for help. If you would like to cook something special, but do not have the energy to do so ask a friend or family member to help you prepare your special dish. If you have trouble walking do not hesitate to ask someone to help move you with a wheelchair. There’s nothing wrong with being in a wheelchair. If sitting up for long periods of time tires you do not be afraid to ask if you can lie down and rest for a while. Whatever you need ask for help.
- Be realistic. Know your limitations. Do not attempt to do something that is beyond your physical capabilities. Many people who are chronically ill have trouble with this concept. They want to still be able to do the things they used to. You don’t have to. Look at your life realistically.
- Get enough sleep or rest. The winter months can be hard on a chronically ill person to begin with and you need to make sure you get adequate sleep or rest. Remember you do not have to make excuses or apologize to anyone for your loss of energy. Always be yourself and people will either accept it or they will reject it, but what they think is really none of your business. You live what is right for you.
- Eat real food. Processed and foods filled with chemicals are not good for an already chronically ill body. It’s tempting to eat lots of the holiday goodies, and it’s okay to have some, but keep it to a small amount. You need all the strength you can get and do your best to eat whole healthy foods. Protein foods increase your energy. Remember carbohydrates bring down the energy.
- Shop online! One of the best inventions in the world has been the Internet for shopping. Amazon Prime can be a godsend for those who are chronically ill. You can have packages sent direct to your loved ones and be wrapped with a note from you. Think of all the energy you save by doing this. Also it saves on car usage and gasoline. If you want you can have your purchases sent to you and have the fun of wrapping and decorating the packages how you would like to. This is one of the fun projects you can do that gives you enjoyment and you can do it at your own pace!
- Do not feel guilty! Because you cannot do all the things you want to and you may not be able to attend an event that is important to a family member or friend, do not let it get you down. Do not feel guilty. You have a chronic illness and you are doing the very best that you can. Say out loud every day “I Am Doing the Best I Can” and eventually you will start believing it and not feel guilty when you have to say no.
- Stretch your muscles. You may not be able to exercise, but you can stretch your muscles and that will help keep them limber. Before you get out of bed each morning take time to stretch all of your muscles. This is going to help you move better than normal. If it’s possible do some light walking, but if you cannot stretching your muscles is going to improve your circulation. Also it’s very important that every morning you do 5 minutes of deep breathing exercises. Deep breathing increases the oxygen in the body and the brain and will help you to feel better. It can reduce depression. So remember breathe!
- Learn to say NO! There is nothing wrong with saying no I cannot do this or that. People may not understand, but that is their problem. You have to realize what’s important for you and do not feel obligated to do something when you know that you cannot. Doing this is going to empower you in your chronic illness and believe it or not people will start to respect the fact that you cannot do something. No is a powerful word. Use that power.
- Listen To Music! Music speaks to the soul and can help you feel peaceful and relaxed. Choose whatever music makes you feel good. It can be Christmas music, classical music, or rock and roll. Let the music take you to different places! This is a great way to relax and enjoy the season.
I know that these tips will help you get through the holidays better than ever before. The reason I know is I live with chronic illness and I’ve had to learn to do these things throughout my journey in life.
I wish you the very best holiday ever!
If you need encouragement and help contact me and I will give you guidance that will give you the tools you need to move forward during the holiday season.