December is such a busy month what with Christmas and all. It's exactly one month until Christmas day and all I can think is how did it come around so quickly?! You might be thinking it´s a bit early for a Christmas post but for anyone with a chronic illness like any big event you're going to need to do a lot of planning ahead and pacing to get through the next month so I thought I'd post a few basic but necessary tips for you to survive the Christmas season this year as easily as possible. I´m posting this in advance so there should be no excuses for overdoing it. The last thing I want to hear is any of my lovely blogger friends entering a relapse right before the 25th!
Decking The Halls
Depending on how extreme you are willing to go to make your house look like Santa's grotto putting the Christmas decs up can be quite a challenge. If there is anybody else that can do it let them. Especially when it comes to getting the decs out of the loft/shed/cupboard/wherever you keep them for the rest of the year. Get involved if you can but take it easy, so no climbing onto your roof putting up lights visible from space. Your body will thank you later. I personally love decorating the house for Christmas, and I have to admit I can be quiet bossy. God help anyone that has put anything in totally the wrong place. Yes I´m talking to you Dad, I know you mean well and want to do your bit but you have no artistic flare or direction. No offence. If I feel up to helping out this year I'll be sticking with the easier options and leaving the more demanding difficult tasks that need committing to (like putting lights and all of the balls on the tree) to somebody else in the family whilst I sit back and direct from the
directors chair sofa. If you are mostly or completely bed bound a few festive touches in the bedroom will make a nice touch. A Christmas blanket like this one seen here is the perfect way to bring Christmas to your sickbed!
If you haven't already done all of your shopping, get it done as soon as you can. Online shopping is better because you don't have to venture outside into the cold and endure the hustle and bustle. Put on some Christmas songs, make yourself a yummy hot drink and sit back and browse (relatively) stress free. You save energy, time and effort and you don't even have to get dressed! If you do have to go to the shops write a list so you know exactly what you are after and think ahead. The shops will be busy and queues almost guaranteed and the waiting about can use a lot of energy and you don't have much to spare. Try and go when the shops are likely to be quieter if you can or ask somebody to pick you some things up when they hit the shops, just obviously make sure they aren´t buying a gift you intend on giving to them!
If like me you are on a tight budget and are thinking about preparing any homemade gifts for your loved ones this year, be sure that you are staying within your limits. There are lots of amazing ideas all over pinterest (to see for yourself click here) We are spoilt for choice and inspiration if you know where to look, but remember you're probably going to be doing a small amount a day so unless you really feel it is reachable go for something slightly easier, there are plenty of simpler options that are just as lovely and the receiver will appreciate your efforts, or spend a little longer on one really impressive DIY gift for someone extra special. The plus side of making your own gifts is not only can it save you some cash but it also gives you something to do in an otherwise boring sick person world and there are lots of things you can do from your bed or sofa - bonus!
I know a lot of people don't do cards anymore but I'm still old fashioned in that sense and love giving them out. If you are making your own follow the steps above and stick within your means. Why not save the task of writing them all out for a day when you are feeling particularly fatigued and sit and write them in bed. An extra lovely idea is to buy charity cards from a charity close to your heart such as one of the organisations for your illness, like the Action For M.E ones seen here. What could be better? Pretty and helping charity, extra brownie points for you this year!
Events, Christmas Does and Social
If you are well enough to go to any events this year such as parties, Christmas does or the local pantomime, prepare for it. Allow yourself time to rest beforehand to save energy and allow yourself recovery time afterwards too. A few hours out of the house can be exhausting even more so if it was in a loud busy environment. Have your recovery days spent watching festive films and getting cosy in your warm pyjamas. If you want to meet up with friends during the month to exchange any gifts or to just have a catch up over a cup of tea and a mince pie, try and stick to seeing a few friends at a time. It can get quiet loud in the excitement of things and sometimes I think people don´t realise how sensitive our poor little ears can be.
If you have been lusting over some yummy sounding recipes you are keen to try in the theme of Ho Ho Ho, why not get a friend or two or family member involved. The help will make it a little easier and take the strain off a bit so you can take a breather as and when you need to without risking burning or ruining anything, plus you'll be grateful for some stronger arms if any mixing is required (my arms hurt just thinking about it!) Sitting and preparing at the table will make the session more enjoyable for you so take the kitchen worktop to the table for a while. The extra help from your partner/s cleaning up I´m sure will be warmly welcomed too. The best thing about social baking/cooking is that you can enjoy playing around and you'll feel great for having done something fun - even better if whatever you have rustled up tastes good! Homemade edible treats will make a sweet way to say thanks to any carers, nurses and doctors, family members, or friends that have helped you out a lot throughout the year.
Wrapping gifts might not seem like much but it can be quite demanding for us weaklings especially if you have lots to wrap. Wrap a few things a day to avoid over exertion and back ache/aching in general. Wrapping can be quite fiddly too which can be extremely difficult if you have certain symptoms so if wrapping is out of your capabilities gift bags are the perfect option and can still be super pretty.
I personally have family all over the UK and even abroad but the sad reality is that travelling to see friends and family over the Christmas period might not be possible for us chronics. If you are planning on travelling this year good luck and I hope you enjoy your visit! If not try to explain to whoever it is on the other end that it's not that easy for you and as much as you'd love to take on the journey doing so much so close to a big event is not wise. There's always skype and facetime and you can maybe try and make up for it in the new year once everything has calmed down a bit. You'll have something to look forward to once the twinkling lights and smell of mauled wine have all disappeared that way too. An extra tip for anyone who is planning on travelling is to pack plenty of snacks as you might face delays and might need a boost here and there. Wrap up warm too!
The Main Event!
Christmas Eve, Christmas Day & Boxing day. Normally the busiest days of the holidays. Make sure you give yourself time to rest and save up all the energy you can leading up to them as you will be needing it once the fun really arrives. If you can get all of your shopping done and wrapped well in advance then that will give you some time. Christmas TV is always the best so there will be lots of things to keep you entertained and come Christmas day you'll be able to enjoy it a little more for having some back up fuel in the tank ready to take on all the chaos with all you've got. Don´t feel bad if you need to take some time out or take a nap, nobody is expecting a miracle cure for a few days, you are still sick but doing all you can and that is all that matters.
I hope you find these tips useful. December can seem a little overwhelming I know but pacing, spreading out activities and just doing what you can should help and the main thing is to have some fun. I know for a lot of us chronically ill fun isn´t a word we use much, and even if you aren´t up to doing much the TV schedule has to be an improvement to normal daytime TV right? If you have any more tips or advice you think I´ve missed leave them in the comment section below :)