Bump And Beyond

A UK LIFESTYLE BLOG

TOP WINTER TIPS WHEN YOU HAVE CHRONIC ILLNESS*

 



As much as I complain of being too hot and sweaty once we get into the depths of summer; winter is a season that I really can’t get on board with. I have found autumn/winter to be the hardest months for handling my chronic illness so I planned ahead and felt I knew better about what to expect. 

I’m not a fan of the cold and as such count down the days to warmer weather. Not only that but the darker evenings can often leave me feeling a bit meh, and I know that I am not alone in feeling like that!. I thought I'd share my advice on how i'm getting through those dark months.

Prevention is always better than cure

Having an chronic illness means you are particularly vulnerable to becoming unwell over the winter period. There is an increase in circulating viruses over the winter and people living with a chronic illness are more vulnerable to infections.

Get your seasonal Flu vaccaination and make sure that your Pneumoia vaccine is up to date. Watch out for your infection control practices. Try and wash your hands as you go along, or use alchol gel if you are out and about to keep your bug load to a minuim on your hands. Be really careful about taking your medications properly, get familiar with your medication and know why you are taking them, and what the protential side effects of them are. 

Make sure you are comfortable 

Having a chronic illness means you are in pain a lot of the time! Making sure you have things that make you feel more comfortable and eases the pain a little is very important. Keeping warm is a key, from wearing soft PJs and thermal socks to using an electric blanket can help alot. If you can afford it invest in a new mattress or mattress topper. It will make an difference to pain levels during the night and insomia.

Take Some Time Off  

We might be into January now, but that doesn’t mean that we’re over the hustle and bustle of Christmas. The festive season is often a busy one that is demanding on our time – and with a daughter I know exactly how you feel. I make sure that I take time off when I need to and when possible – just to take some time out for me. I have a good family support network which means that I can have an evening to myself or see some friends, which is really important. Even when my daughter is with me, sometimes taking an hour out and soaking in the bath makes all of the difference so I make an effort to make sure I have set time aside to do this. 

Communicate 

Communication is important so I make sure that I keep in touch with friends about how I am feeling. I know that sometimes my friends are feeling the same as me, so opening up the communication channels gives them an excuse to get things off of their chest too; which really helps everyone. If you’re feeling the strain then even reaching out to something such as an online counselling service can help – this gives you an opportunity to talk to an unbiased, trained professional about how you are feeling and get some practical help and advice. 

Set Boundaries 

One of the things I have learned in later life is to set boundaries and not feel obliged to take part in events and accept social invitations when I am not feeling up to it. Sometimes we can be worried to say no for fear of offending people or not being invited again; but this often means that we accept too many social invites and this can leave us feeling burned out. I no longer feel afraid to say that I can’t attend an event and instead, have made sure my friends understand where I am coming from and respect my declining their invite – and of course, there is always the option for me to suggest alternative plans in the future. 

Pace yourself

This is one thing I find really hard to do, as it can be hard to implement into your life. It has taken me a few years to get to the point that I now know how much I can and cannot do. It can be hard letting go of how your life used to be and what you we able to do. Things you can do to pace yourself and help you live better with your illness include; having a routine, prioritising important tasks and sheducling rest.

Have a Winter ready plan

It is so important to have a plan in place incase you become a little bit unwell with your chronic illness that you know what to do to self care and also to know when you have got to the point where you really need to go and see your doctor. Have a chat wth your GP about developing a self care plan so that you so you can look after yourself as indepently as you can.

It is also important not to hibernate away all winter and not see anyone. Instead, make plans that suit you – even if that is just seeing a friend for a coffee after the school run or inviting them over to watch a movie one evening. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant to make a difference; but it does give you a chance to have some fun and socialise with someone you care about – and that often is a great step to helping us feeling better. 

If you have any tips for self-care and looking after ourselves during the winter season I would love you to share them below.

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