How to Enjoy the Holiday Season When You're Chronically Ill | The Health Sessions

How to Enjoy the Holiday Season When You’re Chronically Ill

December, the month of celebrations. From the Dutch Sinterklaas, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years Eve , it’s the time for culturally-rooted festivities all around the globe.

But it’s little different celebrating when you’re chronically ill.

Pain, fatigue and other horrible symptoms can definitely mess up your plans and traditions. Depending on your personal health situation, enjoying things like shopping for presents, cooking an elaborate Christmas dinner, attending parties or even staying up on New Year’s Eve may not be an option – or one you pay a high price for with days or weeks of recovery time.

The trembling legs, relentless nausea or breathlessness won’t go away for a day just because today is a holiday and you want to celebrate. You still feel as good, bad or awful as you do every day, and it’s hard to keep smiling, enjoy the feast at the table and focus on sparkling conversations around jou when you experience throbbing pain or ’embarrassing’ stomach troubles at the same time.

So how can you make the most of the holiday season even when you’re chronically ill?

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Getting Things Done with Chronic Illness: Housekeeping Hacks 101

Getting Things Done with Chronic Illness: Housekeeping Hacks 101 | The Health Sessions

 

It’s probably one of the most common dilemmas of the 21st century: “How do I get everything – work, family, household, social life – done with the limited amount of time and energy that I have?”

This problem only becomes more pressing when you suffer from health problems. Because how do you juggle making a living and taking care of your loved ones when your inner battery only charges up to 50% every day and runs out of energy much quicker than everyone else’s?

Basically, there are two broad strategies to tackle a mile-long to-do list when you’re worn out:

  1. Find ways to recharge your battery better – e.g. improve the quality of your sleep, eat nutrient-rich meals or gradually increase your fitness levels.
  2. Experiment with life hacks that help you do everyday things more efficiently.

 

Now there’s lots of advice on this website (and in my upcoming ebook!) on getting healthier and more energetic, but let’s face it, some days you just have to make do with the tiny bit of power that you have left. That’s why I want to share a series of tips on how you can do more with less energy in all areas of your life, starting with the inescapable job of running a household.

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30 Ways to Entertain an Active Toddler When You’re (Chronically) Ill

30 Ways to Entertain an Active Toddler When You're (Chronically) Ill | The Health Sessions

 

Moms don’t get to be sick. And yet, we’re only human, no matter how much we’re trying to be superwoman.

Unfortunately, resting up in bed when you’ve come down with the flu or having a flare-up day is not really an option when you have a active toddler at home and no last-minute child care options.

Now, I don’t see too much harm in letting your child watch a bit more TV than usual when you’re too ill to lift your head from your pillow. But when your illness lasts longer than a day or two, you probably don’t want your little one constantly glued to a screen.

Luckily, with a little imagination and motherly love, you can still keep your two – or three year old entertained indoors while you’re sick on the couch. What works for you obviously depends on the kind of illness you have, how bad you’re feeling, how long you’ve been sick, your toddler’s personality and your family situation.

But here’s a big list of activities to get you and your toddler through a sick day and be a chronically awesome parent.

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How to Effortlessly Make a Healthy Dinner When You’re Tired

How to Effortlessly Make a Healthy Dinner When You're Tired | The Health Sessions

It’s non-negotiable. Just cook.” – Sarah Wilson on Twitter.

 

If you want to eat healthily, making your own meals (most of the time) is not an option but a necessity. It’s the best way to have a say in the ingredients, add variation to your overall diet and limit your intake of refined sugar, trans fats and artificial flavours.

Now, I love cooking. And I love all the amazing, wholesome recipes on food blogs these days. But honestly, after a long day of running around after a one-year old, squeezing in writing and household chores during naps, it sometimes feels like too much effort to cut up tons of veggies and spend an hour behind the stove.

You’ve probably felt the same way when you’ve had a tiring day, whether that’s because of work, illness or way too active kids.

And while it’s tempting to just shove a pizza in the oven whenever you’re too tired to cook, as a rule it’s better to find a healthy alternative to ordering takeout or heating up microwaved meals. Processed foods often contain too much salt, too little veg and an addictive combo of high sugar/high fat. And frankly, most convenience meals are just plain bland in taste compared to a home cooked dinner.

So let’s have a look how you can still put a nutritious meal on the table when you’re running low on energy.

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Parenting with Chronic Illness: How to Take Care of Your Baby and Yourself

 

Parenting with Chronic Illness: How to Take Care of Your Baby and Yourself

 

As soon as you first hold your baby in your arms, you realise that every cliché about parenthood is true: it’s one of the most joyful, love-filled yet hardest things you’ll ever do.

Taking care of a newborn round-the-clock can be overwhelming for any mum and dad, but when you have a chronic illness like MS, fibromyalgia or lupus, parenting comes with a whole extra set of challenges. Unpredictable symptoms, severe fatigue and physical limitations can pose considerable obstacles when you’re looking after a little one.

Here are 12 practical tips for taking care of your baby and yourself when you’re chronically ill.

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