Living Life, Within the Limits of Chronic Illness

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So tomorrow everyone gets to enjoy the fruits of their labours. Seeing the smiles on friends and family’s faces as they open their gifts, enjoying spending time with family over the Christmas meal. Everything that makes Christmas so special.

I shall be spending the day with my family, no doubt enjoying ourselves with varying amounts of silliness. I expect there will be an element of sadness this year as this is our first Christmas since losing my Grandad, but I’m sure he’d want us to have a good time.

I will be sparing a thought for those people who are spending Christmas alone, something some people have to do. I know a couple of friends who are facing this prospect and so I’ll be dropping them a message or two throughout the day to try and keep them company from a distance. Why not do the same if you know someone who’ll be alone this Christmas day? Better yet if you’re able invite them round or give them a visit if they’re local to you. By giving a bit of your time you might actually make their Christmas!

I hope you all have a good supply of energy to have a very Happy Christmas, and enjoy yourselves!

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A Budget Christmas; Food

A big part of any Christmas is the food. Now we don’t go mad buying extra food but we do get in a few treats we wouldn’t normally have during the rest of the year. A lot of the extra bits we have, we make ourselves.

There’s nothing better than a homemade cake, mincepie, dessert or popcorn! So each year my family bakes a selection of things for Christmas using tried and tested recipes as well as the odd experimental one thrown in!

I normally help out a fair bit during this time as I love baking, but this year I’m going to have to take a step back; having done some baking earlier this year I’ve learned it’s a bit too much for me in my current state of health. So instead I shall be supervising, possibly weighing out ingredients, preparing the cake tins etc. but leaving all the real physical work to someone else.

This year we’re going for a few tried and tested cake and ice cream recipes but hopefully trying out a new popcorn recipe. So we’ll see how it goes!

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A Budget Christmas; Preparation

To preserve my energy supply for Christmas, a lot of the work is done in the weeks and sometimes months leading up to Christmas.

Christmas Shopping is not a one off event done during December. Oh no. My Christmas shopping begins whenever I see something I think suits someone in the shops, no matter what the time of year! So this year my Christmas shopping began way back in June. Yes I have to find somewhere to store it but it also means I don’t have to go on a special shopping trip just to buy people’s presents and then find I can’t get anything suitable! Plus it also means I can budget my money better. Always a good thing!

Cards get written in November sometime most years. I try and keep the number of cards I send to a minimum, wishing most people a Happy Christmas online via my Facebook or Twitter pages. Again it’s not a case of not wanting to send people cards, it’s just a case of the cost; both in energy and postage! I can’t afford to send as many cards as I’d like by post, but I also can’t afford the energy spent writing them all either. So if you don’t get a Christmas card from me it’s not because I don’t like you!

Present wrapping can also begin in November, possibly earlier. If the present is there it may as well be wrapped and ready as early as possible so it’s one less thing to do in December! So if anyone looks in our living room window in November to find a girl sat on the floor surrounded by festive wrapping paper and presents they shouldn’t be surprised!

For Christmas in my house the dining table is quite a big thing. We don’t spend the earth on it but it is always made to look festive and pretty to make it special on the day. So preparation for that also begins early. Ordinary place mats get wrapped in festive paper; this all started when we didn’t have enough matching place mats and has since continued as it looks very festive! Again this sort of thing is done late November/early December if possible.

Literally anything that can be done early, gets done early. But even then I’m carefully pacing, making sure I don’t overdo it. It would be stupid to risk a relapse so close to Christmas while preparing for it! That’s the one thing I’ve learned over the years; it doesn’t matter if everything isn’t perfect, as long as you’re well enough to enjoy the day that’s all that really matters!


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A Budget Christmas; Impromtu Visitors

In this series of blogs on Christmas with a chronic illness I share my ways of coping with the festive period. This first one is all about coping with impromptu visits from family and friends.

Ever wondered how to cope with Christmas when you have a limited energy supply? I think it’s similar to planning it with a limited monetary supply. The key is planning and budgeting.

But I’m used to budgeting my money and energy supply during the rest of the year, so Christmas shouldn’t be too much different should it? Money wise, no it isn’t. But energy wise it is. You see Christmas is a time of spontaneity for most people, they drop by the house to spread Christmas cheer with little or no warning which makes managing a limited energy supply rather difficult. But it can more or less be done.

For the most part I spend Christmas with my immediate family. But like I say visitors pop in throughout the Christmas period (usually in the lead up to it) which drains my energy before the actual event. So these days I’ve taken to retreating to a quieter room; I stay for a few minutes to say hello and wish them a happy Christmas but if I feel my energy levels dwindling I move to a quieter place. That could be the kitchen where there’s only one or two people chatting and they don’t mind me not participating, or if I’m feeling really drained I choose to go to my room. It’s not that I want to be antisocial and not see our family, friends etc. It’s just I simply don’t have the energy to do that AND have a good time on Christmas day, Boxing day etc. with my family and whoever we have staying or for dinner that year. So I hide.

Of course I’m lucky living with my parents and sister, in that I can hide away – there’s still someone there for the visitors to talk to. If I was home alone things would be a lot more difficult and I don’t know how I’d cope. I imagine I’d find a way but I suspect there would be a big impact on how I spent my time during the actual event.

Look out for more about Preparing for Christmas in my next blog!

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