This November, we got to sit down with three of our patient ambassadors to discuss navigating the holiday seasonwhile managing a chronic illness. From food, flights, family, friends and more, the holidays bring a lot of fun, but also a lot of considerations for chronic disease patients.
Here’s a look at what our panelists had to say:
Holidays often mean traveling to new places where you don’t have always have the comforts of your own home. To help yourself feel more comfortable, try planning a few details ahead of time. Our ambassadors have several suggestions on how to do this.
- Bring masks for yourself or others to feel safer in a crowded room.
- Ask the host to have hand sanitizer readily available throughout the house – especially around the dinner table.
- Communicate your dietary restrictions to those preparing food, or even request the recipe.
- Get a good understanding of the schedule for the day. If you need to show up right as dinner is being severed to make sure you have enough energy for the meal, do it!
LEARN HOW TO SET BOUNDARIES
One of the best things you can do for yourself is learn what your limits are and actively plan to not go past them. Rebecca Weiner says this can often mean that you need to communicate your boundaries to the people around you. Saying ‘no’ to friends doesn’t mean that you don’t value their time, it just means that you know where your boundaries are.
CHANGES ARE OKAY
Sometimes you need to alter a tradition or norm to better fit with your changing health needs.
Michelle Johnson says that one holiday, she and her family ordered pizza instead of cooking a big meal. This allowed her to spend time with her loved ones instead of putting all her energy into the meal.
Anna Ball says her family always had a tradition of playing football at the holidays. Listening to her body, she knows she can’t do that, so the family now watches movies together instead.
To see these tips and more, visit our Chronic University page for the whole conversation.