How I Survive Winter with a Chronic Illness

Winter….. it’s an amazing season, full of pretty frosty mornings to look at, twinkling lights from peoples Christmas decorations, the feeling of new beginnings….

As someone who suffers from a number of chronic illnesses – endometriosis, Fibromyalgia, arthritis to name a few, I tend to stay in a lot – I work from home so having to go out in the early morning frost isn’t an issue…. I can shop online if I don’t feel like going out in the rain and cold winds…. so I don’t see “bad weather” days like someone who has to do the school run, or head off to the office.

But winter, no matter how much I love it, plays havoc with my symptoms. If my legs get cold, then I’m in trouble. If I get soaked in the rain, then I’m in trouble. If the house is cold, then yep, I’m in trouble.
Since October 2017 I’ve been hunting things down to help me survive the winter months and to help make my days easier.

This is my must-have list for anyone with a chronic illness.
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A heated blanket.
I won’t lie, when the topic of having a heated blanket popped up in conversation, I felt like I aged 30 years lol. But since it’s arrival, I don’t care! It’s so snuggly and warm that I don’t care if people think I’m 90 😉 and the boys love it too – they’ll often snuggle up with me of an evening while we’re watching TV and grab my blanket to snuggle into.
It’s worth having a shop around as there’s often some bargains on electric blankets – I know Aldi had some in store recently, but ours came from here.

A Massager.
When Sarah went on maternity leave, I had to find a replacement for my massages / acupuncture / reiki, or alternative ways to manage life without my little angel. One of our first purchases was this massager. I won’t lie, it is quite big, but it’s amazing for the days where my calves feel like they’re going to explode from pain. Thankfully, Mr Plinky uses it on me so that I can relax a bit more, but although it’s big and heavy, it’s possible to use it on your own if you have to.

Mint / Chamomile tea.
I’ve never really been a massive tea drinker…. regular tea has never tasted nice, and I tried fruit teas a few moons ago, and they never appealed to me either. But it wasn’t until I started my detox and meal plan, and I was sent a box of mint tea in my kit that my eyes (and taste buds) were awakened! If I’m feeling really tense I’ll have a chamomile tea before practicing a few minutes of deep breathing, which helps me feel calmer…. or if I need to feel refreshed then I’ll have a mint tea.

A Heat Pad.
Another saviour for when the cold has hit my bones. I did used to use a hot water bottle, but when you’re in agony, it feels like a lifetime waiting for that kettle to boil. So I invested in this heat pad. I just pop it in the microwave for a short while and it’s done!

A diffuser and essential oils.
An instant pick-me-up! I love this diffuser as it’s not hugely in your face, has a nice design and also gives off a gentle light. We have a different one for Boe in his room, and it’s light is not so subtle! I switch between Lavender, clary sage, geranium and patchouli, depending on my mood and how I’m feeling. Lavender is obviously great for relaxing and staying calm, clary sage is wonderful for lifting your mood, as well as treating period cramps and PMS, Geranium is amazing for balancing emotions and patchouli is perfect for enhancing your wellbeing. If you’d like to know more about essential oils and their benefits, as well as lots of different ways to use them, I highly recommend this book from Amazon (possibly the cheapest price). Please make sure you only use pure essential oils, and be careful of what oils you use if you have pets, as some of them are toxic to animals!

Tropic Body Smooth.
I cannot tell you how much my pain improves after I use this product. Well, I can, because I wrote a blog about it here lol. Just the act of massaging this naturally derrived scrub into my legs before a long soak in a warm bath helps my aching legs, and the ingredients and scents make me feel so much better. You can order it online via this LINK – just pop Body Smooth in the search.

My phone.
I’d be lost without my phone on high-pain days! I’ll use it to have a scroll through instagram, do some guided meditation or just get lost in a couple of games for a few hours….. or phone my mum if I’m wanting to connect with a natter.

My favourite TV shows.
Nothing takes my mind off pain more than binge watching a favourite. Be it catching up on Eastenders, or spending a few hours laughing at Will and Grace or Gimme Gimme Gimme…. a bit of TV watching certainly perks me up a bit.

My Crystals.
Regular visitors to my blog or social media channels will know I LOVE my crystals. They give off amazing energy, but not only that, some are fabulous at providing pain relief! If I’ve got really achy legs, I’ll often pop a few amethysts on my pains alongside my heat pad. A lot of people think that crystal healing is just a load of ****, but I really do feel it all works (obviously, else I’d not be a crystla healer lol). You can find out more about crystals, their powers and what we have available in our shop by joining our Facebook group.

A Good Book.
I’m currently reading Becomming by Michelle Obama, which I highly recommend, but obviously any book you enjoy reading is good. Due to having a crazy 3 year old, I don’t get much chance to sit down and read, but I’m starting to make a little extra time for it this year.

So that’s my must-haves for the winter.
How about you – what are your must-haves? Do you use any of the ideas posted? Let me know in the comments below, or over on facebook. Feel free to share this post with anyone who struggles with the colder months.

*please note that I am obviously no qualified doctor – these are just ways that I’ve found to ease my discomfort during the winter months. If you are in real pain, PLEASE always consult a medical professional*

Kate xox

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