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Five Tips For Surviving A Chronic Illness Christmas

I'm a hardcore Spoonie.

In the Chronic Illness Community, a Spoonie is someone with a long term illness who has to really watch their energy expenditure. The punishment if we don't is the sort of flare/crash that can leave us bedbound, in complete agony and barely able to open our eyes never mind brush our teeth.

So as we enter the week of Christmas, here are my top 5 tips as a long-standing member of the Spoonie Club:

1. Don't gobble up the hype: expectations for a TV ad style "perfect" Christmas are a recipe for fatigue. Just enjoy what you can and stay in the moment. Read my ode to perfect Christmases here.

2. Don't tipple over: It's the time of year when you can't turn around without a well meaning friend or relative offering you a Prosecco or some yummy cocktail. By all means, do take them up on that offer, but try not to overdo it. The lag that comes with a hangover is so not worth it. Side note - this is something I am still working on myself!

3. Conserve the cheer: Let someone else do the present drops. Heck, Amazon them if you can and let the courier hand them over! Drop off a couple of chosen ones in person, but only a couple, otherwise burn out will be around the corner.

4. Self on the shelf: Take time out to meditate, relax, or just be present in small moments of meaningful rest. These can really rejuvenate you. Feel free to festive it up by chanting to Silver Bells or White Christmas.

5. Mistletoe and whine: Kiss out the miss out and try not to feel down about parties and plans you can't manage. This is easier said than done, and often my biggest obstacle. Plan small nights with friends at home or by Skype, or just treat yourself to a sparkly manicure while watching Elf by fairy light.

Even if these rules get thrown out the window in the chaos of the season, just try your best to keep taking your medication or supplements and rest when you can. This time of year can be so tough on the chronically ill (as well as a whole host of other groups of people), so it's about being kind to ourselves and remembering that although Christmas is about giving and friends and family, it's also about you and making sure you can enjoy what you can.

Wishing all the Spoonies out there and everyone reading this a very happy and peaceful Christmas.