Christmas can be a trying time for people living with chronic illnesses and depression.
Many of us with fibromyalgia know the challenge all too well. No wonder Last year the Samaritans received close to 250,000 calls from people suffering from depression and stress across the UK.
Apart from the media inundating us with images of perfect happy families exchanging gifts, many of us who have lost loved one grieve, as well as struggle to cope financially. Fibromyalgia flares and other illnesses that worsen with the cold weather add to the list of stresses.
Here I’ve compiled a list of my wishes for you this holiday season. And of course, remember you are never alone – reach out to me and chat if you like:)
- That you stay warm
People with fibromyalgia and chronic pain tend to experience a flare in their symptoms when the weather is extreme. Last winter, Age UK reported that the numbers of elderly and vulnerable people who died due to the cold weather exceeded 40,000, the highest in 15 years. This can be a challenge when heating bills are high, but you can help yourself by wearing layers of clothing, keeping a hot water bottle and having warm cups of tea.
- That you find peace
It can be hard to find solace when different parts of your body are throbbing from pain, on top of life stresses and other problems like depression. But everyone has something that calms them down – you just need to find yours. This time of year, I find it calming to go sit in a church and listen to Christmas carols. You don’t have to be religious, churches are open to anyone. Or if you prefer, go to Trafalgar Square.
- That you remember you are never alone
Depression and chronic pain are among those illnesses that can isolate us. We may not be as social as our healthy friends and sometimes it’s easy to forget that others might share our experiences. Join a forum or support group. Depression Alliance and Mind’s Ele Friends are useful for connecting with people with shared experiences.
- That you will get the help you need
It isn’t always easy to ask for help, but this holiday season if you are low or at risk of hurting yourself, please do not be afraid to ask for help. Call the Samaritans on their free number 116 123 or the emergency services on 999. I have been overwhelmed by how non-judgemental and caring the people who answer are.
- That you don’t feel pressured to conform
So what if you don’t want a traditional Christmas? Equally, there’s nothing wrong if you want a traditional holiday. Whether you choose to spend it with family, friends, on your own or at a soup kitchen helping out, make sure you do whatever you’re comfortable with. Don’t feel pressured either to give into the media hype with buying presents. Come January so many people find themselves in debt from Christmas spending. It’s not about the money or gifts at all.
- That you find good health and prosperity
It can be hard to keep one’s health in check when living with pain conditions like fibromyalgia. But one step at a time we can learn habits that are better for improving our conditions. Eating healthy, fresh foods, doing graded exercise and trying to steer clear of stress are just some of the things we can do to start with. From there, you can take your pick on how you want to proceed. I’d follow with frequent epsom salts baths and omega 3 capsules and magnesium supplements. There are a lot of resources on here to guide you on how to approach this.
And absolutely feel free to contact me with any questions or even if it’s just for a chat. I’m always happy to hear from you!
Gentle hugs and lots of love 🙂 xxx