Winter Warmers

Winter is always a time of year where my symptoms flare and I think a lot of it is due to the cold weather. Winter, for me, is a happy time of year usually spent with my family but it is often overshadowed by the extra pain, exhaustion, and low mood. However, I've learned in my many years of chronic illness how to manage my symptoms a lot better now and I wanted to share with you how I (try at least!) to keep my body happy over Christmas.

Keeping your body happy, Kate? Is that actually a thing? Yes, it is. When you have a chronic illness, you know that no matter what you do, you aren't going to feel or make yourself 'better'. However, you can give your body the best conditions to feel as good as you can. It's worth noting, 'as good as you can' might still be bedbound, or having 50+ dislocations a day. It's self-care, but with a medical mindset of how to keep symptoms as manageable as possible for that day. 

One of the ways I keep myself 'as well as possible' is keeping warm. Sounds simple? Wrong. If I get tired, and this could be tired from simply talking for 5 minutes too long, my body goes into a complete shut-down and I lose the ability to regulate my temperature. I go stone cold, with very little ability to warm up and it'll usually take a day for my temperature to reset with heated blankets, baths, etc. The exact same thing happens when I get cold, my body also starts shutting down and I get fatigued extremely quickly. Cold to 'well' people might be when it's cold outside on a winter's day, but cold to me is when my house isn't at 20 degrees as I'm so sensitive to temperature.

The cold affects many people with chronic illnesses, which leads me on to today's blog post where I wanted to share 5 of my tips to stay warm this winter. It's been a difficult 2020, but I certainly want my followers who read my blogs to stay as safe and as well as they possibly can! 

Register for Warm Home Discount
If you're on a low income, you could get £140 off your electricity bill for winter 2020-2021 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. It's something which I personally never applied for until this year, but I know will make a huge difference! Register here

Invest In Good, Cozy Bedding
If you're like me and spend 95% of your time in bed, you want something which feels and looks nice. I've made mistakes in the past buying cheaper bedding and it didn't suit me because it irritated my skin or I simply loved another set more. All I have on my bed now are 'teddy bear' feel fabrics. That isn't great for people who overheat, but for me, I use it with a cooling sheet on the bottom (provided by my OT) and it really gives me that 'homely' feeling. 

                                                                          All The Heated Products
I think I've invested in nearly every heated product I know of. From heated blankets to electric hand warmers, I have so many different devices depending on where I'm going and the type of pain. My best one is my electric hot water bottle which is really amazing at getting targeted pain areas and putting on my lap for those cold dog walks. You can get them from Amazon here alongside lots of other rechargeable goodies!

Baby, It's Cold Outside
Obviously, it's going to be colder outside, so really consider what you are wearing. I wear Heatgen thermals everywhere (even in the summer!) and they have been a lifesaver, especially when I turned up to a photo shoot this year and there was no heating! I also wear a Ski jacket and Ski gloves to keep me nice and toasty. I'm going to invest in a Snowsuit after Christmas to walk my dog in (I know it sounds extreme, but it keeps me warm!). For wheelchair users, I recommend having a good blanket to shield off wind/rain/etc like Bundlebean.

Warm Drinks
At home, I have a hot cup dispenser which is the best purchase of the year. Because I can't lift a kettle, it means I can still have a cup of tea to warm me up and I can also do it independently! Next, get a good thermal mug (and don't drive off with it on the top of your car like my mum did...). For wheelchair users, I definitely recommend Ffora as you can attach yours to your wheelchair which is incredibly useful. After spilling hot water over myself trying to carry drinks, it's definitely worth the investment.

And that's it! Is there anything else you would add to the list? I hope you have a safe, comfortable, and happy Christmas.

Love Kate x

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