In some ways living with a chronic condition is like getting a degree- you do research, read studies and papers, and experiment with what works and what doesn’t. After a while you feel pretty qualified; proficient in “living with chronic”. Here are some tips I have picked up during my “studies”. Please put any tip that works for you in the comments- because if I am studying, then you are my classmates and professors
1. Stay hydrated- drink only water, and filtered at that.
2. Get warm- my feet and hands are always cold. Thankfully there are lots of heat options- microwave heat pads, hot water bottles, electric… I have all of them. I love my microwave one for the day, and electric one for the night. Put a microwave or hot water bottle in the bottom of your sheets before you go to bed to keep your feet warm.
3. Stay warm with layers. Wear warm socks- layer those bad boys. I love my alpaca socks (because wool makes me itch), and layer them over other socks.
4. Ease your load. Get a robe for in the house- with large pockets to carry things around in- freeing up your hands. Added bonus- you won’t forget what you are carrying and put it down somewhere.
5. Keep on top of your schedule with technology. Get a device with an alarm- your cell/mobile, tablet, etc. Set it for anything you need to remember to do (ex. it’s time to make dinner), and set 30 minute timer for keeping you on task on forgetful/distracted days.
6. Stay comfortable. Pillows- big, small, tonnes of them. I am a huge fan of pillows to prop me up, keep me comfortable, and man do they help prevent bruises I used to get. Who cares if the men in my life make fun.
7. Get good shut-eye. Find a fabulous eye mask, wear it every night, and naps. If you get migraines, pop an extra one in your purse just in case.
8. Be prepared. Learn to use your freezer- double your recipes and freeze extras in individual sized portions for days you are too tired to cook.
9. Organize. I use charts… for everything. I write down what I ate, what pills I took, if I napped, etc. Without them I forget what I have already done that day, and yesterday? forget it.
10. Share your plan. An electronic calendar is super helpful- that way you can easily share it with those who need to be in the know, and can make appointments you need a ride for at convenient times to others. Bonus- They also tell you what day it currently is. I check it constantly.
11. Protection. Big sunglasses. Need I say more?
12. Again with the warmth. Scarves- I love the non-wool pashminas that you can fashionably wear indoors. Staying warm and looking good- check.
13. Be prepared. Make a few little to go cases of travel toiletries- tissues, pads, hand cream, anti itch cream, hand sanitizer/wipes, extra hair elastics, etc. If you might need it on the go, have it with you.
14. Refuel. Don’t forget about snacks- figure out what snacks are easy on the go, and make a plan. Buy extra, buy a tupperware container just the right size, make up portions the night before, whatever works. I need to eat at regular intervals and an appointment that goes longer than it is supposed to can put me out of whack- so I’m always prepared (In fact I always pack water, hand wipes, and a snack any time I leave the house- I use a special bag for them, and am now in the habit of taking that bag with me everywhere so I never forget)