The Rest Room
The Rest Room
How to survive (and enjoy!) the festive season with chronic illness

How to survive (and enjoy!) the festive season with chronic illness

“The simple option doesn’t have to be the miserable option”

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, when December rolls around (and you live in a Christian country) there’s a whole lots of special festive stuff going on. Whether it’s invites to dinner or New Year parties, Secret Santa, family meals, festive drinks in a bedecked pub - there’s often a whole lot more social stuff to do, presents to wrap, ugly Christmas jumpers to wear, and Christmas movies to binge.

But if you live with chronic illness, this can be a real challenge. You may want to participate, to be able to do all the things that you’re invited to, to contribute to cooking…but you don’t know how to balance that with your health.

You may be full of festive cheer, but also find it busy and exhausting. The lights and extra loud music may be overwhelming, and instead of pulling crackers or sitting under the tree, you’re in bed, feeling guilty that you can’t participate like everyone else.

And even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, there may be lots going on this (or other) times of the year when everything just ramps up. So how do we navigate all the physical and emotional challenges that come with that - whilst finding ways to enjoy the festive season to the fullest?

That’s exactly what we’ll be exploring today. I’m delighted to welcome back The Rest Room’s resident Occupational Therapist, Jo Southall, to once again share tonnes of practical tips and advice on how to make it through the festive period…or any busy period for that matter!

In this episode we cover: 

  • The importance of being kind to yourself

  • How to manage expectations (your own and from other people)

  • The importance of compromise

  • How to communicate with family and friends

  • How to pacing, planning, and prioritising so you can make the most of your time and energy

  • Accepting that sometimes we just want to do something without making compromises

  • Buffering in recovery time…

…And much, much more! 

As always it’s a fascinating episode, stuffed fuller than your Christmas turkey…is that a thing? I never understood stuffing.

To listen, you can just click play at the top of this email, or you can listen on Apple, Spotify, Amazon and Google.

If you’d rather read the transcript of the episode, I’ve made that available on my blog.

Please note: if you receive this email within the first few hours of it being sent out, it might take a few hours for the podcast to filter through to some of the podcast platforms like Amazon or Spotify.

You can learn more about Jo and her work on her website.

As always, a huge thanks to my brilliant producer Philly Guillou at OG Podcasts, to Lucy Dove for the episode art, and to Amit Rai for my intro music.

The Rest Room
The Rest Room
Welcome to The Rest Room: a place to explore what it means to live (and live well) with chronic illness.
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Natasha Lipman