So I thought this month, I would share some of strategies for staying well during the holiday/cold flu season. This is not medical advice, but rather just tips and tricks I use to avoid coming down with whatever’s going around and to manage fatigue.
Tips on Avoiding Germs:
1. This is probably the most important and involves common sense: I tell friends and family that as long as they are not sick (ie: coughing, sneezing, running a fever) they are welcome in my home. I tend to have to remind people fairly often, but when I do, I do it as nicely as possible. When you are a generally healthy person, you enjoy a different level of awareness about these sorts of things, so it’s easy to forget that it puts someone you love with NMO at risk.
2. When guests leave my house, I remove all the hand towels in my bathroom and put them in the hamper to be washed. I have been doing this for years. It just made sense to me that if germs are going to come into the house, that’s one way to keep them to a minimum.
3. I have several pairs of those cheap stretchy winter gloves-the ones you can buy at the dollar store. When I have to travel on transit in the winter, which is the height of cold and flu season, I put a pair on. That way I can hang onto the poles getting on and off the busses and Skytrain and hold handrails or push elevator buttons in the stations and I am not exposing myself to any germs. When I get home, I throw the gloves in the wash and put a clean pair in my bag for next time.
4. I try to avoid having to go to the doctor’s office or the hospital over the winter when everyone is hacking and sneezing but if I absolutely must go, then when I get home, I throw all the clothes I wore into the wash and have a shower.
5. Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands!! Sometimes I don’t have access to a washroom, so I carry a packet of antibacterial wet wipes in my bag. I’m not a fan of that hand sanitizer stuff, so wet wipes are a better option for me.
Managing Holiday Fatigue:
1. I try to avoid over booking myself. If I have too many activities, not only am I not going to enjoy them, but I will be stressed and tired and probably not much fun to be around. Less is always more.
2. Naps are your friend! Leave some room in your daily activities to have a lie down. Even 10 minutes can help me feel more human, but usually I like to have at least a ½ hour. I don’t necessarily need to sleep, but I do need to stretch out and have some quiet time. This act of self care is super important to my daily routine.
3. Eat well. It’s such a temptation to load up on treats over the holidays, but too much fat and sugar can be an energy drain. Your body needs healthy food more than ever during this busy time of year. Don’t deny yourself the treats, but enjoy them in moderation and aim to get fruits and veggies on your plate too. Your body will thank you for it. I find when I eat poorly, I feel poorly and for me, that’s reason enough to be more thoughtful about my food choices.
4. Delegate! This is one time of year where there are so many services to help make preparing for the holidays easier. Take advantage of things like:
-Pre-made holiday food trays-lots of grocery stores even allow you to pre-order and customize these.
-Store staff offering to help you to your car-let someone else do the heavy lifting!
-Shopping online-I LOVE this because I hate the malls at the best of times! Online shopping means no parking hassles, no schlepping from store to store in a ho
t coat, no standing in line and no lugging packages to the car. Many online businesses also offer free shipping.
-Gift Wrapping services-so many charities have booths in local malls and for a donation, they will wrap your gifts for you while you wait. It’s win-win and if you come home with your gifts wrapped, no one can peek!
-Potluck-If you’re hosting a get together or a meal, ask everyone to bring a small dish to share. It’s perfectly acceptable to do this at this time of year and it will take some of the pressure off you having to shop for and prepare everything.
If you have any tips, I’d love if you’d share them in the comments! I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday season, however you celebrate and much health and happiness in 2015.