• Sophie Ward

All Bells For Christmas.


Let’s make this Christmas the best one yet..

Remember, it’s not just about the day. It’s about the Christmas period. 

So here we go.. let’s get ourselves geared up, enjoying life as much as possible with as little pain and stress as possible.

Here’s my top tips to having the most magical Christmas: 

1. Buy early and online: if you scroll down on my homepage you will come to a direct link to Amazon. I have direct links to some fab pressies and gifts for people suffering from chronic illness: bed desks, memory foam slippers, switches and more. 

The link also directs you straight to Amazon where you can browse further.

We can’t walk, face the crowds or want the stress of rushing around the shops. Wheelchairs in a crowded, manic area is also a no go. So get it all now. Then you can take your time wrapping, it will all come to your door. Less stress and more time to spend on what really matters- time with loved ones. 

2. Budget: I am so guilty of not following this tip but if you can please do. 

I am the worst at looking at people piles and thinking someone doesn’t have enough and then adding to it. We have to remind ourselves it’s not about how big the pile is! It’s the thought that counts! And Christmas isn’t about the gifts that cost money it’s about the free gifts - love, hugs, laughter and kindness that really matter. 

Remember, many of you won’t be able to order online or go shopping to buy gifts due to hospital stays. Well get creative. Pinterest can become your best friend and you can personalise your own gifts. Whether it’s knitting a scarf and learning a new skill along the way or drawing and framing a picture. It may not be a high end designer scarf and you may not be Piccasso but your work will mean so much more that a product with a name/ label because it’s come from you and your heart. So don’t get disheartened or feel selfish if you don’t spend silly amounts of money. Your love is the best gift you can give and is priceless. 

3. Plan: plan ahead in regards to social events. Allow yourself time to recover in between and ensure you don’t over do it. Don’t be out every night. Remember do a few outings but make them memorable rather than many where memories get forgotten and blended together. 

4. Memories: journal, take photos and mark the good times you share with loved ones. These memories are important to have and keep within reach. You will need them on your gloomy days to raise your mood, remind yourself you are loved and keep motivated. 

5. Food: food plays a massive role in Christmas. From chocolate treats, work Christmas dinners, family dinners and more. Don’t miss out. Many people chronically ill or fit and healthy suffer with allergies and intolerances.

So seek out alternatives. I know how it feels sat at a table watching people eat the food you love and miss, whilst you munch on a totally different meal. You don’t feel included in the celebration and feel slightly isolated. 

Holland and Barrett as amazing. They have lots of FreeFrom alternatives but supermarkets are also getting better with their allergy-free food sections of the shop. 

Holland and Barrett have a selection of diary, wheat & gluten free advent calendars.

- Moo Chocolate

- Plamil 

- Choices 

- Holland and Barrett’s own brand

You can also purchase selection boxes on Holland and Barrett. By Moo, Choices, Plamil and at the moment my favourites Booja Booja are on sale - half price so grab boxes and stock up NOW. 

You can look into Christmas Day dessert options such as sticky toffee puddings, brownies ( many contain eggs!! So please check)

If you can’t tolerate eggs then Nak’d do amazing bars;

Christmas Pud, Lemon Drizzle and Carrot Cake that taste like the normal cakes!

Or Lazy Days; ginger tiffin, rocky roads, millionaire shortbread and brownies.

Alpro have also just brought out a new plant based ice creams! How exciting! Perfect timing to add to your desserts. At the moment I have seen the vanilla and hazelnut-chocolate. I have got the hazelnut chocolate one to try!

Stock up on Christmas themed foods;

- gluten, wheat free gravy

- quorn and tofu meat altneratives 

- chocolates and treats

Don’t sit there feeling out of the loop, set your own trend eating food alternatives that may make your family want your food rather than the norm.

6. Me Time: Christmas is a manic rush. With these tips and some planning you can take plenty of well deserved ‘me’ time. Watch Christmas movies, colour Christmas themed pictures, take bubble baths, phone friends and rest! You need this time to recharge but still enjoying yourself with activities that make you happy and feel at peace. 

7. Remind yourself daily of what you are thankful for. Try writing three things everyday. 

When you are suffering and having a bad day it’s easy to become angry with the world and negative. Writing ✍🏼 three things can really ground you and remind you how lucky you are.

So for example today I am grateful for;

- my family: they are looking after me and try to cater the best they can to all my needs. They show me endless, kindness and love.

- my friends: they will always be there to cheer me up.

- I can still do my hobbies: my joints are sore and it’s more difficult to hold pens and challeneging to type but I am doing it. 

You can see the above doesn’t consist of material objects and that’s what is important to detach from. If your list consists of make up, a Tiffany necklace or designer shoes you really need to remind yourself that everything in your list is replaceable not like family and friends. They are priceless. 

8. Feel the magic and get into the spirit: putting decorations up and down can be a huge task and too much for us so we avoid them and so miss out on the sparkle. 

If you aren’t up to decorating call friends and family for a hand. If you are in hospital put up your Christmas cards and add a little tinsel to your bed. 

9. Family: focus on good time with family and friends ( my friends are my family ). We all live busy lives in different ways. Whether it’s work commits or health appointments they all fill up our lives. Christmas is the one time of year when people come home and meet up to celebrate so embrace this opportunity and spend the time wisely. 

10. Goal set: we all make wishes, we dream and ‘hope for the best’, but these wishes can’t just be granted we have to work for our rewards. That’s where goal setting comes in. Don’t go silly but writing down reasonable goals to work towards in the New Year can help lift your mood. Whether they are simple or more complex. Writing them down and planning them out makes you more motivated and organised to actually achieving them.

After a hard year we often doubt the year ahead. Having goals can give us a reason to keep strong and fighting on. 

Examples of goals; 

- get a work promotion. Write down what your boss requires of you, what extra work can you do to prove your skills, can you make yourself more flexible?

- try a new treatment. New treatments can be costly and daunting. So allocate a time frame of how long you want to wait until you try a new treatment or how long you will do the treatment for.

- work on yourself. Whether it’s allowing yourself for ‘me’ and rest time, to building confidence and accepting your illness. 

Hopefully with these easy tips we can create a magical Christmas.

Remember - you make your own rules. You don’t have to follow what society suggests you should be doing.

We don’t all have family round the corner, or are at home for Christmas for example. Don’t let this upset you, the lesson here is to make the best of the circumstances we find ourselves within. 

Whether you eat pizza rather than a roast dinner. 

Or 

Host Christmas Day in January when your treatment is over it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on any of the magic or happiness of Christmas.

Let me know how you are spending your Christmas.. are you setting a new trend?

Love always ..

Big hugs

S

Xoxo

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