It's that time of year again - the cold, dark days of winter (at least for those us us in the northern hemisphere). Short days, less sunshine, fewer times when we can get outdoors (especially for those who can't exercise), and even more isolation. In addition, many people with ME/CFS experience a downturn physically in the winter months (here's one reason why and how to prevent/treat that).
Taken all together, that can make for some rough days when you are chronically ill. Below, I have collected some great advice from other bloggers (plus a bit from myself) on accepting where you are, finding joy in small moments, coping, and lifting your spirits.
From My Book
While all of my book, Finding a New Normal: Living Your Best Life with Chronic Illness, is about emotional coping and improving your life, a couple of the chapters feel extra-relevant this time of year when you're feeling down or gloomy. Here, I will link to those, where I previously reprinted them on the blog.
My chapter, You're Right Where You Need to Be, was inspired by a friend's wonderful memoir. It's all about accepting where you are right now, switching from fighting the situation to giving in (but not giving up), and feeling more at peace with yourself and your current situation. You can read my previous blog post about it and the full text of the chapter at that link.
Once you have accepted where you are now, you can focus your attention on Finding Joy in Every Day. This means living in the present, being grateful, and finding small moments of joy in every day. This change of attitude can make a huge difference in how you feel about your illness, your current situation, and your life.
Banishing the Winter Blues
Pippa from The Life of Pippa blog wrote a wonderful post recently on Banishing the Winter Blues: Chronic Illness-Friendly Recommendations. She talks about how typical advice heard in the mainstream media and on social media at this time of year just doesn't work for us, and then she offers three great tips for helping yourself through the winter months.
7 Reminders for Those Bad Days to Keep You Going
One of my favorite chronic illness blogs is from Sheryl at A Chronic Voice. Her latest blog post is warm and supportive, like wrapping up in a super-soft, warm blanket. Her 7 Reminders for Those Bad Days to Keep You Going are all kind, gentle lessons that we probably learned at some point but need to be reminded of. Read it now, and bookmark it for the next time you are feeling crummy and having an especially rough day.
Loving "Moments" of my Chronic Illness Life
Sam of My Medical Musings blog has a thoughtful post about living her life in moments, that add up to days, weeks, and months. She explains why she feels content with her life, in spite of multiple serious medical conditions and disability. As in my own essay about finding joy in every day, she writes about living in the present and enjoying small moments, even on the worst days.
Carole of Navigating the Storms has a helpful new post up, Stressed Out? Can We Manage and Overcome It? Here, she offers some great tips for dealing with stress, whatever its cause, which can be even more challenging for those of us with chronic illness.
So, there you have it - a collection of inspiration and wisdom from some of my favorite bloggers. You can enjoy the posts I linked to and also maybe find a new blog or two to follow (in addition to this one, of course!)
How about you? How do YOU deal with the winter doldrums? Please share your own tips and advice in the comments.