Winter is coming

Winter comes with uncertainty and a sense of dread for some people.

There’s inclement weather including snow and ice, challenging driving conditions and the ever-stressful holiday season. Winter is coming is a phrase used repeatedly in the series called Game of Thrones. Anyone that’s suffered loss, has a complicated family situation, or anything else that adds stress to normal conditions has a similar foreboding to the holiday season.

Personally, I deal with an autoimmune disorder called lupus. Not only do I need to be vigilant daily in trying to keep inflammation under control but there is an increased probability of a flare that comes with seasonal changes. Add on cold and flu season along with the holiday season and life becomes more difficult than normal.

Stress is bad for everyone however for autoimmune disorders, it causes inflammation which lights us up like a Christmas tree! And those consequences I would rather avoid, not a good thing! The holidays are rough for many people bringing on added stress. Management is a necessity. For me, it’s all about balance. I’d like to share some tips I use to survive the upcoming months, Winter.

My Survival Tips:
1- Plan out activities such cooking, decorating and shopping. Online shopping has helped me tremendously. I avoid the crowds, the item gets delivered to my door or sometimes it can be delivered directly to the gift recipient! Always look for the lock icon when making online purchases to ensure the credit card information is secure. Ask for help, family and friends could pitch in to accomplish the many holiday tasks. Perhaps suggest everyone participating in the party plans by bringing an assigned dish. Personally, as much as I want to be ‘normal’, I’m not like everyone else, I need rest periods and to space out activities.

2- Be social but not to the point your health is sacrificed. Pick and choose what you’re up for. It’s ok to say no especially if it’s going to run you ragged. Be thoughtful of the consequences of your actions by knowing your limitations. It doesn’t matter how young or old, healthy or health complications, we all have issues.

3- Emotional health is equally important as physical health. Keep an open mind. Put life into perspective and live your life to the best of your ability. Be grateful for the things that you have. Be thankful for the things you can do. Learn to let things go of things that cause you pain. LET IT GO.. like the song says.

4-Sleep is crucial in maintaining optimal health with a suggested minimum of 7 hours.

5- Eat healthy! Eat whole foods not processed. Watch out for salt and sugar pitfalls. Nutrition is essential to immune system health that we need to keep us going through cold and flu season.

6- Vitamins are useful. Increase vitamins C and D which are known to boost your immune system. Use supplements as directed and consult your physician. I take 1,000mg of vitamin C and 10,000iu of vitamin D daily. Remember cold and flu season is upon us.

7- Stay hydrated. The old adage recommends eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals about 2 liters, or half a gallon.

8- Frequent hand washing is a must! Use warm water and soap to thoroughly wash between fingers and entire hand to the wrist. When you don’t have access to soap and water, use hand sanitizing gel. I keep a small bottle attached to my purse. Try to avoid touching your face when in public. Germs are easily spread by touching a surface then touching your face.

9- Be prepared. Keep extra gloves and blankets in the car as well as a flashlight. Make sure your car is winter ready by checking tires and battery.

10- Find peace. Allow yourself time to relax, meditate or pray, whatever brings you peace. Seek help when necessary. Whether it’s a friend or coworker or a professional counselor to talk to and deal with problems and situations as they arise.

Wishing everyone a healthy and happy holiday season❄️🎄

Michele Palermo

Michele is a retired registered nurse who spent 15 years in Emergency Medicine. That's where she learned there's a fragility to life. Diagnosed with lupus, after going through a divorce, taught her to be a survivor instead of a victim. With her career shortened by illness she turned to books. She fell in love with the written word as a young child. To her, words convey emotion. Her new passion is writing. As an aspiring author, she hopes to inspire others on this roller coaster called life.

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