chronic illnessholidays

Surviving The Holidays With Chronic Illness

Our first guest poster this week is Ali and she is going to share tips on how to beating the stress and surviving the holidays with chronic illness and still having your sanity at New Years!

So the holidays are a happy time of year!  All the advertising tells me so.  Yet  it is usually with some nervousness that I approach the holidays.  As a spoonie the holidays can represent a chance to collapse and recharge which I like the sound of.  Having said that, it doesn’t come without its stresses!  For non spoonies it’s stressful.  I actually think my endo does me some favours at this time of year because it is a constant reminder to get organised and get happy.  I know that holiday stress won’t be a good thing for me so here are a few tips that I have found work well for me over the years that aid in surviving the holidays with chronic illness and in staying focused on having my share of the fun!

Start early

I buy presents for people when I see them in the shop, all year round.  I have a bag I keep in the spare bedroom wardrobe that is full of gifts that I have bought on the spot.  I often forget what I have bought. Getting the bag out in November is always fun as I remember where I’ve been and what I’ve bought for who.  It means I avoid crowded panicky shops which isn’t something I like or likes me.  Online shopping is also a revolution for topping up.  Letting other people do the work for you is a great help!  Now, who will want the wicker christmas reindeer I picked up in the post Christmas sale for 50p each…..did I say this way of shopping keeps the costs down too!

Ask for help

Cooking.  Not my forte at the best of times and sometimes thinking I have to do a certain thing and to a certain standard fills me with dread.  So, if I have the budget I buy it in!  Loads of shops here in the UK do a christmas service.  If I don’t have the budget then friends and family bring a plate. It’s a reminder they are all happy to see me well and happy, and would rather bring a vol au vent or two to keep it that way! It’s good for everyone to be involved too and there is a lot of fun to be had when you realise your Aunty Jean has a penchant for gluten free brownies you never knew about!

Have a bolt hole

Staying at other people’s houses can be a strain.  I always do better when I know I have a bolt hole.  So I plan ahead.  How long am I saying I will stay for? Where will I stay?  Just knowing there is a room I can head to for half an hour helps, even if I don’t end up using it.  If there isn’t a bolt hole?  I try and create one.  If there is budget available then I make it a treat and stay somewhere relaxing.  If I don’t have a budget I plan my stay and if there are games I don’t want to join in or I feel tired, I help out in the kitchen, or go for a walk to get the downtime I need.

Enjoy it

My brother jokes with me about the fact I always cry at Christmas.  It’s true I do! Sometimes because I am so tired, the break means I can fully relax and crying is part of the wind down.  Sometimes it’s the chance to step back and be grateful for everything I have in my life which makes me cry too!  My advice?  Let the tears roll! Holidays are a time for being with people you love and who love you.  Remembering that and being open to having their love and support means just being you is always enough.

Happy holidays!

Ali Germain lives in the UK and is a coach and facilitator.  Ali was diagnosed with Endometriosis in 1997 and has been taking a creative approach to life ever since. Connect with Ali on Twitter.


Vacation is finally here & I am seeing Disney at Christmas!

By the time you read this I will be in sunny Orlando with my family preparing to take over Walt Disney World!

I am a Disney lover at heart (if you haven’t picked up on that yet) but I have never been during the holidays so I am beyond excited to see Disney at Christmas and see everything dressed up in lights!

Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World

My dad and I did a ton of research online to find out the best weeks to visit without the parks being absolutely jam packed and it seems that the first two weeks of December are two of the most favorable weeks throughout the year! Thanksgiving and Christmas are horrible (as in close the gates by noon horrible) but the time in between is great because kids are still in school!

While I am stoked that the weather will be a beautiful 80 degrees for most of our visit, I am a little bummed that I won’t be able to wear my Minnie Mouse Santa hat! At least to the parks. There will be family pictures and of course there will be a post or two (or five) when I get back 🙂

While I am gone, I lined up three guest posts from some absolutely wonderful ladies who will be sharing their tips on surviving the holidays with chronic illness! You will definitely not want to miss this!

P.S. Make sure you are following me on Instagram to take a look at Disney at Christmas! I am sure there will be more than a few pics of a certain little princess all dressed up!

chronic illnessfamilyholidaysproduct review

eMeals: Gluten-Free Meal Planning Made Easy

Disclosure: I am a member of the eMeals Blogger Network which includes a one year subscription to eMeals. This post also includes affiliate links. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and always strive to share brands and products that I believe can greatly benefit this community! 

Cooking has never been my forte but when I was diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2010, a lot of my best recipes had to go out the window. My lack of kitchen creativity paired with the overwhelming health challenges of the last six months meant my kitchen has pretty much been out of order save an occasional slow cooker dinner every now and then.

I know that meal planning is not only healthier for my family but is better for our budget which of course is a major concern when dealing with disability. When you plan out your meals for the week and make one trip to the grocery store for meal items, you can plan your shopping around sales and cut down on all the “extras” that somehow appear in your cart every time you make your way to the check out. When I attempted gluten-free meal planning on my own, I felt like I was using the same handful of recipes every week and that was if we even cooked at all. I definitely needed to find something new for the sake of our health (and our wallets).

When I visited Type A Conference in September, I was introduced to eMeals!

eMeals is an awesome service that allows you to create meals plans based on your eating style (such as gluten-free, vegetarian, or even slow cooker!), family size, and even your favorite place to shop for groceries! After signing up, you will receive an email with your seven day meal plan filled with simple yet creative recipes that include a main dish and sides. Not only does the email include all seven recipes but it also includes a shopping list with everything that you need customized for store you selected! To make it even better, the meal plan is coordinated with weekly sales at select stores!

Could it be any easier?!



Now that I am beginning to get my life back and I am excited to dust off my kitchen and put it to good use specially for the holidays right around the corner! I will definitely be sharing about my favorites along the way! The only thing I have noticed so far that I would tweak about the meal plans is the ability to select foods your family does not eat or other food allergies outside of the main meal plan categories. With having Celiac, I choose the gluten-free meal plans but I do not have the option to state that we don’t eat seafood or mushrooms or that I am allergic to nuts. In the grand scheme of things, I consider this a minor problem and within a couple weeks of receiving meal plans, I have many recipes in my arsenal that I am able to swap out for recipes included in the weekly meal plan that may not suit my family’s taste buds!

If you struggle in the kitchen like me (please tell me I’m not the only uncreative cook out there!) or want to start meal planning to keep your family (and budget) healthy, I definitely recommend checking out eMeals! Dinner plans start at $10 per month for 3 months or $58 for the whole year which brings the monthly cost down to $5!!! You can also get a jump on Black Friday/Cyber Monday and save 30% using promo code CYBER which makes eMeals deals even sweeter!


If you plan on spending more time in the kitchen this holiday season, where will you be finding your recipes? Family hand-me-downs, your favorite cookbooks, or trying something new (and finally putting your Pinterest boards to use) after finding a recipe online?


Disclosure: I am a member of the eMeals Blogger Network which includes a one year subscription to eMeals. This post also includes affiliate links. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and always strive to share brands and products that I believe can greatly benefit this community!