Coping With Winter When You Have an Auto-immune Disease

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Well it's winter again. Do you have what you need to handle the cold weather? We all know what that includes or do we? Well when you have an autoimmune disease or a chronic illness sometimes that list is a little bit different. Sometimes it's more than just the winter coat the scarf and the boots. It's the five heating pads, the two heater blankets, it's the 15 fleece blankets all over the house, all of those fleece socks, nobody told you that you were going to need so many sweaters, and nobody told you about those things called hand warmers.  Wait, did I know about the fact that you can get something for the car that plugs in and is actually a heater blanket? Shock! 😮

Once you have an autoimmune disease winter is never quite the same. You find out that you are a human barometer. Suddenly, you don't really need the weatherman to tell you that a storm is coming. You begin to feel weather fronts, cold, and changes in weather with an intensity that you didn't know was quite possible.  Suddenly you begin to feel like you are in a pressure cooker. People joke “oh it must be nice to know what is coming.” Or “yes I know what that feels like.” Unfortunately no they don't. So we begin to cope. Here are some tips that I would encourage you to use during the winter season.

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First, learn that heat is your friend. Use heating pads, blankets, sweaters, scarves, and gloves to make sure that your body stays warm. Second, layer your clothing. It is important to keep the core of your body warm. Allowing heat to escape your body is one of the ways that will increase your pain. As you get colder the pain in your body will increase so by maintaining a warm core temperature this will help. Layers are the best way to ensure that you can stay warm. Also, be sure to use hats and keep your feet warm.  Third, learn that a hot shower or a hot bath are great way to help diminish those aches and pains, but they also can give you a little boost of energy. They may help you get that little bit extra sleep. We all know that sleep is a great help when we feel that fatigue or were feeling that extra pain.  Of course, some of us haven't seen a full nights sleep in ages so we need to get every edge or advantage we possibly can.  Fourth, keep a sense of humour.  You will notice in almost all of the blogs I write keeping a sense of humor will be a part of it.  This is a proven psychological need.  I can show you study after study, but until we take it to heart and learn and live it we make life even more difficult.  I don't expect us to hurry our head in the sand or deceive people.  Yet there is a humor in knowing that we can do a better job then the weatherman.  There is humor when we look for it whether it is our puppies gleefully playinh in snow, us staying inside when others have to go out (okay, so this may be the ONLY perk I have so far to being kicked out of the work force because of my health).  Try and find that laugh someplace in your soul one or twice a day.

Oh, and warriors… keep the soup on.

Amy