5 Tips for Travelling with an Illness

5 Tips for Travelling with an Illness

Travelling with a chronic illness, or anything that provides a limitation on your life can seem like a daunting task but there are steps that you can take to make it way easier! Here are 5 tips that I find really useful when planning my trips.

1. Stay somewhere with a Kitchen

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Diet is important when it comes to keeping up energy levels and whilst you don’t have to be healthy all the time- you are on holiday after all– it can be helpful to know what is going into your meals.

When I go away, I still do go out for meals sometimes but having access to a kitchen has really helped me to plan my food around my activities.

Got a big afternoon? Make a dish with some brown carbs and veg for energy.

Light day? Make a salad that won’t cost an arm and a leg etc

It also helps to save money too as eating out for every meal can be expensive!

2. Make sure you have ways to get back to your accommodation

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For someone like me who has chronic fatigue, a dip can happen anytime, and anywhere. Eating well can help to control this slightly but it doesn’t mean that this won’t happen unfortunately :(.

Making sure that you have a way back to your accommodation should you need it is essential.

If you are travelling with a car that is ideal (but make sure you’re in the right state to drive ofc!) or if you’re with someone else, make sure they are insured on the car too. Max (my boyfriend) has been driving me everywhere whilst we’ve been down in Cornwall (mainly because I still can’t drive…) and it has been really helpful to have someone help me get back when I feel bad.

Should you not have access to a car, make sure that you look up public transport links and know your route home.

Also, get the number for a taxi firm incase it is hard to get one off the street. If you are staying somewhere that is does not speak your native language, try and memorise: ‘Do you speak x’ and ‘Can you take me to x’. If you don’t think you’ll be able to remember it, write it down.

3. Make a To-Do List

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I don’t know about you but I feel way calmer having planned out what I intend to do for a trip. Making plans of what to do and see really calms any anxiety of floundering around aimlessly.

To make an overall trip list I look on pintrest or other people’s travel blogs to see what previous visitors recommend. Local tourism sights are always a good bet and I even look on Instagram to see where the coolest looking spots are!

Then, it helps to make daily breakdowns. Planning what you want to do each day is great for people with illnesses because we can say: ‘Wednesday looks like a heavy day so let’s make Tuesday an easy one and plan for an early night’ etc

4. Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go to plan

After spending ages creating your perfect itinerary (or at least I do) it can be so frustrating when your illness decides not cooperate.

During my trip to Cornwall, I think I only did about 70% of what I had planned to do because I had dips. It sucks but no matter how hard you plan, shit happens. The best thing to do is try to enjoy the things you’ve managed to do and be flexible with changing up what you want to do based on how you’re feeling.

5. Take energy boosting snacks with you wherever you go

Food photo created by Racool_studio – www.freepik.com

If you start to flag, have a dip of or just start to feel all round rubbish, having some energy boosting snacks to hand can help give you that small boost of energy you need to get back home or to get you over the hill so that you can continue on with your day.

Personally, I take a super small Tupperware of trail mix with me everywhere I go. It has a mixture of nuts and seeds that are not only a yummy, healthy snack, but are also great for a little boost.

Let’s say you’re feeling rubbish but it would take you a while to get back to your accommodation or to get a proper meal- having something like a peanut bar, some seeds or (if you fancy something more fun) a cacao bar can be a huge help.

Don’t think you can’t do it- you can!

Our bodies might be fighting against us at times but it is 100% possible to get out there and do the things we love. We just need to take a few extra precautions than healthy people.

So to all my fellow Spoonies out there, let’s get exploring!

First Steps

First Steps

3 weeks ago I decided to make a change.

For the last 3 years I have been living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Newsflash- it sucks. Imagine you have an energy scale with 1 being a regular person after a good night’s sleep and 10 is being about to pass out: the most energetic I ever feel is a 4 and that’s on a very good day (and also often not for long periods of time.)

With an illness like this, you know any commitment you make is 70% truthful at best. You have no idea if that time you have agreed to meet your partner for coffee, or if the day of your best friend’s birthday party is the moment your body decides to go nah not about that life and hits you with a dip.

I like to think I’m relatively a relatively positive person! I try to keep my head up and push on. I made it through university, keeping my grades up. I’ve been putting myself out there, and have been hired to work remotely on social media jobs. So you know what, I’m not doing too bad! But I live my life with a leaky battery, never feeling free to go about and enjoy life to fullest like my friends around me.

And so 3 weeks ago I decided enough was enough.

My first workout at home

I started doing a few workouts at home, mainly beginners yoga so nothing too strenuous.

I’m super lucky because we have a family friend who is a god-tier PT and is used to helping people with illnesses like me. I rang her up and we started doing some (socially distant) sessions. Together we went through my diet, which was appalling I’m not going to lie, and decided that it was time to switch to a much more healthy lifestyle.

I love cooking so thankfully it hasn’t been too hard to incorporate some new healthy meals into my diet. I am eating; way more vegetables; less meat; brown/wholewheat carbs over white ones; less artificial sweeteners/chemicals and better, healthier snacks.

Vegan/ Gluten Free Oat Cookies

I got myself a Deliciously Ella book on her recommendation and got at it! The best bits are the baking. Over lockdown, baking has been bringing me so much joy, so when my PT and I decided on a diet change, I was so sad I couldn’t bake anymore- until I learned that I could!

I’ve been making healthy recipes such as vegan/gluten free oat cookies, sweet potato brownies and beetroot chocolate cake and get the same happiness from going the healthy route than I was before.

Keeping a food and symptom diary has been really helpful to see if there is a correlation between what I’m eating and how bad my CFS gets.

Trying out a Swan Pilates Pose for the first time

As well as eating well, I’ve also been exercising. I know, gross right? I’m joking now but to be honest I wasn’t a keen exerciser before and with my chronic fatigue, a lot of exercise would just make me feel awful.

Things like yoga and pilates are brilliant for people with conditions like me because they help you to focus on your body and breath without tiring you out too much (although some cardio is still essential). You still get a great workout and it’s actually really fun.

Feeling good

Guess what.

There have been results!

Since I started my new lifestyle, I have found that overall I do have more energy than beforehand. I still have dips- some of which are really bad- but my base energy level is higher than it was before.

Not just that but I’ve lost 3lbs/ 1.4Kilos, an inch and a half off my waist and an inch off both my chest and hips which I’m super happy with!

Thank you for reading my first blog post on my new website, it means a lot that you want to read my story. I hope that I can help others with the things that I learn/share.

Keep well ❤

Charlotte x