5 ways to still have fun this bank holiday with a chronic illness.

So here we are. The first of two bank holiday weekends this month. If you’re in the UK at least. BUT the dread you might feel at the idea of this is pretty universal.

Depending on what kind of bank (public for you non-Brits) holiday it is there can be so much pressure placed on plans, whether that be with friends or family. You may feel obligated to make dinner at your parents house, to invite your nan around for sunday lunch or say yes to those badgering friends to go down the pub. The hardest person to fight on this is often yourself. So here’s what you do. Manage all those expectations. Select what you do carefully, this might mean not doing anything at all. Prep your parents that you may not be able to make dinner but perhaps they could stop in for a cuppa when they’re free. Perhaps get a sibling or other relative to entertain your grandmother for the weekend and knock those pub ideas on the head quick. The beauty of this is if you then feel able to commit to any of those plans its a bonus.

And when it comes to your own expectations remember there isn’t one way to celebrate a three day weekend. You might get drunk with your friends, or go away with your family but you can also spend three days watching netflix and eating nandos. The choice is always yours. Those that love you will understand and those that don’t are not worth worrying about.

The problem with bank holiday plans is there are often quite physically draining. A weekend away? A lovely country walk with all the family? Pub crawl? I feel exhausted just typing this. If you feel the desire (and ONLY IF you do), there could be alternative activities to enjoy with friends or family. Here’s a few ideas to get you started.

Visit an open air cinema

Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

Bare with me on this one. Certainly weather dependent but so so so enjoyable. There a small venues that hold film nights a few times a year, for instance our local cathedral ruin hold them throughout the summer often falling on a bank holiday. If the weather is kind something like this can mean you get out and about with friends, enjoy the sun (rare I know) and still get to sit down and keep comfy. Many of these venues will allow you to book priority seating or disabled access. Just ask!

Have a picnic in your back garden

Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash

If you’re fortunate to firstly have a back garden, terrace or some kind of outdoor space and the weather gods have graced us, you could try a picnic much closer to home. I love the idea of picnics in the summer, but sometimes i’m just not up for packing a rucksack making the walk (even if its just to the park) and being close to home also means being close to the bathroom, stash of pain meds and heating pad. Why not lay out a blanket and get all your favourite picnic snacks right at home.

Have a film or netflix binge. With friends or alone. (whichever you prefer)

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Break out the Lord of the rings extended cut, grab your popcorn and stay in for the whole weekend. You can be sociable if you like, and get friends and family involved or go it alone. Either way you can stay in your pyjamas and see in the bank holiday in style.

Catch up with friends or family over skype, facetime or over the phone

Photo by Luke Porter on Unsplash

The thing with any public holiday is its often dedicated to seeing family or catching up with friends, this can be tricky if you have a chronic illness. Why not schedule in time for important people you may not get to see too often but make the most of the technology we now have at our disposal. You can make your loved ones feel important without even leaving your bed. Plus if you’ve had enough you can always use poor wifi or phone signal as an excuse. (I didn’t say that).

Have a duvet day with your cat, dog, significant other, friend, tub of ice cream or who or whatever you fancy.  

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

This is my last and by far favourite suggestion. Seriously leave the guilt at the door on Friday night and enjoy the time off you have how you want or need to. Say no to any and all plans and truly veg. It might not be as instagramable (pretty sure that’s not a word) as some other bank holiday plans but sometimes it’s more important to give yourself what you need.

There’s a few ideas here but ultimately I think it’s important to NOT do anything out of obligation. It can suck having a chronic illness but it certainly doesn’t mean you have to miss out on any fun. It just might look a little different than it did before. I’d love it if you’d comment down below your own ideas!


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