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For many years I dreaded Christmas. It wasn’t that I hated the holiday, but that I loathed how physically draining keeping up with traditions and extra commitments were. Thankfully I was able to rekindle my love for Christmas a few years ago by making some changes. Fall back in love with the season and dominate your holiday by following these tips!
1. Make New Memories
Are you wearing yourself out trying to recreate past Christmas memories? Do you exhaust yourself trying to decorate, bake, and entertain like you did in the past? That’s exactly what I did before accepting that my chronic illnesses had changed my life. It was unfair to expect myself to be able to keep up with the pace that I had in the past. To reclaim the holiday I zeroed in on which traditions were the most important for me to keep. Later I incorporated new activities that better fit into my chronic life. Letting go of Christmas past isn’t a form of giving up. Instead it is a sign that you have accepted that life has changed and so have you. Embrace your memories and never give up on creating new ones!
2. Limit Commitments
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the amount of invitations you are receiving for holiday parties or activities? The key to dominating the Christmas season is to limit your commitments. I know you want to do everything and attend every gathering, but you need to be realistic. If your chronic illness hasn’t allowed you to take part in one or more events per month, you are deluding yourself if you think you will be able to do more than that during the holidays. The first reason is that if your illness isn’t fond of colder weather you will be feeling worse than you did during the summer months. Secondly, the Christmas season involves more than gathering with friends and family. There’s shopping, baking, and decorating that also needs to be done. Keep your illness and limitations in mind when accepting invitations. Give yourself time to rest beforehand and afterwards. Do what you can and enjoy the heck out of every moment!
3. Watch What You Eat and Drink
Think twice before indulging in holiday foods or beverages. Your favorite treats could steal your joy faster than the Grinch stole Christmas from the Whoville! Most holiday menus include sugary and fatty foods. I won’t tell you to replace your favorite pie with a bowl of salad, but instead I suggest that you limit how much you eat. Alcohol is often a trigger for many chronic illnesses, so be careful to not to get caught up in the spirit of the season. If you find yourself giving into temptation, try only allowing yourself a few bites or sips. While not all flares are avoidable, there is no reason to suffer from one triggered by food unless you are willing to pay the price.
4. Shop Online
Why waste precious energy by standing in long lines or driving all over town when you could order your gifts online? Give yourself the gift of more stamina by paying a few extra dollars to have your presents wrapped and/or shipped directly to the recipient. Wouldn’t you rather use the time and energy spent wrapping presents, or going to stores and the post office celebrating with friends and family?
5. Less Is More
My family used to compare me to Clark Griswold from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. There wasn’t one inch of my home, inside or out, that wasn’t decorated. While I am no longer a contender for winning most decorated home anymore, I do have more time and energy to do other things that I want. If decking the halls like you used to do is inflicting unnecessary pain, it’s time to cut back. Limit how much you put up by choosing your favorite decorations and don’t forget, what goes up must come down!
6. Take Care Of Yourself
It is not uncommon to spend an extraordinary amount of time trying to make the holidays special for our friends and family that we forget to care for ourselves. Listen to your body and take time to rest when your body demands it, pace yourself, eat healthy, exercise, and enjoy the simple things. You’ll surely spend Christmas day in bed if you forget to take care of yourself.
This year’s Christmas may not be like last years or the year before, but that won’t make it any less festive or special. Embrace what you can do and let go of what you can’t.
My new eBook Make Pain Your Bitch: How to Dominate Your Chronic Life will help you dominate your entire life, not just one season! Order your copy today!
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The holidays can be an emotionally trying time for some. If you are struggling, but don’t have time to see a therapist check out OnlineTherapy.com. Their qualified therapists are there for you everyday, not just once or twice a week!
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Join Spoon Rest, a Facebook group for the chronically ill dedicated to empowering and supporting each other while sharing a laugh.
Join The Disabled Diva’s Alternative Chronic Pain Fighting Forum, a Facebook group for those who are seeking information or already treating their chronic pain with alternative treatments.