The Chronic Holiday To-Do List: No Other List Matters!
The holiday season is all about lists.
Grocery lists, menus, gift lists, card lists etc….
We are constantly making lists to make sure that we don’t forget something or someone.
There is one list that is far more important than any other, in fact it is even more important than who is on Santa’s naughty or nice list!! Do you know what that is? It is the Chronic Holiday To-Do List!!Tweet
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1. Pace and Plan
Plan ahead and expect to need time to recover from outings.
The weather is cooler, which for many equates to increased pain. If this time of the year is tougher on your body than others, don’t plan your activities based on how you felt earlier in the year.
Plan enough time to finish your tasks. Designate a larger than normal block of time so that you won’t be tempted to skip any rest periods your body may demand.
2. Watch what you eat
Avoid foods and beverages that you know are inflammation or pain triggers.
I suggest eating healthier than you normally do, because in addition to being busier than normal, you will also need to be strong enough to fight off germs.
Flu season doesn’t make an exception for the holidays! Your best defense is to strengthen your immune system.
You don’t have to be in the gym for several hours a day or need to run for miles, but you do need to exercise.
Find a form of exercise that fits your schedule and pain level. It may be something as simple as doing daily stretches, yoga, Pilates, or a walk up and down your street.
Just make sure to move your body every day!
4. Listen to your body
Don’t ignore your body’s needs, then get upset when it fails to meet your demands.
The holidays are not a time to test your limits or to push too far. Rest when needed, even if you don’t want to. Sometimes our bodies just need a 20-30 minute rest before it can continue on.
Better to take that time to rest and be able to accomplish something later, then to push through, allow your pain to spiral out of control, and accomplish nothing.
On the flip-side, if you find yourself with the stamina to get something done, DO IT!
Not only is taking naps when needed necessary, but so is getting a good night’s sleep.
Plan time to relax before bedtime.
Do what you need to relax.
Take a bath, turn off the TV, listen to calm music, meditate/pray, just make sure to give yourself time to shake off the stress of the day.
Try sticking to a sleep schedule as well. Aim to go to bed and to wake up around the same time every day.
6. Be proactive about relieving pain
The holiday season is not the time to prove how strong you are or how much pain you can endure!
As I share in my eBook, Make Pain Your Bitch: How to Dominate Your Chronic Life, you aren’t winning when you let your pain reach high levels before taking action.
Winners take precautions to prevent pain, like use a mobility aid or tool to make what they are doing less taxing on their body.
Winners also address pain the moment it presents itself and don’t push themselves to the point of passing out from pain.
My pain management plan addresses the source of pain caused by fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis, adhesions, and degenerative disc disease. Click here to check it out.
Put your spouse and kids to work!
There is no reason for all of the holiday planning to fall on you! Especially if those plans involve traditions that they want to keep doing.
Teach them what need to be done and let them go for it! Have them help out with house and yard work.
The key to getting your family to help is to not be overly critical if they don’t do things exactly as you do.
8. Under commit
You know your body.
You know what it is capable of.
Don’t make plans based off of what you WANT to do, plan them based on what you CAN do.
There were years when I knew that the only thing I could really commit to was going to church on Christmas Eve. By only committing to what I felt my body could handle at that time, I didn’t have to cancel plans or let anyone down.
Never plan more than what your body can handle.
The best part is when your body surprises you with the strength and energy to do more than you planned.
In addition to rallying your family to help with your holiday tasks, ask your friends to help out!
Time is precious when you live with a chronic illness, so use it wisely!
Instead of trying to make time to catch up with a friend over a cup of coffee and then go home to wrap presents, ask them to come over for a coffee/present wrapping date!
Have a group of friends over to help you decorate your tree or house.
Invite a friend to go shopping with you. In one outing you will have finished your shopping, caught up with your friend, and even gotten in a little exercise!
10. Get real and over yourself! You are NOT Super Woman!!!
Stop trying to make the holidays perfect!
Accept what you can do, do it, and rejoice in the fact that you could do it!!
Don’t focus on what you couldn’t do or obsess on what others are doing.
The best gift you could give to you and your family this holiday season is to not end up in so much pain that you have to start the new year in the hospital or stuck in bed.
Life is simple, so stop trying to complicate it.