It isn’t unusual for people (healthy or chronically ill) to push themselves to do more than they normally would throughout the holiday season. For those battling a chronic illness and living with chronic pain, this season is often filled with anxiety and disappointment. Our need to please everyone or to accept and attend every invitation becomes a form of self sabotage. No matter how well we looked after our health the rest of the year, many of us come down with a case of holiday amnesia.
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What’s holiday amnesia?
It’s a sickness that fools us into thinking we can do everything we did before becoming chronically ill and then some! It deceives us into believing that we are worthless if we’re unable to fulfill our unrealistic expectations.
You may remember a few years back when I began protecting myself from this disease by declaring it the year of Christmas. It was great! The plan was to leave all my decorations, including the tree, up through the following Christmas. The point was to not feel rushed or to have to give up outings in order to decorate when the season began. And it worked so well, that I did it for a few years!
All decor had to be put away when we moved in 2017. Not wanting to lose time or energy that Christmas, I only put out our tree and quickly put it away afterwards.
This year I had planned on doing the same, but……. So this year I caught me a nasty case of bronchitis on Thanksgiving. I didn’t start feeling human or like I should even be around people until the 15th! I still haven’t fully healed, but I’m getting closer. With so much planned around Christmas itself I had a choice to make: decorate and risk canceling plans like I did earlier in the month or don’t.
I chose to NOT decorate this year. To be honest it didn’t really bother me. Why? Well, spending time at not one, but two theme parks that were in full Christmas mode helped. Spending Christmas day at Disneyland was another factor.
Which brings me to today……
Today, the day after Christmas will be spent getting ready to continue celebrating with friends and family until the new year. I don’t have to worry about taking down my tree or decorations or if doing so will result in having to cancel plans. I have not turned into Scrooge nor have I lost my Christmas spirit, all I did was get real about what was important and trust me decorations are NOT the reason for the season…….
Will I do this again? I can’t say no, but I will try not to repeat it. My plan for Christmas 2019 is to decorate in September or October.
Did you catch holiday amnesia? If you did, relax and think about what you can do differently next year.