The holidays are here which brings a lot of happiness and joy to many! While you still feel happiness and joy during the holiday season, as someone with chronic illness you may also feel stress, worry, and pain. Does this sound like you? Do you over-do it during the holiday season and end up feeling tired, stressed and in more pain than usual? It is a very common experience to have difficulty with learning how to manage chronic illness, and this is especially true during busy times like the holidays! The good news is that I am going to share some easy ways for you to manage chronic illness this holiday season!
This holiday season doesn’t need to be like all of the others! No one expects you to do everything, so stop being so hard on yourself! Here are common traps we fall into during the busy times of year and easy solutions to make the holiday season more manageable and more enjoyable!
How to Manage Chronic Illness During the Holidays
Plan in Advance
Leaving things to the last minute will definitely not help you this holiday season. If you are rushed you will feel stressed and tense and in turn cause additional pain in your body… no one has time for that!
Make a list of everything that needs to be done in X weeks/days/hours (depending on your time frame). From there break down your timeline into reasonable (based on your body) amounts of time. Add the chores into the blocks of time and stick to your schedule. Obviously this is easier said than done as chronic illness can be quite unpredictable, but you get the idea.
Spending time at the store/mall can be a very daunting task when you live with any form of chronic illness. Shopping in the stores at this time of year means that not only are you battling your body, but you are also in crowded stores and waiting longer in lines.
Shop online whenever possible. You can get presents for just about anyone on your list from Amazon and you can even get pantry items which could help to reduce the amount of time you are at the grocery store. Pretty much every store has an online site that you can order from so head on over to the store’s site and get some shopping done all from the comfort of your home!
Don’t Over Commit
It seems that there is always so much going on this time of year: parties, gift swaps, outdoor activities and the list continues! Saying yes to everything you are invited to may not be reasonable for your body, especially if there are multiple events in one day!
Be kind to yourself. There is a lot of pressure to attend everything this time of year but you simply may not be able to do it all! Instead of committing to everything and not being able to enjoy yourself (lack of energy, increased pain etc), commit to a few spaced out events to give yourself the best chance at having an awesome time!
It seems that our already long to do list gets about 10 times longer during the holiday season! However trying to do it all could cause you to lose precious time elsewhere from overdoing it.
Use the time chunk idea above to help fit your list into your timeframe. But you also need to take breaks! Heck you can even block in time for breaks if you need to, but make sure you take some. Breaks could be: sitting down, lying down, having a nap, watching tv, having a bath etc. You work hard and deserve breaks, make sure you take them! Your body and your family will thank you for it later!
Laugh, Relax and Have Fun
This one has no solution, it is a “just do it” recommendation! You worked so hard to get to this party, dinner, or gathering so make sure you have the best time possible! Forget about your ever-growing to do list, I promise it will still be there tomorrow! Take this time to have fun, laugh (its good for the soul), and to connect with loved ones!
I hope these tips have helped to remind you to slow down and take care of yourself over the holidays! Enjoy the precious time you have with your loved ones and be kind to yourself!
What helps you to manage chronic illness during this busy time of year?