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Surviving the holidays for those with a chronic illness can be quite overwhelming. Check out our tips on how to make it through the stress. 

Happy Holidays.….Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah.  The season is upon us. Rush here, rush there, family obligations, the gift for this one, cookies for this event, oh wait the house needs to be clean for the last minute get together.  Soon, all you want to do as a spoonie is crawl under the blankets in your favorite fleece pajamas and t-shirt and ignore the world. The pain and fatigue have kicked in, the stress has your skin crawling, and if one more person says your name or even speaks to you the ability to hold yourself together might break and who knows what will happen.  The previous joy of the holidays has evaporated. In its place is an absolute abhorrence of anything that has to do with cinnamon and spice, there is nothing nice; and if Santa comes down the chimney you are going to yell at him for home invasion and give him some coal. How we think about and address stress helps us handle the holidays. Here are some tips to help.  

  1.  Set reasonable expectations for yourself – You do not have to be perfect, you do not have to buy gifts for everyone, your home does not need to look like something that could be on display for a magazine, and you do not need to have fresh cookies and homemade hot chocolate for everyone at all times. 

  2. Learn to say NO – This is hard for us, but we need to do this for our health and our sanity.

  3. Take some down time – This is important for your own mental and physical well being.  This is may be the most important. During the holidays we are so busy taking care of others that we fail to take care of ourselves.  We know that we need to rest, and know the signs of what stress does to us. The last thing we need is to not be able to enjoy the holidays because we are run down and sick.  Set aside time every week for just you.  

  4.   Make a list of things to be done- At the beginning of the week take a few minutes and make a list of what you hope to get done.  This will help you, but remember to keep it manageable and if it is not completed at the end of the world is not going to happen.  

  5. Above all, learn to forgive yourself and laugh. Laughter is the best medicine. Things are going to get on your nerves or you will get anxious.  Try and not stress. This is easier said than done. But the holidays should be enjoyed. If that menu is getting to big, start taking items off or delegate to others.  If people are not helping out then find methods around it. Others opinions do NOT matter. Your well-being does.  

The holidays should be about family, friends, and making memories.  We forget this when we try and complicate it. Don’t forget that this year.  When the stress starts getting to you, take out the difficult and remember to put the sugar and spice back in so everything is nice. 

With Love,

Amy

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