Staying Calm During the Holidays

The holidays are here!  It’s exciting because there are so many things to look forward to like family gatherings, school shows, local holiday events, holiday work dinners, church potluck and gift giving.  And, that’s just to name a few because there are many more.   

This time of the year can easily turn into an overwhelming period.  I have always wanted to take part in all the holiday events. I have to admit that in past years, I pushed myself until I was completely out of energy.   Living with a chronic illness definitely makes it hard to enjoy this season. There are many factors that are important to consider and so planning early is helpful. 

Many years ago, I participated in everything that came across my way, I contributed baked goods to gatherings, and walked around for hours to find the perfect gift for my family.  I assumed that it was necessary to partake in everything this way. At the end of the day, I didn’t feel satisfied, I felt ill and tired; definitely not happy. I still feel the urge to join in all the fun this holiday season, but I am planning to slow down and stay rested.  

Here is how I try to enjoy the holiday while staying rested with energy.   

PICK AND CHOOSE YOUR EVENTS TO ATTEND

As much as I want to go everywhere, I know that my body can’t handle it.  Start by sorting and prioritizing events you want to attend. It’s ok to not attend to all the invitations. Take in consideration:

– Length of the commute from door to door (I always ask myself “can I handle it or will I be exhausted by the time I get there”) 

– Weather (I have raynauds, so if it’s a family ice skating gathering, it’s a NO for me) 

– Emotional value (Is it your child’s performance or a visit to a family member or friend from out of town; I would add to my calendar)  

GET HELP, DON’T TRY TO DO EVERYTHING

Sometimes, we are caught doing everything.  I try to keep in mind that I do not have to do all the holiday decor alone, bake cookies for school or church or wrap all the gifts on my own.  It’s ok to get all the help you need. Try to:

– Delegate some assignments to friends and family.  (get your holiday decor out from storage, get your dinnerware out for a holiday dinner, etc)

– Bring store-bought pastries and meals to your gatherings.  It’s the thought and your presence that counts.  (don’t spend hours baking or cooking, it can’t get very exhausting.  I know it’s tempting to bake when social media makes it look so quick and easy) 

START PLANNING EARLY

Do not leave everything for the last minute.  Plan:

-Gift list (If you plan to give or send gifts, plan your list early.  It gives you time to shop on time and avoid the rush)  

-Shop stores or online (Do it early, keeping in mind the shipping time)

-Gift Wrapping (Do not wait to wrap everything all at once, it’s exhausting)

DO A FEW MEANINGFUL THINGS

Focus on doing meaningful activities.  Think about the things you can do from the comfort of your home.
-Organize a Secret Santa

-Prepare and send your greeting cards

-Have holiday music in the background and play board games with the family

-Movie night with holiday movies

-Have hot coco and read a holiday book or story 

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