Well the holiday hustle and bustle is upon us, we as people often enjoy pleasing others at the expense of our own good.
Needing to meet one more person or cook something nice, maybe do extra cleaning.
If you’re like many with chronic health problems you may need to draw lines. (Thinking out loud, “I’m superhuman, I will make it!”). At what cost will you make it? How will you suffer? No is a word we as humans seem to disrespect. Learning to pace yourself is hard, finding the limits and fighting yourself to take the down time you need.
Coping strategies to maybe get you though. Something I do is I have 44 (and growing) offbeat holidays tunes, I will put them on in our home just to remind myself it is a weird time with to many unreal expectations and just do the bustle with my not so other people friendly music. One of the songs that make me smile is “It’s Christmas time (Let’s Just survive)” By Kathleen Edwards
If you are being a host for a meal you can invite people to bring potluck. Making time to have a nap can sometimes give you just enough to make it though.
Have someone you can call if you need a ride. Nothing worse than not having the energy in the first place and having to drive somewhere safely. Public transportation often is too much for minds and bodies to handle. If you have ever tried to get somewhere on transit nearing holidays, you can run short on energy. Standing, extra walking and people.
Make a list of things to do, asking for help is hard but a huge life changer for someone with a health condition.
If it is in your control, stick to small gatherings. If you must go to a large event ask if there is a quiet spot or a room you might be able to rest in.
If it is in your budget, paying to stay somewhere before and after the event can be a blessing too.
Eat light or bring foods that you know are safe. With food problems it is easier for me to make something that suits my needs and have the hostess put it out for me. It feels better than having the hostess stressed about how to feed you. It can create so much stress just thinking about eating to the point you’re wrecked before you even leave the house.
If you are going to a restaurant, call the day before, tell them about your food challenges, make sure they can accommodate your diet needs. If it is a work event, tell the person making the reservations. Many places I have been to have a special plate put aside for me.. It is a bit weird but I’m grateful for not feeling ill.
All this is about advocating for your well being. It is so hard to need to adapt to your needs and it takes more energy than we often have. If you have sensory challenges it is okay to ask people to check in with you before touching you.
If you want to do something with someone, be flexible. Let them know the back up plan if you’re having a hard day. I hate to cancel so sometimes I will say before in the planning stage. If I’m having a hard day instead of going out would you be okay if we order food at my place and we can eat and watch a movie. Or I know we were going to a mall could we do some online browsing instead.
Are you like me and enjoy gifting, that can be a stressful thing when dealing with limited energy. It is really wonderful when people I care about share a wish list with me including things they would enjoy me making for them. I preserve foods so knowing that someone would enjoy some spicy pickles or salsa goes a long way. If there is something you would love, add a link to it. I know it sounds like you are doing all the work. Thank you for helping me to share with you!
Big family events wear many out. So if you can’t do it maybe invite 2 people over or make a time limit for the family events. Tell yourself I can handle 2 hours and then I must go. It is harder to do that sometimes than to not show up in the first place
Always take your medications with you and take any needed before you go. Set up your down time after events. Downtime might mean 3 quiet days at home. Everyone’s recovery time varies.
Being kind to you means learning more than you might want to know about yourself.
Limits are key to surviving the negative zones of the holiday. Knowing how to not get caught in the realm of socal vampires..
May you be at peace however you enjoy the festivities.