November begins today and my mind is filled with thoughts about the upcoming holiday season. With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, I know that these months are filled with love and magic. But, for me and others with Chronic Illness, they’re also filled with fatigue, pain, depression, and stress.
My goal is to share with you a few ways to avoid some of the bad and replace it with more of the good. Just because we have Chronic Illness/s doesn’t mean that we can’t have a joyful and fun experience this year.
I’m glad to join A Chronic Voice this month with her November prompts. The words this month fit right in with my theme, and so let’s get started!
Paying, Attending, Organizing, Plunging, and Knowing are the prompts this month.
- Paying for Christmas is tough! Everyone expects a tree skirt covered in gifts, wrapped in Pinterest-ready paper and bows. Not only does Christmas cost a lot of money, it costs us our energy and demands our mental focus. This can prove to be a cost that’s too high to pay. I already have lots of medical debt that I’m paying off a little each month, but I still want to give gifts that are loved and appreciated. I also want to feel good enough to stay out of the bed for these special days. Pacing my physical activities is a must. Budgeting each expense is also a must.
- Attending the holiday events is important to me and my family. This is the time to schedule a few of the events to my calendar. I will have to put them in order of importance. We can’t attend everything, so we pick the best and leave a few days in between each one.
- Organizing is the part of the holidays that should be the first priority. If you want to thrive instead of survive, you’ll join me in trying to organize as much as possible. That’s why I created the Free Christmas Shopping Planner. It contains many pages of planners and calendars, so that you can carefully plan the holiday season according to your lifestyle. You’ll feel more in control, even though your body doesn’t always cooperate.
- Plunging forward into the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons can be fun! Yes, there are going to be a few pity-parties and near-meltdowns. Don’t beat yourself up when you need to crash or go to bed for a while. This is just part of our Chronic Life and there’s no need to feel guilty. But, plunging in with our whole heart makes life more joyful. Remember, Joy to the World, the Lord has come, and this alone brings me joy.
- Knowing that I have choices gives me confidence that I’ll have many smiles on my face during the next two months. Knowing that I’ll have some frowns and tears (well, maybe not tears with Sjogren’s) during the next two months is a logical result of stress. I won’t blame myself if I can’t cook everything for parties like I did when I was healthier. Bringing a pie or vegetable plate from your local grocer is just fine. Knowing that I can say No is powerful. Knowing that each holiday will come whether I’m a perfect host may feel terrifying, but it’s really not. We have to ask for help and know that we are worthy of smiling through the holidays, no matter what.
I hope you’ll enjoy the next two months and remember to smile, because the holidays are about giving thanks and celebrating the birth of Christ. It doesn’t have to drag us down with expectations that are superficial. Create your own plan and enjoy the love of family and friends. That’s enough.
@2019, copyright Lisa Ehrman