Winter and the holidays are so hard. They are so busy with parties and big meals, and big crowds. It seems like there is crowd EVERY WHERE you look, and the crowds seem to be there no matter what time you go. For these and many other reasons the holiday season is hard for many different kinds of people. For instance the elderly who are home bound and may not have any visitors, or the new parents who are afraid to take their new baby out in the world. Or the chronically ill who don’t have the energy to get out or are afraid that they will pick up germs. As well as those who suffer from social anxiety or anxiety in big crowds. So basically when a person is dealing with a chronic illness holidays can almost be more work than they are worth.
That being said there are ways to make the holidays easier for spoonies and I would like to share a few ways that this can happen. This is not geared toward one condition or another and can be tailored to fit just about any condition. So let’s jump right in
1. Plan Ahead- One of the best things we can do to get through this season is plan ahead. This helps in the sense that you know what you have going on and when so you can plan accordingly. If you know you have events several days in a row or an event that is long you can plan the remainder of your week so you get some extra rest. Planning ahead also gives you the ability to be able to potentially move your schedule around so you are able to get more rest or do whatever you need to, to be in good shape for your event.
2. Try to stay away from others who may be ill- I knew this is much easier said than done. But it is an essential part of the plan. This will hopefully help you get through the holidays without getting sick. That being said it seems to never fail that when you go out shopping or to a party that you will somehow come home sick, no matter how careful you thought you were. So don’t be afraid to wear a mask when leaving the house. Or to ask other who are around you or come to your home to wear a mask if they are showing signs of some kind of illness. I know you feel like you stand out and you get stared out, or that you are being rude. But really it’s for Your Health!!
3. Rest, Rest, Rest I touched on this above but to make it through the holidays rest is going to be essential that you take time to rest. Between the cooking and the shopping and the parties if we don’t rest there is NO away that we can make it through the season unscathed and somewhat healthy!!
4. Don’t feel like you have to accept every invite. It never fails that during the Holidays there will be tons of events and people who want to get together. And that’s great and grand. But not plausible for spoonies. So pick and chose the most important ones and decline the others. People will understand!
5. Don’t be afraid to delegate - There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking others to help for whatever you need. If you are hosting dinner ask others to bring side dishes or dessert. Ask someone to come over before to help you set up and prepare what needs prepared. Also try and plan dishes that can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or placed in the freezer till right before the event! Don’t be afraid to ask others for help to clean up!!! You don’t have to be the Lone Ranger! It’s okay to ask for help!
6. Shop Online- In order to conserve energy and preserve your health don’t hesitate to do your shopping online. There really aren’t many things you can’t buy online. And most places will even do your gift wrapping for you!! Online shopping is the perfect way to shop for those of us chronically ill. If you are worried about additional costs, the prices are the same as in store, and with a few Google searches you can normally find an additional online coupon code to take a percentage off and sometimes even shipping. Many stores like Walmart, Target and other big retailers are also offering in store pickup for your online purchases. This cuts down on shipping costs and prevents having to shop in store.
7. PLAN THE BEST TIMES IN THE STORES!- If you are a person that prefers to shop in the store or have an item that is only found in stores, that’s totally understandable. That being said try to pick the best times to be in the stores. Meaning when the crowds aren’t as heavy and the parking lots aren’t full. These times are generally first thing in the morning when the stores open or right before they close. If you have to be in the stores try to get to it before the huge crowds appear in the weeks immediately leading up to the holiday. Don’t be that person fighting the crowd on Christmas Eve.
8. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF- Plain and simple you just can’t do it all. There is no way that you will be able to attend every party or gathering, do the cooking, the shopping etc. So stand up for you and what’s right for your body. And don’t let anyone bully you into changing your mind when you know it’s wrong. They don’t have to live with the consequences of pushing yourself too far. So do what you know is right and feels right for you!!
9. BE WISE IN YOUR CHOICES OF FOOD AND DRINK- The holidays are known for being a time in indulge, or over indulge for many on all the great foods we don’t have all year. It is also time to be merry and have an adult beverage to celebrate. That being said if you know eating certain foods or drinks are going to make you sick be careful. No one says you have to totally abstain. But just watch your intake.
10. FIND TIME TO TREAT AND PAMPER YOURSELF- I know the Holidays are meant to be a time of giving to others, but you need a treat now and then too. The stress of the Holidays and others attitudes can really bring a person down. So take sometime in the coming weeks to do something for you once a week. Whether that’s soaking in a hot bath, or getting a massage, or something a simple as curling up for the evening to watch a favorite Holiday movie. DO IT!! You’ll thank me later.
The holidays are known to be stressful and hard for everyone, they are often even harder on spoonies. The ten suggestions above are simple steps we can take to make the holiday season a little easier for us. These are things we all may struggle with but we need to really focus on during the Holidays to help us make it through as healthy as possible. No one wants to be down and out while everyone else is celebrating. May you all have a Happy Holiday Season and hopefully you will find these tips helpful. Happy Holidays!