Our first guest poster this week is Ali and she is going to share tips on how to beating the stress and surviving the holidays with chronic illness and still having your sanity at New Years!
So the holidays are a happy time of year! All the advertising tells me so. Yet it is usually with some nervousness that I approach the holidays. As a spoonie the holidays can represent a chance to collapse and recharge which I like the sound of. Having said that, it doesn’t come without its stresses! For non spoonies it’s stressful. I actually think my endo does me some favours at this time of year because it is a constant reminder to get organised and get happy. I know that holiday stress won’t be a good thing for me so here are a few tips that I have found work well for me over the years that aid in surviving the holidays with chronic illness and in staying focused on having my share of the fun!
I buy presents for people when I see them in the shop, all year round. I have a bag I keep in the spare bedroom wardrobe that is full of gifts that I have bought on the spot. I often forget what I have bought. Getting the bag out in November is always fun as I remember where I’ve been and what I’ve bought for who. It means I avoid crowded panicky shops which isn’t something I like or likes me. Online shopping is also a revolution for topping up. Letting other people do the work for you is a great help! Now, who will want the wicker christmas reindeer I picked up in the post Christmas sale for 50p each…..did I say this way of shopping keeps the costs down too!
Ask for help
Cooking. Not my forte at the best of times and sometimes thinking I have to do a certain thing and to a certain standard fills me with dread. So, if I have the budget I buy it in! Loads of shops here in the UK do a christmas service. If I don’t have the budget then friends and family bring a plate. It’s a reminder they are all happy to see me well and happy, and would rather bring a vol au vent or two to keep it that way! It’s good for everyone to be involved too and there is a lot of fun to be had when you realise your Aunty Jean has a penchant for gluten free brownies you never knew about!
Have a bolt hole
Staying at other people’s houses can be a strain. I always do better when I know I have a bolt hole. So I plan ahead. How long am I saying I will stay for? Where will I stay? Just knowing there is a room I can head to for half an hour helps, even if I don’t end up using it. If there isn’t a bolt hole? I try and create one. If there is budget available then I make it a treat and stay somewhere relaxing. If I don’t have a budget I plan my stay and if there are games I don’t want to join in or I feel tired, I help out in the kitchen, or go for a walk to get the downtime I need.
My brother jokes with me about the fact I always cry at Christmas. It’s true I do! Sometimes because I am so tired, the break means I can fully relax and crying is part of the wind down. Sometimes it’s the chance to step back and be grateful for everything I have in my life which makes me cry too! My advice? Let the tears roll! Holidays are a time for being with people you love and who love you. Remembering that and being open to having their love and support means just being you is always enough.
Ali Germain lives in the UK and is a coach and facilitator. Ali was diagnosed with Endometriosis in 1997 and has been taking a creative approach to life ever since. Connect with Ali on Twitter.