Family and friends gathering together in good cheer. It is fun…and exhausting!
If you experience chronic pain or another illness, you know we often run on a very limited supply of energy. Illness already takes a lot out of us. In this respect, a person is like a car. If a car has only a quarter of a tank of gas, depending on how many places the car travels and how much gas is required, the tank eventually reaches empty and the car stops, becomes non-functional, until the tank is filled up again.
Each activity in the day, from getting out of bed, to brushing teeth, going to work, picking up the kids, and on and on uses a certain amount of fuel from his or her “tank”. Once the tank is empty, the energy is often gone for that day, and perhaps, the next. You can run on fumes, pushing through more activities, but this only exacerbates illness’ symptoms. If we keep pushing ourselves without fuel, we burn ourselves out and fall apart emotionally and or physically.
Take care of that special someone – You! Give the gift of loving kindness and nurture yourself. Below are some ideas I hope you find helpful.
Holiday Stress Busters
- Set expectations. Plan what you will and will not do. Write it down for others to see.
- Ease up on yourself. Just say NO to extra work in and out of the home. What is the worst that can happen if you don’t finish the dishes or vacuum the rug?
- Allow yourself to ask for help and delegate tasks. It is okay to not do everything yourself.
- Explain to people that you want to focus on the “spirit of the holiday” instead of over-working and creating a painful flair-up.
- Order food, use frozen hor douvres, and buy a pie. Serve them on your decorative serving trays. Don’t tell that Mr. Trader Joe made it.
- Cook food a little at a time and store it in the freezer. Pie fillings I make in advance and store in the freezer. Now I buy pie crusts instead of making them from scratch. No one has to know.
- Take a breather. Even 5 to 15 minutes can help you feel calmer and recharged. Take a quick walk, lay down, listen to music. Do what helps you feel better.
- Cook in a slow-cooker.
- Use an Instant Pot. It can cook a lot of food fast.
- Sit down when preparing a recipe.
- Make it a potluck. Ask people to bring food. Or ask people to make and bring the food that is the hardest for you to make.
- Stock up on sleep. Stick to a designated sleep time one week in advance. Set the alarm clock to ensure you go to bed on time. Record the T.V. shows you do not want to miss.
- Hire a housekeeper before the event and or after. This one time cost may be well worth it.
- Plan a break before the big event. Let others know not to disturb you and for how long. Sometimes I go to my parents’ house for the night when I need to have respite and not be disturbed.
- Have friends/family babysit one to two hours before the event so you can rest.
- Take care of your best that special someone – You!
- Laugh if it off if something goes wrong. Find something positive in the negative.
- Take time to feel gratitude for all that is in your life. This is energizing.
- If you are feeling overwhelmed, give yourself permission to PAUSE AND BREATHE.
- And remember, it is okay to ask for help.
Do you have other suggestions that you use?