Hailey Hudson is a young author, blogger, and freelance writer from the mountains of north Georgia. She loves softball, Harry Potter, and her beagle puppy, Sophie. Click here to buy her debut book and follow along as she pursues her career in writing and children’s ministry by following her blog:
When I was younger, Thanksgiving and Christmas were my favorite times of the year. I loved the parties, the lights; anything and everything associated with the holidays. But two years ago, I was diagnosed with a chronic fatigue illness, and things changed. Many times, I was just too tired to enjoy all the holidays. Through trial and error, I’ve discovered a few tips to help me: I’d like to share them with you with you in the hope that what works for me might help you enjoy the upcoming holidays.
Have an escape plan. You may need to have an escape or a backup plan for the season. Tell everyone that your plans need to be tentative and why: over partying and stress bring flares. Never missing an opportunity to educate, explain why committing to everything can be stressful and how stress affects you.
Or, you may need a backup plan for each event. For example, if I have a party or an activity in the evening, I try to get someone else to drive me, because I know I might be too sleepy to drive when the party ends.
Tell people what to expect Do you need a nap each afternoon? Do you have food sensitivities? Does your medicine need to be taken exactly thirty minutes before a meal? What a tremendous opportunity to educate other people. For example, while assisting the hostess prepare hors d’oeuvres, you can tell her that you’re unable to eat ‘x’ because it affects how a medication that you take, works. Bu, tell her that that won’t affect her because you brought a few things that you can pop into the microwave.
More than likely, people will be happy to accommodate you so you’ll enjoy the festivities. If you’re on a restricted diet and have enough energy, bring food so that you know you’ll have at least a few things to eat.
As much as possible, try to space things out. I do this all year round—if I have an all-day event, I know that I’ll need to rest for the entire next day. So, I try to leapfrog days when I’m planning out my calendar. For example, if I have the option of a holiday party one night and breakfast with a friend the next morning, ideally I would choose only one of those events so that I don’t get too run down. No one will mind if you miss something in order to rest. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself, even if that means sitting out on something fun. You, more than anyone else, knows when your body needs rest. Today’s sniffles could be tomorrow’s full-blown flu without proper care.
Self-care is important—but don’t put it into a box. I spent many evenings forcing myself to take a bubble bath and drink tea and calling it ‘self-care’ because that was what everyone preached—completely disregarding that I disliked both! Finally, I wised up and realized that self-care is not synonymous with a bubble bath—self-care is anything that relaxes you. I began reading and painting in the evenings, and found it much more relaxing than sitting in a tub of water; the water is bound to get cold!
Only you know your body. How you relax is 100% your call, but if you’re like me, in an attempts to be everything to everyone, you’ll forget YOU. So, make sure to make time for whatever relaxes ‘you;’ write it on your calendar if you need to. If you’re not proactively taking care of yourself, you will crash and burn and regret it. I’ve been there and trust me, it’s not pretty!
The bottom line here is this: the holiday season is hectic, but make your health a priority. If you take care of yourself, you will be able to enjoy the holiday, and you’ll love the season and all it has to offer once again. Happy Holidays!
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