You’re not alone.
Fatigue and stress top the list of negative emotions felt during the holidays. In fact, in one poll, 68% of respondents reported feeling fatigue “often/sometimes,” with 25% saying “often” (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, 2006). Stress was felt “often/sometimes” by 61%, and “often” by 20%. Add in a chronic illness and it’s likely the numbers are even higher this time of year.
With so many obligations, it can be difficult for anyone to stay mentally and physically healthy. But with some effort and boundary-setting, those with a chronic illness can minimize their discomfort and maximize their joy.
These self-care tips can help:
- Take care of yourself first and foremost. This may sound selfish, but the fact is if you’re not feeling well or are fatigued, you won’t have the mental or physical energy to enjoy the festivities. Attend therapy and doctor appointments as scheduled, take meds as prescribed, and get the rest you need.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. Don’t let a sense of obligation sway your decisions whether to attend parties and other gatherings. If you decide to attend but don’t want to, you may feel resentment or anger. Do what feels right for you. It is OK to politely decline invitations.
- Stick to a healthy diet. Increasing carbs, sugar, and alcohol will likely leave you feeling more lethargic and dull. Be sure to eat regular, nutritious meals and allow yourself a bite or two of that yummy holiday confection.
- Start or continue your exercise routine. Exercise is both energizing and cathartic. Get outside and do some deep breathing, go for a walk, or head to the gym if the weather is too inclement. Moving your body will help keep your joints lubricated and muscles flexible, and can discharge pent-up stress in the body.
- Follow your budget. Although easier said than done, maintaining your gift and travel budgets will help you feel in control and avoid financial regrets. Plan ahead regarding what you’re going to spend on gifts, and don’t let emotions rule your purchasing decisions.
- Keep things in perspective. Your party doesn’t have to be perfect, and you don’t have to give the most expensive gifts. Think about the meaning of the season as you see it, and allow yourself to make plans based on goodwill rather than a price tag.
The holidays can be stressful, but they don’t have to wear you down. Take time to care for yourself and keep everything in perspective.
- Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. (2006, December 12). Holiday Stress. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2006/12/holiday-stress.pdf
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014, October 3). Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20047544
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