Have you thought about surviving Christmas with a chronic illness? My grandmother instilled the love of Christmas in me. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, just as it is for many others. Even for people who live without a chronic illness it can be a very stressful time of year. Over the years I have learned to simplify and enjoy the true meaning of Christmas.
Learn to Let Go of Expectations
One thing I have learned and am still learning is that I need to let go of my expectations. I can drive myself crazy with frustration of not getting everything done, or everything that I think needs to be done. I would want the tree to look like it stepped off a page in Better Homes and Gardens. I would want to pick up fresh evergreen boughs for my mantle. I would want to make four different kinds of cookies and make homemade presents for everyone! One way I have learned to let go of expectations and simplify things is by making simple decorations for the tree and the rest of the house. Your meal also doesn’t have to be perfect or even homemade. I will share some ways to simplify the menu later on in this post. another way you can simplify is by ordering things online.
Ask for Help
My daughter who is a junior in college will be coming home shortly for Christmas break. She is a big help. I just wish she was coming home sooner! I can also enlist my son with a few tasks. I find it easier to write the things down I need done and then give them a time frame of when I need it done. If you do not have kids or they are too young, do you have a neighbor or relative that could help? Maybe a friend would be willing to help. You may know of a teenager who would love to help for a small fee. They could help with cleaning, decorating, or baking. If Christmas dinner is going to be at your house ask everyone to bring something. You could also order a dinner from Honey Banked Ham or Boston Market. My family has done this before. Don’t be too embarrassed to ask for help. You can read my post here on asking for help. If you feel uncomfortable with this maybe you could agree to do something for them after the holidays.
Pace Yourself and Come Up with A Plan
Pacing is very important when surviving Christmas with a chronic illness. Sometimes I find myself doing way too much at a time because I just want to get it done. I then pay for it later. You do not want to do this to yourself! Know your limitations. Come up with a plan that’s doable. Can you have the Christmas celebration at someone else’s house? Can you limit your baking to just two kinds of cookies? If you make cookies or meals ahead of time have them frozen and ready to go when they are needed. Think of the things that mean the most to you and find a way to incorporate those into your celebration and let the rest go. Be grateful for all the things you are able to do and concentrate on those things.
Are you surviving Christmas with a chronic illness? Remember you are not alone. Christmas is not fancy decorations and a Pinterest perfect house. It’s spending time with loved ones (Even furry ones!) and celebrating the birth of our savior! Be grateful for all the things you are able to do and concentrate on those things. I hope you have someone special to celebrate this season. Merry Christmas! Check out the eBook Chronic Christmas– Surviving the Holidays with a Chronic Illness by Lene Anderson.