I’d love to be telling you to simply enjoy the holidays, to make the most of every minute with family and friends, to cook that big dinner, and go to every holiday event. But let’s face it, if you have autoimmune disorders or chronic pain, doing EVERYTHING and being there for EVERYONE will not help you feel your best.
Put yourself first.
The best way to avoid flare-ups this holiday season is by putting yourself first. That means focusing on eating nutritiously, limiting alcohol, selecting a few wellness activities, and getting the sleep your body needs. It might also mean making some hard choices and choosing to NOT participate in one or more activities that you and/or your loved ones want or expect you to do. That’s right, some good boundaries are your friend this holiday season. I encourage you to practice saying ‘no’ right now. Go ahead, say it out loud “No thank you.” How does that make you feel?
Avoid situations that result in flare-ups.
When you look at the whole picture and envision how YOU want to experience YOUR holiday season, hard choices become easier. If you know that preparing a feast, taking a trip to your Aunt Matilda’s or 3-days of shopping are going to result in you being in bed recovering from a bad flare-up, maybe it’s time to let go of old traditions. Wouldn’t you rather be laughing with immediate family and friends, fully participating in the present, and experiencing the joy of the holidays?
Plan for the inevitable.
Sometimes, even with the best plans, Flare-ups Happen! Autoimmune disorders wouldn’t be autoimmune disorders without flare-ups. In my article 5 Self-Care Tips to Thrive this Holiday Season Alongside Health Challenges, I share strategies to help avoid flare-ups. However, a flare-up is still possible.
So what can you do? You can plan for a flare-up or two over the holidays, with the intention of making the most of this downtime. You might surprise yourself at how much joy you can experience, even through a flare-up.
If you feel a flare coming on, if possible, cancel other plans. Let the other party know that you’re very sorry and that you will check back to reschedule. Pushing yourself through ‘one’ more event or activity could be the difference between 1 day, 1 week, or longer in bed.
6 Ideas to Bring ‘Joy’ to Your Holidays Alongside a Flare-up
- Have a comfy spot. Is there a space you can rest AND still be with family or friends? Perhaps a comfy sofa with soft blankets or a favorite reclining chair. Or maybe you can pull a couple of extra chairs around your bed so others can visit and you can still be a part of the activities.
- Plan a family night ahead of time. Have your partner and/or kids be part of the planning. What can you plan together that would be a special time? A favorite holiday movie or game night? Alter the rules of games. For example, play a game of charades, and be a ‘guesser’ for both teams. It’s about enjoying each other’s company, not playing by the rules. A Family Fun night is a great opportunity for your children and others to learn empathy and compassion.
- Have a support team. Ask a friend or two ahead of time if they can spend time with you during a flare-up. Reminisce about old times, enjoy a hot tea and good stories, and look through photos. Play a game of cards. Listen to Henry Cloud on the importance of building connections!
- Pajama party! There’s nothing quite like snuggling up with loved ones when you aren’t feeling your best. Maybe Santa will bring you and your family new pajamas just for the party!
- Name your off days. Come up with fun and creative names and enjoy a theme around that name. No need for lots of fancy planning. If you feel like lounging and drinking tea all day, call it your tea party day. Other ideas: snuggles day, spa day, meditation day, bed and breakfast day, read and journal day, or movie day. You get the idea!
- Enlist help. Let your family know you might need some alone time. Maybe they can plan the evening, keeping your autoimmune flare-up in mind while you rest during the day.
These suggestions will help you get the rest you need while spending quality time with those you love and who love you.
If you have the tendency to minimize your health challenges, it’s even more likely you’ll experience a flare-up. Here are 5 ways you can empower yourself this holiday season, so you can feel better all season long.
If you would like to learn even more ways to thrive and bring more peace, calm, and joy into your holidays, follow my Live Life Well Facebook page for holiday tips!
BEFORE YOU GO… Twelve Days of Relaxation, Rejuvenation & Gratitude
10 minutes is all you need to take a break and rejuvenate a little each day! Download this 12-day checklist and give yourself the best gift you can give yourself… time.
Interested in working together? Learn more about the Building Balance to Empower programs.