Photo of a family at the holidays with the central figure holding up a smiley face mask to cover their true feelings

Chronic Illness and Holiday Anxiety

It’s December and the holidays are fast approaching. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, indeed. But what if this season doesn’t make you feel giddy and jolly? What do you do when the most wonderful time of the year seems to be the most trying and stressful time for you?

In addition to the fact that flare-ups are much worse during cold weather, the holidays seem to be challenging for those who suffer from chronic illness. Maybe it's just me but my anxiety skyrockets when Christmas draws near.

Suviving the holidays with psoriatic arthritis

Personally, among the things that I worry about the most is having to mask up my physical pain during family events. Tolerating chronic illness symptoms on a regular day is difficult enough, what more if you are expected to smile through the pain while taking family pictures?

Chronic illness sufferers are mostly anxious about having to push through the pain and exhaustion. I’ve always found it difficult to open up when I am hurting, especially when I have tough days. This makes me anxious that I have to spend the rest of the holidays pretending that I am okay so that my loved ones wouldn’t worry too much about me.

Managing the holiday diet

Certain strict dietary restrictions when unfollowed might trigger or worsen a flare-up. Anxiety kicks in because all you want is to enjoy your holiday evening meal with your loved ones, without the pain of being a burden. We know how difficult it is to host holiday events and parties, especially having to accommodate requests which is an additional stressor.

It is also equally difficult to ask that your illness and diet be considered without sounding too demanding. In addition to this, I could recite a hundred things I would gladly give up in exchange to being able to eat anything without having to worry that I might regret it a day after.

Family relationships

Christmas season means meeting friends and relatives that you have not seen for about a year. However, some have toxic and unhealthy relationships with their relatives which makes holiday dinners incomplete without a little family drama.

Name something more stressful than sitting with relatives who make rude comments about your weight, and your health. Those who talk about you not getting better, how you should exercise more often, why you should try yoga, and that mental illness is all in your head.

Remember to take care of yourself

During Christmas, there's always this extreme pressure to do more—even if you are almost certain that you should be doing less. So slow down, rest, and remember to take care of yourself.

Although this season may not be entirely jolly for you at all, and if wishing that your holidays be pain-free would be too much to ask too - then I only hope that it will at least be kind, peaceful, and bearable after all.

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