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Bracing Myself for the Holidays

Bracing Myself for the Holidays

Do you look forward to the holiday season? I used to, that is before pain and fatigue from psoriatic arthritis and my other chronic illnesses turned it into a season of frustration and sadness. I dreaded knowing how many invitations I would have to decline and plans that would end up being canceled. I missed partaking in fun festivities. After making some changes to how I approached the season, I was able to once again fall in love with the holidays.

Plan ahead

I begin marking my calendar with dates of the activities I know I will want to attend as early as October or as soon as I am aware of them. On the flipside, I clear my calendar of things that aren’t critical or as important. In other words, I don’t plan or schedule anything that I could do throughout the rest of the year during the holiday season. This gives my body one less excuse for canceling when a last-minute invite comes my way.

Enlist elves

Santa doesn’t work alone and neither do I!! I enlist my husband and/or friends to help wrap presents. The family wants a huge tree? No problem as long as everyone pitches in and helps with putting it up and decorating it. Baking cookies can be a family affair or even a fun get together with friends. The key is to not wear myself out doing everything alone.

Focus on what is really important

To enjoy the holiday season I had to focus on what was really important to me. Would the season be ruined if I didn’t make my favorite cookie, host a holiday dinner, transform my house into a winter wonderland, or give out handmade gifts? No! Each year I sit down and determine what is most important and plan around it. I have accepted that I will never be Martha Stewart. Some, if not all of the food at my holiday dinner may be premade by myself or my local deli and bakery. What is on the table, what I am wearing, how my house looks, or how fancy my gifts aren’t important. What is important is sharing laughs and hugs with the people I love.

Try something new

I haven’t let go of all of my favorite traditions, but I have learned to be open to trying new things. When I let go of expecting each year to be the same, it becomes less stressful. While others are complaining about how the season didn’t meet their expectations, my holidays are filled with the excitement that comes with new experiences. No matter what I end up doing or not doing this holiday season, I know that it will be a joyful season. Another cool thing about trying something new is that occasionally I find a new tradition that fits into my life.

What will your holiday season be like? Will you look back on it with resentment for not having the energy to keep up with everything you had planned or will your heart be content to have done what did? What changes will you make to how you plan for the holidays this year?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.