Breathe a sigh of relief: having a chronic illness doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the holidays. If this is your first holiday season newly diagnosed there may be an adjustment period as you get used to navigating what your illness means to you and your life, but that does not mean the party is over. It’s just starting over in a new way. Here are some things to keep in mind as the season ramps up.
Prep and Freeze!
The holidays revolve a lot around food, but you’d be surprised how many things you can freeze! Things like soups, mashed potatoes, pies, and rolls are all extremely easy to pop in the freezer before the holidays get going. So don’t stress about trying to get it all in one day, you can prep a few days or even a few weeks in advance and still have a lot to offer at your holiday gatherings. Go at your own pace and enjoy the process!
Tis the Season to Sanitize
Many people with chronic illnesses find that they get sick a lot easier, especially in colder months. Handwashing is always best, but at a party or holiday gathering running back and forth to the bathroom to wash your hands isn’t always possible. So, carry a bottle of alcohol-based sanitizer if you’re out and about and interacting with a lot of people. Some brands also have aloe in their formulas to keep your hands from drying out.
Have a place to retreat
Part of having a chronic illness is learning to pace yourself, and this doesn’t have to stop if there’s a gathering happening. If you’re hosting designate a room in your home where you can retreat for a moment to lie down or breathe or center yourself. A good time to do this is after a meal when people are still talking and letting their food settle before dessert. If you’re going to someone else’s home ask the host in advance if there’s a place you can lie down if you need it. You’d be surprised at how accommodating people can be if you just ask!
Online Shopping and Delivery
Whether it’s decorations, gifts or even food take advantage of what the internet has to offer! You don’t have to spend a lot of energy going to several stores and dealing with crowds and traffic, you can let the web handle if for you. You can still shop for the fun of it, but keeping the bulk of it online will make the shopping excursions more of a pleasure and less of a stressful burden. Online food shopping is especially helpful when you can’t get out to the grocery store as much and you’d like and plan on having guests.