Holidays and Lupus

December 8, 2017

The holidays are stressful for almost all of us. We want it to be a warm and happy time but between extra family gatherings, the food preparation for those events, the gift-giving, and sometimes extra travel, the holiday season takes its toll. For those with lupus it can be even more challenging.

Part of the solution lies in good old time management. If you have ever read any article with advice for the holidays, then you have read things like this:

  • Make Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas dinner collaborative. Ask everyone to bring a dish. Those who don’t cook can clean up.
  • Shop for gifts throughout the year so that you don’t have too much to do at year’s end. Order online whenever you can.
  • Set up a family Secret Santa system. Everyone draws a name, and you are then responsible for one gift for one person. It reduces both stress and waste.

Here are a few other things to keep in mind.

Stay Healthy

Your first priority needs to involve doing what you can to protect your health. Try to stay true to your normal exercise habits, and eat the foods that make you feel best. Yes, you may want that special dessert that Aunt Melba makes or the cinnamon rolls that are a family specialty.  If you’ve been careful about your other eating, then there is probably no reason why you shouldn’t allow yourself a treat or two.

Making Choices

People with and without lupus would enjoy the holidays more if they also took these steps:

If you are single, take a look at the December calendar and consider what events are coming up. Choose the ones you would love to participate in, and put them as priorities. That may be enough.

If you think you’d like to add one or two other options, make careful choices. Don’t book something for every day, and don’t commit to anything that makes you feel tired just thinking about it.

If you are a mom or dad, this same method can be applied. Have a family calendar meeting. Each person should get to choose one holiday activity they truly love. One person may want to go caroling; another may choose a holiday movie, etc.  Make a family commitment that each person will get to do their first-choice item.  If you don’t think you’ll be able to participate in the caroling, make sure someone else is available to go along with the other family member.

If you are fortunate, your relatives will understand and support you. If not, try to ignore them. You are an adult and you have the right to make the decisions that are right for you.

Having an illness like lupus is challenging, and perhaps more so at the holidays. But just remember, that almost everyone gets too tired, too stressed, and they eat too much at this time of year.

The arrival of January 2nd can be a welcome one. The pressure is off, and you can get back to the routine that lets you feel your best.