I am glad you are here and reading this and I hope you find something helpful and worthwhile to help you or a loved one cope with the added stress at this time of the year.
Remember to take care of yourself.
The words self care make me cringe but we just must look after ourselves to even feel vaguely normal at the best of times so this is even more important now in the holiday season.
Whenever you remember take 3 deep breaths. Breathe in the good and let go the bad...
I do this whenever I get in my car to drive anywhere and at other times when I feel overwhelmed and it has become a helpful habit very quickly. It sounds stupid but just 3 deep breaths and I can feel the tension subside.
Choose to see the good stuff.
Try and stay on positive topics and with positive people. When I am feeling overwhelmed gossip and bad news and drama and negative talking really drags me down further.
Laughing and humor and comedy shows make me feel good especially if enjoyed with others. In some strange way laughter reduces pain and allows us to tolerate discomfort.
Also listen to your own ‘self-talk' because often we can be in a habit of saying negative things in our heads that just add to our stress. This is unhelpful so try and realize what you are doing and change the tape you are playing - instead of saying ‘I can't cope' say 'it's time to take a break' or 'calm down' or 'others can help do this too'.
Nature and being outdoors really can be a breath of fresh air. Being in nature has been proven to help us humans.
Sometimes I am so low I don't want to go out and see people but I have found that going for a walk at dusk or at night is also a great way to rejuvenate. There is no one around where I live, they are all in their houses, and no bright sunlight (which does affect my eye health) and I feel better after just a 5 minute walk. It is also calming to look at the sky, the clouds, the stars and the moon and feel the breeze or even the gentle rain.
Find your own joy.
Let go of the shoulds and the old traditions and do what makes you feel good. Create new traditions that are simple and easy to maintain within your life and your capabilities. As an example, at Christmas do we really need to send christmas cards, when we can send a group email? Do we really have to have all the relatives over for lunch when we could make a new tradition of meeting for Christmas Carols at the local Christmas event or church?
Work out what is really important to you and your family and simplify your Christmas. We live in Australia where it is warm and sunny in December so having a turkey with all the trimmings just does not make sense. This year we are letting go of the old English traditions brought to Australia and enjoying seafood, ham and pavlova. I am happy to say that this menu has been approved by all the family.
Take care of YOU as well as everyone else
Do a simple deep breathing technique.
Choose to stay positive.
Choose laughter and comedy (on TV and in real life)
Take nature breaks.
Work out the basics of what is important to you and create simple traditions around that.
Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and holiday season from Lee.
You might also find the following helpful:
- My tips for traveling by plane when you have a chronic pain condition.
- What works for me to help fibromyalgia
- Natural Treatments for Fibromyalgia
- Do you allow yourself to ask for support?