Keeping up with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is hard for anyone but it can be especially difficult for someone with a chronic illness such as multiple sclerosis. Our society has placed certain expectations for us during the month of December and it’s also important to maintain certain traditions for ourselves, our family and friends. Here are a few tips to help you thorough the holiday season that have worked for me in the past and hopefully they will help you too.
Pace yourself – Everything doesn’t have to be done all at the same time. Maybe it takes more than one day to decorate or wrap presents or bake. This is also a great opportunity to find a new way of doing things; maybe it’s online shopping instead of going to the mall or using the crock pot to cook instead of working in the kitchen all day. Instead of trying to pack everything into one day enjoy the whole season which will ultimately be more fun in the long run.
Be honest – This is a great opportunity to be open and honest with your friends and family. Let them know how MS affects you and how some days you can do more than others. Let them know that at some point you might have to cancel an event or not show up if your MS is not cooperating. I find that people tend to be more understanding and caring if you are upfront with them from the beginning. If you can’t make a dinner date maybe they could bring it you or maybe you could have a gift wrapping party to solicit friends to help wrap your presents. The holidays are a great time to use creative energy and find new ideas. Sometimes the most memorable traditions are made by being forced into a different situation.
Listen to your body – Tis the season to get caught up in lots of events so be sure to listen to your body when needed. If you need to take a nap then nap. Maybe you just need to put your feet up and rest for awhile and then you can pick up and move again. Meditation, aromatherapy and massage are good ways to rejuvenate your body. Maybe a neighbor can shovel your walk so you can have energy for something else. After all you know your body more than anyone else and the holiday season is a time to cherish it. Happy Holidays!
What do you do to survive the holidays? What new activities or traditions have you made because of MS symptoms?