It’s that wonderful time of the year, when you try to fit in all the 50 things you were going to do all year into two weeks and suddenly find that you also have 16 more things to do. You had grand plans of having all your Christmas shopping done by the start of December so you could avoid the Christmas rush, but somehow it’s less than a week away and you have a grand total of two presents sorted, and one of them has been delayed in shipping.
Add a chronic illness like Fibromyalgia, with all its friends and what used to be your favourite time of year, starts becoming quite the drag.
So I decided to come up with a list of things to make life a little less stressful.
- Make time to meditate. I know it feels like there isn’t enough hours in the day to spend some of it being still, but settling your mind – even for just 10 minutes a day will calm your brain waves, making it easier to focus and get things done.
- Make time for exercise. Again, it feels like there aren’t enough hours, but a short yoga routine or just 5 minutes stretching will help reduce the tension that build up due to stress and will decrease your overall pain.
- Pre-prepare food. This is especially important with dietary restrictions or specific meal plans. Good nutrition goes a long way in reducing stress on your body.
- Bring food to functions. If you have dietary restrictions and you aren’t sure if the venue/household you are going to will be able to feed you, then bring your own. Yes, it’s a hassle, but frankly so is spending the day on the toilet because someone fed you the wrong thing. And while you are bringing your own meal…
- Remember to make/provide some treats for yourself. I recently made a plethora of Christmas cookies, mostly because I enjoy doing it, but also to give as gifts. I made the mistake of eating some cookie dough. It was gluten free, so not a large amount of damage done, but my goodness, the sugar cravings I had! and my pain went up significantly too. I had to leave the dough in the fridge for a day before baking them as I didn’t trust myself to bake them without eating more dough! So I made myself some almost compliant cookies that will satisfy the cookie monster without derailing all the hard work I’ve done on metabolic balance.
- Write a list of gifts. If you head to the shops without some idea of what to buy each person, you’ll end up overwhelmed, buying “it’ll do” gifts, and probably spending more than you budgeted.
- Pace yourself. I’ve written about this before, and I know how frustrating it is to receive that bit of advice, but it is even more important to do it when you are flat out. Doing too much then crashing in a heap is not productive or enjoyable for anyone. And the most important part of pacing is….
- REST! I know this feels like a drag, but take the time to lie down flat even if it’s just for 10 minutes. No phones or tablets or other electronic devices, no books, no distractions. If you can, elevate your feet. You could even meditate at the same time!
- Ask for help. I suck at this. It’s a skill I’m slowly learning, but it’s super hard to do. If you are hosting Christmas, or a pre or post Christmas get together, then ask people to bring things. Be specific. Don’t just ask people to “bring a plate”or you’ll end up with loads of nibbles and no dessert or whatever.
Assign the essentials to people with the time and inclination to make and bring them. And the things that you will live without to those who are time poor or don’t cook. Tell Aunt Mary that you love her pasta salad and no-one makes it quite like her and could she please bring some. Ask your cousin Bob to bring his famous chocolate cake. Ask your flaky little sibling to bring soft drinks and crackers. You get the idea. If you know exactly what people are bringing, you can plan the rest of your meal around that.
- Relax your standards. Your entire house doesn’t have to be magazine worthy. If the bathroom, kitchen and living areas are clean, just close the door to the other parts. People who truly care about you won’t give a rats arse if your laundry is piled high next to your bed, or that you’ve just moved all the mess from the dining table to the spare room. Relax and enjoy the silly season, chores will (unfortunately) still be there next year!
Now if someone could point me to this list in about November next year, that would be grand!
(or whatever appropriate holiday greeting suits your beliefs)