Coping With (and Enjoying) the Holidays With Lupus
The holidays can be equally exciting and stressful for people with or without lupus. And of course, this depends on a huge variety of factors, like whether or not you are spending them with your family or alone, and how you’re feeling at that time.
Between getting all your preparation done for your regular job, holiday shopping, cooking, traveling and prepping to host family and friends or visiting family and friends, the entire season can feel all too overwhelming.
During this time, it is especially important to listen to your body and what it is telling you and not to stress yourself out too much.
Visiting Family and Friends
When I visit family and friends during the holidays, I make certain they know that I am going to need time to rest. Most of my family and friends are very aware of my lupus, so typically it isn’t an issue and most people will be flexible (if they’re good friends, that is).
Of course, not everyone is going to be and some people may take your illness personally or even accuse you of being ill at certain times either to spite them personally, or because you’re trying to get out of an event. I have been accused of this several times over the holidays, particularly when getting together with extended family I haven’t seen in years and who doesn’t see how my lupus operates on a daily basis.
Because lupus is so fickle, it can be difficult for others to understand, which will stress you out and then in turn make you feel worse. Personally, I choose to stop seeing friends who don't understand lupus after giving them a good benefit of the doubt, but sometimes you can’t do that with family.
Instead, even though it is irksome, you just have to smile through your teeth and go rest when you need to. Really, your body is more important than the opinion of your 76-year-old great uncle you only see twice a year. Use Elsa from Frozen’s motto and “Let it go!”
Shopping for the holidays season can be stressful for lupus patients, as it often involves lots of walking, standing around and potentially spending money that you don’t have. If you’re short on cash from being unable to work, try making something for your friends or family members.
It may not be as “wow” as an iPad, but it will be treasured for longer than one year (when they need the new iPad that will inevitably be coming out).
Making something doesn’t have to mean a fancy Pinterest-worthy DIY (those make my self-esteem rot when I attempt them). You can do things like write short stories, poems or give baked goodies to the people of your choice.
You can even put together inexpensive pamper packages for your friends by purchasing a mug, some marshmallows, hot chocolate packs and candy canes and putting them together. It is a quick and easy idea that doesn’t take much time or effort and they’ll be grateful you thought of them!
To minimize my own stress, I try to do all of my shopping online weeks in advance. This way everything gets delivered to my door. It is easy and simple and helps you avoid long lines and crowded malls.