Merry Christmas to Everyone. Happy Chanukah too! And to everyone else out there celebrating…..best wishes.
This time of year is extremely stressful for people, especially for a Painie.
Here are 5 tips I have for us, ones I am sticking to myself. Please, add more in the comments if you feel there is something else we can or should do; the more help the better I say.
1. Pace Yourself & Know Your Limits: cramming too much into a day is going to cause a pain spiral or worse, so remember your limitations. Spending maybe a few hours at your in-laws or wherever, instead of a whole evening.
If you start to feel aches or pains, go rest. You are not going to help anyone if you get sick. It may not be the fun option, but at least it will allow you to attend more than one function.
If you cannot make it to an event or you are unable to cook a huge meal or host an event, don’t be ashamed. It is ok if you can’t do something. If you are well, then do it, but if it pushes you too far, don’t.
2. Relax, Smile and Breathe: remember that the spirit of the Holidays is universal for all religions, it is about Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards men. This means to just take a breath and take in the sparkles, smiles, food, family and spirit. It isn’t supposed to be a stressful event, it is supposed to be a celebration of unity.
3. Budget: many of you have probably already done your shopping, so this might be too late. Remember a lot of our care is not covered and we have to pay out of pocket. Getting further in debt is not going to help any of us and will increase stress which increases pain. Gifts don’t have to be big……just be thoughtful.
Maybe give a gift certificate for a “Vent Day” to your friend; meaning a time when you just listen to them rant about everything for an hour or two and don’t comment (other than to say I understand, yep you are right). Maybe do one for a hug, Lord knows we all need one of those. Or give to a charity and pass the card to someone else. Don’t spend crazy amounts.
4. Celebrate In Your Own Way or Use Short Cuts: If all of it is too overwhelming, fret not. Just have a quiet evening watching movies, eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate. Jesus was born in a barn in poverty, not at an opulent dinner party. If you want to stay in your Jammies all day, by all means, do so.
If you, like myself, is the host of Christmas (or any Holiday/Family meal) and it seems like doing too much intricate cooking or details is going to hurt, don’t. Order a pizza or get take out, do something simple and don’t worry about it. It is about peace and joy not about being Martha Stewart. I always try to remember the movie A Christmas Story – where they went to a Chinese Restaurant for Christmas dinner.
5. Ignore The Turkeys: Although our situation is difficult, taxing and tiring, there are still so many things to be thankful and grateful for. Try to focus on these things and ignore the excess noise.
People will not understand us, they cannot see our pain. Don’t let what they say or might say affect you. Let it go. It is a time of forgiveness, so ignore their ignorance and let yourself be gracious. For those, who don’t accommodate your pain or make snide remarks; remember this is their problem not yours.
This time of year is demanding, taxing and challenging, for everyone. For a Painie, it is even more of a problem. Our pain is invisible. It is misunderstood. We can attend a party or host a dinner, but the after effect is something than no-one sees. The exhaustion, the collapse, the pain and the sadness of not being believed.
More importantly, this is a time of Celebration, Love, Family and Charity. Focus on what is important.
I wish you all a wonderful, warm and fun holiday.
Talk to you before the New Year!