Friday, December 7, 2012

Happy Holidays When You're Not Feeling So Happy

The holidays are so packed with contradictions.  John Stewart on The Daily Show said the other night that holidays are the one time of the year when you feel compelled to get together with the people you try hard to avoid the rest of the year.  They're also a time when every message around you - from stores, news, advertisements, magazines, TV - demand that you be sparkly and celebratory and spend money on others.  For those of us dealing with illness and its corollaries - pain, exhaustion, distraction, medication - and for those of us who live with and love partners who have an illness, the messages of the holidays can put expectations on us that are intolerable.

So, how do you cope with the holidays?  What have you learned over the years to help you spend your energy and attention in ways that don't deplete you and even give you some joy?

My approach is to set expectations as early as possible - with myself, my sweetie, and family and friends.   I accept invitations in the hopes that I'll feel up to going.  But I offer invitors the caveat that I may have to cancel at the last minute if my body tells me to stay home.  I find that most people respond by saying, "Whatever you need is fine.  Just tell me how I can help."  And if they don't respond that way, I probably don't want to go to their party any way.

What do you do?

1 comment:

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Was it Dr Suess who said, The ones who matter don't mind and the ones who mind don't matter ?~! So very true when dealing with the inherent uncertainties of a chronic illness. We are blessed to have good partners who put us first even when it means missing some event they were looking forward to. Also going without me has become an option over the years too.