Thursday, December 23, 2010

Family Dynamics for the Chronically Ill at the Holidays

It's that time of year again, and the world is a-buzz with holiday cheer (and fear).

This is a particularly hard time of year for the chronically ill, so I want to throw out some suggestions so that one can make it through in one piece!
  1. Try not to feel guilty that other people are in charge of a big meal for the family.  Simple recipes can be prepared in advance and helped with, but don't hurt yourself trying to go out of your way to create everything the way you could before you became ill.  It will just build resentment between yourself and others.
  2. If you don't have a job, try not to beat yourself up for the amount of money spent on presents.  Make things from the heart (food, cards, art...) and spend your time with them in the moment.  That is the spirit of Christmas.  Hopefully, everyone is understanding and encouraging towards the less expensive practice.
  3. If you have too much family drama around the holidays, make sure you have boundaries in place.  Stress is not good for the chronically ill body.  The fights are just not worth your peace of mind.
  4. Make sure that you have your medication well-stocked over the Christmas season.  Doctors will be tricky to contact and no one has a good relationship with a chronically ill patient withdrawing from medication.  It's just not a good scene.
  5. Know when to duck into another room just to have a breather.  I know that if I don't take some time for me during pain moments, I'm definitely not going to be able to give my best to my family and friends.
(Image from WeHeartIt)

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday!  If you have time, give me a picture of how you will spend Christmas (etc...)!



Anonymous said...

Love those kitties! I have been known to disappear into my bedroom during family parties. You need to rest if you get tired. Let's hope we all make it through the Holidays!

Baffled said...

Hubby invited friends over on Sunday when I was in a full bedbound crash. I just stayed in bed until I felt well enough to go sit with them for dinner. I have found all of my relatives and friends to be pretty understanding. This is my first Christmas with CFS so I don't really have any particular coping mechanisms in place. I'm just kind of winging it.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I've given myself permission to be "different", even when others don't get it. I also think it's important to be alone without being lonely.

You've got a ton of great tips to share!!


Toni said...

Great post, Annie. You are wise beyond your years (although you probably wish you didn't have to go through what you have to get all that wisdom!)

Making boundaries is such a good idea. Now I have to work on keeping to them!

I hope you have a joyous Christmas.


Diana Lee said...

Such wonderful advice, Annie! Sometimes I feel guilty for missing out on family time to take a nap, but I need to remember it is important to refresh myself. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

I love your ideas - especially the one about homemade gifts.

I often limit myself to two things to do with other people a day. Over that limit and I'm physically overwhelmed. Once a day or once every other day is truly ideal though.

My dh also understands if I go to bed out of the blue. In fact if my daughter gets us up at 5 am he sends me back to bed after we open our gifts. If I have a busy day with too many people I spend more quiet time alone in my jammies the next day to recover. And I don't even have to feel sick or feel pain to go back to bed - I used it as prevention too.

It helps if you have one other person to help look out for you like my dh does.