The holiday season is here once again.
Before sarcoidosis, I embraced the holidays as a festive time. Things have changed since then. However, I have found a “recipe” for approaching the holiday season: a way to stay as stress-free and healthy as possible, despite my chronic illness.
I start with a dash of self-discipline when it comes to my diet. Sweets, alcohol, and rich foods are abundant this time of year, but I limit my intake of seasonal goodies. Self-discipline may not be a popular ingredient, but I believe it helps keep my health on track. Also, I follow a gluten-free diet, so I always have gluten-free items with me in case a host or hostess does not.
Then I add a smidgen of rest and sleep. I typically require nine to 10 hours of sleep every night, and sometimes an afternoon nap, too. I need quiet and periods of rest more than I did before my diagnosis. Those are difficult to find during holiday festivities. It makes traveling a challenge.
Next, a speck of self-awareness. In the early days of my diagnosis, I was self-conscious about telling people that I needed to rest, especially in the middle of the day or during a celebration. I have since learned not to be ashamed about doing what I need to feel as alert and refreshed as possible throughout the holidays.
I mix in a tad of planning for specific items that I might need to pack. If I’m traveling to see family, I bring as many comforts of home as I can. My pillow, white noise machine, sleep mask, and earplugs help me maintain my sleep routine.
I can’t forget a pinch of tolerance for dealing with challenging people. Difficult individuals are often unavoidable because of their place in a family. However, I have found ways to approach difficult and sometimes toxic people optimistically. When I’m well-rested and have tended to my own needs throughout the holidays, difficult individuals become much less challenging.
I top off this recipe with maintaining a good sense of humor.
Yes, special considerations can be necessary for people with chronic health conditions during the holidays. However, with planning, preparation, and the right ingredients, the holiday season can still be a wonderful time of year.
Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.