Sharing the Journey: Managing Holiday Stress
The Sharing the Journey series is by you and for you. In your own words, we highlight the perspectives and personal experiences of people who struggle with lupus each day.
This month, we asked Sharing the Journey participants the following question:
How do you manage the stress of the holiday season and the many events and activities that go along with it?
The holiday season can be so stressful for many, adding lupus on top of that makes it even more difficult. I have found that starting my Christmas shopping early is helpful, that way I’m not running around at the last minute. I’ve also found that with the many family members we have, to communicate ahead of time a plan for Christmas dinners/parties etc. If I know exactly what we are doing and where we are going at least by the beginning of December, then I feel a little less stressed and have time to be prepared. The most important thing is to rest when you need it and to not overfill your plate. – Roxi
For the holiday season, I am in college, so I have all my finals coming up. It can get very stressful to cram for my exams and work at the same time, both full-time. The way I manage it is do one thing at a time. If you try to do everything at once, you are going to psych yourself out, so the best thing to focus on is the primary thing and work from there. I also love to have an hour of “me” time and lie down and listen to classical music by the fire. It’s very relaxing and helps my stress levels go down. – Kyra
Mindfulness. When I start feeling overwhelmed during the holiday season, I try to step back and look at the reasons why. Most of the time, I realize it is high expectations I have set for myself. I try to remember that the people in my life are understanding and will not be offended or disappointed if I have to cancel, opt out, or cut back with attending, hosting, or cooking for a holiday event. Also, getting organized! Nothing makes you feel less stressed during the holidays than a good plan! – Kristin
I handle the stress of holiday shopping by picking a time to shop when the stores are less crowded. I often take 20 minutes of “me” time to just meditate and listen to relaxing music. I also love spending time with a good friend. It can be a very stressful season, but I often de-stress myself. I usually try to sleep longer, and walking has always been an excellent way to de-stress. I don't take on more than I can handle. I love sharing the responsibility of meal preparation. This takes the load off me. When you have lupus, it can be overwhelming. Lastly, I always try to visit someone in the nursing home and show them love. I find this removes so much stress at the holidays. I love helping others. -- Sylvia
5 Tips for Reducing Stress during the Holidays
Enjoying the holiday season can be hard when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stretched too thin. These tips can help you prevent stress during one of the busiest times of the year.
- Pack in advance if you’re traveling. Book your tickets and start packing early to avoid feeling rushed. Check out our packing list just for people with lupus designed to help you remember everything you need.
- Prioritize your activities. Say no to events when you need to, so you have enough time and energy for the people and activities that matter most.
- Build breaks into your schedule. Plan time to relax and regroup. And no matter what you’re doing, take a break when you aren’t feeling well.
- Get plenty of sleep. Getting enough rest is one of the most important things you can do to prevent a flare. Watch our video on Managing and Preventing Flares with advice from the experts.
- Make your health a top priority. Choose activities that help you recharge and rejuvenate -- and remember to put your health first.