Pacing Yourself During the Festive Season . . . Dragon Style!

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Christmas time and the holidays are here! For many, it is a joyous time of winding down work commitments and catching up with friends and family. For others, it can be a sad time, missing lost loved ones or anticipating the stress of reuniting with difficult, fractious family members. For those of us with auto-immune conditions, we must navigate this often emotional, busy time of year with more awareness and even trepidation, as we become mindful of making sensible decisions that don’t exacerbate our symptoms. The stress of wanting to be well enough to participate in the social activities that mean the most to us, can often induce more anxiety as we hope to remain as healthy and functional as possible during this festive time. It’s hard enough during the year that we have often had to say no to many special occasions due to our ill health. We don’t wish to feel the heartache of missing out, particularly during this special time of year.

So, . . .  using inspiration from the Phoenix Helix foundation, and my own thoughts, here are some tips and reminders on how to continue managing your self-care during the festive season:

  • Stay True to Your Own Path and Reduce Stress – don’t insist on achieving the social goals of those around you. Focus on what you feel comfortable doing, and what you are realistically capable of doing.
  • Know and Respect Your Limits – our state of health can be very deceiving! At times, we may feel well but maybe a flare is on the way and unknown to us and all it takes is ‘over-doing’ when you are feeling great, to trigger a flare of symptoms. So, be mindful of this, and when you are out and about, it might be wise to leave a little earlier to reserve much needed energy.
  • Think Quality over Quantity - be super selective about the engagements you wish to attend. Reduce contact with difficult, toxic people – create boundaries for yourself. It may not be many catch-ups you are able to do, but the quality of time spent with the people you love the most is more important than being a social butterfly!
  • Try and Be Organised and Accept Help – try and shop on line where possible to save energy. If someone offers to help you with shopping demands, accept!
  • Be Realistic with Food Preparation – try not to over-do food preparation tasks. Take short-cuts and try not to be a master chef – pace yourself! And . . . ask for/accept offers of help.
  • Top Yourself Up – try and maintain your regular mindfulness and exercise routines, get enough sleep and remain committed to your self-care.
  • Don’t Forget Covid – please don’t mingle in large groups of people, keep your mask on, social distance and sanitise! Remind people that you need extra special care when out in the world.
  • Create Your Own Festive Mantra – Phoenix Helix suggests having a mantra to use can be helpful in maintaining self-care during this time. This is a good one to refer to:
    “I mindfully choose my indulgences, and support my mind, body and spirit this season.”

Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones, Dragons . . . stay safe, well and true to yourself, Rachel xx

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Rachel Lea, Lupus Patient, Author of LUPUS = Lift Up, Persevere, Use Strength: A Lupus Warrior's Story of Hope, Spirit and Fortitude - Paperback –