I feel guilty having just typed out the title of this blog post. Now, this isn’t because I’m lazy or I don’t care it’s just how I try to cut down on what I deem extras and for you it might be different. So all of the below fit into the It’s Okay to __________ at Christmas. I’m sharing all the choices that make me feel a little bad but I know are important to get through the festive season without severe consequences with my health. You can read last years Surviving the Festive Season blog post here.
1) Not go to Church.
In the early years of my illness I went to the Christmas Eve service and the Christmas Morning service and had to be told what presents were mine and I never unwrapped more than just a handful of presents. I found the organ too powerful, the people overwhelming, the church mainly inaccessible and uncomfortable. I got cold and my energy was gone for the rest of a few weeks. My family is it’s-part-of-our-Christmas-traditon kind of family and it wasn’t until one of my team in paediatrics suggested it we even tried it. In all honesty, I wasn’t fussed on going to church at Christmas I found too draining and I preferred to spend time with my family. I wanted to remember us spending time together.
2) Not wrap everything.
I sometimes put present in gift bags and boxes. I used to methodically wrap everything and now if it’s an odd shape it gets popped in a box with a ribbon on it. As long as its disguised does it really matter? I don’t think people care and they can reuse the box that cost you a £1 and everybody is happy.
3) Not be presentable all the time.
After the photos are taken and we’ve settled into a quiet afternoon I get changed out of my posh outfit for warm and comfy clothes. My family really wouldn’t care if I was in my pj’s all day but I do so its a good balance. Boxing day is rarely a time for me to get dressed and I don’t care. Festive pj’s count!
4) Not go round to Mrs SoandSos for drinks or parties.
I live in a village and again my priority is to spend as much time with my family so I skip all the little sections if I can. I’m a hermit in day to day life so I don’t imagine them expecting me to come.
5) Not wait until its acceptable to buy presents.
I start shopping wrapping way-way-way too early for everyone else I don’t bother waiting until its socially acceptable to start shopping because it blends into Christmas and I get overwhelmed and burned out. If I have everything in my head sorted by mid-November I have a chance of not taking energy from Christmas.
6) Not to ‘Christmas’ events.
Christmas Markets, I love the idea the atmosphere and all the interesting things that happen at them but the ones near me are in log cabin style stalls and I can’t see what they are selling as in a wheelchair their counter is about eyebrow height. I end up disappointed freezing and craving my Etsy account.
7) Not be up when everyone else is.
I don’t try to be up and dressed when everyone else is. Our Christmas Days start early so whilst the fam is in the church I have a nap paste on makeup to stop me looking like a zombie and get ready with no time pressure. Pressure for me is a bad thing and if I can amble along at my own pace I get everything done.
8) Not send out lots of Christmas cards.
As awful as it sounds it saves energy and the people who truly matter get one. People will understand that you have a lot going on.
9) Not hunt for the perfect present all the time.
I’m not embarrassed to give cash or a gift card as a present. I used to feel like it wasn’t a great gift and that I hadn’t put enough effort into it. Most people will be delighted to choose what they really want and it saves a lot of guesswork.
10) Not to be present all the time.
I take breathers. When the whole family get together it can be a tad overwhelming noisy and full of movement which is how I want it to be but I do slip away for five minutes before entering the chaos once again. I’ve learnt that having a tradition of relapse after Christmas for five years running wasn’t fun. I learnt to say ‘no’, go for a rest skip some traditions or events in order to only have a dip in my health after Christmas. (A dip means bed rest for a few weeks but compared to months of feeling unwell I’ll take it)
I hope this may have given you some idea on how to conserve energy and not feel the guilt of balancing fun and health. Comment down below how you would answer the sentence:
“It’s okay to __________ at Christmas.”