#ChronicChristmas Day 11: Keep It Reasonable




This season is all about going all out. And it’s too much for everyone. So pace yourself — not just with eating or traditions, but with the multitude of celebrations. 

If you go to all the holiday parties, neighbourhood drop-ins, get-togethers for drinks, office parties, and so on, it’s a virtual guarantee that you will spend the actual holidays curled up on your couch in a flare.

So make choices. Healthy and somewhat ruthless choices. This is about weighing where you want to be with getting the most bang for your buck (the buck in this case being your presence). If the host is your dearest friend, it may very well be a command performance, but it could also be the one party you can actually mess, because they will understand. Truly understand, not just say so. 

If it’s a swanky do put on by your employer, it’s probably politically wise to go, but it’s also the kind of party where you can make an appearance, connect with a few important people, and leave after a decent time. You can also trot out the classic excuse of couldn’t-get-a-babysitter or the actual truth: not feeling well at this kind of event. It’s important to show up, less important to stay for the entire thing.

And then there the actual hosting of your family’s holiday party. In that normally falls to you, perhaps this is the year when you discuss taking turns. Or changing the whole event into a pot luck. Or, as we’ve done in our family, my generation has taken over the cooking, while my mother (a.k.a. the Andersen matriarch) direct the troops from a comfy chair. Because she can’t quite let go.

Some people will be upset if you don’t show, or if you leave early. Explain as best you can, but don’t get guilted into doing something that isn’t right for you. This is about your survival, and that’s more important than pleasing others.


#ChronicChristmas is an Advent calendar of tips for a sane holiday season with a chronic illness. Check back tomorrow for the next tip. To see all the posts in the series, click the #ChronicChristmas label below this post.

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