Let’s be honest – in many ways the holidays suck.
The magical atmosphere is typically created by hours upon hours of methodical dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, and scrubbing. The candles are really just there so the cats can catch their fur on fire. There may be no more stressful time of the year for those of us with Multiple Sclerosis than the holiday season. And with gender roles typically still carried out in stereotypical fashion, the fact that women with MS outnumber men by a large margin means that most of the work will fall on those of us who could really use a break before we break ourselves.
If I told you how many projects and chores are on my to-do list you would just stop reading right away. So let’s skip the boring part and suffice it to say at least I got an A on my first course back in college after 12 years, and I am currently cramming everything I can into my winter break.
|Things I Hate About The Holidays||Things I Love About The Holidays|
|struggling to meet expectations||creating realistic expectations|
|shopping||shopping for gifts|
|heartbreaking stories of poor children||helping disadvantaged children|
|road rage and traffic||relaxing at home|
|working through christmas||my first christmas off in five years!|
|family drama||family harmony|
|consumerism||creating traditions without gifts|
|cold fingers||holding hands with my husband|
|huge credit card bills||creating a plan for next year|
|glitter on the floor||glitter on the cats|
Sometimes we tend to be the least important person in our own lives. But even from that perspective, you can’t be your best YOU for everyone else if you go past your limits. When facing a gathering, ask for help. Stress for me means severe fatigue, mental fog, worsened muscle spasticity, the MS hug, and occasionally even a relapse.
- ask for help cleaning your house (before and after)
- ask for help shopping locally (or shop online)
- ask for help wrapping gifts (especially) if you have issues with mobility
- ask for help with meals (potluck!)
- ask for help managing your stress
Don’t spend your holidays like a house elf. Plan ahead, ask for help, and do your best to relax, make memories, and love those that love you. And don’t forget, saying “no” is always an option (particularly if you want to simplify your life).
If you aren’t part of a Multiple Sclerosis support organization, find or create one. Now is the perfect time to spend some time enjoying the season with others who will understand even your invisible symptoms.
Happy holidays to all!
What are your favorite holiday traditions?