Christmas is a wonderful time when homes are decorated with festive lights and people of all ages put aside their differences to share in the magic of holiday cheer. Although the holidays are a joyous time, things do not always go as planned for those with chronic illnesses and diseases. While we all have to deal with the pains of winter (cold air, shoveling, slower commute), winter is also a time when many diseases flare up. This can pose some problems for anyone suffering from an illness who is just trying to get in the Christmas spirit. If you or someone you know suffers from a chronic illness or disease, here are a couple things to remember this season.
Although you probably don’t need to be told this, as someone with a medical condition it is important that you stay aware. With all of the outdoor activities and rich food that everyone will be enjoying, keep in mind your limitations because you know your condition better than anyone. For those that know someone with an illness, it is also important to empathize with their struggles. It is important not to push too hard and understand that they will simply be unable to do certain things.
This leads to the next important trait, being understanding. Understanding that your friend or loved one may have some limits can help you both find the best way to enjoy the holidays. Even though a chronic illness may prevent you from participating in certain traditions, that doesn’t mean that you have to forgo Christmas entirely. Create some new traditions that fit your lifestyle!
The last thing that someone with an illness or disease wants is to feel guilty for being an inconvenience during a holiday party or gathering. It will really mean a lot to plan ahead and prepare so that they can enjoy the festivities just as everyone else. Whether this means catering to certain dietary restrictions, or planning activities that can be enjoyed by all, making sure everyone is involved can help avoid any guilt.
This last one may seem easier said than done, but the best thing you can do this holiday season is be merry. The phrase “laughter is the best medicine” may be scoffed at by those with complicated illnesses, but there really is some truth to it. Sometimes the best way to fight through an illness is to simply focus your attention on something else. While this does not actually cure you, losing yourself in the joy and fun of Christmas can do wonders in helping you cope.
So as we head towards Christmas don’t let disease prevent you from celebrating this wonderful holiday with your friends and family. Watch some Christmas movies, trim the tree, enjoy life!