Tuesday as I was driving home from work, the radio announcer mentioned that there are only 40 days left until Christmas and I immediately felt myself start to panic and stress. It has been a really rough few months and I haven’t even started or began to start thinking about Christmas shopping and everything else that goes along with the holidays. Once I heard that announcement, however, my old Type-A personality kicked in and I started thinking to myself everything I needed to do: shop, wrap presents, make Christmas cookies, put up the Christmas tree, send out Christmas cards, plan a Christmas day meal – you all know the routine us women put ourselves through.
Then while my heart was beating faster, and I was imagining another major CFS flare happening because of the holidays, I had a lightbulb moment. Why am I getting so stressed out? Who says that we have to do all of these things we wear ourselves out over year after year? Who says you have to bake cookies? Who says you have to buy gifts and worry about getting them wrapped? Who says you have to mail out Christmas cards? The older I get, the more I start to realize that all of these things are what we’ve been conditioned to do because somewhere, someone told us that these were all things that have to be done in order to enjoy the holiday season.
This year instead of buying a bunch of gifts, I’m giving gift cards. If I do give a gift, it’s going in a gift bag with tissue paper. If it’s that important for Christmas cards to be sent out, my husband can do it. We can go out to eat instead of me working for two days in the kitchen and having myself worn out from trying to prepare the perfect Christmas meal.
To me, Christmas is about seeing my son happy and enjoying the holiday and if that means I have to give up a lot of other stuff so I can enjoy him that day, then so be it. It’s just not worth it anymore to me to do all of this stuff that doesn’t do anything but make me sicker. I have talked with a lot of CFS & Fibromyalgia patients and it doesn’t surprise me how many do not enjoy the holiday season. While Christmas is supposed to be about celebration, family, joy and love, for us sick ones it becomes more about stress, flares, and complete exhaustion.
I don’t want to feel that way anymore. While I always enjoy my son’s enthusiasm and love of Christmas, I want to really feel that for once. I don’t want to be so exhausted that all I can think about on Christmas morning is how I can’t wait for the next few days so that I can do nothing but rest and recover. I don’t want those feelings this Christmas or future ones to come.
So if you are getting stressed out and feel a flare looming because of everything you think you have to do for the holidays, just remember this post and that you don’t HAVE to do a lot of it. There are ways to make all of these traditions we put ourselves through every year a lot easier and we deserve to enjoy the holiday season thoroughly!