Stress is a normal part of life. Too much of it, however, can be taxing to the body. The holiday season is a time of additional stress for many people and it can be even more challenging for people with lupus.
Family relationships, finances, and the physical demands of the holiday season are all common triggers of stress. Holiday festivities mean spending additional time with family, which can heighten relationship issues for some people.
A good way of preventing holiday stress is by planning ahead and prioritizing. Try and work within the four A’s to get through with minimal stress and flares.
1. Avoid: Avoid the people and things that upset you or cause too much stress. One way of practicing avoidance is by saying no. You don’t have to be around those who you know will stress you our and upset your mood.
2. Alter: If you find that the normal holiday season routine is too fatiguing, alter your expectations. If loved ones aren’t respecting your needs, respectfully ask them to alter their behavior. You can also alter what your response will be and what your plans are. If being with family will cause you too much stress alter your time with them.
3. Accept: Acceptance is an important part of managing stress. During the holiday season, you may have to accept that you won’t be able to participate in all the activities you would like and that is okay. You don’t have to go to every gathering even if it’s your family.
4. Adapt: One way of avoiding stress is to adapt. Living with lupus often means having to adapt one’s lifestyle or plans; this is true during the holiday season as well. Go into the season with a mindset that you will adapt to any situation and remove yourself if you can not.
While the four A’s are excellent for managing the holiday season, they are also useful in managing the everyday struggles of lupus.
Control your stress level: Since some researchers believe that stress could be both a lupus trigger and a flare trigger for those with lupus, reducing stress is a must.
So at the end of the day remember, Just say no, delegate responsibilty, be smart and most of all take care of you.
You deserve the best in your holiday season, make a conscious effort to make the moments beneficial to your personal health.