Survive The Holidays

Seven Tips to Survive the Holidays With Lupus

The holidays can be fun, but they can also be stressful. While we all are getting so excited about seeing loved ones and hosting events, there can be real fears that can and will bubble up in side of us. There may be fears of missing out, getting sick, or not being able to reach expectations put on us by family members or friends. The anxiety can be high, the worry can be off the charts and the depression may increase.

It’s important as we battle lupus to take it one step at a time. To not become overwhelmed and to not overdo it. If you already find yourself in a crazed frenzy of the holidays, it’s time to take your life and holiday sanity back.
Below are some helpful tips that may help you in finding your calm in the midst of the holiday storm.

  1. Remember, you don’t have to look at the whole forest. You don’t even have to look at a whole tree. Focus on the branch, the leaf, the bark. Breaking things down into smaller, manageable tasks is a great way to get started.
  2. Make a realistic list. Divide it between URGENT tasks that must get done, stuff that can wait a few days, and things that you should do, but that can be done at any time.
  3. Setting a time limit with a built in reward can be a great motivator. For example, put the dishes away while the tea kettle boils. Do a small task, like writing a thank you note, as you can while you wait for food to finish cooking.
  4. Ask for help – Reach out. Ask others for help. It can be scary, but more often than not, people are grateful to help. People like to feel useful.
  5. Take a deep breath. Take another. Drink some water and open the blinds. Put on fun music. Making your environment welcoming will help get you moving and ready to start the day.
  6. Say NO. This one is so hard for so many people especially lupus warriors. If you feel yourself getting stretched thin, or there’s absolutely no way you can do one more thing, you can say NO. Remember you are not responsible for another person’s bad time management. You don’t have to be a “Yes” man or woman to try and please others.
  7. PACE YOURSELF AND REST. This is hard especially for lupus warriors that may be feeling better and have some energy. Warriors tend to overdo it and then have to pay for it later on. I know many are excited, but it’s important to pace yourself and rest before you overdo it and end up in a bad flare.

Having lupus is challenging and when the holidays roll around it can be overwhelming and difficult to handle. The main thing to stay holiday flare free is to make it a collaborative effort. Don’t think you have to do it all yourself or make an extravagant party that will take you months to recover from. Let your need for perfection go. Remember, your first priority needs to involve doing what you can to protect your health. Don’t stress out and overwork yourself and you will have a nice holiday season.

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Thanksgiving Countdown

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.
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Set Boundaries

Lupus Notes to Self: I set boundaries and say no when I’m not feeling up to doing things. I understand this protects me from overdoing it as I battle lupus. #LupusInColor