- Check with your doctors to see if and when they are taking off extra time for the Holidays. Be sure that you have enough medication to get you through.
- Be careful with alcohol. It can often have dangerous interactions with medications, and it never really makes you feel that great anyway.
- If you are worried about gaining weight over the holidays, donate your leftovers to a homeless shelter, make sure you only eat things that you don't normally have (you can eat potato chips any day, but crab or lobster is different!), and increase your exercise a little over the holiday season.
- Carry an easily accessible list of your medications with you at all times and make sure you bring your medications in the original bottles or packaging.
- See the Center for Disease Control's website for recommendations for medical preparations for travel. This contains vaccine recommendations and any notices of disease outbreaks across the world.
Don't get caught up in doing things just because you have to. Decide what you want from the holiday season, and then make a plan that works for you. Be sure any plans that you make fit into your idea of what you would like from the holiday season or your holiday plan. Consider previous holiday seasons and if you were happy with the way they went. Would you change anything? Would you invest your energy the same way this year?
And learn to say 'no.' People will understand that you can't do everything!
The bottom line is that the holidays don't have to be overly stressful or depressing. Don't expect perfection, and remember that even in the best of circumstances, the holidays can trigger depression and anxiety. Don't hesitate to seek professional help if you find yourself persistently sad or anxious, unable to sleep, etc.
Having a chronic illness does not mean that you can't enjoy the holidays. Keep it simple, take time for yourself, and follow some of these tips and you can have a great holiday season!