Super Holiday Guide
It's that time of year again and this is when I typically write a Holiday Survival Guide. But this year I've decided it is time to take control, put a positive twist on the holidays and decide to have a super holiday season despite having IBD or IBS.
So, here are five ideas for making this holiday season - and beyond - as super as possible.
1. Make this season about what you want to do and what you can do. Stop thinking about what you think you should be doing or what you can't do.
For instance, my husband's mother lives in California, while most of my family lives in Wisconsin, but my step-son lives in New York City. There's just no way that we can be in all three places at once every year. So this year, my step-son is able to take some time off from work and is coming to spend the holiday week with us in Colorado skiing. At first, we felt a little guilty that we wouldn't be seeing either of our parents during the holiday, but decided instead that we'll see them at another time in the New Year.
2. Take control.
Instead of feeling anxious or scared about going to a party or get together at someone else's house or a restaurant, this is the time of year when I like to plan a get together at my house. I invite people to bring a dish to share, and make two to three dishes that I know I can easily eat. And, if for some reason my gut becomes unhappy in the middle of the festivities the good news is that I'm already home, I have access to my own bathroom, and my husband is perfectly capable of seeing our guests through to the end of the evening on his own. It's a win-win situation for everyone.
3. Take on only what you really want to do.
Nobody said that the holiday season should make us feel crazy and exhausted. And oftentimes, less is better and more appreciated. Choose the one or two things that are most important to you and your family this holiday season and stick to doing just those few things. Is it making cookies with the children? Spending some time with the elderly who might be lonely? Making hand-crafted gifts for family and friends? Or, just spending a quiet, peaceful time with your family over a holiday meal and game night? Realize that you simply can't be everything to everyone. But most importantly, realize that it's okay. Have a family meeting and pick the two or three things that you all really want to do for the holidays, then do only those things. Who knows, you might actually get to spend some quality time with your spouse and children.
4. Abandon your fear.
Think of something you have been wanting to do but haven't because of fear. Is it going bowling with your friends? Sledding or ice skating with your children? Haven't a romantic dinner with your spouse? Whatever it is, just do it. There is a very strong link between our mind and our gut, and sometimes it's our mind that holds us back from experiencing life more than it is our gut. In this past year, I've just been living (without fear), doing what I want and seeing what happens. Sometimes these experiences go off without a hitch and I can't believe it took me so long to try them. Other times I might have to abandon an excursion or change course because my gut just isn't quite right. But I now refuse to look at a situation that I had to change as a failure. As long as I try, no matter the outcome, it's a success to me. I've simply decided that fear is the enemy and only when I let fear stop me from doing something that I'd like to do is it a failure. Maybe this can be your resolution for this New Year.
5. Surround yourself with those who nurture you.
This may sound selfish, but who ever said that selfishness was a bad word? Sometimes I think it's okay to pick and choose who you want to have in your life. If you have a choice - and most times we do - why would you choose to have a negative person or a person who doesn't understand or appreciate you in your life? Surround yourself with people who nourish your spirit, inspire you to be the best that you can be, or who might open your eyes to a hidden talent or interest you didn't realize you have.
Choose to live your life your way.