Keep Your Stress in Check During the Holidays

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Living the #ChronicLife is a 24/7/365 job. Unfortunately, our conditions don’t take a break during the holiday season. Here are 10 tips for managing stress and keeping our symptoms in check this holiday season.

Plan ahead and pace yourself

Break your “holiday to do” list into manageable chunks, and try to get things done well beforehand. Bake cookies early and freeze them. Shop online and have the packages sent directly to your house. Wrap one present each night. Prep your food a day before you need to make it. Remember to build in rest time and don’t overload your plate!

Ask for help

Don’t be shy about asking for help. If you can’t wrap all the presents or run all the errands, speak up! You must remember to listen to your body. Invite your kids into the kitchen, ask a friend to help or delegate tasks to others. You don’t have to save the world this holiday season. Get others to help you!

Be realistic

There will be hiccups during the holidays: presents you can’t track down, comments made that upset you, and other challenges to face. Have realistic expectations! Nothing turns out perfectly all the time. (Besides, where’s the fun in that, anyway?) Instead of venting at family and friends, expect those bumps in the road, and deal with them.

Reject perfection

Holidays can bring out the perfectionist in us all, and all those holiday movies where everyone and everything looks gorgeous and happy and festive can make us doubt our own efforts. But the fact is, everything doesn’t need to be perfect. In fact, imperfections are what make us unique. Celebrate them.

Offer to bring food you know you can eat

With psoriatic disease, many foods that can cause flare ups. (Learn how to identify yours here.) When you’re at a party, you may end up making bad choices which could negatively impact your health. You’ll always have a safe option by bringing a dish that you know you can enjoy.

Be in the moment

When you’re running around, stressed out -- STOP! Focus on your breathing and take a minute for yourself. Calm your nervous system. So often we race through the holidays trying to get them “done” and forget to enjoy the beauty around us. Want to be proactive? Download an app like Headspace app or Buddify and work through their meditations.

Be grateful for what you have

It’s easy to get caught up in the greed of the season, wishing for things we don't have, longing for changed circumstances. Instead, switch your attitude to one of gratitude and focus on the things you DO have. Need help in that department? Download a free copy of the Chronically Grateful ebook.

Keep up with your self-care routine

Prioritize your sleep, exercise, diet, and other aspects of your health care routine. Choices you make today will impact how you feel tomorrow. Sure, that pie looks delicious, but is it worth spending two days in bed? Or having a flare up? We must pick and choose our battles. Don’t forget about your health this season!

Feel all the feelings

During the holidays, our emotions can run wild. We strive to embrace the positive and suppress the negative. But we need to feel, and face, ALL emotions. If you feel frustration or anger, walk away from the situation. Calm down. Focus on your breath. You’re feeling those emotions for a reason. Feel them, then pick yourself up and move forward.

Enjoy yourself!

See the lights. Smell the delicious cookies. Attend a religious service. Visit Santa. Make time to enjoy the holidays. You don’t even need to leave your house — just turn on your holiday Spotify playlist (here's mine), get lost in a cheesy movie, or invite your friends over for a jammies party. Do the holidays on YOUR terms.