Simple stress management tips at Christmas

Simple stress management tips at Christmas when living with chronic illness
There is inevitable and unavoidable stress associated with the holiday season and add this to a life living with a chronic illness, which usually means chronic pain, and the stress is compounded.

I am glad you are here and reading this and I hope you find something helpful and worthwhile to help you or a loved one cope with the added stress at this time of the year.

Remember to take care of yourself. 
The words self-care make me cringe but we just must look after ourselves to even feel vaguely normal at the best of times so this is even more important now in the holiday season.

Whenever you remember take 3 deep breaths. Breathe in the good and let go the bad...
I do this whenever I get in my car to drive anywhere and at other times when I feel overwhelmed and it has become a helpful habit very quickly. It sounds stupid but just 3 deep breaths and I can feel the tension subside.

self care ideas when living with chronic illness

Choose to see the good stuff.
Try and stay on positive topics and with positive people. When I am feeling overwhelmed gossip and bad news and drama and negative talking really drags me down further. 

Laughing and humor and comedy shows make me feel good especially if enjoyed with others. In some strange way laughter reduces pain and allows us to tolerate discomfort.

Also, listen to your own ‘self-talk' because often we can be in a habit of saying negative things in our heads that just add to our stress. This is unhelpful so try and realize what you are doing and change the tape you are playing  - instead of saying ‘I can't cope' say 'it's time to take a break' or 'calm down' or 'others can help do this too'.  

Simple stress management tips when living with chronic illess
Nature and being outdoors really can be a breath of fresh air. Being in nature has been proven to help us humans.

Sometimes I am so low I don't want to go out and see people but I have found that going for a walk at dusk or at night is also a great way to rejuvenate. There is no one around where I live, they are all in their houses, and no bright sunlight (which does affect my eye health) and I feel better after just a 5-minute walk. It is also calming to look at the sky, the clouds, the stars, and the moon and feel the breeze or even the gentle rain. 

Nature and less stress

Find your own joy.
Let go of the shoulds and the old traditions and do what makes you feel good.  Create new traditions that are simple and easy to maintain within your life and your capabilities. As an example, at Christmas do we really need to send Christmas cards, when we can send a group email? Do we really have to have all the relatives over for lunch when we could make a new tradition of meeting for Christmas Carols at the local Christmas event or church? 

Work out what is really important to you and your family and simplify your Christmas. We live in Australia where it is warm and sunny in December so having a turkey with all the trimmings just does not make sense. This year we are letting go of the old English traditions brought to Australia and enjoying seafood, ham, and pavlova. I am happy to say that this menu has been approved by all the family.

Simple stress management tips when living with chronic illess

So my suggestions are
Take care of YOU as well as everyone else
Do a simple deep breathing technique.
Choose to stay positive.
Choose laughter and comedy (on TV and in real life)
Delegate more.
Take nature breaks.
Work out the basics of what is important to you and create simple traditions around that.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and holiday season from Lee.

Simple stress management tips at Christmas

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  1. Brilliant tips, especially about 'choosing the good stuff' as those things can all too often be forgotten when stress, pain, exhaustion all get in the way. Thanks for sharing these =]
    Caz xx

    1. Thanks Caz who is always looking for the good with a kind heart!

  2. Good tips! You have to take care of yourself first because no one can do that for you but you!! Thanks so much for linking up at #AThemedLinkup 6 for All Things Christmas. Shared.

    1. yes, get your own oxygen mask first in an emergency and then you can help others. Thanks for hosting your great link ups

  3. Today I spent the day in bed, breathing and meditating. It's been a while since I had such a headache. That drive in me to DO had to be settled down. Thank you for insightful and practical ways to take care of ourselves during this time of wonderful things to do that can end up being too much for us.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing here at Fibro Files, Katie and sorry to hear about your headache. At least you knew what you needed to do to help yourself. Yes that drive we have had all our lives to acheive things, tick things of the list is strong and pacing can be a hard lesson to learn.

  4. Thanks for sharing some great tips Lee! It's so important to take care of ourselves during the Christmas season and all throughout the year. Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season!

    1. So great to hear from you Terri, wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas too. x

  5. I'm lucky I didn't grow up with strickt holiday-roules. And with covid, big gatherings are not allowed. So, we will have a quiet Christmas in our own home and we can get some rest after a difficult year.

    I do wish we had warm weather as well ;-)

    Happy Holidays!

  6. Beautifully written and simple yet perfect suggestions that are too easily forgotten during a flare up. If I can't get out for even a short walk, I like to just stand at my open front door for a few moments, breathing in the air and just listen for the birds or watch the wildlife buzzing around the flowers. Feel the breeze on my face. There is something inspiring about nature. Sunrise is my favourite time. I love the idea of a simplified Christmas. I've already said no to family visits but an easy menu is a brilliant idea. Thank you for your tips.


Thanks for your input