The holiday season is in full swing. Everything is decorated, there are celebratory events, all those mince pies, divine meals, lashings of our favourite wine and bubbly, the desserts, and all the extra shopping! So much to choose from and so much to do!
But you look at it all and know A) it may be tiring and B) not always good for you. It may feel like the long-term condition you live with is winning out and you will have to sacrifice any fun you were hoping to have. You may be debating about throwing it all in, drinking, eating and doing what you want during the holiday season and getting back on the straight and narrow come 1st January.
This feels the easiest option and so, understandably tempting. But you know from previous experience this is not the best thing you can do for yourself. So you may be asking is it possible to have fun and still look after yourself during the holiday season?
Read on to learn how planning for the 4 big F’s of the holiday season mean you can look after yourself AND have fun this holiday season.
The 4 big F’s are…
- Food and drink
Planning for these 4 big F’s is key. That way you do not end up reacting to a situation but putting your plan into action. Having to react in the moment deciding what to do can be stressful and so can lead to embracing temptation. That option is often selected as it quickly reduces any stress felt in that moment.
In today’s blog, I am focusing on Fatigue/Pacing and Food & Drink. Next week will be about Family and Fun.
Pacing is important to keep fatigue at bay
It’s easy to overdo it during the holiday season. You have your regular day-to-day life and all the trappings that the holidays bring. But you know if you overdo it, you end up missing out on some of the holiday fun. So planning where you want to focus your energies is important.
Firstly, notice where you tend to spend your energy during the holiday season, whether it be doing stuff or thinking and feeling about stuff. Ask yourself which activities and things you think about give you energy or drain it. Focus on those activities which give you the most joy. For those that drain your energy, if they are must-do tasks, find someone else to do it if you can, share the work with someone else, or find a quicker way of doing it. And consider letting go of the un-important, the-world-won’t-end-if-I-don’t-do-them tasks and being comfortable with ‘good enough’. That way you can focus your energy on those things that you enjoy and give you energy.
For example, gift shopping. Plan what you are going to purchase for people. This can start earlier in the year that way if you see it, you can buy it. I enjoy this aspect of the gift giving process. But if I haven’t found the gift by November, spending a long time in the shops at this time of year is not an option. I find it tiring. People have said that online shopping is not putting in the effort in the gift giving process. Sod that idea. Paying someone to wrap and deliver those presents frees up energy which I can focus on other things I really enjoy like planning the menu and cooking.
Think about when celebratory events and meals are taking place. If you have a say on when they occur, spread them out during the holiday season so they don’t occur all on the same days. This can increase your chances of being able to take part in more events. Also consider the time of day events occur. It’s possible to do a celebratory breakfast or brunch on a weekend if morning is a better time for you. And make sure to schedule some down-time after these events and meals to give your body a chance to recuperate.
Eat and drinking well
Once you know when celebratory drinks with friends and meals will take place, start thinking about when you are going to treat yourself and how much. Nurses and dietitians have said to me that treats are ok. 100% abstaining from treats all of the time is no fun, can create stress in itself and lead to binging (hence why most diets and weight loss follow a boom and bust cycle).
But let’s not use ‘treating oneself is ok’ to actually turn into constant stream of treats. Here is a way I think about it. If you have favourite things you do not have often like red meat, chocolate and wine, think of each as a treat bowl. Consider how many of your treat bowls you are carrying around with yourself at any one time and how often you are dipping into them.
So at a special meal, there may be beef, a lush red wine and chocolate. It’s ok to have them all in an evening, but be mindful of how much of each you are having. Plan ahead what you will have, i.e. I’ll stick to one portion of beef, two glasses of red wine, and I will have the chocolate dessert. The next day might be a day off for the treat bowls.
Keep in mind though, that if you have other treat bowls and are dipping into various treat bowls every single day, then you might have ended up unpacking and living in the land of temptation.
Remember to pace your treat bowls.
What’s it like for you?
How do you find dealing with Fatigue/Pacing and Food & Drink during the holiday season? What strategies have you employed to pace yourself and enjoy the food and drink you love? Feel free to share and leave a comment below.
P.S. Pass it on
Although these blogs are written in the context of living with serious illness or a chronic condition, the ideas contained within are applicable to everyone. So if you think a friend or family member would benefit from reading it, or you just want to share it with the world, share this post on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or email using the icons below.
Come back next week where I will continue the theme of planning for the holiday’s 4 F’s focusing on Family and Fun.
© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2015