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Tips for Christmas

Christmas can be fun but with lupus it can also be very stressful. Anxiety can be high; worries can overtake you and depression can become unbearable.

It is important for lupus sufferers to try and make a concerted effort to not overdo it. Doing too much will have you in a crazed frenzy and cause difficult flares.

Here are some tips that can help you make Christmas a little less stressful:

1. Acknowledge your limits - It can be hard to acknowledge your limits. This is one of the hardest things that lupus sufferers struggle with. The sooner you are able to acknowledge what is best for your health around the festive season, the better prepared you will be. You will then be able to make the necessary changes and adjustments that will allow you to enjoy the festive fun rather than sit on the sidelines in pain.

2. Accept and communicate your needs - Part of acknowledging your limits is acceptance. You have to accept that you have limits and you need to try to be able to communicate this to family and friends. You don’t need to tell them everything that your feeling, however, communicating your needs around Christmas time is the best way to help alleviate stress. The more situations you can set your boundaries for clearly, the better off you’ll be.

3. Make a plan - There’s always a lot to do around the Christmas holidays. Creating a plan can help you feel prepared for any chaos. This can help reduce stress and help you set boundaries in a firm, concrete manner. The important thing is to plan in advance in order to be ready. You don’t want to wake up wondering and stressing about what you need to do.

4. Ask for help - Sometimes we forget to ask for help. Make a list for what you need help with be it cooking, cleaning or just dealing with the festive period. Don’t be afraid to ask about what you need help with and never be embarrassed because you need it. We are human and we deserve to be able to ask for help and receive it.

5. Pace yourself - Attempting to do everything and be everything for everyone will prove to be stressful. That stress will definitely lead to flares. Take your time and pace yourself. Resolve in your mind that you will take it all one moment at a time. Small steps are still steps that make progress.

6. Set time limits & It's ok to say no - Don’t let the festive season become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to the stress and guilt. Don’t abandon healthy habits completely, but make sure you don’t deny the little treats you may like.

Make sure you set time limits on your visits and for those who visit you. Make sure you make some time for yourself. Find an activity you enjoy and take a break by yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything.

Learn to say no. Saying yes when you need to say no can possibly leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity.

Don’t let the Christmas period become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent stress and depression that can often come on strong during the festive period.

Learn to recognise your triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands. Doing this will help you combat them before they lead to a meltdown and a serious flare.

You can prepare for the festive season and understand what is best for you. Be proactive and decide that this year, you won’t let the festive season create an overwhelming stressful time in your life.

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.


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