My Tips for Surviving the Holidays With a Chronic Illness or Disability

The holidays are a tough time for everyone, and this is especially true for those with a chronic illness/disability. Here are some tips I have come up with for surviving the more challenging parts of the season: holiday dinner and holiday shopping.

Surviving the Holiday Dinner:

Please let your host or a trusted family member know about any concerns you may have, such as if you require a break during the event. Do not let the idea of being a “burden” take over, as family and friends should be more than happy to help out. Find grounding techniques that help you deal with your anxiety or pain levels, such as drinking lots of water and deep breathing when necessary. These little activities can make a big difference and help you sort your thoughts when things get overwhelming. Don’t forget to take your medications with you in case you need them.

Holiday Shopping:

Malls tend to get very overcrowded, and the increase in light displays and music does not help! In order to deal with the crowd, you can take a friend with you and have a list of the stores you want to visit, along with where they are located in the mall. That way, you have both support and direction during this process. Having direction while shopping helps you navigate through the crowd and noise by putting it in the back of your mind. You’re essentially making it secondary to your goal. You can also wear sunglasses or a brimmed hat to help with the light, and earphones or earplugs to reduce noise. If you would prefer to skip the mall altogether, you can shop for your gifts online, but time’s running out for that option quickly. Again, have a list of the things you need and where you can buy them, and have a friend help you shop online. Happy shopping!

This post originally appeared on Brain Injury Society of Toronto.

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