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Taking the Holidays Day By Day as a 'Spoonie' With Chronic Illness

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Holidays. Filled with lights, cheer and joy, right?

Well, maybe.

For many, the holidays are fraught with mixed emotions. Sometimes it’s grief, sometimes it’s pain, and sometimes it’s loneliness. Often, it’s all three.

When preparing for the holidays with chronic illness, I feel a lot of different things.

I’m sad that I can’t enjoy shopping and all of the holiday preparations as fully as I want to. I’m exhausted just putting up my Christmas tree.

I’m afraid that I’ll get sick and spend time in the hospital again, missing out on valuable time with my family.

I’m devastated there are people in my life who won’t be present for Thanksgiving or Christmas, due to weather and other circumstances.

It’s beautiful outside right now, the snow is falling still, and it really does look like a winter wonderland, but my bones hurt too. This time of year, my lungs panic and feel like I have pneumonia even when I don’t. It’s hard to remember to celebrate the miracles around us when we hurt.

This season, I’ve set myself a goal to just take things one at a time. Are there still groceries I need for Thanksgiving, two days before dinner? Yup. I’ll get to it. I got the decorations up, and while some folks claim it’s far too early (I started the second week of November), it takes me longer than most to get them set up. The fact that I finished before Thanksgiving is actually one of those miracles to celebrate!

I try not to worry about the people I miss, the health questions still up in the air, my upcoming disability review. All I can do is make it through today. And then tomorrow, I’ll see about tomorrow.

These are the small steps I need to consider every day, but even moreso as my calendar is filled with social events I want to participate in. I tend to push myself beyond my limits this time of year, and pay for it in spades.

So this holiday season, no matter which holidays you celebrate, be sure to take the time you need, preserve your spoons, and allow yourself to feel those little miracles. Even if you don’t want to.

Originally published: November 26, 2019
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