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'I'll Be Home for Christmas' Takes on a New Meaning When You're Chronically Ill

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The song “I’ll be home for Christmas” takes on a whole new meaning when you have a chronic illness. I am likely home, and no one can count on me to get out of bed to go anywhere. I still enjoy myself during the holidays, but it is much harder for me to get out like most people can. So, how do you deal with being stuck and trying to navigate events?

One thing I have found to be helpful is picking a few parties you will attend instead of every single one. It is super easy to get burnt out, but picking just a few events that are very important to you can make it a lot easier. It doesn’t mean I will definitely be attending the events I choose, but picking only a few can make it easier on my body so that I don’t make myself sick.

I am very fortunate to have family and friends who understand my situation. Sometimes I show up to a family gathering in my pajamas. While not everyone is so fortunate, if you can’t get ready, I would hope your family and friends would rather you be there in your pajamas than not at all.

I enjoy baking. Sometimes I will over-commit to the events I do attend. When I do, having a quick recipe or box mix you can jazz up is my favorite secret. Sometimes I just can’t handle being in the kitchen for hours baking. While I do try my very best to make sure I am rested and able to do the baking I enjoy homemade, if I happen to overdo it or am just unable, I always have a back-up plan.

Make staying home for Christmas special. On the days I can’t go and enjoy events with family and friends I like to put on a Christmas movie and make some hot chocolate. It seems simple, but trust me, hot chocolate and a movie can make all the difference in my mood. Find whatever activity it is that you can enjoy at home and make it extra special!

My last tip is to just to enjoy Christmas and the new year without feeling guilty for enjoying it, and without feeling guilty for saying no to some things. You can’t always make every event. It’s hard at first to cut back and say no, but your body will definitely thank you in the end. While Lyme disease may have made it more difficult for me to navigate the holiday season, it cannot steal my joy. No matter your situation, I hope you will remain joyful and thankful for what you do have instead of what you don’t. I wish you the best, and hope wherever you spend your Christmas, it is filled with love.

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Photo via ValentynVolkov on Getty Images

Originally published: December 21, 2017
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