Learning to say NO is hard. Everyday we comprise our health and continue to say yes to things when we have a chronic illness even though we don’t want to go. But saying NO during the holidays is even harder. WHY?
- We have a hard time saying NO because we don’t want to let others down.
- People have a hard time accepting NO when you have previously done the same thing with them for years and years in the past.
- It’s the holidays and family feel they all have to be together.
This is especially hard during the holidays because family expect us to attend holiday get togethers. They expect us because for years we have been attending even while we are sick. And for years we have not been comfortable attending at all. We also don’t have fun being around others when we are chronically sick. We constantly have to fake it. And faking it is exhausting!
What can you do do get through the holidays?
- Say NO if you feel that is the best answer for your health.
- Explain that you would love to if you felt better and will miss everyone but just can’t make it this year.
- Remind family members how you have been feeling lately and that it is best you stay home this year.
- Remain strong about your NO decision. Your chronic illness is not your fault so don’t feel guilty about not attending events.
- The stress of the holidays can make us feel worse so saying NO is sometimes the best answer.
- Shopping is hard when you are sick but it’s ok not to buy presents for family and friends if you are not up to it. The holidays are not about gifts!!
- Remember that you eat differently than “healthy” people and it causes more you more stress to have to bring your own food so staying home is more relaxing.
- Cooking is hard when you are sick and it’s ok if you don’t cook for others.
- Remember most people will understand and if they keep asking you or say “they are saving a place for you” remind them – NO you will not be attending this year.
- Ask others to remember that “horrible flu” they had and how they couldn’t get out of bed because this may allow them to understand better. Even though that “horrible flu” would be awesome compared to your chronic illness.
- Skype with your family from your home for a few minutes during the day to say hello.
- We are allowed to practice SELF-CARE every day of the year. And when you have a chronic illness self-care is the most important thing.