A Holiday Guide That Is Not Ordinary: Give Yourself The Gift Of Time Well Spent
Here is my Holiday Guide filled with gifts from me to you. This is not an ordinary Holiday Guide. It’s my special guide I'd like to offer to you with sincere gratitude for being my friends, compadres and partners in living a life with MS. It’s meant to help all of us survive this holiday season, by finding and keeping joy in our lives, even if we have trouble walking, seeing, feeling or peeing.
Let’s give ourselves the gift of putting ourselves first this holiday season.
- Give yourself a break: Everyone has an extra amount of gift or grocery shopping to do this time of year. Make a list of errands you need to do. Prioritize them with numbers - 1, 2, 3 and so on. When you are done, go over the list. Be honest with yourself, and cross out any errand you don’t absolutely need to do. There’s always one. Enlist the help of others with errands, if needed. We all want to do so much this time of year, and some of us think we need to keep up with others who are not disabled. But give yourself a break and add in extra time to rest. Enjoy that time by relaxing or taking a nap.
- Schedule time to read a book that’s fun, or watch an old movie: I love to read and I love classic movies. I save this time of year to watch holiday movies I adore. I’ve already chosen two books I want to read. Schedule time to do this. My favorites are “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “Christmas in Connecticut”, “White Christmas” and “The Bishop’s Wife.” (I have many more, but you get the idea.) I feel happy and joyous after reading and watching classics.
- Add some spirituality into your life: If you enjoy anything spiritual, religious, uplifting or joyful, consider scheduling time to enjoy them. Attend a mass or a service at a synagogue. Try yoga, or learn how to meditate. Begin journaling and write down your innermost thoughts. Recently I signed up for a month of free meditations delivered to my Inbox. I’ve watched videos on Netflix and YouTube from the Dalai Lama, Dr. Andrew Weil and Maya Angelou. Next week I’m attending a concert of gospel singers; their voices are so ethereal. I’ve attended Midnight Mass to witness the beauty of lighting candles at midnight. I was raised Jewish, but I enjoy anything that lifts my spirit and feeds my soul. Give yourself permission to do the same.
- Give back. I recently spent time at a local rehabilitation facility. Some of the patients had family members visit on a regular basis; others had no visitors. This reminded me of the loneliness felt not only by seniors, but at veterans’ hospitals, animal shelters, orphanages, hospital wards, well, the list goes on. Adopt a pet in need of a loving home, deliver cookies to a hospital, nursing home or child in need. Read a book to a blind person. Send a gift to our Armed Forces. This time of year let’s look beyond our own medical needs to give comfort to others whose life is in dire need of loving care. It not only benefits them, but makes you feel good as well.
I want to take this opportunity to wish you good health, love and comfort to you and your family, and a new year filled with peace, great joy and a better tomorrow.
What will you do to take good care of yourself during this holiday season?
Does listening to music help lower the severity of your stress or MS symptoms?