Five Ways to Help You Feel Good During the Holiday Season
The holidays can be a time of great stress for many in the Multiple Sclerosis community. Difficult symptoms make us sad as we're forced to sit back and watch others scurry about buying gifts, decorating trees, attending seasonal events and making party plans.
Our hearts fill with sadness as we long for better days.
What can we do to pick our spirits off the floor to find some seasonal joy and merriment?
Here are a few things I do to feel better. No eggnog involved!
Smell the season
I know this sounds odd but I love the sense of smell. Smell has a direct connection to the brain that can affect our overall health. I enjoy the smell of evergreen, freshly baked cookies, burning candles or firewood (Yankee Candle used to make an apple pie candle that smelled like the real thing!) and crisp fresh air.
Keeping up with family and friends isn’t easy during the year when we have obligations to doctor and therapy appointments, jobs and taking time to rest and care for our health. The month of December is a good time to reach out to those you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Make plans to get together. Send holiday cards or emails/e-cards or rely on the old-fashioned (but the best way to keep in touch) telephone. It’s important to nurture our friendships as best as we can.
I was skeptical of this at first but found when I have ME time to color it lowered my stress and anxiety levels. I am not artistic by any means, but when I finished a page I was proud of the drawing I created and felt a sense of calm. The world looked lighter and brighter. If a few colored pencils could do that why not try?
I love my heating pad. I originally purchased one to comfort MS pain. In the winter I am particularly sensitive to temperature - my feet and hands are constantly cold despite the thermostat - so I use my heating pad to warm up. Heating blankets are sold on Amazon. I feel so much better when my body temperature feels close to normal.
Movies and TV
I immerse myself in holiday-themed movies and television. I’m a sucker for a happy ending and love the easy romance of Hallmark movies. It drives my husband crazy but when you struggle with disease watching Utopia on TV soothes the soul. The Hallmark Channel is a favorite, as are the holiday movies such as “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “Christmas in Connecticut” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Yes, I’m obsessed with old movies and the original Peanuts gang. Feeling like a kid again restores the soul and reminds me of better, sweeter times. Immerse yourself and let me know how you feel.
Do the best you can
Whatever holiday you celebrate it can be difficult to be merry when you have MS. Go easy on yourself. Do what you can with the abilities you have. Ask others for help. Use the web to purchase gifts and any accessories you need. Whatever you do keep in mind you are not alone on your journey. Others are traveling the same road. If you place that thought permanently in your heart it will help you move forward to a place where you, too, can find joy and laughter during the holiday season.
The journey we travel has changed but it is not the end of the road. Surround yourself with those you love and revel in the thought that life can still be delicious. You are valuable and deserve a merry, merry holiday season.
Merry Christmas. Happy Chanukah. Happy Kwanzaa. Happy Whatever Holiday You Celebrate!
Thank you for being part of the MultipleSclerosis.net community. I am so glad you are here. Happy Days.
How well do people around you understand MS?