It’s that time of year, again!

We all know exactly what that means, right?  I’m not talking about tax season. The holidays are here and whether you observe Christmas or Hanukkah, the winter solstice or nothing at all, this month of December has extra demands on our time, attention and energy reserves.  Getting through an ordinary day is often a challenge with MS but make it a month full of days and we can be left totally spent by the time the New Year rings in.

So how do we get through with as little harm as possible and maybe even enjoy ourselves during this most wonderful time of the year?  Here’s my sort list of ways I try to make it work-

  1. I am extremely selective about what I agree to do. It took a while, but I finally learned to say no. Going to the mall to shop might sound great but my reality is I know if I do then I will be wiped out for several hours. Is it worth it?  Attending multiple holiday parties, even though they are spread out over a couple weeks, wears on the energy reserves.  Which of these parties do I really want to go to?  Maybe all of them, so then I have adjust my party going habits – perhaps I need to cut the time short.  I don’t have to be there at the beginning and the end.
  1. Watch the food and alcohol intake. I like an assortment of cookies and chocolates, craft beer and a steaming hot Tom & Jerry as much as the next person.  But I also know if I overindulge in any of those I will feel like crap the next day.  How about you?
  1. Get some rest, maybe even some extra rest. You know those afternoon sleeps we take because of fatigue?  Well we don’t need fatigue as an excuse to nap.  Just take a brief rest and see what it does to get you through a little longer in the day. And I’m not talking about curling up with a good book or stretching out with my ipad – this has to be total down time. Close my eyes and really rest.  Those moment to recharge can give you a little bit more go later in the day if you are lucky.
  1. I choose what is most important to me. And then I modify it a lot.  I hate to show up at a holiday gathering without something good to share but I have let it go that this has to be something homemade.  Store bought candies, cookies and cheeseballs are pretty tasty and remember it’s the thought that counts.
  1. I’ve been known to skip the Christmas cards because I feel like it’s nice to include a note in each one and that takes a lot of time. There’s something nice about sending more generic greetings in January or February when I have time to write a line or two. I’ve been known to send Christmas cards that I purchased in November, as late as March or in some years, not at all.

Or you could use the technology to be smarter for your time and your money – skip cards completely and send electronic greeting cards and your latest pictures.

  1. If you have some favorite tunes, put them on your player and sing or hum along. It’s been shown that this increases our oxygen levels and is great for our lungs. It also have a positive effect on all those brain chemicals.  These little bits of music through the day burst my energy levels in surprising ways.
  1. And finally, take advantage of giving the UPS and Mail delivery people a workout. Almost all of my gifts this year will come via a brown box on my front porch. These workers have already brought some big and hefty packages, saving me the energy from shopping in the store,  hauling it to my car and getting it inside my house.  Now if only I could justify the cost of having them gift wrap it before it comes to my home….

So there you have my short list of ways I work to make the holidays a bit less tiring – I don’t like to appear to be the Scrooge and cut out holiday fun, so I try to use new strategies to continue old traditions.  What tips might you share to make these days brighter?

Wishing you well,


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