Feeling Your Best During Holiday Feasting

feast-ms-webWarning! The Winter Holiday Season is Upon Us: Thanksgiving, Epiphany (Three Kings Day), Koliada, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Jól (Jule Eve), Christmas, Boxing Day, Junkanoo, New Year’s, Handsel Monday, Malanka, to name a few. This is the time where family and friends often gather. Traditions and rituals are passed down to each generation through celebration of special food, drink, music, art, decoration, gifts, storytelling and the sharing of spiritual beliefs and teachings. Preparation for and participation in this season takes time, effort and commitment. There are expectations placed on each other—spoken or unspoken—depending on how these traditions and rituals are practiced from family to community to the region where we live.

This season can be exciting and joyous. The holidays can also seem burdensome and overwhelming. How we feel and cope depends on many factors ranging from past experiences, state of wellness, lifestyle preference, financial situation, workload (in or outside the home), expectations from family members and friends and many more. When you live with pain, many of these influencers can weigh heavy during everyday life. The holiday season may then seem like the tipping point from dealing and feeling okay to having the urge to run away screaming “ahhhhhhhhh”.

Here is a sample “to do” list to think about:

  • Shopping: food, beverages, decorations, gifts, cards, clothes
  • Decorating the house (inside & out)
  • Gift wrapping & Gift giving
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning (before & after)
  • Preparing and sending out greeting cards (if you still do)
  • Planning where & who you will visit
  • Scheduling your visits with family, friends along with your spiritual practice
  • Planning your travel: Arrange transportation—Are you driving or a passenger? Who else needs help? Are you commuting locally or must you travel a distance?
  • Grooming & Dressing—How many outfits do you need? What type of shoes? What type of outerwear?
  • Planning for what the weather may hold in store for you—winter is fickle.
  • Timing the schedule so you show up on time or can be ready on time if you are receiving guests.
  • Serving food/drink
  • Eating
  • Being present, engaging and entertaining
  • Singing & Dancing (if appropriate)
  • Stopping, listening to and remembering others (the reason for the holiday)

Whew! This makes me tired just reading it and I do not live with daily pain. Plus, there are some items missing, I am sure. So, knowing this, how do you feel your best during holiday feasting?

Here are some tips that TPC has published that may be helpful as the winter season approaches:

#1 Maintain balance in your pain care by following tips for travel success

#2 Pick your priorities and pace yourself

#3 Love Yourself

#4 Choose your company wisely.

#5 Watch how much you eat, what you eat and don’t forget to keep moving

#6 Protect your sleep

#7 Participate in the season events.

Most of all do not isolate yourself. If you feel alone, cannot or choose not to be around family or friends, volunteer your services to help others also in need.

Whatever you give away today or think or say or do will multiply about ten-fold and then return to you… Remember as you start this day and duty crowds your mind that kindness comes so quickly back to those who first are kind.

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