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How to Survive the Holidays with a Chronic Illness (From People Who Know)

Updated: Nov 14, 2022

While the holidays are supposedly the most wonderful time of the year, for many (even in the best of times), it can feel like anything but- especially while living with a complex chronic disease, like many of our patients at Case Integrative Health. Navigating the pressures of gift giving and time with family can feel overwhelming to anyone, but if you’re one of the 60% of Americans living with a chronic illness it can all seem like too much -- but it doesn’t have to! To help you get through the 2020 Holidays, we’ve put together a list of tips (from people who know!) of ways you and your family can make this holiday season as jolly as possible.

Make Time for Yourself- Dr. Casey Kelley

Chronic illness holiday stress tips

No matter how busy I may be, I always make sure to set myself up for success by taking time for myself every morning before my daughter wakes up. I start my morning by rising early, and listening to Insight Timer and implementing some brain tapping- my preferred methods of meditation. I drink plenty of water, and have a nourishing smoothie when I get to the office.

It’s important to stick to what works for you through the holiday season, to keep your mental health and physical health happy!

Chronic illness holiday stress tips

Stay Busy (In a way that’s manageable for you!)- Matilda Herbert

Keep as busy as you can, even if it’s getting into your favorite series or writing a story or getting engrossed in your new walking hobby!

Find New Traditions- Christina Costa

Holiday chronic illness tips

I love yearly traditions, and I always thought that 'tradition' was something that was started in childhood. This year, I am finding new ways to celebrate and create new traditions that work for me and my family.

Sooth loneliness with a loving-kindness meditation- Kelsey Mazeski

You might be surprised to learn that sitting alone and meditating can actually decrease feelings of loneliness! A loving-kindness meditation is a particularly powerful practice to feel more connected with ourselves and with others.

Start by settling the mind and body by taking a few centering breaths. Begin silently offering yourself the following affirmations, "May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be peaceful." Next, keeping the eyes closed, take a few moments to visualize friends and family then send them the same sentiments, "May they be happy. May they be healthy. May they be peaceful."

holiday chronic illness tips

By offering ourselves and others sentiments of goodwill and loving-kindness, we boost positive feelings and deepen our ability to empathize and connect with others -- antidotes for any feelings of loneliness.

You can watch Kelsey's Live Meditation at @CaseIntegrativeHealth!

Adapt your favorite family recipes- Ali Moresco

After I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease, the first thing I did was switch my way of eating to be antiinflammatory- I cut out gluten, dairy, soy, corn and sugars. It was an adjustment at first, but I rarely notice a difference anymore due to adapting old favorites, and now know that maintaining my health through nutrition does not mean missing out.

One of my favorite substitutes is Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour- it works well as a substitute in most baking recipes and can be used to thicken soups, sauces and stews!

holiday chronic illness tips

Experiment and adjust your favorite recipes to use gluten free flours and dairy free “milks” like almond or oat milk. You can still enjoy the holiday season- without having to “give up” your anti inflammatory diet!

Keep in touch with Case Integrative Health on Instagram and Facebook.

*The Case Integrative Health blog does not give medical advice. If you are interested in making an appointment at Case Integrative Health, please contact the office at (773)-675-1400.

Additional contributions to this article by Anna Roberts

1 Comment

Navigating the holiday season with a chronic illness demands thoughtful strategies, and who better to offer insights than those who understand the journey. Prioritizing self-care becomes paramount, with emphasis on pacing oneself and communicating boundaries effectively. Seek support from understanding friends and family, allowing for moments of rest when needed. Embracing alternative celebrations or adapting traditions to suit one's health can foster a positive holiday experience. It's essential to stay informed about accessible medical resources during this time. In an unrelated note, the Poppers shop stands out as the largest German store for poppers, offering an extensive selection of renowned brands – a curious, albeit unrelated, addition to the holiday survival conversation.

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