Life is hard enough when you’re dealing with Crohn’s disease. During the holidays, it can take away from some of the joy you want to experience. With careful planning, your Crohn’s disease doesn’t have to ruin your holidays.
When the holidays are approaching, make a plan that will help you get everything ready without adding extra stress. Create your menu, and then delegate certain dishes to friends and relatives so you don’t get over-stressed doing it all yourself.
You can have a friend come over the day before to help you set the table, or let the kids have fun decorating it themselves. Assign friends and family simple tasks to serve dinner, clear the table, and serve dessert. Make the event a group activity so you don’t over-exert yourself.
Keep up with Your Routine
Keeping up with your routine during the holidays can help eliminate flare ups, which will enable you to enjoy the festivities more. Stick to your normal exercise routine, follow your diet, and take your medications on schedule. Take steps to ensure you keep up with your routine. Set alarms for your medications, block a time schedule for your exercise each day, and prepare meals ahead of time you can freeze and reheat.
Watch What You Eat
Even if you are strictly following your diet, there will be times during the holidays when you’ll be tempted to eat food that is off limits. You don’t have to avoid all the holiday treats, just be mindful of what you’re eating and how much. Eat smaller meals, reduce your intake of fried, greasy food, limit high-fiber food, and drink in moderation. Circumvent any food you know you have a problem with.
If you find yourself beginning to stress over the events of the holiday, take a time out and relax. Read a good book, watch your favorite movie, get together with a friend, or call a trusted friend or family member you can talk your feelings out with. If you have a psychologist, make an appointment to see her during the holidays so you can work out your stress before it builds up.
Take Care of Flare-ups
If you do experience a flare up during the holidays, you need to deal with it. If you’re asked to help with a holiday fundraiser, bake cookies for your child’s class, or volunteer at your local soup kitchen, just say no. Explain that you’re not feeling well, and you just can’t. Get plenty of rest and eat properly. If your symptoms worsen, visit your local urgent care center.
Limit Your Activities
If you do feel well enough to say yes to volunteer work this holiday, limit yourself. Don’t sign up for everything you’re asked to do. Pick and choose the activities you enjoy doing, and sign up for one or two during the holidays. Schedule events on a weekly or bimonthly basis to give yourself enough of a break in between them.
These tips will help you not only survive the holidays with Crohn’s disease, but enjoy them as well. Take care of yourself, and you’ll have a happier holiday season.
Jacob Anderson is a freelance journalist from Scottsdale, Arizona who writes for a variety of health and wellness blogs and periodicals.