When I was younger, the holiday season was all about happiness and excitement. But each year, as I got older, it seemed as if the “magic” of the holiday season started to fade.
For those with a chronic illness such as pulmonary hypertension, the magic of the holidays can be hard to find. To get some of this magic back, it’s important to focus on the happiness that the holidays can bring. We can find this happiness in everyday life.
For me, the magic of the holiday season really started to fade when I began experiencing more mental and physical symptoms. On the days when I feel like I don’t have my health, it is harder for me to find happiness amid the physical struggles. I can make it through the holidays and find some magic again when I take time to make my health a priority, focus on what’s important, save energy for the things that matter, and make room for joy.
Following are five tips that hopefully will help you find some happiness, even during this busy season.
1. Make mental and physical health a priority. For me, this has always been a struggle. I realized, though, that practicing self-care and taking care of my mental health is one of the greatest gifts I can give. Not only does it help my body and mind, but it also allows me to be present during holiday get-togethers. The more I take care of myself, the more time and energy I have for the people who matter most to me.
2. Going to every party isn’t necessary. A few years ago, I made it a mission to accept every party invitation. It’s hard to believe that I once was the life of the party and now can only think about going home and sleeping once the clock hits 10 p.m. When my physical health began to decline, it became evident that I couldn’t handle going to a party every weekend. Now, I know that it’s crucial to carefully select which parties to go to, for the sake of my health. Sometimes I pick the parties based on which ones I most want to attend. Sometimes I decide based on how well I’m feeling.
3. Limit time at shopping malls. I never realized how incredibly stressful and hectic a mall is until I found myself going only once or twice a year. It seemed like I always picked the worst time to go, when everyone was buying Christmas gifts. I know that shopping in a mall can be chaotic, so now I limit what I buy at the mall and get as much as I can online. This allows me to free up more time and save energy for something else I want to do.
4. Let go of comparisons. It’s easy for me to feel down on myself, especially when friends and family surround me during the holiday season who do not have similar health complaints. Sometimes I have to stop myself from comparing and wishing things were different. When I catch myself comparing, I must shift my focus to the qualities in myself and in my family members and friends whom I love the most. I’m thankful that my family has a sense of humor and shares lots of love.
5. Think about what brings the most joy. When I start to lose sight of the happiness and magic of the holiday season, something that helps me the most is focusing on where joy is. For me, I find tons of joy when I am around my younger cousins and my nephew. They still have so much innocence about them that makes Christmas magical. Thinking about their happiness and joy when they’re opening gifts makes it easier for me to find my own happiness in the moment.
It’s easy to get caught up with the demands of the holiday season. Having a chronic illness also puts additional demands on the body and mind. For me, the holidays are always more enjoyable when I focus on what brings me happiness and surround myself with as much of that as possible.
Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.