Unless you are living under a rock somewhere, you know Christmas is quickly approaching. This has always been my favorite time of the year. Basically Christmas throws up all over my house and I love it! If I can stick a bow on it, and it’s not a living being, I am going to make it sparkle! I had a Christmas tradition for years decorating our treadmill. I knew its usefulness had to extend beyond actually using it, and Christmas decor seemed like the perfect fit 😊 (I thought about decorating my oven as well. I am pretty sure my Mother of the Year Certificate got lost in the mail).
And here are just a few of our Christmas decor pics. (Oh my gosh! It is a slide show! Wait for it….😮).
I also LOVE Christmas Cards. This year we chose Tacky Christmas Sweater cards. I wanted to keep it light hearted as 2018 has been a year of many challenges, many lessons learned, and undesirable circumstances beyond our control. Yet it also was filled with a deeper knowing that something far greater than us is with us and protecting us. For our family, it’s undeniable. The true meaning of Christmas is the greatest gift of all. Here is a sneak peak of our card…(slideshow again).
Now that I have expressed my deep love of Christmas, I want to address the other side. The one most don’t want to talk about because they think it makes them seem ungrateful or feel vulnerable. There are people deeply wounded, but do not dare speak of their pain. I talk daily with the chronic illness community. I know what it feels like to barely make it downstairs to watch my children open presents. Or being in the hospital purchasing gifts for my children on Amazon. I know the smile I have to fake at family gatherings. Not because I am unhappy, but rather in pain, dizzy, short of breath, etc. I am not complaining. I have improved over the past few years. But like most things, improvement is relative. Compared to a healthy individual, I am unwell. But when basing it off of my experience with POTS, I have been able to engage in more activites and I am thankful for baby steps. I do still feel the sting of a flare that accompanies any activity.
But I have learned as each year goes by, how to incorporate healthy boundaries and life choices. I want to share them with you.
1. What is most important to you? What are the activities you do not want to miss? After identifying your desires, make plans that will help you reach those goals.
2. Set yourself up for success. How do you do that? You trim the fat. It doesn’t mean you don’t care about those who are attending different events. It simply means you have to make the difficult decision of what your body can tolerate. If you think about it, the first Christmas couldn’t have been more simple. If we will take a step back and see the unnessecary chaos, we can choose to eliminate much of it simply by choice. Gasp! I know right?
3. Family Battles…I have not experienced this personally. My family is very gracious and helpful. But for some, family and friends don’t understand this illness or even acknowledge its existance. Let’s face it, it’s not an easy illness to describe. How can I go out for a few hours one day, but be in bed the next few days recovering? Pots doesn’t make sense and that is frustrating.
4. Do not allow toxic people or behaviors to remain in your life and create healthy boundaries. I understand there are some exceptions that cannot be avoided, but for the most part you have a choice. YOU teach people how to treat you. What you allow is exactly what you will receive. Maybe you think you have gone too far and you can’t make boundaries now…FALSE! You can always create healthy boundaries. There is always going to be someone in crisis. But, many times their version of a crisis is different than yours. Yes, we are sorry you can’t find your favorite shirt, but ummm we have to go, the room is spinning. You may hurt some feelings, but your health must be priority. There are people who have no boundaries, and will suck the life out of you if allowed. (Also, if you are the toxic one, pull it together! Life is too short!)
You truly have to weigh out what is healthy and what is toxic. By removing the toxicity you will naturally begin setting healthy boundaries. In doing so, you will see your mental health and clarity improve, leaving room for your body to begin healing or at the least receive the attention it needs to stabalize. This is not a one time activity. You will constantly have to assess what is best for your mental and physical health.
5. Finally, don’t forget the joy of giving or lose your sense of humor. Laughter is great medicine for a weary soul. It releases all the feel good chemicals in your brain. It can even be helpful with depression and anxiety.
I sent my hubby a pic of me kissing Santa Clause and he responded with his own picture. 😂❤️
I know you may be thinking, “How can I give? I’m broke!” The last time I checked, smiling doesn’t cost a thing. Sitting with someone who needs to talk is free and yet priceless. A hug or word of encouragement may be exactly what someone else needs. Be mindful of who is around you, and give of yourself when you can.
I hope the true spirit of Christmas embraces you and your symptoms be few. Don’t allow one crude comment to steal your joy. More times than not, it’s a reflection of the other person’s character, and not your own. Remember, some of the most beautiful jewels are created by boiling temperatures and extreme pressure. You may feel pressed on every side and hopeless. But diamonds are formed in extreme conditions and you my friend have more life to live, and more time to shine! Shine Brightly.