This months prompts are:
I wrote a post some years back called Avoiding Stress During the Holiday Season with Fibromyalgia. And any given year those tips still apply but during a worldwide pandemic it is a little bit different. Many of us are not seeing extended or immediate family for Christmas this year. I don’t think anyone here will be. And that sort of makes me melancholy, to be honest. I always go see my mom for Christmas. She lives right in town after all. And my dad has moved close now too. Not this year though. And while I hate that I don’t want anyone getting sick. And we all have to do our part to make sure we dampen COVID-19 for our overburdened healthcare workers. So I can suck it up.
But one thing I know, for sure, with chronic illness is to avoid at all costs these preconceived notions of what the holiday season Must Be. Because my health is unpredictable and I can’t predict what I will be able to do or Not do. In other words, I am used to making use of what I can do and what is available to me and just enjoying that.
This word defines my existence right now. Too exhausted from vertigo and pain to move or do a thing. Exhausting my spouse’s retirement fund because he is out of work due to pandemic and, well, we have bills to pay.
And that expresses two important factors I always remember about Christmas but are of particular heightened important this year.
- Buying online– I never really have the pain endurance or energy to go shopping and if I do it is for one thing, in and out. This year I have no energy to go shopping and it is a pandemic so it is recommended people shop online. Shopping online is a great alternative for those of us with chronic illnesses that can’t get out and about much so this helps us a lot in saving and conserving our energy and pacing during the holidays.
- Limited budget– Ever since I went part-time I have had a limited budget, then on disability much more limited. And now my spouse isn’t working much, much, much more limited budget. However, I want to buy Christmas gifts because it is meaningful to me so it is just small token gifts. And we should remember we can make them or bake them as well. Create them. But if we buy them, it really is the thought that counts. Also there are always other options. Gift exchanges or no gifting at all. I just really like to buy, create or make a Little something for people I love. And I managed that via sales and deals and a restrictive budget and a whole lot of creativity.
In general, the holiday season is my favourite time of year in my least favourtite season of the year. Maybe because it breaks up the winter? Or it is full of nostalgia which I sort of love. But the pandemic sort restricts all of that, doesn’t it? I mean, I am extremely worried about so many things right now. One being the fact my spouse’s unemployment runs out in the new year. That sort of dampens the holiday spirit.
Maybe I can’t spend the holidays with my family. However, I am willing to do that for their safety, for the safety of others, and because it is good for everyone. So you sort of have to make due with what you have. My brother and sister-in-law have moved in with us to help with money problems and that means I will be spending the holidays with them- that is something that I can be happy about. We put lights on the house. We put up my brother’s much bigger tree and decorated the house. We have wrapped presents under the tree. We have put ourselves into the Christmas vibe!
Still, I have to say, I feel more worried than anything right now. My health isn’t great. Financially we are really not great. The world, not great. Stress is extremely high this year. And we have to remember that the holidays can be stressful as well. So we have to really take care of ourselves. Especially this Particular year.
There has been a whole lot of Not socializing around here since we can’t have people not of our household over or go to someone’s household either due to the pandemic. It is difficult for everything, I think. Humans need people. Isolation doesn’t do so well for me actually and my Seasonal Affective Disorder kicked in hard, causing me to go back on my medication for that. However, I have been very ill and had we been able to socialize not sure I Can anyway. So sort of moot in my case. However, it has impacted me a lot. And I see the impact on others as well. It has not been easy on anyone.
Not much indulging for me this year. Just trying to scrape by as is. And that is fine. I am a person of very few needs really. And when I indulge it is usually in books. That is my usual treat for myself and with my health lately it is difficult to read for long durations so my to-read pile is lasting a Very long time indeed. So that saves me from indulging.
Now, cutting things out, I have been doing to save money. One is eliminating cable because I have Amazon Prime and see no point in both (I kept it instead because it Also has free books and free books is fine by me). First I reduced cable and then just got rid of it. Also I went on Provincial Disability here which will Hopefully eliminate the need for outside health insurance to cover all our health insurance needs (my work disability one doesn’t cover 100% and I do not have the expendable cash to pay the difference), so we are hoping to cut That bill as well. I am looking to cut other things in the new year to save more money… just to see what I can do and how I can do it.
I don’t have a good feeling about this month and the new year. But I think that is partly anxiety. Partly. We shall see how it unravels. I will try to enjoy the holidays as much as I can.