2020 thrust unexpected obstacles and barriers in our way. Fighting Lyme disease requires you to harness the strength to push obstacles out of your way so that you can get on with your recovery. With the holidays at your doorstep, it’s important to manage your disease or illness effectively. When you are sick, it’s tempting to want to keep the door bolted shut. But enacting a few soulful, healthy lifestyle rhythms and practices can help you manage Lyme disease so that you can enjoy the holidays.
How to make it through the holiday with Lyme disease
We live in a culture that doesn’t always support healthy lifestyle choices. When you face a health challenge, the word “choice” fades from your conversation, and you find yourself replacing it with “necessity.” Change becomes a matter of urgency.
Chronic disease or illness requires you to engage in health and wellness behaviors as a lifestyle. You may be the only one at Christmas dinner who cares about whether or not the menu will support or weaken your treatment or protocol’s success.
Right now, your job is to do whatever it takes to optimize your health and well-being by developing and sustaining a healthy life.
If we allow it, a lab result or diagnosis can diminish hope and eradicate joy, especially during the holidays. If you find yourself apprehensive about maintaining your healthy lifestyle during Christmas, then I trust these ways will help you move forward and embrace the season.
Reframe your perspective about your illness
Coping with an illness can evoke loneliness, frustration, or disappointment. The key is to view your illness through a divine lens. It will provide a fresh perspective and renewed possibilities. To endure the burden of illness day in and day out, year after year seems unfair.
I know. I endured the debilitating effects of Lyme disease for almost a decade.
Writer Madeleine L’Engle reminds us, “Life is not fair, but it is also full of incredible glories if we allow ourselves to look at things as we did when we were children.”
As I recall, my son’s fascination with waterfowl started when he was about three. Waterfowl captivated his attention and ignited his senses.
One day, after a long afternoon outside, it was time to come to the house for dinner. My command to come inside triggered the tantrum button.
After flailing in the grass for two minutes or less, without coercion, he wiped away his tears and walked toward me.
I guess in the midst of his toddler outburst. He spotted a male Hooded Merganser diving into our shallow pond. Mesmerized, he watched the bird fly above us, low in flight. The cadence of the Merganser’s wings in unison with the wind pushed its hooded crest up to reveal a large snowy white head patch.
The beauty of the bird shifted my son’s perspective.
Reframing your perspective doesn’t diminish your struggle, but it helps you not miss the abundant gifts in front of you.
Even though God doesn’t take away your illness or pain, he is there to bear it with you.
Respond to internal and external pressures
It’s easy to become increasingly aware of your physical and emotional limitations around the holidays because of your illness.
Chronic illness can go on for a long time. Often people who suffer from a chronic illness or disease face the stress of restoring income or career. It’s also likely that you grieve your former activities but no longer have the energy to endure them.
Name and grieve those losses. Most of them will be temporary. With lasting lifestyle changes or professional resources, you will have your life back. You want to feel in control again.
There are moments when you want to prove to yourself that your illness is not that bad, so you decide to work a 45- hour workweek or ignore the signs of needing rest. The idea is not to push yourself too hard before you are physically and mentally ready.
Give your body the time it needs to rehabilitate.
Find an ally
An ally is there for support and maybe to offer resources. Often, an ally understands your plight from experience, so she understands your struggles. You can find an ally in a health and wellness coach or someone in a disease-specific support group.
During the holidays, be intentional about connecting with your support person. They can offer resources or help you create goals to get you through the holidays.
Prepare for the unexpected.
I often remind my health and wellness coaching clients to prepare for emergencies. And I don’t mean toilet paper and hand sanitizer. I am referring to food.
Whenever you venture to a holiday gathering, offer to bring a dish that complies with your eating plan. The gesture communicates to your hostess that you don’t expect her to cater to your dietary restrictions. And, at the same time, your dish may spark a conversation about your eating protocol.
I recently had lunch with friends at a small, local café. A few days before our luncheon, I went to the café’s website to ensure that the menu offered something I could eat. Even though I eradicated my Lyme disease, I still maintain most of my Lyme protocol, especially when it comes to food.
Allow for rest
Sleep and rest, like nutrition and exercise, contribute to health and well-being. Sleep health is essential if you are combating chronic illness and disorders.
A bedtime routine makes sleep and rest a priority:
- Establish a regular time to go to bed
- Darken the room and make sure the room is at a comfortable temperature
- Avoid using any electronic devices. It’s best to remove them from the bedroom entirely.
- Try not to drink caffeine, alcohol, or eat a heavy meal before bedtime.
- Exercise during the day
Give yourself the grace to say, “no, thank you.”
We often shy away from saying “no” around the holidays. Right after Thanksgiving, the list of holiday volunteer possibilities seems to mount. There is the sign up for Salvation Army bell ringing, caroling work parties, and the church’s live nativity. All worthy activities, but do you put the pressure on yourself to participate in them all?
As you manage your Lyme disease or illness, it’s important to be okay with choosing the activity that allows you to get to bed early. Once you regain your health, you can add activities to your schedule.
Strategies for the future in managing Lyme disease
One of the most powerful ways to start eradicating Lyme disease is through food. If you need a resource that helps get started with an eating protocol, sign up for my free 5-day Lyme eating plan.
The meal plan includes:
- comprehensive recipes for breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks
- shopping lists
- nutrition info.
- cooking instructions
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