Simplifying Your Holidays During Times of Change

Simplify your holidays this year

It's completely normal to experience stress and frustration during the holidays because it's such an emotional and busy time of the year. Of course, those feelings can be even more complicated if you or a loved one is living with an illness. After all, the emotional upheaval of chronic disease doesn't take a break for the holidays.

As you navigate your way through the next few months, keep in mind a few tips – including giving yourself permission to skip the holidays entirely. Limiting activities or not celebrating can sometimes be the best option.

  • Remember, there is no right or wrong way to approach the holiday season. You may want to stay with traditions or you may want to change things.

  • Keep your expectations manageable. Don't feel the holidays need to be the best ever.

  • Make a list and prioritize the most important activities to you.

  • Let go of the past. Life brings changes. Each season is different and can be enjoyed in its own way.

  • Don't be afraid to try something new! Consider celebrating in a way you never have.

  • Plan ahead and keep on top of things. Procrastination is stressful and making excuses is hard work.

  • Be realistic. Try not to overplan each day. Instead, put into a day only the things you know you can finish.

  • Relax your standards. Your home – and everything else – doesn't have to be perfect.

  • Take some time alone each day to enjoy peace and solitude.

  • Say "No" to invitations you might regret if you accept.

  • Don't abandon healthful habits or feel pressure to eat or drink more. At the same time, allow yourself to indulge a bit without judgment.

  • Delegate – enlist the help of other people.

  • Talk your heart out with a trusted friend.


The challenge also exists for the loved ones of those who are ill. Just remember – the only wrong thing to say or do is to say or do nothing at all. Show your loved ones that even though their health may have changed, your relationship hasn't.