With all the holidays that fall at this time of year, I feel a little overwhelmed with plans and activities. Right now, I take things on a day-by-day basis and sometimes a moment-by-moment basis.
I am constantly learning about how to deal with everyday situations and Migraine disease. This month's blog carnival topic at Somebody Heal Me is "Maximizing Your Enjoyment of the Holiday Season." I am going to share with you some tips that I find helpful when trying to enjoy the holidays.
I had an enlightening Thanksgiving holiday. It has been a rough few months for me. I've been Migraining more than I ever have before. Therefore, making concrete plans is quite difficult. 99% of the time I cancel plans. Making holiday plans can be quite a leap of faith.
This year, my husband and I spent Thanksgiving with my side of the family: my parents from out of town, my brother, his wife and my uncle. They all came to my house. To take the load off of myself, I planned to have an easy frozen Italian meal that my husband could execute if a Migraine decided to rear its head that day. I was briefly concerned that my family might be disappointed with a non-traditional Thanksgiving feast. But, I knew they would be equally disappointed with nothing on the table if I couldn't make anything at all! Sometimes I don't realize that I set expectations for myself that are way too high. On a day-to-day basis, my body, my Migraines, my NDPH, and my anxiety put limitations on me. So, when the often stress-filled holidays arrive, I need to give myself even more leniency. So, I made a plan on which I could follow through.
Holiday Tip #1: Make it easy on yourself. Be Flexible. Only plan for what you think you can reasonably do.
Upon hearing of my Thanksgiving meal plans, my parents graciously offered to make a simple and easy traditional Thanksgiving meal. I made sure they understood that I would not be able to help out, especially if I was having a pain-filled day. This brings me to my Holiday Tips #2 and #3.
Holiday Tip #2: Let others help you out, especially when they offer it. :)
Holiday Tip #3: Keep good communication lines open with those who you will be interacting with during the holidays.
When I get together with family members and friends, I have found it extremely helpful to let everyone know what limitations I have. Often I tell my family/friends what they might expect from me. I let them know, in advance, that if I have a Migraine or an elevated NDPH, I may or may not be able to participate in activities as planned. I am honest about the fact that I may need frequent breaks. By doing this, when I come upon a situation where I need to leave early, or go to a back room for a break, others already understand why. If I am going to someone else's house and find myself in a situation where it is necessary for me to retreat to a quiet bedroom because of a Migraine, I feel comfortable doing so.
Holiday Tip #4: Enjoy the moment.
This is a very simple one, but a tip I am still trying to master. My parents arrived on Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Tuesday and Wednesday, I had a low-grade NDPH, but I was able to enjoy my parents' company and conversation. A Migraine was not interfereing and it was lovely. As I was sitting on the floor, playing with the dogs and laughing with my mom, I realized how wonderful it was. I wasn't alone. I was enjoying myself. I had people to talk to and to listen to. It was great.
Thanksgiving Day arrived and so did menstrually related Migraines and severe cramps. I attempted joining my parents to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (one of my favorite family traditions). But I had to make a hasty retreat to my bedroom for darkness and quiet as all the symptoms of a Migraine settled in. I ended up spending the whole day in bed away from all of our guests. I ate my mom's beautifully cooked meal in bed and spent most of the day in a medication/pain haze. I did venture out to watch part of a movie with family, but soon retreated to my quiet cave.
Although, this was not the Thanksgiving day I envisioned or hoped for, having my family together at my house brought me so much joy. I could hear their muffled laughter and pleasant conversation. I could hear them cheering or groaning while playing a board game. In the past, I had the reaction of being jealous that I was not present. But, this time, I was so happy that they were even there. I usually spend my days alone. And to have a house full of family was a huge blessing.
Holiday Tip #6: If the holidays do not go as you'd hoped or planned, try to find something to be glad about.
Best wishes this holiday season for finding enjoyment despite Migraine disease.