The holidays can be magical, full of warmth and happy times.
Or they can be a bit of a stress fest.
To steer your holidays in the right direction, we went to the experts - patients, caregivers and health care providers - to ask for their best holiday advice. Here’s what they said:
- Don’t get distracted.
Stay focused and keep treatments on track, said caregiver Lori Kunkel, who raised three sons who have hemophilia.
“The holidays are busy and there may be additional people in the home. It’s critical not to lose focus of what you would normally do in your home, or with your treatment regimen,” she said.
- Keep practicing self-care.
Nebraska infusion nurse Laura Rohe stressed health precautions like hand-washing and a flu shot, but also added self-care to the list.
“I think it is extremely important to get enough sleep and eat well. Exercise is wonderful for the immune system…It is so beneficial for the body and mind,” Rohe said.
- Find balance.
Winter is cold and flu season, so you’ll want to do what you can to avoid getting sick. But Richard Lovrich, who has the lung disease alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, recommends a balanced approach.
“Be cautious, but do not avoid the things and people you enjoy,” he said. “Take reasonable precautions and relax.”
- Know your limits.
Aidan Walsh is still in high school, but he knows that staying well means listening to his body. He recommends setting limits and taking breaks.
“Sometimes I just need a day of rest,” said Walsh, who has a primary immunodeficiency disease.
- Less can be more.
Do the holidays feel like one obligation after the other? That’s not the idea, said Lynne Doebber, who is semiretired and also has a primary immunodeficiency disease.
“Unplug. The holidays are supposed to be enjoyed, not dreaded,” Doebber said. “Try to celebrate and treat yourself to a cup of tea.”