In this series of blogs on Christmas with a chronic illness I share my ways of coping with the festive period. This first one is all about coping with impromptu visits from family and friends.

Ever wondered how to cope with Christmas when you have a limited energy supply? I think it’s similar to planning it with a limited monetary supply. The key is planning and budgeting.

But I’m used to budgeting my money and energy supply during the rest of the year, so Christmas shouldn’t be too much different should it? Money wise, no it isn’t. But energy wise it is. You see Christmas is a time of spontaneity for most people, they drop by the house to spread Christmas cheer with little or no warning which makes managing a limited energy supply rather difficult. But it can more or less be done.

For the most part I spend Christmas with my immediate family. But like I say visitors pop in throughout the Christmas period (usually in the lead up to it) which drains my energy before the actual event. So these days I’ve taken to retreating to a quieter room; I stay for a few minutes to say hello and wish them a happy Christmas but if I feel my energy levels dwindling I move to a quieter place. That could be the kitchen where there’s only one or two people chatting and they don’t mind me not participating, or if I’m feeling really drained I choose to go to my room. It’s not that I want to be antisocial and not see our family, friends etc. It’s just I simply don’t have the energy to do that AND have a good time on Christmas day, Boxing day etc. with my family and whoever we have staying or for dinner that year. So I hide.

Of course I’m lucky living with my parents and sister, in that I can hide away – there’s still someone there for the visitors to talk to. If I was home alone things would be a lot more difficult and I don’t know how I’d cope. I imagine I’d find a way but I suspect there would be a big impact on how I spent my time during the actual event.

Look out for more about Preparing for Christmas in my next blog!

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