Managing IBD and Holiday Stress

Managing IBD and Holiday Stress
Last week, I wrote about how I have to be mindful of my eating habits during the holiday season. But managing my food intake is a breeze compared to my No. 1 trigger: stress. Preparing for the holidays can be daunting, but letting go and relaxing is close to impossible for a control freak like me. And that puts my health at risk. Usually, I’m pretty laid back. But there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done during the holidays. I constantly have to remind myself that I have a chronic disease. No matter how well I feel, I’m not like everyone else. Because of my health limitations, I deserve to be a little selfish for my well-being. Avoiding stress begins with setting boundaries. I have a difficult time saying no. I think it’s because I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, or have them think that I don’t care. Making excuses not to go to a friend’s party has become easier over the years. With family, it's a little trickier. Holiday stress was worse in 2006, when I was diagnosed with IBD. I wasn’t married, and my older sister had moved in with me as she planned for her wedding and impending move to England. My oldest sister had not yet moved to San Antonio, and my parents were still living in Oklahoma. For several years, I hosted almost all the holiday gatherings. Although everyone helped cook and clean, entertaining drained what little energy I had on top of the fatigue I already felt from IBD. Fortunately, everyone in my immediate family now lives within 90 miles, and we celebrate at my parents’ home. When I've had enough celebrating, I go home. While I still st
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