I absolutely love the holidays. I am a sucker for the music, decorations, baking, all of it. Unfortunately, it’s also a time where my body is prone to flares and has a hard time keeping up with everything I want to do. When living with lupus, I’m constantly trying to balance what I want to do and what I actually can do.
This is a time of year that I must practice some serious self-control with what I commit to, especially since the activities I enjoy like ice skating, parties, and shopping are often hard on my body. I try to figure out how I can adapt these activities to make them more accessible and work for my needs. This usually means prioritizing what events and traditions are most important to me, spacing out the amount I do each day, and definitely doing my shopping online.
The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously changed my holiday plans quite a bit. My girlfriend and I are unable to travel, so for the second year in a row, our Christmas will be the two of us. We are both very close with our families, so it’s hard to not be with them for the holidays again.
I am grateful that our families have not questioned our choices or boundaries and know this is the right decision for all of our safety. I do get frustrated seeing others proceed with life as if we are no longer in a pandemic and let myself have my moments of disappointment and anger that we are still in a situation where it’s unsafe to be with family. During this time, we have thankfully found ways to lean into the holiday spirit, connect with loved ones from afar, incorporate old traditions, and make new ones of our own.
Every year, my dad and I watch The Santa Clause together. Last year, we watched it through the GroupWatch feature on Disney+ while on FaceTime. Though I wish we could’ve been cuddled up on the couch in person, I still felt like we were watching together.
FaceTime also helped us continue a tradition in my girlfriend’s family -- the annual reading of a Christmas book on Christmas Eve. Last year, we all gathered virtually to listen to my girlfriend’s dad read a story. It felt really special to still be able to do these things that are so important to us.
Since we spend most of our time at home and won’t be attending parties this year (my body thanks me), I am leaning hard into our decor. We got our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving and decorated our apartment immediately. Does it look like Christmas exploded? Yes. Do I drink my coffee out of a snowman mug every day? Yes. Do I put on holiday music whenever I get the chance? Yes, and it makes me extremely happy.
I don’t want people to pity my holiday situation in the pandemic. The way I look at it -- I don’t have a choice but to celebrate in the way we are. I feel so fortunate to feel fulfilled and enjoy the holiday season even in these circumstances.
Last year allowed me to give my body a break in a time when it rarely gets one and it truly felt restorative. I look forward to celebrating again in this new way, making our families’ favorite recipes, and being on FaceTime with them as we open presents.
Photo Credit: Lorado / E+ via Getty Images
Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.
Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.