Managing Holiday Stress with Hemophilia

Managing Holiday Stress with Hemophilia
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I love the holidays — candlelight, decorations, the smell of baking, and time with family. I look forward to the holidays every year, but I am also keenly aware that holidays can be more stressful with the realities of managing hemophilia.

Here are some tips for the upcoming holiday season.

Protecting yourself physically

  • Make sure you get enough sleep: Sleep deprivation can lead to both illness and injury. I know that I am a total klutz when I am walking around in a sleep-deprived fog!
  • Eat healthy foods: It is easy to overindulge on wonderful holiday treats. In the end, treats can drag us down and make us feel as though we are moving more slowly.
  • Choose safe physical activities: I know many families who have holiday traditions that include sports, be it flag football or a basketball game. These activities can be wonderful or dangerous. Some people with hemophilia can play with proper safety precautions; others need safer replacement activities. Consult with your hemophilia treatment center, if necessary, and do your best to prevent trips to the emergency room! 

Protecting yourself emotionally

  • Make sure you get enough sleep: Yes, I see a pattern here. Sleep doesn’t just protect us physically. It also protects us emotionally. We are better able to handle emotional stress and be present when we have the sleep that we need.
  • Set healthy boundaries: Sometimes, the holiday season is hard for families, and we must set boundaries. It is OK to limit time at family gatherings, agree to safe activities ahead of time, and make sure that certain subjects are not discussed. It is also OK to take a timeout or to leave early if a gathering is not working for you. Know when you need to say no and say it!
  • Resist the drama: Unfortunately, holidays sometimes breed drama. But you have the right to choose not to feed into it. Drama has the best chance of dissipating if individuals make conscious choices to limit their involvement.
  • Surround yourself with supportive people: We all deserve to be with people who are supportive and kind. Make sure to find time to be with your support network.
  • Allow yourself to laugh and cry: It is important to express emotions during the holiday season. Laugh, cry, and find the moments that make you thankful.

Enjoy the holidays

When you can, give experiences and memories — they can last longer than any other gift. I try to take the time to invest in experiences and making memories with my children. I often find that time spent with and focused on my children means more to them than gifts they might receive. For example, you could volunteer to serve a meal at a homeless shelter, visit an escape room, go geocaching, read stories, cook a meal, go caroling, see a holiday light display, share your favorite holiday memories, or facilitate the spirit of the holidays for younger children.

Remember that, while hemophilia can be an inconvenience, it doesn’t have to be a Scrooge that takes away our holiday cheer. Take a moment to find the small and large things for which you can be thankful. We can find joy in the holidays, hemophilia and all.

Best wishes for a joyous and fulfilling holiday season.

***

Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.

Shellye Horowitz is a licensed school counselor and school administrator with over 25 years of experience in the field of education. Shellye has strong ties to the bleeding disorders community with six traceable generations of hemophilia A in her family.
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Shellye Horowitz is a licensed school counselor and school administrator with over 25 years of experience in the field of education. Shellye has strong ties to the bleeding disorders community with six traceable generations of hemophilia A in her family.
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