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Holidays Overwhelming


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#1 barefut

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 09:51 AM

Easier said than done this time of year. I feel over extended and I haven't really even done anything to speak of. Have had a lot of revolving door traffic though with 3 snow days this week and kids and friends coming and going. Just having to be "on" sometimes is exhausting enough.

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving at a friend's home and will be having my sister and her hubby and 3 neighbors over tomorrow. Sis will help a lot but I stil have to clean the house before everyone comes. The boys do help but you know...

So I don't know but for some reason I feel like crying today. Plenty to be thankful for, for sure! I guess I may just be feeling overwhelmed. Not just with holiday stuff but the same old same old sclero stuff wearing me down.

I hope you all are finding ways to combat the blues and the blahs this time of year. I'd love to hear how you are coping.

#2 Joelf

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 11:39 AM

Hi Barefut

Sorry to hear that you're feeling a bit under the weather. Here's some :flowers: for you.

I find the best way of coping is to prioritize whatever I want to do. It sounds as if you are ever so busy with your family and neighbours, but if you overdo it you won't be able to enjoy yourself and that would be a real shame. I'm afraid I put 'cleaning the house' fairly low on my list, although obviously I don't want the place to be too much of a tip or it becomes embarrassing!! :blush:

In the run up to the holiday festivities I have got quite a few social functions to go to; I hope I can stand the pace! :lol: I know what you mean though, sometimes it becomes quite an effort to get organised. I am a bit of a worrier, anyway. ;)

You do need to take some time out for yourself as well and then perhaps you'll be able to enjoy your visitors tomorrow; I do hope so.

Sending you a :emoticon-hug:

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#3 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 11:55 AM

Hi Barefut,

I'm sorry you're feeling overwhelmed right now. That's certainly a common feeling for many of us; trying to cope with the holidays and illness at the same time drains about four times the energy. Consider, even many perfectly healthy people become overwhelmed by the holidays, so how much more are the odds stacked against us?

I'm betting you're probably more in the mood for a nice long nap than a day of cleaning. Maybe folks can pitch in here with their best speed-cleaning tips. I have several:

1. Remove the major clutter but don't even think of dealing with it. Toss in baskets, and toss the baskets out of sight. If they can't be stashed in an off-limits room, put them in a pile and toss a blanket (or something) over it. Kids are great at clutter collecting, especially if its their toys and especially if they get a reward for this extra-special help. Seriously, do NOT use this time to put the clutter in its place; you need to reserve that energy for entertaining.

2. First of all, clean the main bathroom the guests will be using, focusing on the sink and toilet. They say that if guests see the toilet is spotless, they assume the rest of the house is (underneath it all). You can, at least, hope this is so.

3. Spray something lemony throughout the house. Everywhere. In abundance. Then air the place out a little bit, but not too much. People will subconsciously think it is the residue of dusting spray, fresh laundry, and scrubbed floors. We hope.

4. Put a sign on the front door that warns people not to get their hopes too high. This sets the stage for them to be pleasantly surprised things aren't as bad as they thought. The sign on our door is very rustric and says, "Welcome to our cabin." We live in a condo, so you see, people expect neat and plush. But the sign warns them that will not be the case! Another sign we have says, "Anytime I get the urge to clean, I lay down until the feeling passes." Be creative!

Real friends won't care what the place is like, of course. Everyone else, well, who cares?!
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
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Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#4 red

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 01:03 AM

Hi barefut, I do hope that today you are feeling a bit better. I had quite a teary day yesterday too - I think a combination of exhaustion, sadness (first major holiday without both parents - my dad passed away this summer, mom has been gone 4 years now), and frustration, because even though I am not working anymore, I still can't seem to get anything appreciable done around the house. I think sometimes we just need to let our emotions out, have a good cry, accept our limitations, and get on with the day, even if that means just getting in the recliner for the rest of the day.

On the positive side, though, my family is very supportive and I didn't really have to do anything for Thanksgiving dinner except show up at my sister-in-law's and relax. Most of my kin is very understanding about my home's disarrayed appearance too, except now I have a new son-in-law who is kind of a "neat freak" (to quote my daughter!), so I am trying to step up the housecleaning but in the end he'll just need to accept me for who I am!

Shelley - I love your speed cleaning tips (and I need that sign about the urge to clean)! I spend a lot of time in my main floor bathroom (bowel issues!) so I do prioritize to keep this room as clean as possible, as well as my large eat-in kitchen, where I entertain most guests. Beware to those who venture further in my house! My den is affectionately referred to as "the clutter room" as it is most convenient to stuff it full of overflow from the living room when we have company. I almost always have a large jigsaw puzzle in process on my dining room table, so I use this as an excuse for not clearing off and cleaning the rest of the area ("we're not eating in that room anyway...")... you get the idea.

Online shopping has also been a great tool for me to reduce energy expenditures. I get in my comfortable chair, with a cup of tea by my side, and can shop for the holidays on my laptop, chat with my family members by phone or computer messages... I take advantage of gift wrapping if the price is reasonable, and I even do a lot of my non-perishable grocery shopping this way .... Have to remember to get gifts for the mail and delivery people too, as they are frequent visitors to my front door!

Yes, it is easier said than done trying not to overextend ourselves, but those who know us do understand and love us anyway. I think we are harder on ourselves than others are, and in that regard we really do need to give ourselves a break, and a pat on the back (figuratively if we are too stiff to reach!) for the little things we can accomplish each day.

More flowers for you :flowers: !!

red

#5 Snowbird

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 01:27 AM

Well Barefut

I'm a day late in chiming in but every now and then, sometimes (not always), it seems all we need to pick ourselves up is one good cry. If that was the case, I hope you had it and feel much, much better today.

It can be overwhelming with a lot of company especially if you don't really feel ready for it but I'll bet it goes better than you thought. I'm obviously hoping for the best for you! Do tell us how you are doing/made out?
Sending good wishes your way!

#6 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 03:38 AM

Hi Barefut,

I'm late chiming in too, but since we have another major energy sink looming in less than a month, I thought I'd share my tip. For me it is all about pacing myself. I put a game up on my computer, play one round of Spider Solitaire or Free Cell, then go do one task. It doesn't have to be a big one, even cleaning the glass on the coffee table is enough. Then I play another round of my game, do another task, and so on. I start a few days before the event and by the time it rolls around, all I have to do is a last whiz through with a dust mop and damp cloth and the place looks really good. When I first started doing this, I felt like I was slacking, but I was amazed that I was accomplishing more than I had when I just dug in and tried to get it all done at once.

The other thing I have learned is the value of simply saying "No thanks" to myself and others. My husband's employer always throws a lavish party in December. But it involves finding something to wear (that I won't ever wear again, probably), all the hassle of hair and make-up, uncomfortable shoes, finding something warm to put on over a party frock, trying to eat something that will probably not sit well, too much standing around in a drafty room holding a cold glass, and worst of all, a cold ride to and from the place and a very late night. So, we just say "No thanks."

And last but not least, instead of doing a major holiday bash for friends and family, at the end of December, we do a whole week of smaller parties. Having cleaned the house for the first one and cooked something like a big ham that will make a great buffet style meal for several days, I have to expend very little effort for the following mini parties. That way we we also get to spend quality time with our smaller groups of guests instead of me being frazzled by a big gang and having a melt-down.

Getting the weepies is a sure sign that it's time to make a cuppa, stretch out with a blanket, and REST!

If you are in the area around Dec. 26, drop in for some great ham and bean soup and a hug,
Jeannie McClelland
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#7 barefut

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 04:37 AM

Ahhhh thanks so much everyone!

My sister will be here in 2 1/2 hours and I am working on a combination of Shelley and Jeannie's methods this morning. Not gonna waste energy on a shower as I took one yesterday and my hair doesn't look too bad this morning. Gonna put the boys to work on the living room while I tackle the kitchen and bathroom but first I gotta have that cuppa!

My weepies never did turn into a full blown cry yesterday. I hate it when I "feel like crying but the tears won't come" - that is in a song isn't it?

Anyway, thank you all for your replies and support. I've enjoyed reading them this morning. You all have given me just what I needed to get through my day!

Love love love to yous!

#8 Sweet

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 10:32 AM

Love to you my Barefut friend.

I hear ya about the being "on". I just had a very overstimulated weekend. I didn't have ONE quiet moment. I didn't even sleep because I was so keyed up that I was unable to. Sometimes I have to pop into the bathroom, whether I have to go or not and just sit there. I plug my ears so I can't hear everyone else, and just breath, trying to get myself centered again. :flowers:
Warm and gentle hugs,

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#9 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 09:13 AM

Barefut, did you survive your company? Do you have any tips to share that worked for you in preparing for it?

Sweet, oh my word, I can't even imagine a weekend without sleep. Have things settled down for you?
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
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#10 barefut

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 03:38 AM

Sweet ~ I retreat to the bathroom too! And do the exact same thing! Ha-ha! It's either that or collapse in front of everybody.

Shelley ~ I survived! The best preparation was yours and Jeannie's cleaning methods and a glass of wine! My sister, bless her heart, was a huge help and I was able to relax and visit with new freinds.

Now, to get through one more....I have just decided to not put the pressure on myself to decorate the house, put up outside lights, cook from scratch...its the best gift I could give to myself even though I miss doing all those things.

#11 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 05:21 AM

Hi Barefut,

There are various schools of thought regarding whether people who are sick should stop altogether or reduce holiday traditions or festivities or make every effort to maintain them as usual.

I may be wrong (I often am!) but I think it boils down to what our reaction, and our loved ones reactions affect on us -- whether in the end it is overall positive or overall negative for us to make changes in traditions.

I have a friend who suffers from depression, and she goes all out to put up holiday decorations elaborately as soon in the season as possible -- because she finds that it lifts her spirits beautifully. It puts a smile on her face, gives her a 'project' to do, and makes it fun for her to invite a friend or two over during the season. I say, this is absolutely perfect for her, and she should keep on doing it, because she finds it restorative.

Then there's me. When I became sick, one of the first things I gave up was holiday stuff. We did give it some thought and a few family discussions. What we figured out was that our bottom line was that we loved going out to look at the holiday lights, so we would always do that for an hour or two each year. We erased all the traditional cooking expectations from both sides of our families, asking which (if any) of those dishes we 'had to' keep to signify a holiday well-celebrated for us.

We were quite surprised to find that both of us were just fine without all the desserts and ethnic dishes. My husband felt strongly that to him a 'perfect holiday meal' would be just cheese, crackers and sausage; and he'd like a bit of store-bought egg nog, too.

We would usually put up one string of lights, or something, each year. This year though we seem to have bailed completely on holiday decorating so far. It is so much less to bother with! It makes us happier not dealing with all the 'shoulds' of holidays. We are more content, more refreshed, and more relaxed than most of our peers during this time. So, this approach works for us beautifully, for now.

Perhaps at some point we'll change, who knows? That door is always open. If we were going to entertain, maybe we'd put up that string of lights again or pull out the holiday decorations box. Or maybe not!

The point of it all is that we should be focusing on what truly makes us happy during the holidays. If we need all the hullaballoo to feel happy, fine. If we really need to severely pare it down to relieve stress on ourselves (and our illness), that's fine too! If we make a rational decision to try the 'reduced' approach, that includes the decision to not feeling guilty or ashamed about it. If guilt or shame would weigh too heavily on us, then it's probably not a good option.

We felt a huge relief with our (well considered) reduced holiday mode and continue to enjoy the substantial rewards of it every year. If at any point that changed, then we would change our approach, as well. But we would no longer do it just because we were raised that way, just because our families did it that way, just because it was the 'thing to do'.
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#12 miocean

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Posted 09 December 2010 - 09:30 AM

Over the past six years my holiday decorations dwindled little by little until last year, when I hardly did anything. I managed to help my husband decorate the tree, put a couple of things around the house and he did a wreath on the door and a few outdoor lights. We live in a condo so we don't do that much anyway. I had him marked several boxes of tree ornaments "Do Not Use" because it was just too much for me.

This year is a different story! I feel so good since my transplant I am really excited about it! I've done things little by little, and of course, dear husband has been a major help. I've bought a lot of new decorations and want more but am holding off. I realized I was missing a lot of things and, of course, they were in the boxes marked do not use, all antique ornaments from my mother and her friend that are now displayed in a bowl on the table. I'm like a little kid driving around and seeing all the lights! The family is scattered for the holidays, Saturday is his big family celebration on at his sister's but all the shopping is done, and I just have to wrap We spend holiday Eve and holiday Day alone, which is a little sad, but nice, too. We are hosting a couple of small events between the holidays. Again, he is the cook so I never deal with that. although I am "considering" making some cookies!

I will say, I am paying the price of all the running up and down stairs and running around. Last night I tried to wrap a few gifts and could barely do it. We went out to dinner and my legs started to go. I was able to make it through but came home and did nothing. I slept as late as I could today but had appointments, have a short break now, and an evening meeting, but am not doing anything else. It can wait.

I can't say this to others, but you will all understand. I feel like I am preparing for my future death. I find myself marking things as I get out the holiday stuff so others will know what they are when they go through my things, and not think they are junk. We are changing our wills to a new executor and I am planning on photographing my jewelry and putting it in a document so, again, it is not considered junk. Am I crazy or just being realistic?

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