Today is the last day before the holiday season kicks off here at The Unwritten so myself and the rest of the editorial team wanted to send you all some festive wishes.
I know as disabled and chronically ill people this Christmas is going to be a bit different and it might be tough in parts, but we can make it special in our own way.
I hope you all have a Christmas time that is restful and full of joy despite the circumstances we find ourselves in. Most of all despite everything, I still have hope for 2022 and hopefully you still do too.
I’ve also asked my lovely team to give some of their tips for getting through the holidays, and quite frankly, theirs are magnificent, as are they. So I’m going to start off with my slightly more mediocre ones first.
Naps are for heroes
Yknow who naps? Captain America, probably. Yes I know he’s a supersoldier but are you telling me he doesn’t love a nap? (Bucky, definitely doesn’t nap, that’s why he’s so grumpy.)
Anyway that’s beside the point. Naps are the best. Naps are restorative, but they also give you a break from the noise of festivities leaving you to come back in a few hours feeling a little bit fresher.
Give yourself permission to say no
I know at Christmas it may seem like you have to do everything to please your family and friends but here’s a reminder – you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. If you don’t want to go to someone’s house you don’t bloody have to, you’re an adult!
Break it up into small manageable chunks
In the old times, my Christmas morning consisted of around 25 people crammed into my grandparent’s house, we’d literally spill across three rooms! While I loved it, I now realise that this just isn’t feasible with my immune system.
So this year my aunties, uncles cousins, etc are all staggering visits to my grandparents. My husband and I are making Christmas eve a family visit day and breaking it down over 3 houses with small groups in each one, then we’re spending the “big day” as a family with our sausage dog Rusty. This reduces the stress considerably.
I’m going to hand it over now to my lovely team. Once again wishing you all a happy holidays!
Caroline McDonagh-Delves – Deputy Editor
If the holiday season can be happy for you, I wish that for you now. We all thought 2021 obviously had to be better than 2020 and in many instances it just… wasn’t. I hope that with a little help from your friends and some self care pointers, you can get 2022 off to the best possible start.
I know we’ve all been saying it for the best part of two years, and the words have mostly begun to lose their meaning, but it is still as important as ever.
Whether that’s managing risks from covid-19, making sure you’ve all the equipment and medication you need to get through the bank holidays, or looking after your mental health in what is often a trying time. If you haven’t ordered your medication, stop reading and phone your GP now!
Exert your boundaries
You don’t have to stay in a situation or conversation that you feel is detrimental to your health and wellbeing. You can turn down invites, change the subject, or simply leave the room. If this one is feeling difficult, excuse yourself to the toilet or ask a friend to call you for a perfect “leave the table” situation.
Manage your time
If, like I was last year, you’re unlucky enough to have to work this festive season, it doesn’t mean it has to be a bust. Christmas dinner or presents don’t necessarily have to be done on Christmas Day, you can schedule those things when they work for you. Also, don’t forget to plan for rest – you deserve it.
Cath Poucher – Sub-Editor
I’m sending all the readers and contributors of The Unwritten lots of love and best wishes for a fantastic festive season, with the hope of a wonderful few days for you all. As a seasoned optimist I’m keeping my fingers crossed that next year will get easier for us, so that wishing you a “Happy New Year” won’t be an empty greeting.
The holiday season can be difficult, and with a second festive season of limitations and restrictions, these are some self-care tips to look after yourself this year:
Give yourself a “pass” to remove yourself
Christmas can present lots of triggers and obligations that can make us uncomfortable or have a negative impact on your mental health.
While sometimes we can feel, or indeed are obligated to do these things, remember to know your limit. Sometimes it’s okay to say, “no”. Take a break if you need to; stick on a Christmas film, read a book or do something relaxing for you.
If possible, try to plan ahead. Any triggers, accessibility issues, or problematic situations that may occur? Try to think ahead and plan ways that will enable you to cope with that issue. Do you have someone that can support you in this difficult situation? If so, enlist them to provide support if needed.
Manage those difficult people in advance
Dreading confronting those difficult family members with awkward or downright offensive comments? While some people are confident in challenging or explaining how they make you feel, this isn’t always possible.
Instead, try one of the following:
- Plan some answers in advance so you’re not caught off guard
- Think about how to bring difficult conversations to an end diplomatically and calmly
- Find an activity or alternative conversation to steer the person to instead.
I wanted to end this by thanking you all from the bottom of my heart for supporting The Unwritten this past year. Thank you to all the amazing readers, supporters, writers and of course to my fantastic editorial team.
This last year has been so tough for disabled people but our community is strong. I hope next year that we can continue to represent everything you stand for and given even more of you a voice.
The Unwritten will be taking a break until 3rd January, we can’t wait to work with you then.
Happy holidays and here’s to a powerful 2022
Rachel and the editorial team
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