Food Allergy Parents: A Holiday Gift To Yourself
The holidays brim with good cheer and good times. Don't they?
Sometimes, not so much. (Being honest here.)
With already jam packed days — whether it’s the care, feeding and loving of our children, keeping the chaos at bay at home, our work and volunteer commitments, school demands, nurturing personal relationships, managing food allergies 24:7, or caring for aging parents — during the holidays, we try to squeeze in MORE.
It's easy to become overwhelmed by the flurry of MORE.
Wish lists created and 'elves' working overtime to deliver? Check.
Holiday decorations found and hung? (extra batteries please) Check.
Family photo (you know, THE ONE with everyone looking at the camera and smiling) captured? Check
Holiday cards? Addressed? Sent? Check.
Baking and more baking? Check.
Holiday gifts for teachers & coaches ready? Check.
Surprises for far flung relatives wrapped & mailed? Check.
Holiday celebrations planned? Check.
As a long-time food allergy mom, I know my holiday spirit gets a bit dented by the sheer volume of extras that compete for my attention in December. Just sayin'.
So how can you expect to keep the magic and joy in the holidays if you're running on empty?
I know it's easier said than done, but try to give yourself space to breathe and to reset. Love yourself enough to put yourself first...some of the time. Think about:
Sleeping in an extra 5 minutes on a weekday.
Finding 20 minutes to take a walk. Notice the trees, notice the sky, feel the sun.
Having breakfast at the beach or park—just you, your coffee, and the morning quiet.
Gifting yourself a nap. No guilt.
Baking cookies and eating as many as you want—no calorie counting, no sharing required.
Taking your pup to romp at the dog park.
Going on a bike ride. Conquering the hill.
Reading 'How Murray Saved Christmas' and finding your smile.
Making a snow angel. Then another. And another.
Calling a friend you haven’t spoken to in too long and talking. Really talking.
Taking the long way home from work just to see the lights & Christmas decorations.
Buying yourself some fresh flowers. Yellow tulips are highly recommended!
Leaving the dishes in the sink for 'later' and losing yourself in a book or a craft.
Making a loaf of cranberry bread and giving it away, just because.
Reacquainting yourself with the gym for a hot minute. You'll be so glad you did.
Declaring ‘takeout pizza night’ and watching 'A Christmas Carol' for the 1000th time.
Taking a bubble bath. Don’t forget a glass of wine or tea in your favorite mug.
Opening up your favorite yoga app and finding your flow. Sun salutation anyone?
Fill in the blank _____________________________________
...and remember to breathe.
So, this holiday season, give yourself the gift of putting yourself first here and there, and don't just think about it. Do it. Start small (something is good enough) so you can be fully present for the people you love most in the world...AND keep the holiday spirit alive and well in your heart and mind.
" ...When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow...You cannot serve from an empty vessel. ”
— Eleanor Brown, American novelist, anthologist, editor, teacher & speaker
About the Author: Gayle Rigione is CEO of Allergy Force, the food allergy app. She’s also an allergy mom. She’s lived the heart stopping moments when her son ate the wrong thing, second guessed reactions and raced to the ER. These experiences inspire her to create tech tools for people with food allergies. Whatever you do, do it with a full heart. Audentes Fortuna Iuvat
Photo Credit: Rigione Family Archive