Monday 9 December 2019

Spoonie Writer: Dealing With Holidays


It's that time of year again, when everything seems to pile up at once and all the spoonies in the world are struggling to get through a stressful, flare-filled time of year. Whether you celebrate Christmas, or any other holiday towards the end of the year, you're having to deal with pain, writing, and relatives all in one foul swoop. We're not there yet, but I thought that I would start us off right and give you some of my tips for both keeping on schedule and also not working yourself into a flare.

I celebrate Christmas and usually spend this time of year going between parents, and getting all the bits and pieces together for both the holiday and the stuff that happens afterwards. I'm pretty lucky to have parents who get that I need to do things on a schedule and that things can change at any time. The new oxygen concentrator I have now is a smaller one, but it has a limited battery so that means making sure I can charge it up when needed. But that's just me, how are you going to balance both writing and getting through the holiday season? Glad you asked, because I have some tips for you!


As you all know by now, I am a super planner when it comes to my time. I've talked about how I use Sticky Notes to plan my month and slot things in when needed. (Piece found here) You don't have to go to that level, or even use the same idea, but planning your time, and when you're seeing who and all of that will help you schedule things like rest days and days for writing. It doesn't work for everyone, but it's been a massive help for me.

It means that I can make sure my writing days are blocked off, but that the days when I'm seeing family or doing something strenuous can be surrounded with low impact days, or days off completely so that I can recharge and make sure that I'm not going to be pushing myself into a flare.

Along with point one, there should, always, but especially around the holidays, be days when you do nothing. As a spoonie, you know that your energy levels can change and can have an impact on what you're doing. So filling your time with high-impact stuff is just going to make you miserable, and possibly sick. I try to make sure that I have at least two days a month where I'm doing nothing, but I also have a lot of low-impact days to counter the days when I'm working long hours. It's important to rest!


There are gonna be some instances where you have to cancel, or you need to alter how things are done. I know it sucks, I know it's hard to advocate for yourself and that for some people, their families aren't supportive. But if you can, let people know what you're able to do, and how long you can stay. Allow them to plan for times when you might not make it. This goes into planning your time, but make sure those important to you know what you're planning to do any one day. Have some flexibility in your schedule so that you're not having to squeeze things in when you really don't have time.

I really wish this wasn't something I had to say, but it is. There are always going to be some people who demand your time, or just don't get that you can't do everything, and they won't listen to you when you try to explain. I've been there, I've done that, and it's hard as hell. My only advice is to try and not take it personally, which is a big ask when this is something that you have no control over. I get it, I do. My parents are divorced, Dad lives an hours drive from me, and sometimes he and my step-mum don't get that I can't stay for hours and hours and still be okay to get home. I've tried explaining it, but it seems to go over their heads. So I just accept that they're not going to get it, and move on.

I say try, because some times there's nothing to do but call the day a loss and move past it. You might have all the plans in the world and half of them have to be cancelled or fall through because of health stuff. You might have plans to write all through the holidays and find that actually, you can't, but try not to let this have an impact on your enjoyment. It's supposed to be a good time, and I say that knowing that things get really stressful over the holidays. The money aspect, the time suck, and the fact that for some of us, we just want to write and get through the month in one piece. But try to make sure that you schedule something in there that you know you will enjoy, something that maybe relaxes you and doesn't take as many spoons, but just take care of yourself.

The holidays are a stressful time for most people, but for spoonies, there's the added risk of falling ill, or having a flare in the middle of them. It's a game I play with my body every year since my birthday falls at the end of the holiday season. If I can make it through Christmas, New Year and then my birthday, I'm pretty happy, and then it's all over and done for a year, and I breathe a big sigh of relief.

Happy writing, and I hope you're able to enjoy this holiday season! Lemme know your tips and tricks for fellow spoonie writers in the comments below.

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