It's surprising, at least to me, that I can charge forward at the holidays-- Always, pushing, pushing, pushing forward and past my ailments to take care of things but when the dust settles and I actually STOP for a full minute and breathe, the magnitude of just how much I've over worked my tired body smacks me in the face. The fact that it's a stinging, full-on whack isn't surprising. What's surprising is that I'm surprised!
I've been at this lupus game for close to 20 years and I should know better. Way better.
Watching television as the ball dropped on New York's Time Square, I winced as I stood with our small group of friends to countdown the last 10 seconds of 2011. Joint pain and extreme fatigue were in full bloom and I had no one to blame but myself.
After a quick mental inventory of my health, I caught myself trying to justify my actions as "worth it". My hands were swollen as a result of finishing this baby quilt in time for Christmas... The border, hand sewn, should have taken about an hour to complete. Instead it took me three days as I struggled to maneuver the needle between my thumb and forefinger. But, without hesitation, I checked the "worth it" column in my head.
My knees, hips and ankles were inflamed beyond recent memory but I'd cooked numerous meals for friends and loved ones and baked and baked and baked for the holidays which definitely contributed to my aches. Again, another "worth it" check mark.
And my energy, never all that great in the first place, was a hiccup away from crashing and burning as the seconds wound down for 2011. What would I have changed in recent weeks? What wouldn't I have done to feel a little better? Who wouldn't I have invited to dinner in exchange for a bit more energy. Again in a blink, the "worth it" column received a check mark.
But here I sit, worn and tired to the bone from the holidays. And it's not the first time. This seems to be a conversation I have with myself on an annual basis. Years of lupus and related issues have taught me to delegate, just say no, and how to make guilt-free dinner reservations, but when it comes to Christmas and Hanukkah, it seems I lose my senses and push myself too far.
So as usual, the top of my New Year's Resolution List is to STOP with the holiday insanity and learn to pace myself this time of the year. I've actually written notes to myself in my new 2012 calendar to reinforce the Resolution throughout the year because this time I. Really. Mean. It!
I know without a doubt that I am incredibly blessed not to be sicker than I actually am. And I know there are many things with my illness that I can't control. But actively participating in my wellness is a 365 day job, and that includes the holidays too.
So with all good intentions of a happy and healthy and smarter 2012, I wish all the same to you as well.
Happy New Year!
Joanna J. aka Lemon-AidPhoto Credit: © Callahan - Fotolia.com