There is nothing I love more than sitting around the Christmas tree with friends and family, sipping hot cocoa, singing holiday carols, and wearing a warm knit sweater with a reindeer on it. Ok, I admit it. I have never done any of those things, at least not all at the same time. I stole that scene from a holiday postcard. Rarely does life imitate a picture perfect moment such as the one I just described, nor should this be our expectation.
But for many of us, that’s exactly what this time means – a time when there’s more to do, traditions to uphold, people to impress, and numerous gatherings to manage. Our super hero self takes over and feels the need to do everything for everyone; this on top of our already demanding roles as primary caregiver, advocate, nurse, teacher, and professional.
This should, instead, be a time of the year when we’re able to slow down, relax, and have a great time with our loved ones, reflect on our past actions, and set our intentions for the future.
So this year, let’s plan to do just that. Easier said than done, right? Wrong. It’s easy.
The first step is to de-turtle. De-what, you ask? De-turtling is a word I made up to describe the process that a parent of a child with hemophilia must undergo to relax. You see most of the time, we wear armor to fend off all the negativity – the stares we might get for being overprotective on the playground, the skepticism we may face as we profess to know how to care for our child better than a doctor or nurse in the ER. Yes, quite understandably we build up our defenses, our walls get stronger and taller, until soon it becomes almost impossible for anyone to climb over and get in.
This process of de-turtling is indeed a process. It won’t happen instantaneously. You’ll need to surround yourself with people whom you feel completely safe and at ease, or just be by yourself if that’s better. Then close your eyes and take three long and deep breaths. Relax your body and your mind.
After you’ve had some time to decompress, you can begin to think about all of the things you have accomplished this year, and be proud of them, revel in your success, and even gloat to others about how wonderfully fantastic you are. The key here is to appreciate yourself and all that you do. So instead of putting all your energy into a celebration for everyone else, celebrate the most important person in your life – you!
And if you really need to pull together some kind of holiday gathering, just order take-out, go minimalist on the decorations, and tell everyone that you’ve been dealing with hemophilia issues lately, whether or not you really have been (Oh c’mon, we’ve all done it before.) They’ll understand, and if they don’t, they can be in charge of next year’s gathering.
Oh, and regarding those things that you didn’t get done this year but wanted to, you can also take some time to think about those items, consider why that might have been, and see if you can learn from those experiences. But do not start kicking yourself for not getting things done. If they are important to you, and if you are able to do so, prioritize them for next year.
Most importantly, think about what you want to achieve in the coming year, whether it is just one goal or a short list of goals. (Note how I am not calling these goals “New Year’s Resolutions” or NYRs, as I like to call them, which can also stand for “Not Your Reality.” I believe the minute they are referred to as NYRs, we develop an immediate aversion to them, almost like an allergy.)
In that same vein, I would highly recommend staying away from your typical NYRs such as eat better, exercise more, make new friends, get a better job, etc. Let’s just consider those goals the things that we should probably be doing every year, all year round, but we do the best we can given the fact that…well, we’re human.
Additionally, there is really no need to set too many goals. After all, you have many more years of goal setting in your future. So just think about the goals that you can realistically accomplish in the coming year.
You might also consider establishing certain criteria for your goals. For example, for me, all of my goals must contribute positively to my overall well being and make my life easier in some way. They can be challenging but not too difficult to achieve over a one-year period, and, importantly, they must make me happy.
Although my process is tried and true for me, I will say that whatever goal-setting process you decide to utilize, it needs to work for you and result in goals that are personally achievable, inspirational, and positive.
With that, I will wish you a productive goal setting session, a stress-free holiday season, and an incredible new year filled with warmth, health and happiness!
Wendy lives with her three children, Kaya (17), Tai-yan (17), & Khaliq (15) in New York and is an HFA board member and vice president of the New York City Hemophilia Chapter (NYCHC).
*Note: “Infusing Love: A Mom’s View,” is a blog collection of personal opinions and a representation of individuals experiences. While extensive efforts are made to ensure accuracy of the content, the blog entries do not represent HFA or its Board of Directors. The blog is also not intended to be construed as medical advice or the official opinion/position of HFA, its staff, or its Board of Directors. Readers are strongly encouraged to discuss their own medical treatment with their healthcare providers.