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Avoiding the Holiday Hangover

The holidays are something that used to be so exciting. We’d visit different relatives and the food was never ending. We’d have turkey for the next two weeks! Eventually, the holidays would be spent at my house and no one would be left out: the kids would even drag friends along. I loved the holidays.

Over time, the kids grew up, married and had families of their own.

Sometimes they are around and sometimes they’re with the in-laws. I moved 3 hours away from my hometown about 15 years ago, so our house isn’t as convenient. My stepchildren and their families are with their mothers, I’m not sure about mine yet. I know Christmas will be some time with my mom, my children and their families. I’m already trying to figure out what I can make that will travel well. I think I’ll do bars and try cake pops if I can find an egg-free recipe. I’m working on some homemade gifts as well. These are preparations, then will be the travels to get there and then to get home. To visit and eat, to open gifts and visit. Knowing that every day is different, I know I’ll need down time to be able to function and enjoy those busy days coming up.

How about you? What do you need to do to avoid the “holiday hangover?”

I’m not talking about cocktails. To me, the holiday hangover means the overdoing, the exhaustion, nausea, pain and whatever else that you normally experience after a busy few days. I know some of you struggle with showers and baths, even getting dressed for some of you may be a chore. My heart goes out to you. It’s so important to prepare for the holidays. That you’re able to pace yourself in everything that you do. You will feel better and in a better mood if you aren’t in a hurry.

Here are some tips to help you avoid the dreaded “Holiday Hangover” this year:

  • You can begin to get ready for your get together a couple of days in advance.
  • Make a list of everything you need to do. Leave it a running list, so that you can continue to add something that you may have forgotten.
  • Take time to rest.
  • Avoid any triggers that will affect your COPD or other illness.
  • Exercise.
  • Get your clothes picked out, and jewelry if you wear it, a day or two ahead. Also, in case you may need additional items, have them ready too.
  • If you can shower or bathe a day before, or at least earlier of the day of the get together, that would help.
  • If you are talking things, get them ready a day or two ahead so that you don’t forget anything.
  • Make sure that you have your carry bag with medications, your oxygen supplies and other medical items if needed.
  • If you are taking food things, have them prepared or prepare ahead of time if possible.
  • Recruit help whenever you can.
  • Have your camera or phone ready to take photos and save your memories.
  • If you are having people over, enlist some help
  • Plan and coordinate all you can ahead of time.
  • Get your groceries a day or few ahead of time.
  • Make what you can a day or two ahead of time.
  • Recruit helpers to prepare and clean up.
  • Set the table ahead of time.
  • Have something to keep little ones busy (color books or whatever you think for their ages).

Remember, take care of you and enjoy as much as you are able.

Wishing you a breathe-easy time and hoping you have avoided the holiday hangover.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Linda
    2 years ago

    Hi Janet, I can relate to much of what you said. The older we get the more the holidays change. Everyone grows up and has a family of their own. Right now my companion and I are planning to go to his grandson’s house on Christmas Day and watch his great-grandson open his gifts. We already spent time with my grandkids and great-grand last week and exchanged gifts. I don’t usually plan things ahead of time cause I never know how I’m going to feel so I told him I’d go on Christmas day but the closer it gets the more anxious I become. I get anxiety attacks so bad sometimes I can’t leave the house. Your advice is perfect. Take things slow and plan ahead, getting ready what you can ahead of time. My big thing is to s l o w down.

    Thank you so much for this post and have a Merry Christmas! ~Linda~

  • Janet Plank moderator author
    2 years ago

    Linda, I hope you are able to enjoy the festivities and the little ones.
    Anxiety and panic attacks are horrible. I hope that you are able to breathe through the tough places.
    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, to you and yours.
    Janet (site moderator)

  • Allyson.Ellis moderator
    2 years ago

    Linda, I am sorry you suffer with anxiety along with COPD. Please know that you are not alone in having these experiences of panic attacks with COPD. There is an article on the site about anxiety and COPD that I thought might resonate with you. There are several other articles as well, if you are interested!

    It is hard to experience the changes of the holidays as children and grandchildren grow and create and make time for new families. I hope you are able to take things slow over the holiday and feel able to join your companion at his grandson’s home for the Christmas Day celebration. I’m glad you are part of the community!

    Best, Allyson (site moderator)

  • PrincessFiona60
    2 years ago

    Merry Christmas Janet. Thank you the reminder that we need to take time for ourselves and advanced planning is a must.

    I will be at work on Christmas Eve and Day. I love this, I think my patients deserve to have someone working who wants to be with them. I have plenty of time with my family after the holiday.

  • Janet Plank moderator author
    2 years ago

    PrincessFiona60, what a wonderful attitude and what you give to your patients is such a blessing. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas, for the holiday and as you celebrate.
    Janet (site moderator)

  • Allyson.Ellis moderator
    2 years ago

    PrincessFiona60, what a wonderful outlook – that you feel good about working on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so that your patients have someone to spend time with them. I’m sure they appreciate you and your positive presence to them! I’m glad you will have time with your family after the holiday! Best, Allyson (site moderator)

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