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Don’t Neglect Yourself This Holiday Season

Don’t Neglect Yourself This Holiday Season

Well, here we are, another year has come and gone and we’re about to enter the holiday season! The holiday seasons are hectic enough as it is, but when you have an autoimmune disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, the holidays are even more stressful. That being said, it is vitally important that you take care of yourself during this time of year.

Find New Ways to Have Fun

Enjoying yourself when your body is constantly attacking you can be extremely difficult. It is important, however, to try. Find little ways and even new ways to enjoy time with friends and family. You don’t always have to throw (or attend) a huge party to enjoy this time of year.

Instead of trying to decorate a tree by yourself, have a low-key tree decorating party. Order a pizza (or some other gut-safe food) and break out those ornaments. You may have ornaments from Christmases past which can be a lot of fun to reminisce about.

Tree decorating is not really your thing? Have a cookie decorating contest instead! Every year, someone in my husband’s family will bake a batch of cookies. The family gathers together to decorate the cookies. Afterward, the judges will vote on the best cookie and the winner gets bragging rights. It is a great way to spend time with your loved ones without the pressure of having to be “on.”

Set Boundaries

Even healthy people need to set boundaries to keep their sanity sometimes. As someone living with Crohn’s or UC, you need to understand that concept even more. The first step to setting boundaries is to know what yours are.


For many patients living with inflammatory bowel disease, alcohol is a no-no. Either because your gut can’t handle it or your medications prohibit it. If you’re unable to enjoy some of that holiday Eggnog, remember, there are always virgin versions of your favorite holiday beverages!


Food is another touchy topic and something that is even more difficult to set boundaries with. Sometimes your loved ones will be gracious and make some gut-friendly food just for you. For those of us with family members or friends who will never understand, there’s always the option of bringing your own food. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and it will relieve some of the stress and hassle of worrying about it.


We all know that when you get together with those you haven’t seen in a while, you tend to stay up later than normal. It is extremely important to rest up when you can. Even if the people you’re with don’t understand it, stand your ground and rest anyway. It might be helpful to take a few naps during the day so that you don’t have to miss the late-night chats about the “good ole days.”


Remember to bring your medications with you wherever you go. You don’t want to be caught in the middle of a holiday gathering when your next dose of prednisone is due. Not only will you feel bad, but you’ll also bring the mood down when the prednisone monster rears its ugly head.

You are NOT Your Disease

The most important thing to remember during the holidays is that you are NOT your disease. It isn’t easy to do, I know. I’ve been there. Try to relax when you can and resolve yourself not to be wrapped up in worry over your bowels. Remember that the holidays are a time for making memories and seeing friends and family you don’t get to see often.

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.