Coping with Vision Loss During the Holidays
In my blog, I talk about my new normal. Hopefully, every one of you experiencing vision loss has found a way to your own new normal. The problem is, it is now the holiday season and holidays mean tradition. How can we integrate our recent limitations into our holiday traditions?
Adjusting to life with vision loss
On December 8, 2015, Discovery Eye Journal discussed 6 tips for dealing with holiday stress. The Discovery people talk about being realistic, planning ahead and asking for help. In Dialectic Behavior Therapy we talk about acceptance. Accepting we can no longer do everything we used to do is hard but it may be better than an emotional breakdown and/or an epic fail. You might want to see this as an opportunity to pass on knowledge and tradition by assigning tasks to others.
We can't expect perfection
How many times have you wished you were able to replicate your grandmother’s signature dish? If only she had not fibbed about the secret ingredient! Would you rather not know your grandchildren will be able to make your signature dish flawlessly and remember you fondly?
Don’t expect perfection is one of Discovery’s six points. Perfection? Have you had a perfect life? Because I haven’t. Not bad but not perfect. In fact, one of my life mottos is this: the disasters make the best stories. No, really. Do you tell stories about the year the tree was perfectly decorated or the year Bootsie climbed the tree and it toppled over on Grandpa asleep in his chair? I thought so. Perfection is overrated.
You don't have to miss out
Just because you believe you are missing out - and yes, vision loss actually causes us to miss out on a lot of things - don’t isolate, sit home and play Scrooge. That way, instead of missing out on the sights of the holidays you are missing out on the sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes, and even the touches. Isolating yourself from the festivities may only make your depression worse, so get out there! If midnight mass is part of your holiday tradition, call your parish. They will find you a ride.
I have said it before and will say it again, living with vision loss requires one heck of a lot of planning. And time. Don’t forget the extra time getting anything done takes. The people at Discovery Eye know this, too. Plan ahead and leave plenty of time to get things done. There is no sense being stressed because you have no way to get to the store to buy last-minute eggnog. If it is not Christmas without eggnog, buy it as soon as you reasonably can. It will last a few days in the fridge.
Discovery’s points five and six were to not overextend yourself and to stay healthy. Good advice any time of the year.
Finding your new normal
Vision loss changes things. We might not be able to do things the way they were always done, the way we would like to have them done. However, with acceptance of our new limitations, things can work out reasonably well. Letting go of unrealistic expectations and asking for help are just two ways of making things a little easier for us. It all goes into finding the new normal that works best for you.
Now get out there. Teach. Delegate. Have a few disasters that will make great stories. It all goes into your new normal for the holidays.
When you need to vent, who do you turn to first?