Let’s Talk Lupus with Jodie Young

Lupus Canada is pleased to present Let’s Talk Lupus with Jodie Young.

Let’s Talk Lupus with Jodie Young

December 2023 – Communication and Stress

Navigating the holiday season can be exhilarating, but it often introduces a heightened level of stress into our lives. It is the perfect example of how stress is not necessarily positive or negative, it just is. The holidays bring forth additional demands, such as social gatherings, which can be both joyous opportunities to reconnect and sources of stress.

For individuals living with lupus, the seasonal stress is felt more profoundly due to several reasons:

Awareness of Health Impacts: We recognize that stress isn’t conducive to our health.
Impact on Sleep: The increased demands often result in reduced sleep, which is not ideal for managing lupus and its associated symptoms.
Expectations and Social Gatherings: Planning and attending social events can be stressful due to external expectations and those we impose on ourselves.
Complex Communications: Social gatherings may involve intricate conversations about health, adding another layer of stress.

To better manage stress and communication, consider adopting an assertive communication style. This approach allows you to express your wants and needs clearly and respectfully without undermining others. While we cannot control others’ communication styles, it’s crucial to prioritize your health, even if it means others may be disappointed with your choices.

Self-imposed expectations can also contribute to stress. Resist the urge to dwell on “shoulds,” as excessive rumination can heighten anxiety without productive outcomes. Practice self-compassion and remind yourself of the reasons behind your choices, acknowledging that not all decisions are easy.

Seek social and emotional support from understanding and supportive individuals around you. When confronted with external expectations, use effective communication to explain why you may not meet all these expectations. Remember, you are not responsible for others’ reactions or emotions.

Above all, prioritize activities you enjoy and spend time with those who bring joy. Be comfortable asserting changes to your plans when needed. Be gentle with yourself, set realistic timelines, and regularly reassess your to-do list in alignment with your energy level. Consider your energy reserves as “spoons,” and allocate them wisely.

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