Christmas is coming and if you have a chronic illness, it can make an already stressful time of year totally unbearable. When I was younger, I loved Christmas, but not so much anymore. Once Thanksgiving rolls around, I feel my stress level start to rise, along with the chances of a flare. First, I think about what a mess my house is. How will I be able to get this pigsty into shape and keep it clean for Christmas dinner? How am I going to get everything done in time, including shopping for gifts and groceries, let alone preparing a meal for a large number of people? Even though I like to host Christmas dinner for my family, it is a challenge, to say the least. My husband and I typically end up tag-teaming the cleaning, starting the weekend before. I wouldn’t be able to do this without a partner in crime. If you have to go it alone and you can afford it, hire a cleaning service for a few hours a few days before the big event. You usually can find a deal on one of the local deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial. For a little cash, you can save a lot of stress, time, and energy, and possibly the holiday season. In order to survive the holiday season, I have to pace myself. I know when my upper back starts to hurt, it’s time to rest. I’ve learned to listen to my body and respect it.