We have covered a bit of this ground before, and again I urge you to communicate, take the rest (and medicines) you need, and use your coping strategies to get through the stress of the holidays.
But this year is different.
Due to COVID-19, you may be experiencing different stresses, some that are caused by the upturning of all of your carefully laid plans and traditions. No extended family visits, hugs from people you haven’t seen for a long time, and no shared meals for many.
Presents? Oh, don’t get me started! The logistics of getting everything to everyone while observing pandemic protocol, the uncertainty as to whether things will get there in time…We haven’t even started thinking about the protocol of opening presents! I think that not being able to see that loved one’s face as they open those presents you so carefully chose and sent to them may be one of the more poignant consequences of holidays in a pandemic.
But we are in it for the long run, aren’t we? Waiting for that vaccination to make things safer and better and praying that everyone we love will make it to that time.
My point, my Burning Mouth Syndrome brothers and sisters, is that it is all stressful. Life right now is stressful and if you are experiencing more pain than usual, you may be suffering a “flare” that is caused by stress.
What can you do?
Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep. Take your medicines faithfully if you have been prescribed them. Now is not the time to let depression from chronic pain take over, so schedule a telehealth conversation with your counselor or therapist if you have one. Keep your coping strategies at hand (Cold drinks, an Advil or Tylenol, meditation, exercise, whatever works for you!)
But what about family Zooms or FaceTime calls? How do I handle those when talking seems to make me burn even more?
Yeah, that’s a hard one, but think about what you really want to say to precious family members and say it. Don’t waste your pain tolerance on chitchat if you can avoid it. Be frank with your family about your pain and what helps and what doesn’t. They love you and will understand if you are a bit quiet on a call or conference as long as what you do say comes from the heart.
And that is what the holidays are all about, whether the folks you love are near or far, virtual or in real life. Love is rarely an unwelcome present.
Happy Holidays to all of you, and I am praying that 2021 becomes a blessing to this world, even if it takes a while.