Top 5 Tips for Managing the Holidays: More Joy, Less Stress
The holidays are a busy (and sometimes challenging) time for all families, but for those who have a loved one with a feeding tube, it can be an even trickier time of year. Ultimately, we all just want to be able to celebrate with family and friends during this special time of year — to take a step back, have a little fun, and reflect on the year and all we have to be grateful for. Whether you have a feeding tube as an adult, have a child with a feeding tube, or are a caregiver for an adult with a feeding tube, here are a few tips for navigating the holiday season.
- Plan Ahead. Last minute travel or outings can be difficult depending on the medical conditions and special needs in your family. If you’re flying for the holidays, call your airline ahead of time and ask about their policies for medical supplies (many airlines will allow a free additional carry-on for medical supplies). To lighten your luggage load, consider shipping certain supplies ahead of time. Most hotels will hold a package ahead of your arrival and Real Food Blends meals can be shipped to any destination in the United States — just make sure to call your hotel to ask what needs to be included on the shipping label so you’re sure to get your package.
- Always Be (Over) Prepared. Even if you’re not traveling for the holidays, odds are you’re going to be spending some extra time away from home this month (even if it’s just to run typical holiday errands). Pack a bag with extra supplies to have in your car just in case–extra syringes, Real Food Blends meals, buttons, extensions, pump bags, blender bottles, etc. You never know how long an outing might really take (especially when you factor in crowds or inclement weather) and you won’t have to rush as much if you know you have extra supplies on hand if you need to fit in an unexpected meal away from home.
- Manage Mealtime. If you or your loved one only recently got a feeding tube, or if you’re celebrating with friends
and relatives you don’t see on a regular basis, this might be your loved ones’ first experience seeing a feeding tube. If possible, explain ahead of time how mealtime will work for you or your loved one — we always encourage including family members with feeding tubes during meals just like everyone else! Having a feeding tube isn’t something to be ashamed of — it’s just a different way of getting food into your stomach — so explain the process to loved ones with questions (and even offer for them to help if they want to). Our Turkey, Sweet Potatoes & Peaches meal is a great option during the holidays since it includes several common holiday foods and gives your loved one with a feeding tube another way to feel included during mealtime.
- Communicate Your Needs. Whether you need to leave a function early, have to duck out to give a medication, need a designated quiet room to use during the family get-together, or need some extra help getting all your holiday errands done, tell your loved ones what you need and what they can do to help. If that means that certain holiday activities just can’t happen this year, or need to change from previous years, that’s OK.
- Be Kind To Yourself. Even in ideal situations, the holidays can be stressful. No one gets to every single item on their “to do” list and no trip or event ever goes exactly as planned. Remember, it’s important to take care of yourself during the holidays, too, so take breaks when you can and treat yourself however you can. After all, what’s most important during the holidays is spending time with those you love, not seeing how many errands you can run, events you can attend, or chores you can get done around the house. Make sure to make time for your own joy and fun in the middle of all of your “to do’s.”