Tis the season

Condoms are available in Christmas colors. File photo.

by Mary Turner
HIV/AIDS Medical Columnist

Christmas items are on display long before Halloween candy has been marked down. Advertisers show us images of beautiful people either shopping for their loved ones incorrectly or who jubilantly exclaim how they got the right gifts for everyone on their lists.

Food is always abundant and exquisitely prepared and you can save a bundle on it if you shop the right stores. I suppose that leaves enough left over to purchase a couple of new cars or lease a new Escalade for only a grand a month. Isn’t TV land great?

Here in the real world, however, life isn’t always so great. This is the season that can make us feel excited, but it can also take a toll on us, especially if our health is not good and/or we feel alone.

Tackling the holiday season when you’re HIV+ can be a challenge for some, but it can be done successfully. Careful planning can help immensely. From now until the New Year, everything will feel like it’s moving really fast. It’s important that you don’t get caught up in the fervor and fall off your medication schedule.

Any of us can easily lose track of time and control when we’re so busy and there is so much to do (or at least, we’re told we should be doing so much). However, seasons come and go, and perfection only exists on TV and in the dictionary. If we don’t put ourselves first, the challenge to be there for our loved ones becomes more difficult.

We also must get our nutritional needs met. HIV medications can make this difficult because they may not play well with other medications or with certain foods. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist if you aren’t sure if there might be bad interactions between your regimen and any foods that you don’t normally eat.

Eating something from each of the food groups (healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, complex carbs and protein) can help maintain your blood sugar levels so you feel more in control. If you want to splurge on certain items, consider what you only get during this time of year: Aunt Emma’s sweet potato pie or Cousin Jared’s bourbon fruit salad. Leave the more common fare for another time.

If you typically work out each day, continue to make time for that. Your body needs it and it will help you feel your best. Know that you have every right to decline activities if your body or your mind doesn’t feel up to them. Be selective and do those things that you know you will really enjoy and remember fondly in the future.

If the holidays make you feel sad and depressed, or if you don’t have friends and family nearby to share your time with, consider getting out of the house and participating in a community dinner or other activities. Such events always need volunteers, but you can also go and just enjoy the food and camaraderie.

The reason for the season (and every other day of the year) is to share our love with one another. Paper plates can be just as festive as the best china. Chicken can be just as tasty as turkey. Making new friends can be just as rewarding as spending time with old ones.

And, as always, wear those condoms! They come in holiday colors, too.

Copyright The Gayly – December 15, 2017 @ 10:30 a.m. CST.