COVID, Christmas, and Creativity

There were three weeks after Thanksgiving break until winter break. I had hoped and prayed that I could make it through; after all, it was only three weeks. However, I spent half of those three weeks battling COVID. It was my first bout of COVID, and I hope it will be my last. The coughing felt like knives in my chest and throat while the rest of my body ached from fighting a fever, eventually leading to shivering and sweating. The congestion was choking me, and I was desperate for nothing more than ice water. It was misery. My doctor said she hadn’t seen someone with a severe case in a while, and I had it bad. Unfortunately, the antiviral meds gave me night terrors, so I stopped them immediately. Sleep was my friend, and I was desperate to protect it, even if it meant missing out on several hockey games, interactions with family, and life in general, especially Christmas shopping and planning. By day seven, I slowly began to feel sort of human again. I could do essential functions around the house, but they would leave me exhausted.

I should be enjoying this time of year, but I’m struggling with the preparations this year. I’m trying to understand why my parasympathetic system goes haywire whenever a virus attacks my body. When I finally feel better physically, the anxiety returns with a vengeance. I am not as bad as in the fall with panic attacks, but that old familiar anxiousness vibrates through my body. I rely on the tools I learned to keep the panic at arm’s length. Christmas music helps. Now that I can breathe without coughing fits, I’m forcing myself to sing along. It allows me to quiet the anxious vibrations. We will have a house full of family on Christmas Eve, and I refuse to let anxiety ruin my time with them. It’s not often that we get together like this, so I will ask for help and allow others to help; I will excuse myself at/around 10 PM to head into bed because rest is a non-negotiable for my health and wellness. Christmas’s busyness will not exhaust me; I am the only one who will exhaust me. My husband knows this about me and will protect me, even when I’m the cause. Just the other day, he watched me fighting sleep when it was what my body needed. I was determined to stay awake and make it to our son’s hockey game. He looked at me and said, “stop being stubborn and get up to bed now. You need to rest.” His support lifts that self-imposed weight I place on myself. A moment like this makes me appreciate how well we know and respect each other.

Besides family, Christmas, and time off from work/school, I love this time to curl up in front of the tree and write. Christmastime always gifts me with creativity. It’s often the last of the year rush to get more words released like I’m making up for procrastination days or, in this case, writing days lost to COVID. It could be simply the warmth of the house from all the decorations. Whatever it is, I have a fountain of creativity flowing, and each year, I am more determined not to let the busyness of work and life take precedence over my writing. So I capitalize on this time and let the creativity flow onto the pages. I am excited about what I have planned for 2023 for my writing journey, and I cannot wait to share it with you. Together we will go from page to page on a writing journey where we will nurture a tiny seed of an idea into a relatable world full of characters that take on life and all of its twists and turns.

For now, I wish you all a Merry Christmas! May you be blessed with joy, warmth, good health, creativity, and peace. ~Denise

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Writer. Teacher. Water, tea, & dark chocolate sustain me. I have an addiction to journals and pens. I love hiking and spending as much time as possible with family and friends. "If you are not failing, you're not trying."

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