For those with food allergies the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays can be downright stressful.
We tend to think of diagnosis as a resolution or an end goal, but a chronic illness like food allergies is a journey that is often life-long. Diagnosis is only the first step on the path of learning to cope with the stress of food allergies in your life.
Wherever you are along the path – researching signs and symptoms, newly diagnosed, struggling to learn to read food labels, or fully adapted to your new reality – it helps to just recognize that you are on a journey.
It takes time to integrate allergies into your life, and adjust to the new “normal.” And while it doesn’t seem possible at first, in time living with food allergies will become normal to you.
Manage your allergies: Learning to avoid your trigger foods and stick to your special diet can help you stay healthy. It can also help you be happier overall and better able to cope with the stress of living with allergies. When you feel confident that you can read labels, navigate a restaurant menu, or plan a vacation around your allergy, the feeling of success creates a background “buzz” of happiness that helps motivate you to keep on keeping yourself healthy.
Focus on the potential positive outcomes of your allergies: Thinking about positive aspects of your food allergies such as eating healthier foods or having a renewed appreciation of life can help reduce your stress and lead to better health. Remind yourself of the good foods that you are able to eat, new friends you have made because of your food allergy, and other silver linings to your food allergy cloud.
It is possible to live a full, active life with food allergies, despite the stress and uncertainty that allergies can cause. Joining a local support team or participating in an online forum can give you space to talk about your experience and meet other people coping with the same issues.