3 Tips for Managing PANS During The HolidaysDec 17, 2021
Holidays can be a tricky time for PANS families, so here’s a few quick tips for the season:
- Take a close look at your plan for this season and create realistic expectations
Go ahead and acknowledge that you may want this time of year to “just be normal!!” That feeling is REAL. We have to acknowledge it and accept it. Then, we need to take a second step, which is looking at what is REALISTIC. We need to align our expectations with the true capabilities of our PANS child, children and/or teen. It’s OK to wish that our PANS child/teen could handle a certain event and not melt down, but we need to ask ourselves if it’s really possible. Sometimes we can modify and compromise on plans to make them work better. This could mean going to an event for a shorter period of time, or limiting the number of people who will be around when you attend. Get creative, but strive for realistic expectations to reduce frustration and disappointment.
- Plan ahead, yet aim to stay flexible
See if you can plan ahead to create a balance between activity and down time, as well as choose activities that meet the needs of your PANS family. Having a plan can create positive feelings of anticipated fun experiences as well as reduce anxiety for the whole family. However, aim to keep your flexibility superpower available! As PANS parents, we often have to shift, adapt, reconsider, etc. Plans are wonderful, AND having a Plan B or an adaptation for your Plan A will give you that extra amount of security that you can successfully pivot, if needed.
- Trust yourself, your PANS child/teen, and set kind, firm boundaries
Holidays can bring about opinions from outsiders about what we “should do'' or what activities to participate in, but it is essential that we trust ourselves and our PANS child/teen to be the ultimate authority in these situations. This can be quite challenging, because sometimes our loved ones question our ideas or decisions, or just long for us to be a part of something that doesn’t work for our PANS family. Setting kind and firm boundaries is key. Statements such as, “That doesn’t work for us, thank you”, or “We’ve figured out that it works best when we do it this way”, or “Thank you for the suggestion, however we’ve got this covered”.
Enjoy this season and strive to embrace the moments of happiness and fun that are currently available!