A Guide To The Holidays With Chronic Illness

With September coming to a close and the holidays creeping around the corner, it is certainly something to think about how you can deal with the stress and other fun things that the holidays bring along with them.

When living with a chronic illness, such as fibromyalgia syndrome, each new day can be a crap-shoot -it may be a low-pain day or it could be a day where our bodies don’t even allow our feet to touch the floor. These type of days are our “everyday” kind of days. Each year when the holidays roll around, it’s a totally different story, all bets are off. First of all, it’s colder then any other time of year, for one. So that will no doubt make our pain levels higher. But then come the holidays, which alone carry their own unique stress with them. You might be feeling like you’re being pulled in ten different directions. Add family we haven’t seen in awhile to the mix, and you have the makings of a fibromyalgia flare. Despite the fact we may have this condition, it certainly doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy ourselves during this special time of year. Below are tips to relax and enjoy your holiday.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Accommodations

If you get invited to a holiday party, but you don’t know exactly how you are going to feel that day, explain to the person who invited you that you can’t necessarily give a definite answer at that time, and proceed to explain about your condition. If they are a true friend of yours, they will honestly understand. Just let them know that you’re not sure how you are going to feel that day, but as it gets closer, you will let them know. If you do plan on attending, don’t be afraid to ask the host/hostess for accomodations. Let them know that you might need a ride to the event, or that you may need a chair to sit down in if it hurts too much for you to stand for too long.
Another issue that inevitably usually comes along with FM is gastrointestinal troubles, which can mean a sensitivity to food or a complete intolerance to certain foods. There are a few things you can do in this type of situation. You can either speak to the host/hostess about making certain tummy friendly foods for you, or you can let them know that you would like to bring your own food.

Dealing With Family That Doesn’t Understand

It is likely that all of us have them: family members that do not understand our condition. For the most part, we can avoid them most of the year. But when the holidays come around, it’s kind of tough to not run into them at holiday events. If you are faced with this situation, you can try to avoid that person. But if that isn’t an option and this person happens to find you at a party, just make polite conversation with them. If they say something that offends you, try and keep your cool, but also let them know that they hurt your feelings, and tell them why. You never know, you might be able to talk things out. I would also suggest that if you would like to educate your friends and family members a little bit more about your condition, try looking it up and printing out a fact sheet about it. If anyone asks what Fibromyalgia is, you can explain a little bit to them, and then hand them the factsheet.

DOY (Don’t Overwork Yourself!)

This sounds like a silly little word, but it’s really an acronym for don’t overwork yourself. This is especially true during the holidays. Teach your closest family and friends the word. If they see you overworking yourself, tell them to come up to you and say “DOY!”, it’ll be sure to get a smile out of both of you, and you’ll be reminded the importance of taking breaks, and relaxing when you need to. Remember during this special time of year to remember what the true meaning of the season is. Not the hustle and the bustle, but spending time with family and friends. Enjoy it, and have a happy and enjoyable holiday. Remember: DOY!

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One comment

  1. Thank you for this ezine, and for the information in it. We all need help to do our best with this condition. It is a constant learning process.

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