Living with fibromyalgia is hard. It’s by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with. I often say that I’d give birth all over again just to never have fibro pain. But the holidays are here and with that comes extra shopping, cooking, entertaining and, of course, travel.
Unfortunately, for those of us with fibro that also means additional pain, flare-ups, exhaustion and fatigue. So how does one manage the holidays when they have fibro? Or better yet, how does one manage the expectations of their relatives and friends? Well, here are several tidbits I’ve learned along the way to help you get through the holidays with a little less pain:
1. Shop online.
You’ll have access to daily deals, including free shopping (some may require you to spend $50 or more to qualify for this.) And if you can’t shop online, then…
2. Shop early.
Try to go during weekdays. Mornings are the best time. And have a list with you when you go. You know “fibro fog” might catch up with you, so it’s best to have a list at hand.
3. Wrap presents as you get them.
Have your wrapping supplies handy and wrap each gift as it arrives. And gift bags are a wonderful thing.
4. Make a plan.
Want to go ice skating? Do that one week. Then next week bake a zillion different cookies. Go to a party the following week. By tackling a big challenge once a week, that gives you six days to rest before the next one.
5. Don’t have a party.
Please don’t feel obligated to have a holiday party. It’s just too much to take charge of, and you’ll eventually get overwhelmed and won’t be able to move the next week.
6. Decorate in an efficient manner.
Who says you have to decorate every window, door and corner? You don’t. Just pick the areas that you’ll spend the most time in, or that others will see, and decorate those. And don’t hesitate to ask friends and family for help.
7. Have someone else cook the big meal.
Most supermarkets will cook the entire meal for you for a price that may appear unreasonable at first. But think about the cost of the food and then the time it takes to cook it. You’ll find out that it’s worth it in the end.
8. You can’t see everyone.
It can be too much for someone with fibro to visit multiple houses in just two days for Thanksgiving and Christmas. So choose wisely. Space them out. And send your regrets to those you missed. Maybe you can arrange to have dinner out on another day after the holidays. Your health has to come first.
9. Stay with your relatives overnight.
Don’t feel obligated to stay up the entire day. Lie down and take naps throughout the day. Go to bed early. Rest. It’s the only way you’ll be able to tackle what comes next.
10. Talk to your family and friends about your fibro.
Be honest with them about your illness. Share with them what symptoms you have and how too much can cause flare-ups that are unbearable. True, there are going to be some who don’t understand. Some will even say you are using it as an excuse. Others will say that it can’t be as bad as you describe. You’re not going to be able to change their understanding of fibro. At least you tried.
Again, this is your health and your body we are talking about. And that should come first in your life. Just make sure to smile and wish everyone a happy holiday season.