If you live with chronic illness you know normal days can take extra effort, but if you throw in an extra holiday wild card you can have a massive meltdown on your hands that requires weeks of recovery.
Here are a few things I’ve gleaned over the past twenty years of holidays (please share your ideas in the comments):
- Take an extra rest before the day arrives. (I can hear you laughing now, especially if you have kids). This doesn’t have to look like a long nap, but every little bit of going to bed earlier makes a difference.
- Plan ahead. For someone with fatigue, Christmas starts well before Thanksgiving. Making a list, doing your shopping online, and wrapping one present when you get a minute can keep the work from overwhelming you at the end.
- Scale back. When I was hurling over the sink in-between chasing a toddler one Christmas, Ifound myself depressed at the thought of not making our family’s traditional cookies. We dragged ourselves to the store, purchased pre-made dough, and added M&M’s. She didn’t care. Those photos are some of my favorite ones we’ve ever taken because the grin on her face was pure bliss that mom wasn’t micromanaging.
- Cut the family drama. If your family even remotely resembles the Griswold’s (Hi Mom! I’m speaking hypothetically here, I promise), there’s plenty of emotion to go around the whole year. Walk away. Take a break. Take a nap. Whatever it takes to recharge your body and your soul. Do your best not to engage or take sides.
- Hydrate. This is probably my favorite one because it has made quite possibly the biggest difference for me. (I have low blood volume so results may vary). Drinking an electrolyte beverage and lots of good, pure water leading up to the event makes a huge difference. Also avoiding stimulants (other than my coffee) helps minimize my recovery days.
This list is far from exhaustive and I’d love to hear from you. How do you do the holidays with chronic illness?