By Donna Gregory Burch.
As soon as people finished off the last bits of their Halloween candy, my Facebook and Bloglovin’ feeds were inundated with articles about how to survive the holidays with chronic illness. For a moment, I started to join the fray and write my own version, but after seeing headline after headline, it became clear to me I probably have very little to add in the way of advice on that subject. My fellow bloggers have it covered!
So instead of regurgitating the same material, I’ve rounded up a few of the best articles I’ve encountered on how to get through the holiday season with chronic health challenges.
And ironically, while I was compiling this list, I actually found a post I had written last year for National Pain Report on the very same subject. I had completely forgotten about it! I’ve tacked that one onto the end for anyone who is interested in reading it.
Let the merry link sharing begin…
Being Fibro Mom: 10 tips to enjoy holiday festivities
From the article: “Unfortunately, stress is a major trigger for a fibromyalgia flare. However, there are ways to avoid the stress and enjoy your holiday festivities. We discussed the common dilemma in the Fibro Parenting group, and here’s what we had to say about reducing flares over the holidays.”
Casey the College Celiac: How to embrace rest and relaxation during the holidays
From the article: “Spend less time analyzing, diagnosing or trying to ‘fix’ yourself - and more time doing exactly what you truly want. After all, the holidays only come around once a year. If you can’t do what your body is craving during the ‘happiest time of the year,’ when can you?”
From the article: “If you’re anything like me you have some grandiose ideas about what Christmas should look like. Everything should be perfect so your kids can have the most magical Christmas ever. Let go of that idea.”
Chronic Mom Life: How to survive holiday depression and disability
From the article: “Depression is a sad reality for many of us during the holidays. Dealing with disability in ourselves or a loved one can intensify it.”
Counting My Spoons: Eight gifts your loved one with chronic illness really wants
From the article: “Take a little time to research your loved one’s illness and understand what symptoms can be expected. Understanding the symptoms helps you to know that what you are seeing is not your loved one but their disorder or disease that leads to them saying ‘no’ to things.”
EmilyLofgren.com: 7 keys for navigating the holidays with chronic illness
From the article: “Being honest with people in your life about your limitations can be helpful for avoiding hurt feelings later. Think through what you need to explain to others ahead of time to allow the events to go smoothly.”
Fibromyalgia News Today: Banish the word ‘should’ for the holidays
From the article: “My advice is to listen to your body. It will tell you what you’re capable of doing. This may be the year you have all kinds of energy, and you prepare a whole meal, including that special pumpkin pie that everyone loves. Or, it may be the year you buy a pie at Safeway (or someone else buys it for you), or you have no pie at all. Either way, it is what it is. Do what you can, not what you think you should.”
Kate the (Almost) Great: Chronic illness hacks for the holidays
From the article: “If you’re going somewhere for a day or evening, create a kit of things for any chronic illness emergencies. This includes your emergency meds (what type they are depends on the type of chronic illness), emergency food just in case you can’t eat where you’re going, extra water, and something to entertain yourself if you need to leave your event but can’t leave for good because your family and/or friends are staying behind.”
ME/CFS Self-Help Guru: ME/CFS survival guide to Christmas 2 | Social demands
From the article: “When you know you’re going to have to have contact with someone who has shown an unwillingness to understand your illness in the past, develop a thick skin. Don’t waste energy trying to explain to people unless they are willing to understand. Don’t let their ignorance rob you of any energy.”
My Fruitful Home: Surviving Christmas with a chronic illness
From the article: “One thing I have learned and am still learning is that I need to let go of my expectations. I can drive myself crazy with frustration of not getting everything done, or everything that I think needs to be done.”
My Restored Health: Three calming cues for fibromyalgia and the holidays
From the article: “I encourage you to explore doing the holidays in just a bit different way than your usual this year — experiment and see if you can come thru this holiday season feeling that your heart is more satisfied and the rest of you is less frazzled.”
Pain Companion: 9 tips for navigating the holidays in pain
From the article: “Ask more of others so you can attend gatherings without wearing yourself out. Ask others to do the organizing, driving, phone calling, gift and grocery shopping, decorating, prep work, cooking, and cleaning up, or at the very least help you with whatever you choose to do.”
And last but not least…
Fed Up with Fatigue: 15 tips for surviving the holidays with chronic illness
From the article: “The most wonderful time of the year won’t be so wonderful if you’re flat on your back because you overdid it! Now is the time to reevaluate your holiday plans and traditions and make adjustments so that you’re still standing (and at a modest pain level) on Dec. 26.”
If you want more holiday-related articles, including gift guides and more, follow my Pinterest board, “Celebrating the holidays with chronic illness.” I’ll be adding links to it throughout the holiday season!
Now it’s your turn: What’s your best tip for getting through the holidays when you’re chronically ill?
Donna Gregory Burch was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2014 after several years of unexplained pain, fatigue and other symptoms. She was later diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease. Donna covers news, treatments, research and practical tips for living better with fibromyalgia and Lyme on her blog, FedUpwithFatigue.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter. Donna is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared online and in newspapers and magazines throughout Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania. She lives in Delaware with her husband and their many fur babies.