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How To Survive Christmas With Chronic Illness

christmas and cfs/ fibromyalgia

Christmas can be a particularly overwhelming time for Fibromyalgia sufferers.  As if shopping in the crowds, getting the decorations up and preparing Christmas dinner was not enough to worry about; the cold weather can also flare up the symptoms of Fibromyalgia, potentially making you more tired and achy than usual.  However, the first rule of Christmas is to remember that it should be a time of celebration and not stress. Here are our top ten tips to help get you through the season:

  1. Christmas List
    Create a list of all of the things you would like to get done before Christmas and prioritise it.  Ticking off each task as you complete it should bring you a sense of satisfaction. If you don’t make it to the bottom of your list there’s no need to panic, these things were not top priorities anyway!
  2. Christmas Decorations
    Turn the task of putting the decorations up into a fun job by asking family and friends to help you out.  Remember, you’re not trying to create a Winter Wonderland in your front room; a few carefully selected decorations can be just as effective at creating a cozy, Christmas atmosphere.
  3. Christmas Presents 
    Why not think about buying the bulk of your gifts online this year.  Not only will your presents be delivered to the doorstep, you can also make great savings and shop around for bargains.   Once the presents are sorted, you can still enjoy a trip to the Christmas markets… pressure free!
  4. Christmas Dinner
    Take the stress out of cooking a small feast this Christmas Day by making dinner a pot-luck affair.  This is an enjoyable way to remove some of the burden, as all your guests are asked to contribute a dish.
  5. Eat, Drink and be Merry!
    If you are heading to a friend’s for Christmas lunch, make sure you let them know in advance if you have any food allergies/dietary requirements.  You could even suggest a delicious alternative so that you can safely indulge yourself. Also, do be careful to drink in moderation if you know that it is likely to have a negative impact on your symptoms.
  6. Learn to say no
    Listen to your body and decide what you have enough energy to do.  It’s not compulsory to attend every party that you get invited to.  Why don’t you make a decision based upon the quality of good memories you are likely to form at each event?
  7. Pacing yourself
    In general, remember to take as many breaks as you need to and pace yourself. If you start to feel tired, STOP. You’ll enjoy the season much more if you feel well rested.
  8. Seasonal blues
    With the reduced sunlight and increased stress levels often experienced at this time of year, December can be a depressing month for many Fibromyalgia sufferers. However, you don’t need to suffer in silence. Stay in touch with fellow sufferers on Social Media resources (such as twitter and Facebook), forums and other support networks.
  9. Keep warm!
    The cold may aggravate some of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia, so ensure you keep wrapped up and toasty both inside of the house and outdoors.
  10. Recovery time
    Plan to take a few days off after the big day is over.  Put your feet up, relax and take a deep breathe… you made it! With a little forward planning, hopefully Christmas was not half as stressful as you may have anticipated.

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