Fibromyalgia and the Holidays

As a fibromyalgia sufferer, the approaching holidays, and all the busy-ness that usually accompanies them, are a time for me to reassess and readjust what activities occupy my time.

Christmas Light Display

Although I would love to involve myself with all the things I used to do, it is not going to happen. Not with the limitations fibro imposes. So, I have a choice. I can listen to my body, and slow down when I need to, or not listen, plow ahead at full speed, and suffer the consequences. I try to listen.

Notice I said, “try”.

Two big triggers for my fibro flares are stress and not enough deep, restorative, sleep.

Both seem to be a given for even “normal” people, where major holidays are concerned, but are magnified for fibromyalgia patients.

In years gone by, I decorated for every holiday. Right down to the shamrock candy dish with pale green mints. Not so, any more. Just getting decorations on the Christmas tree, some years, has been a major accomplishment.

Some things I am learning, in no particular order, which might be helpful for other fibromyalgia sufferers are:

  • pace myself
  • stop when I get tired – whether I have completed what I set out to do, or not
  • fatigue is real – it’s not all in my mind
  • prioritize – do what’s most important first
  • give myself permission not to go to every worthwhile function
  • every meal does not need to be an elaborate occasion
  • ask for help – something I do not like to do
  • exercise daily – something else I don’t particular care for
  • make spending time alone with God number one on my daily “to do” list – no compromise
  • soaking in a hot tub of bubble bath and Epsom salts is not a luxury
  • quit beating myself up for not having a perfectly clean house – those days are long gone, if they ever truly existed
  • I can no longer do what I used to do, and that’s okay
  • fibro fog does not mean I have Alzheimers
  • avoid situations, and people, I know will make my stress worse
  • understand what is essential, and what is not – despite what others may believe (I love the poster – Poor planning on YOUR part, does not constitute an emergency on MINE!)
  • don’t cave into others’ expectations, or even my own

Each person is different. What works for me, may not work for you, and vice-versa. If you have any other tips on how to lessen holiday stress, I’d love to hear your ideas.

One song I play as Christmas nears, is Emmy Lou Harris’s Christmas Time’s a Coming. I tried to find a video of Emmy Lou singing it, but couldn’t, so we’ll go with this video of Ricky Skaggs singing it, instead.

I wish you well.

Sandy

PS

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Marlene Bagnull

Good advice for everyone, Sandy, not just for those with fibro. Thanks for sharing.

Kat

Christmas is my favorite time of year, but ever since being diagnosed with fibro, it gets harder and harder to do all the things I used to (year round, too). The most difficult thing I had to learn was how to pace myself and not beat myself up or feel guilty when I had to “miss” an event. I always have to remind myself that unless I take care of myself first, I’m no good for anyone else.

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