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.
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.
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