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.

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 Alzheimer disease
  • 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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