Christmas and the holidays are special times. Time to spend with loved ones, eat delicious food, and enjoy the gift of giving. It is also busy, exhausting, and stressful, especially if you are suffering from chronic pain or even a flare-up at Christmas time. We collated some tips to help you get through and hopefully have a more manageable Christmas day and holidays.
What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.Agnes M. Pahro
Keep things simple
Stick to Tradition
Do what you can
You don’t have to spend all of your time putting together an elaborate gathering. Spend time with those who matter the most and enjoy a quiet evening with family and create memories your family will have for a lifetime.
Tradition is what makes each family’s holiday unique. Embrace the family traditions and pass them down from generation to generation. Following every new fad can be tiring and can leave you frustrated. Stick to the traditions you know and don’t stress about trying to impress anyone.
Don’t overdo it. If you find you are in too much pain or can’t keep up with the demands of a big gathering, delegate jobs to other family members and have them help put the party together. Chronic pain and symptoms can severely limit your ability to give 110%. Don’t make yourself sick over it.
Spend time with friends
Take breaks often
Know your triggers
Socialise when you can, even if it’s on the phone or via the internet. Talking to others lets you know you aren’t alone and have friends and family who love you, even if you can’t physically be together
Take breaks as often as you need to. If you find yourself hurting more than usual, let others take over so you can relax. It’s no fun having a party if you can’t participate.
It’s hard to keep up on Christmas day without triggering a flare-up. So, rather than what you can’t eat or do, look at what you CAN eat and do. Know what foods you should stay completely away from, and what foods you can have a little of. If everyone’s outside playing in the sunshine, sit outside with them, if you can join in, but if you can’t that doesn’t matter. Be kind to yourself, you are doing the best you can, and you’re doing amazingly!
Embrace the Christmas spirit
Let people know
Christmas is the time when it’s acceptable to stay in your PJs for a large portion of the day. Comfort is so important when it comes to an endometriosis flare, so if you can get away with wearing your Christmas PJs – go for it!
If you actually need to get dressed for the day, prepare something comfortable in advance. You can’t predict an endo flare but you can have a backup outfit. Leggings, long loose dresses, and stretchy trousers, all take some of the pressure off your pelvic area and can also help you feel less self-conscious.
Take advantage of this magical time of year. Firstly – movies. Whether it’s the lead-up to Christmas and you’d planned to see your friends or it’s the big day itself, Christmas movies offer you something to do that’s both endo-friendly and festive.
If you can’t make it out of the house and have to cancel your plans to go out, maybe have your friends and family over for a Christmassy night in? Ask them to bring some games (ones that you can sit down for!), snacks and their favourite movies.
Endometriosis is a disease that many of us suffer in silence. It’s difficult at Christmas time when you’re surrounded by lots of people and everyone is in a festive mood. But, is there even one person you can seek support from? Big family and friend get-togethers can sometimes mean differing opinions. If you don’t want your whole family to know what you’re experiencing, or you’re worried about the Aunty who always thinks you’re exaggerating, it can be helpful to have someone in your corner who’s quietly rooting for you. When you have that someone, they can be there to persuade others to settle down with a chilled movie. They can also be there to fill up your hot wattle bottle and make you hot drinks!
Turn your bedroom into an escape room
Come up with a code word
Listen to festive music
Have everything you need when you need to take a break. This could include medications, a hot water bottle, a wheat bag, a tablet or laptop to watch some TV to relax, a cosy blanket, candles, or anything else you think will help you take a break. You could even pack an emergency bag if you are visiting family and friends.
Come up with a word or action that indicates you need a break. Let your partner, friend, or family member know your code. When you say the code word or code action, that means you need a break. Whether that be in another room or it’s time to go home.
Music has been found to reduce pain, alleviate anxiety, increase immune functioning, and increase positive emotions — all things that people who live with chronic illness can really benefit from. Whether you enjoy singing the carols yourself or listening to the pros belt them out (or both!), music can be a great mood lifter during the holiday season.