Holiday Flares are not uncommon due to the extra stress, tons of sugar temptations, parties with booze and more sugar, and possibly travel plans during this time. Any one of these can bring on a flare and a combination of these can result in a severe flare up of symptoms.
Here are my tips for getting through the holidays relatively unscathed without a Holiday Flare:
1) Start all preps for the holidays really really early – which means NOW. This takes a lot of the stress out — really — it makes a BIG difference.
2) Make a list of all preparations for your holiday plans. This should include Thanksgiving first and Christmas second. Be thorough and really think this through. Make it as detailed as possible. Your list should include things like:
- Preparations for any travel you are planning to do, such as packing done well in advance over days so you have time to think about it, add things you might otherwise forget if you pack in a rush, car rental, hotel bookings, etc.
- If you are planning on cooking for Thanksgiving, work out all items you will be cooking or baking, get all recipes printed or marked, make a list of all ingredients you will need to buy. Same thing for Christmas.
- Gift lists for Christmas.
- Holiday decorations.
- Parties, events or functions you plan on attending or holding.
- Shipping of gifts.
- Any charitable activities or donations you may do during these times.
3) Create a calendar and start scheduling when you will do what from your list. This can be either on your computer or a big hard copy one. Get the items from your list really spread out. Don’t try to do too much on any one day. Make sure everything on your list is represented on your calendar, but also schedule it out well and realistically so it is as easy on you as possible with little to no stress. By spreading things out and doing them well in advance, try to keep in your normal routines as much as possible – sleeping well, exercise, eating well and anything else that helps you maintain good health.
Also, when laying out your calendar plan, keep in mind that things like writing Christmas cards (or creating an online ecard) can be done well ahead and then simply sent out when the time is right. Christmas shopping can also be done well ahead and so can wrapping. Online shopping may also be easier to do in the evenings to avoid the crowds. There are always online sales.
4) Lay out a simple budget for all expenses over the holidays: travel expenses, special dinner or party foods and supplies, gifts, shipping, etc. Work over that budget so that it is not going to cause you financial stress. Then work out how you are going to cover those expenses from your resources.
5) Get good sleep every night. Don’t stay up late except on special occasions where it can’t be avoided.
6) Stay away from sugar as much as possible. Consider making some healthier/low sugar desserts for the holidays. This will help you eat less of the really sugar loaded goodies during these times. You can find ideas on http://sinfreedesserts.com/recipes/
7) Drink in moderation and not on an empty stomach. If you do drink, make sure to eat and also drink a lot of water, preferably with some electrolytes or potassium.
8) Eat healthy as much as you can. Fill yourself up on healthier foods first to resist the temptation of desserts and cookies that are more abundantly available during the holidays.
9) If you are traveling during the holidays, There are some additional helpful tips specifically for travel that can help to avoid holiday flares, which you can find here: https://fibromyalgiafree.org/tips-for-traveling/
10) Prepare yourself for any stressful family or associate interactions you may be facing during the holidays. Have a plan on how you will deal with those. Enlist the help of a spouse, other family member or friend to help you with this as needed.
11) Find Joy in the holidays — in the family or friends or church gatherings you will be attending, the people you will be seeing and helping, the delicious foods, the beautiful decorations. Watch some heartwarming holiday movies. Think about what you have to be grateful for in your life and soak it in as much as you can.
May your holidays be blessed and free of flares!!