I’m happy to have Brandi from Being Fibro Mom as our guest blogger today to share with us her ideas about Enjoying the Holidays with Fibromyalgia and 10 Ways to Reduce Flares and Stress. Brandi endures fibromyalgia, a chronic illness that causes chronic pain, is a mom of 4 beautiful kids and has a kind and faithful spirit. I was happy she wanted to share with us her tips for surviving the holidays with fibromyalgia. Like Rheumatoid Arthritis that I have, stress and poor diet can worsen fibromyalgia symptoms so keeping stress under control during the holidays is imperative. No one wants to be stuck in bed for the holidays if they can help it! So without further ado, I give you the lovely Brandi….
Enjoying The Holidays with Fibromyalgia
Ten Ways to Reduce Flares and Enjoy the Holidays
by Brandi from Being Fibro Mom
The holidays are a stressful time of year especially to those living with fibromyalgia. One of the triggers for a flare is stress, so the holidays are a trigger that fire flares over and over throughout the weeks of December into the New Year. The colder months accompanying the holidays add to the pain and discomfort.
Are there any ways to reduce the flares in order to enjoy the holidays? Yes, there is!
Here are ten ways to reduce flares and enjoy the holidays:
1. Say, No
Saying no to certain requests can drastically reduce the amount of physical, emotional, and mental stress. Only fulfill the requests you will truly enjoy doing with your time.
2. Do NOT feel guilty
Honestly, your health and well being is far more important than cooking those batches of cookies for the neighbor. If you don’t want to do an activity, say no, and move on – without the guilt!
3. Avoid the sweets
Sugar is a culprit of flares as well as white flour baked goods. Avoid any foods that have sugar, fructose syrup, gluten, or processed carbohydrates.
4. Go window shopping
If crowds do not bother you and you enjoy holiday decorations, walk the mall. Taking a stroll through the mall enjoying the lights and festive decorations will reduce your stress levels while getting exercise to help with stiff and achy joints. Track the amount of time you’re walking so you don’t overdo it and hurt your body.
5. Don’t be a late night party animal
Attending holiday parties can be a lot fun and way to catch up with friends; however, say farewell earlier in the evening rather than later. Staying up late can interfere with your sleep routine and result in more sleepless nights.
6. Replace the egg nog with water
Egg nog has alcohol and dairy ingredients, so this is a double no-no for many living with fibromyalgia. Instead of alcohol, indulge in a glass of water which will leave you hydrated and curb the holiday snacking.
7. Increase magnesium and vitamin C
Magnesium maintains muscle and nerve function, strengthens bones, and helps maintain joint cartilage. The recommended dietary allowance is 420 milligrams daily for men and 320 milligrams daily for women. Vitamin C is essential is for maintaining healthy joints and preventing inflammation. The recommended dietary allowance is 75 milligrams for women and 90 milligrams for men daily.
8. Ask for help
There are lots of tasks, shopping, and errands to do during the holiday season. To lighten the load, ask family or friends to join you in completing your to do list. It will make it more enjoyable and a lot less stressful.
9. Have some cherries
Cherries contain anthocyanins which have an anti-inflammatory effect. The tart fruit also contains melatonin which aids in sleep. Drinking two ounces thirty minutes prior to bed time will reduce pain levels and improve sleep.
10. Remember to relax
Days can feel longer during the colder months, so take a break during the day to recharge your energy. Either take a short, twenty minute nap on the couch or relax watching a holiday movie.
Use these ten simple steps to make the holidays more enjoyable and create those memories that will last a lifetime!
What do you do to reduce flares and stress during the holidays?
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my family to yours!
About Brandi of Being Fibro Mom
“I’m Brandi, follower of Christ, wife to an amazing, supportive husband, blessed mother to four sweet children, and fellow spoonie. After many years of struggling with body aches, joint stiffness, severe back spasms, seasonal depression, sensory sensitivities and other various ailments, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic pain. In winter 2012, I started on my way to becoming well again and regaining a ‘normal’ life. Through my journey I have learned that living with fibromyalgia and chronic pain does not have to be merely surviving life, but thriving it! Being Fibro Mom not only gives you the resources needed to understand fibromyalgia and chronic pain, but also how to cope with those crazy kid days, unexpected flare ups, and unpredictable emotional days.”
Thanks Brandi for sharing these valuable tips on enjoying the holidays with fibromyalgia. We can’t let our chronic illness rule our lives. We must find ways to celebrate the “new normal” we’ve been given and learn to THRIVE with chronic illness.
I’m so glad Brandi said cherries were anti-inflammatory. I love cherries and after finding this awesome cherry pitter, I grab them anytime I can. Even my kids love pitting the cherries and eating them fresh for a poolside snack in the summer.
It’s important to learn the limits of your body in order to understand your chronic illness. I’ve cut lots of corners so that I can enjoy the holidays more in spite of RA. I gave up writing Christmas cards years ago. My hands hurt too much to write so much so our family and friends will have to forgive me if they don’t get a card. If I’m cooking, I start working on side dishes days ahead and I make a simple simple rotisserie chicken I cook in a bundt pan that when they were younger, my kids were convinced was a juicy turkey. Simplifying the holidays means I am more relaxed and I am able to enjoy the holidays more WITH my family! I’ve got a great gift guide too of tools that help deal with the pain, fatigue and stiffness of Rheumatoid Arthritis, fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses.
How do you cope with the holiday stress and temptations of sweets? What gifts or tools have you received that help you deal with the pain, stiffness and fatigue of your condition?
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