Fibromyalgia Holiday Survival Guide

7 Tips for Surviving — Even Celebrating — Holidays When You Have Fibromyalgia

They’re coming.  The winter holidays.  In New Jersey, where I live and work, Thanksgiving brings on weeks of more traffic, bigger crowds and longer lines at restaurants and shopping centers. If you have fibromyalgia, it’s also time to protect your health.

Let’s pause right now and make a plan so you can enjoy the holidays as much as possible.

Time management is key to surviving the holidays with fibromyalgia.

Here are my 7 fibromyalgia holiday survival tips. They’re the simplest, easiest tips for controlling stress and saving your best energies to be with your family and friends:

  1. Remember, you don’t have to do everything.  You don’t have to make meals or dishes from scratch or even cook every meal.  If you are hosting the holiday meal, make it pot luck.   Everyone loves to bring a favorite dish.
  2. No need to go all-out.  Keep your meals simple.  Keep menu plans simple.
  3. Decorating should be fun and bring you joy. Make it a family affair, or invite friends over to help decorate. Again you don’t have to have too many decorations, put out the ones that mean the most to you, or have special memories.
  4. Decide first what’s most important to you.  Just do that.  Is it attending a service? Is it spending time with family? Save your energy just for this.
  5. Find family and friends you enjoy and savor the time with them. By now, you’ve learned that some people are more understanding of fibromyalgia than others.  Some people don’t yet ‘get it.’ You may be worried about offending some people if you don’t eat what they’ve fixed or take part in their plans.  Use what you’ve learned about saying no, and say no. Say yes to the things you enjoy and are important to you. Make good memories.
  6. Tell others what you want.  Be as open as you can about what makes this time special for you – whether it’s having some holiday lights put up; having someone bring home a special treat, or having some time to yourself so you can relax, unwind, and have the rest you need.
  7. Remember to breathe.  This helps decrease stress.  Get as much sleep as you can. Find a way to make your favorite relaxation techniques part of your day, even if your ordinary routine has gone out the window.

My best suggestion is really this: Do what is most important!

Of course you want to feel your best, and enjoy yourself and your loved ones during the holidays.

Putting yourself and your health first may be one of the hardest things to do during the holidays.  But this can be the best time to set yourself free. Allow yourself to focus on what makes them the best they can be, for you, and do away with the rest.

If you enjoy this health tip please share it or print it for your use. It comes to you from Dr. Betty Keller, an integrative therapy and fibromyalgia specialist, practicing in Franklin Lakes New Jersey at the Optimal Wellness Center.