Christmas and Fibromyalgia A survival guide!

Christmas day is nearly here, the hustle and bustle of supermarkets as everyone battles for the perfect frozen turkey, the never ending production line of gift wrapping and the pile of Christmas cards you meant to write but never quite got around to doing means only one thing! Stress! To the average person this is bad enough but to a fibro warrior it can seem overwhelming and at times practically impossible.

We are fed images of the perfect Christmas day wherever we look, T.V advertisements with happy families sat around the table, heads adorned with paper crowns, a perfectly browned turkey waiting to be carved and everyone looking joyously at the heaped bowl of sprouts. Instagram pictures of immaculate grey and silver living rooms with blush accessories, the tree matching the decor perfectly making the ideal backdrop for the family photo in matching Christmas P.J’s. The cute video of youngsters in their Nativity plays on Facebook, mum pans the camera around for a selfie shot showing her catwalk level make up to say how proud she is, whilst as a fibro warrior we are sat looking at these images we are bombarded with, in our dressing gowns, trying to summon the energy to make a cuppa and wondering how we can make our Christmas this perfect too.

NEWSFLASH! – You don’t have to!

All of these snapshots are not real, they are either there to try to sell you something or are perfectly staged for the world of social media, the top influencers sharing a glimpse of their perfect homes will still have lost the end of their sellotape and not been able to find the scissors under a pile of wrapping paper and will have spilt a hot chocolate all over the place while trying to wrestle a toddler into a Christmas onesie when they would rather run around naked, whilst their cat is busy pulling the blush decorations off the fibre optic tree!

Christmas doesn’t have to be picture perfect, so focus on what makes it perfect for you and your loved ones, what do you enjoy most about the festive period? It’s list time! For me it’s spending time with family, watching Elf and shouting Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins on Christmas Eve with a glass of wine and a cheeseboard, It’s about waking up Christmas morning with Mark , when the world seems to have stopped for the day, knowing that those first few minutes of the day are totally ours, exchanging our gifts and only having to focus on each other, it’s watching Bailey-Boo our darling little Jack Russell Terrier eagerly open his pressies, it’s seeing our grown up children on Boxing Day and having all our family together. This is what is important to me this Christmas, you will notice at no point have I mentioned perfectly browned turkeys or beautiful Christmas trees but if they are what truly matters to you then put them on your list.

Planning is key over the festive season, we wouldn’t go and jump in the car and decide to embark on a journey without having some idea of where we were going, how far it is, whether we had enough fuel and if we would be able to get there and back in one day and tackling any day with fibromyalgia is no different to planning a journey but over the holiday period it can be the key to not sending yourself into a flare.

Things to consider when planning

  • How are you going to manage your symptoms? Do you have all the M.C.C. products you need? Do You know where your Warrior Balm is? Have you thought about what symptoms you are likely to suffer from and what is the best way to tackle them?
  • What jobs on your list can you delegate? You don’t have to peel every sprout and wrap every present, if someone is spending Christmas with you then they can be involved in the preparation too, this is a holiday to spend time together and it doesn’t just have to be around a tin of Quality Street.
  • What can you do in advance? Try and stagger the jobs so that you are not overstretching yourself.
  • Don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself and work with your body clock, if you find your pain levels are worse first thing in the morning then don’t set yourself a huge task list to be completed before 10 O’ Clock.
  • Build in rest times to your time table.
  • Look at how you can make tasks easier – peel the potatoes sat on the sofa if need be, there are no rules in your house that say you have to stand in the kitchen to do them!
  • Don’t beat yourself up for buying ready made products, thousands of people do when they don’t have fibro, if Aunt Bessie is the difference to you surviving Christmas then welcome her with open arms!
  • If you need a repeat prescription then order it now! Think you are o.k for your meds? Double check anyway!
  • If you have a busy Christmas Day then plan for a quieter Boxing Day and vice versa, as lovely as it would be to have a fun packed busy social calendar, be realistic and stagger the festive gatherings.
  • Nap Zone! It is so easy to doze off on the sofa after dinner but your body doesn’t know that it is Christmas, Nap Zone over the Christmas period is still between 1:00-3:00 pm, this is proven to help your body work in rhythm with your body clock and therefore not interfere with your sleeping pattern. If you need to have a nap go and lie down comfortably rather than in the front room as you will be more comfortable and awkward sleeping positions can lead to the onset of pain.

Christmas varies from household to household, it may be very busy for some but for others it can be quite an isolating time of year, it may be a first Christmas without a loved one or you may be waking up by yourself Christmas morning and in these situations it is OK to feel emotional. Try to think about what you can do to combat this rather than just quietly dreading it and letting it creep up on you. Our M.C.C. Support Group on Facebook will be active all over the Christmas period and we will be doing a live broadcast Christmas morning to help those that may be feeling alone.

Fibromyalgia and Product Support by M.C.C.

We hope that this guide goes a little way to helping you prepare for a flare free Holiday and from everyone here at M.C.C. we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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