As 2018 marks LDUKs 5th birthday and Christmas is on the horizon, we’ve been talking about celebrations and how to best manage our symptoms when trying to enjoy ourselves.
The Christmas period can often leave us feeling stressed. There are so many people to see, so many events, so much socialising to be done and of course, shopping to do! It’s a stressful time for most people, so throw in a chronic illness and you have the potential for disaster! Never fear though, there are plenty of things you can do to ensure you have a good time without making your symptoms worse.
We all want to get involved in the festive spirit, make memories and cherish our time with family and friends but most of us will need to pace ourselves in order to make the most of the festivities. It doesn’t mean we have to turn down every invite to a long or late night event, but is does mean spending our time wisely and being kind to our minds and our bodies.
We asked the LDUK community for their hints and tips for surviving the party season. Here’s a few snippets from the group:
- Drink water with ice and slice. Everyone thinks you’re drinking G&T and won’t hassle you to drink alcohol.
- Avoid gluten, especially bread. Go for the nuts and dried fruit instead.
- You don’t need to have mammoth conversations but try to smile and acknowledge others, relax in their company.
- Get lots of rest the day before to build up stamina.
- Pace yourself, listen to your body, say your farewells when you are tired and ready. Above all enjoy what you can.
- Be organised. Have a planner, where you can write events out that are coming up and then select the ones you think you can manage, you want to attend or feel the host will be more flexible with you. Sort food out and take snacks with you if needed. Take comfy clothes and shoes if needed, pre-arrange your transport and remember: ‘organisation is the key to success.’
- Pace yourself. This is a big one! The people who matter won’t care if you only handle two out of the six hours. You turned up, you saw and spoke to people, for them it should be enough and it means you can have a good time without pushing your pain or fatigue limits too far.
- Be open and honest. It’s okay to decline an invite. You can’t do everything, and people should understand. It’s a busy time of year! You could offer to meet the host another time for something more chilled. Don’t be afraid to tell friends you’re struggling with your health, they’ll understand.
- Rest and give yourself time to recover between socialising.
- ENJOY. Don’t attend or waste energy on an event you don’t want to go to. Focus on the parties or gatherings you know you will enjoy and when you’re there, cherish every moment!
You should never feel like a failure for arriving late at an event or leaving early if it means you’re able to better manage your symptoms. This should be seen a strength!
You learn where your boundaries are and with that knowledge you can enjoy a good stress-free evening and walk away with pleasant memories, rather than pushing yourself and your memories being tainted by symptom flare ups and exhaustion. The people who love you and appreciate you will understand. To them it’s just important that you’re there – regardless of how long you stay!
If people do take offence that you ‘pick and choose’, have dietary requirements or leave early, then you probably need to question whether their company is worth your time amd energy.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when people are firing event dates, times and meet ups at us. We just need to slow down, assess the situation and plan accordingly. Organising can eliminate so much stress! Set calendar reminders, make notes to yourself, plan your outfits and transport in advance to avoid feeling rushed or making rash decisions… remove last minute hassle and enjoy yourself! Go to the events YOU want to go to and have a GREAT time. Plan ahead, ask for help if you need it, listen to your heart, pace and ensure you allocate yourself time to rest and re-charge.
You can make this festive season a really good one; do what you can to surround yourself in the joy of Christmas. Make great memories and enjoy every minute.
ps. Try not to worry about buying presents, remember: gifts are far more precious when they’re personal! Add you’re own sparkle wherever you can!