Christmas can be a difficult period at the best of times for a number of people and particularly those who suffer from a chronic pain condition. With the imposing prospect of a socially distant Christmas. Many people may be unable to spend the holiday season with their loved ones due to the lockdown. Enforced in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Loneliness is likely to be a common theme throughout the country this Christmas and it is vital that if you are not able to be with your loved ones or are on your own that you stay positive and try to enjoy this Christmas as much as you can, even if it seems impossible.
Under normal circumstances the Christmas party invitations and dinners can seem to be endless. From the traditional Office Christmas Party to meeting up with distant relatives, your social calendar can quickly run away from you. This year is unfortunately, likely to be different with fewer invitations. However, it is still important not to overexert yourself and only attend events that you feel physically and mentally up for. Never be afraid to turn down an invitation that may cause you stress or will be arduous for you to physically accept.
It is now more than ever in recent times, crucial to spend time with the ones you love and ensure that you remain positive in spite of all that is going on in the world and remember that those closest to you are precious. Every moment that you spend together should be appreciated.
If you do manage to spend time with your family and loved ones over the festive period, when living in chronic pain it is imperative that you allow yourself to take a break. Not putting too much stress on your body, whether it be cooking, playing with grandchildren or travelling, is important. Christmas can be a busy time and stressful on your body. It is important to allow your body to rest and to recover if you do have a few manic days.
Whether it be naps or finding a quiet place to read a book, ensuring that you do not overdo it early on in the holiday season should allow you to enjoy the rest of the holiday period.
You are not alone
Sometimes living with fibromyalgia can leave you feeling extremely isolated and this can be exacerbated at Christmas. Always remember that it is important to speak to your family and friends about your condition so they can understand what you are going through and they will then be in a better position and mindset to help you and ensure that you are not excluded.
There are millions of people in the UK who suffer from chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. Support groups and online chatrooms or Facebook Groups can be an amazing outlet to speak to people who are going through something similar to you. Advice from people who have found ways to cope with their condition can be priceless and it can also give you a different perspective on your condition and allow you to approach living with your condition in a different mindset.
Sharing your feelings on Facebook Groups or to a Support Group leader can take a load off your shoulders and allow you to reduce your anxiety levels. Getting some of your worries off your chest can be liberating and often revealing your true struggle to your family can be extraordinarily difficult as you do not want them to live with your burden.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Christmas is all about family and your loved ones, so suffering in silence may not be necessary and you can often be surprised how receptive people can be to your struggles with fibromyalgia. If you are lucky enough to be spending Christmas with family or close friends, ask for help if you need it and do not be afraid to ask for breaks or time for yourself.
There is no shame in being in pain and if your loved ones are aware of how much pain you are in, they will be able to help and be more lenient if you lose your temper or cannot make an event.
Your family may be able to ease your load if you have a fibro flare during the festive period and they can help you fight through it.
However, if you are on your own this Christmas it can be difficult to find someone to speak to. Support Groups and Facebook Groups are an option, charities like the Samaritans and Fibromyalgia Action and UK Fibromyalgia may also be able to help. Many organisations may not be able to answer their phone lines throughout the festive period, so it may be a good idea to pre-emptively reach out to anyone who you feel may be able to help you over Christmas.
Have pain relievers accessible
Whatever helps you manage your pain; it is important to have it close to your person to ensure any flare ups or episodes can be dealt with swiftly. Whether that be your favourite cushion, a beloved hot water bottle or your medication. It is important to keep the little things that help make life more comfortable in close proximity. Make sure you have yours with you.
With prescriptions taking longer to be fulfilled because of COVID, it is important to stock up prior to the festive period to ensure that you have enough of your medication throughout the holidays.
CBD patches can be an extremely effective solution to helping you relax throughout the festive period and for managing your symptoms. Alternatively, CBD capsules are another form of CBD delivery that can be easily incorporated in your daily routine - just like any other daily supplement you may take. CBD can also help with sleep, so using a CBD vape cartridge specifically formulated for sleep is important to ensure you maximise your enjoyment of the following day.
Review your schedule
If you are working throughout the winter, whether it be working from home, at the office or in retail. If your flare ups are beginning to get the better of you, it is always best to speak to your boss. It is always best to let your boss know that you are struggling as otherwise they may be bemused by your underperformance and it may have negative repercussions. If you need a break, it is best to just ask for one and see if it is possible to take some time to look after your health.
Don’t eat too much sugar
Sugar is a poison and negatively impacts numerous aspects of your body. Sugar can be extremely bad for your gut health and the health of your gut is so important if you have an immune disorder or suffer with chronic pain. Sugar can be a major cause of fibromyalgia inflammation; this is why it is essential to consider the impact of chocolate and sugar intensifying your fibromyalgia system.
Over Christmas, chocolates and sweets are everywhere and it is so easy to overindulge, while it is enjoyable in the short term, you are likely to feel the negative effects of overeating in the following days. Cutting back on chocolates and sweets will allow you to enjoy your meals more and be in good spirits throughout the festive season.
It is always tempting to let your diet and exercise routine to slip throughout the holiday season. Maintaining your exercise routine could be vital in enabling you to keep control of your fibromyalgia and ensure you are in a good mood for all of the festivities. Gentle exercise such as yoga is perfect for keeping your joints moving and regular yoga sessions can help to ease your pain and fatigue.
Having an exercise routine is more important than intense exercise if you suffer from fibromyalgia or other chronic pain conditions. This is because intense sessions can result in you overdoing it and causing your symptoms to get worse rather than better. This is why is important to try and do some gentle exercise every day to keep things loose and your body in good condition.
If you tend to leave your Christmas shopping until Christmas eve, this can add to your stress levels and ultimately increase the chance of your fibromyalgia flaring up. This is why planning ahead is a great way to ensure your run up to Christmas is relaxed and enjoyable. Planning to avoid situations that can be harmful to your chronic pain is also something that is well worth considering. Select your Christmas presents early and hand-made, unique presents always go down swimmingly with your loved ones.
Christmas only comes around once every year and it is always over before you know it. Especially after the year we have all had, having fun and enjoying your time with your family should be your top priority. However, it is important not to neglect your fibromyalgia. It can be easy to get swept up in the joy of Christmas, so make sure you are self-aware and do not forget to manage your symptoms.