This week’s post is part of A Chronic Voice’s December Linkup Party: A monthly get together for people with chronic illness to share and learn from each other’s experiences.

December’s writing prompts were:

My contribution to this month’s Linkup is all about surviving the Christmas holidays with MS. This includes strategies such as preparing opportunities for self-care and rest, as well as gift giving ideas that don’t require a trip to the shops.

Recovering: An update from the author

At long last, I’m back at my desk after several weeks of battling a horrible cold/flu thing. What a nuisance that has been!

My cold wasn’t very serious, the only problem was I spent many nights awake coughing, so I got very little sleep. As you can imagine, this made my fatigue worse than usual, so I had to stop writing for a bit and focus on recovering for a while.

So what have I been doing since my last post?

Mostly I’ve been focusing on self-care and coaxing my body back to health.

On top of all that I’ve been trying to get ready for Christmas. Something I don’t look forward to that much. I’m not a complete Grinch, I love spending time with family and I enjoy all the yummy food. It’s just that I often get sick during this time, which can kinda ruin the festive mood.

With all that in mind, I thought this month’s Linkup Party would be the perfect opportunity to get back into some blogging and share some of my holiday coping strategies with you all.

Enjoy 🙂

MS Holiday Survival Tips

1. Preparing

Instead of watching my diet, avoiding triggers and getting plenty of exercise, I overindulge and try to cram too much into a short period of time. As a result, my symptoms flare up, and everyday nasties like a cold or flu take advantage, and I fall ill.Christmas can be quite stressful, and I often get sick during long holiday breaks like Easter and Christmas. I guess this happens because the holidays cause a significant disruption to my wellness routine.

The way I make sure holiday celebrations don’t disrupt my routine is by including plenty of opportunities for self-care and rest. The way I make sure this happens is by discussing holiday plans with my family and friends well in advance. This way we can plan out the holiday period together and avoid holiday burnout.

When making holiday plans I:

  • Keep things flexible in case of fatigue or flare-ups.
  • I’m realistic about what I can and can’t manage.
  • Stick close to home so I can rest/make sure I have somewhere to rest if I’m away.
  • Discuss attendance when I have multiple invitations – The most important get-togethers are prioritesed & organise catch ups with people I missed after the holidays.

And as tempting as it may be, I’m not superwoman…So don’t over commit!

2. Shopping & Gift Giving

Shopping during Christmas is stressful and tiring. It can cost me a full day’s worth of spoons before I even set foot in a store.

Normally, I like to go out and do the shopping, but due to my persistent coughing, I did the bulk of my Christmas shopping online this year. Not only did it save me spoons but it kept me out of the summer heat – It’s an especially hot Christmas here in the southern hemisphere…anyone interested in trading places? 😉

Being a spoonie also means I don’t have a lot of extra cash for gifts. So instead of purchasing presents, I get creative with my gift giving ideas.

Instead of buying something I like to give IOU coupons. This is mostly for things that my family can do together or things I can do for them to show my appreciation.

So despite a shaky start to the holiday’s, with a bit of pre-planning and some creative gift ideas, I’m ready for Christmas. I can’t wait to enjoy some much-needed quality time with my friends and family.

I wish everyone a safe, happy & healthy (or healthy-ish) holiday and don’t forget to check out the amazing submissions for this month’s Linkup Party.

Chiara 🙂

The Millennial Patient