Christmas. I absolutely adore everything about it. Sparkly lights, mince pies, chocolates, mulled wine, visiting friends and family, Christmas baking with the kids. I love it all. And I want to do it all. But with MS, it’s not always possible to do it all. And yet every year I try to and usually end up in a heap by Christmas Eve. This year has been the earliest crumble so far. 20th December began my turn-into-a-lump-ness. In some ways it was a good time to do it. At least I have had time to pick myself up before the big day…
If you’ve been reading my blog, you will know by now that I love a list. So here’s my Christmas Survival List. Although aimed mostly at those suffering with fatigue or any other condition that flares up at this time of year, it can also be helpful for anyone who feels a bit ‘done in’ by Christmas.
Much like my fatigue management list, it’s not in order of priority, it’s written as I thought of it.
- Drink lots of water and herbal tea so that you are well hydrated and able to cope with all the coffee and mulled wine.
- Make a huge pan of vegetable soup and eat it regularly (even if it is in between chocolates)
- Cancel all unnecessary arrangements that have the capacity to deepen your fatigue.
- Meditate as often as possible. Preferably every day.
- Practice gentle yoga
- Download some yoga nidra (deep yogic relaxation) and practice it daily. http://www.yoganidranetwork.org is a great place to start.
- Try to limit your sugar intake (at Christmas?!? Are you crazy!?) Okay, so maybe this is utterly unrealistic, so do what you can and certainly don’t stress about it. Stress makes everything worse. Maybe occasionally say no to the odd chocolate (this is something I am still working on)
- Stay warm. Especially your head if you’re prone to headaches.
- Get some fresh air at least once a day even if it’s just in the garden. Heated, stuffy houses and no physical activity can make fatigue much worse.
- Don’t worry about Christmas presents/food/perfection. All anyone wants at Christmas is to be with the people they love. Once everyone arrives no-one cares if your mince pies were from the co-op, or that the present you bought them is a bit weird and will probably be off to the nearest charity shop come January. Not many of us have Kirsty Allsop’s job and we all understand that.
- Only eat when you’re hungry no matter what it is. The last thing your body needs right now is to be working hard at digesting unnecessary food.
- Accept that you will be exhausted after Christmas and New Year and plan accordingly i.e. plan nothing but walks in the country/by the sea, early nights and ease yourself back into a more healthy lifestyle.
- Watch Christmas films with the kids in the afternoon when you are wilting and need to sit down for an hour. And if you don’t have kids, watch Christmas films in the afternoon anyway. It’s dark by 4. Go for it.
- Don’t try and do everything. You’ll end up doing nothing and going to bed.
I really hope this helps. And I hope I listen to my own advice for once.
Now pass the chocolates…….
And may you have a wonderful Christmas x