Surviving the Holidays With Fibromyalgia
Have you noticed? The leaves have fallen from the trees. The flurries are beginning to drift from the sky and commercials are highlighting the season's must-have toys. The holidays are here.
Many people greet the holidays with a high dose of pessimism. This viewpoint can be triggered by negative past experiences, the way your fibromyalgia symptoms flare at this time of year, or a combination of the two.
What you may not realize is pessimism only breeds more pessimism. Waiting for bad things to happen only ensures that they will, as the good goes unnoticed.
Fibromyalgia adds pain and feelings of depression while taking away energy, motivation, and hope. The impact is both physical and mental. The holidays are typically a time of high stress as family functions, buying gifts and weather changes bring about social, financial and environmental stress.
The cold, dry weather can cause fibromyalgia flares, tighten joints and reduce the ability to exercise, as going for walks in the ice and snow may be hazardous.
It may feel like the odds are stacked against you and it would be easier to “hibernate” through the holiday season until the New Year. As appealing as this may be, it only represents an opportunity lost. Choose to move towards enjoying the holidays with fibromyalgia.
Tips for Coping During the Holidays With Fibromyalgia
The holidays can bring out depression, anxiety, and despair in some. Having fibromyalgia puts you at greater risk of these unwanted feelings.
Work to avoid these trends and find the positive aspects of the holiday season. Seeing the rest of the season through a more optimistic lens will make everything more desirable. Here’s how:
Reflect on the Year
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Choose to learn from the last year by taking an objective inventory. Look at the previous 365 days. How were they? What are your regrets? What were your successes?
Recall that depression distorts your perceptions so work to maintain objectivity. Find ways to repeat the good and to avoid bad to make next year as rewarding as possible.
Too often people find themselves firmly planted in the quagmire of negativity. Make the conscious decision to find gratitude in your life. You already know the list of problems is long, but focusing more on the positives makes the negatives look smaller and less significant.
The more you focus on something, the larger it becomes. You have the power to control your focus.
Consider making a thankfulness wreath. In this project, you list what you are thankful for on individual construction paper leaves and pin those to a foam ring making a wreath. It is a representation of your gratitude that also makes a seasonal decoration.
Find Hope in the Future
Hope is one of the best defenses you have against physical and mental illness. If your physical symptoms are worse, look for hope in other areas. If mental symptoms are worse, look for hope in physical areas.
Fibromyalgia tries to convince you that you should give up, but hope exists if you are willing to turn over enough stones to find it.
Renew Your Faith
If you are feeling burned out from the shopping, food, and commercialism of the holidays, move to another path. This time of year is the best time to focus or refocus on your religious and spiritual beliefs.
If it has been a while, find another service, church or belief system that works well for you. Spirituality is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and luckily, there are so many variations available. With some work, you might be able to find the best fit for you.