As the holiday season approaches, individuals grappling with endometriosis or other chronic illnesses are contemplating how to sidestep discomfort and flare-ups. Despite our concerted efforts to prevent or mitigate the frequency and intensity of flares associated with endometriosis, the truth remains that flare-ups are inevitable.
The holiday season holds the promise of joy, connections, and quality time with loved ones for many, but for others, it may bring stress, indulgence, worry, temptation, or even apprehension. The prospect of navigating gatherings, grappling with uncomfortable inquiries, or being compelled to make challenging food choices after diligently avoiding certain items for an extended period can be disheartening. Although flares may be an inherent part of the journey at any given time, holidays are no exception. The good news is that there are strategies available to effectively manage or minimize flares during these festive times!
Managing endometriosis or any chronic illness during the holiday season can present unique challenges, but there are strategies to help minimize flares and make the most of the festive season. Here are some tips:
Plan and Pace Yourself:
- Plan your activities and commitments wisely. Don’t overcommit to events or tasks.
- Prioritize what’s most important to you and conserve your energy for those activities.
- Communicate with friends and family about your condition. Let them know your limitations and needs.
- Be open about your health concerns, so they can better understand and support you during gatherings.
- Or have a script of what you may want to say to those you do not want to share this information with such as: “Thank you for asking, though I’d prefer not to share those details right now, thank you for understanding.”
For a list of resources for yourself or others, check these out:
Choose Your Events:
- Select events that align with your energy levels and health status.
- It’s okay to decline invitations or leave early if you’re not feeling well.
- Food is more than just its ingredients and nutrients, food is a major part of many of our cultures, enjoy it!
- Remember, stressing about trigger foods may be just as triggering as enjoying some of your favorite dishes.
- Consider bringing a dish that aligns with your dietary restrictions to ensure there’s something you can comfortably eat.
- Eat prior to going to events to avoid overindulging in foods that may be a trigger for your symptoms.
Rest and Relaxation:
- Schedule breaks for rest and relaxation. Give yourself permission to step away from activities and take time for self-care.
- Incorporate relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation to manage stress.
Create a Comfortable Space:
- If attending gatherings, find a comfortable spot to rest if needed.
- Consider bringing a cushion, heating pad, or any other items that provide comfort during flare-ups.
Be Kind to Yourself:
- Understand that flares may still happen despite your best efforts. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that it’s okay to take a step back when needed.
- Stay connected with supportive friends or online communities. Sharing experiences and tips with others who understand what you’re going through can be comforting.
Use your toolbox!
- For many, you have gathered your individual tools that have worked well for you in the past, don’t forget about these!
- Connect with your providers, if you haven’t seen your providers in a while, it may be helpful to touch base with your mental health therapist, nutritionist, or physical therapist.
- Maybe you opt for that less intense workout to give your body a break.
Remember, everyone’s experience with endometriosis is unique, so tailor these tips to your specific needs and preferences. It’s essential to prioritize your well-being and enjoy the holiday season in a way that works best for you.
For more on this topic, check out our blog Managing Endometriosis: What You Need to Know.