The holidays can be a wonderful time to connect with loved ones, and celebrate the season. But, all that activity when you have MS-related fatigue is also physically and emotionally exhausting! What strategies have you found to help limit the effects of fatigue so that you can be ready for this Holiday season?
Ahhh...the "dreaded" holiday season...the time where the reality of daily living slows to a screaching halt until after the first of the year! My strategy is and has always been staying in the moment for years now, especially this time of year where expectations run unrealistically higher than usual. The world finds, in my mind, my MS to be a huge inconvenience of sorts. Denial is NOT the cure!! There is no business as usual especially in a climate that runs way to fast. For me the holiday season is an opportunity to practice the patience & tolerance of one unpredictable moment at a time living...where are MY feet at during this one & each very moments!? Truly makes the challenge more challenging. Bahumbug!!!...LOL.
Since my house is full of the flu, I have told everyone the menu will be Swanson TV dinners and we will be thankful for that, giggle.
Simplify, Be assertive about my needs.Two concepts I didn't use much before.I used to love this time of year, and indeed I used every minute to its fullest. Now, at 1/10 the capacity I used to have (I might need to revisit that percentage), Giving up my old routine is difficult on everyone, and I get overwhelmed just thinking about it. For the past two years, a few changes to our process. My husband gets out the decorations and puts them away. Not to my standards, but hey. For the past two years I have gotten very depressed. I told my husband that I need for us to streamline our process. Take out only a few bins, and decorate with those, then put them away. This might mean shifting some things in the bins, and better labeling. Then, each year we can switch decorations. I also said one bin for the family room, one for the living room. No up and down the stairs, all around the house. I just can't. Also, there is having our children home. With their schedules, in-laws, and other family, we end up hosting two Thanksgivings, two Christmas's, and an out of town two-day visiting. It is so hard with my children being hours away, and I used to do a trip in one day. Now I need three. I miss them so much and I won't give up time with them. I told my husband that next year, one Thanksgiving, and this year, one Christmas home, one out of town (my parents cannot travel anymore). Simplify. I have always tried to do this, but now it is extreme. I know though, that if I don't, I will really suffer, end up having to give something up, and be angry and depressed. I am also seeing a counselor to help with this. One of the biggest hurdles is the change to my routine. I have significant cognitive problems and will forget important things, like taking my medicine, or even letting the dog out. So, I am carefully planning what I do by actually setting a date and time for these other things. If I have to move my time for washing clothes, I will put it on my calendar for another day. It isn't that I would forget that, but just throwing doing it somewhere, will confuse me too much. Then I sit with my "wheels spinning". Not on the fly. I am not by nature, easily adapting, and adapting to each MS daily unknowns is enough, lol. Hugs to all..
I feel like my parents are understanding about my fatigue. They let me take my time. Thats just what I do. I will do something then take a break maybe even a nap. Then I do the next thing. I also wear layers because heat really affects my fatigue so if I get hot I take a layer off. Sometimes I even go to another room or outside for a walk to cool down or get some energy back.
All that holiday activity when you have MS-related fatigue is also physically and emotionally exhausting!