Holidays are tough for those of us with chronic illnesses and pain.  Typically, hours of travel, cooking, eating, mingling, and pretending that you are fine are expected.  Holidays are, in short, a recipe for a pain explosion.  I can usually make it through Christmas day OK, but I am suffering (i.e. stumbling from my bed to my couch is the extent of my movement) for the week following.  This year, I am going to try to follow my own advice for a low-pain holiday:
  • Know your limits!  We've all heard this before, usually in the context of drinking alcohol, but it applies here as well.  If you know that doing something will dislocate a few ribs, gracefully bow out of that activity.  If someone wants to make a nasty remark at Christmas, they are the grinch here, not you.
  • Remember allergies/intolerances!  Everything on the table probably looks delicious, but if you are like me and have become allergic/intolerant to many ingredients, remember to ask what is in the dishes.  I try to bring a few of my own allergy-free (and easy) dishes along to share.  
  • Take breaks!  Have a quiet spot picked out (if you can) where you can retreat for a few minutes to gather yourself.  Even a bathroom will work.  A few minutes of meditation can do wonders.
  • Have a partner in crime!  My husband is mine.  We have a secret word or look that means that I need a break or I need to leave.  He can make the announcement when I'm not feeling well.
  • Relax!  It is difficult, but try to stay as stress-free as possible.  Let those well-meaning comments and suggestions about your health bounce off you.  Remember, the people that say these things believe they are being helpful.  It's Christmas, so give them a pass.  
Happy holidays to all of you!

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