Navigating Celebrations and the Festive Season with Endometriosis
Jessica has endometriosis, and Chris is her partner. Together they find ways to manage the condition and support each other through its challenges. Below they discuss and share tips on how they navigate the festive season with endometriosis:
What do you do to make sure you look after Jess’ endometriosis symptoms at this time of year?
From Jessica: I think my biggest ‘pitfall’ at this time of year is all the goodies, so it’s really about finding suitable alternatives. I’ve already started experimenting with exciting recipes that won’t trigger me. I’ve now reduced my sugar intake so much that 100% dark chocolate is my favorite, so adapting to new tastes has been something that often helps me at this time of year. Trying out new drinks too like good decaf coffees, or looking up comforting caffeine free drink recipes online, or trying alcohol free spirits and wine means I don’t have to feel so left out.
From Chris:Fatigue and difficulty getting up in the morning can be especially difficult at this time of year so I try to help with that as much as possible. This means getting up first and putting the kettle on, or getting the heating on, just trying to make it easier for Jess to get up. I also try not to indulge in things Jess can’t eat or drink in front of her too much! I think it helps her not feel so isolated and alone but also avoiding drinking or sugary snacks at this time of year.
Is there anything that is especially difficult to manage or maintain at this time of year?
From Jessica: I agree with Chris that fatigue can play a huge. But I’ve really been working on that this year and so now the darker months have started, I’m feeling much better. I now use a light alarm clock that wakes me up gently, I get my face outside in the daylight asap so my body knows it’s morning and my circadian rhythm can respond appropriately. I do 30 minutes of some kind of movement every single day and that helps to keep me energized, and I also now make sure I’m in bed 8-9 hours before my alarm, so even if I do have insomnia that night, I’ve at least been resting for that time.
From Chris: Trying to keep a routine is pretty difficult. With so many different events and family and friends to see, it can be hard to keep up with a good bed routine, a good diet etc. Those things are always a challenge when the regular rhythm of life is interrupted. Along with this also goes budgeting - it can be hard to stick to the budget we’ve spoken about before (link) when there is a lot of events to go to, present to be bought etc. at this time of year.
Do you find that managing endometriosis symptoms at this time of year affects your social life?
From Jessica: Yes I guess it does, but it’s so normal to me now. Because I don’t drink and partying isn’t really my scene now I don’t have the energy, I guess people got used to the idea of me not being there and stopped inviting me. I guess this is a calling to me to see my friends more this winter, but in a way that also suits me.
From Chris: It definitely gives us more to think about, more to juggle. But a lot of our friends and family are aware of Jess’ situation and limitations so most people are understanding. I think endometriosis symptoms can always be isolating, and especially at this time of year so I know it’s hard for Jess. I just make sure that I’m understanding of how far she can push her pain and energy levels, and make sure I’m there for her when she can’t be out and about.
Do you ever experience urinary incontinence?