Christmas tree with an evil looking shadow

Surviving the Holidays with Endometriosis

Last updated: December 2019

Christmas is a wonderful time, but at the same time, it can be a stressful and energy-sapping time. December is usually filled with Christmas parties: The office Christmas party, the friends Christmas party, spending Christmas itself with family, sometimes even two different sets of families across two different days if you’re in a relationship. It can be exhausting for the most able-bodied out there, but for people with chronic illness, it can be a nightmare.

It doesn’t have to be, though. Christmas can still be a very enjoyable time, it just requires more planning and a healthy respect for setting boundaries.

Pace yourself

If you don’t want to miss out on the parties, but you find your energy levels lacking, and your pain levels rising, pop into a party for an hour if that is all you can manage. Skip the alcohol (which can cause a flare-up of pain) and be open with people as to why you want to leave early. I know there is always that pressure not to be a party-pooper, and to join in on the fun, but you can still have fun for an hour and without alcohol. After all, you don’t want one party to be your undoing. If you pace yourself with the parties, you’ll be able to attend more parties rather than spending all your energy on the one.

Get enough rest

If you are spending a few days with family, it’s easy to stay up late with everyone else. Especially if you haven’t seen your family in a while, the alcohol is flowing, and the stories are just too good to miss out on. Try to get enough rest though, even if that means having a midday nap. You may have to miss out on some of the fun, but a flare up of pain is not worth that one night you stayed up too late.

Bring your pain medication

Sometimes, pain medication can make you drowsy and unable to drink alcohol. I know I’ve forgone pain medication in the past because I’ve wanted to really be present in the moment. But pain medication is necessary, and sometimes, it’s better to be a bit drowsy than to lay awake all night because the pain is too much. There is no shame in needing help with getting on top of the pain, especially when you’re already exhausted from being involved in a lot of social situations.

Communicate and set boundaries

If your family is like mine and doesn’t really “get” chronic pain, be sure to communicate your needs to them – and the reasons why you need a nap/can’t drink alcohol/can’t stay up late, etc. Set your boundaries and stick to them. Self-care is important at the best of times, and even more so when you have to be socially very active. There is no shame in taking a step back and making sure you recharge and feel better. Only you know how much rest you need; don’t allow others to bully you into joining in when you need a rest.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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