Endometriosis and Setting Boundaries Around the Holidays
Last updated: December 2022
That time of year is upon us. The time when we should be jolly, happy, and enjoying all the holiday cheer.
But when you are living with a chronic illness, that sometimes could be very difficult. I know for me personally; endometriosis has made my holidays harder than they should be.
Sometimes, I wish I could go back to when I had no idea about my illness. When things seemed much simpler, the holidays were seriously the best time of my life. But unfortunately, that isn't how it works.
Endometriosis reminds me of that daily and especially around the holidays. I will say I have learned a lot over the years of the dos and don'ts when it comes to handling my illness.
Yet, each year, I still find the holidays to be stressful. However, I have realized that setting specific boundaries for myself seems to be the only thing that really helps get me through.
Setting up boundaries and having a clear idea of your dos and don'ts can also help make the holidays a bit smoother.
So, let's look at some of the boundaries I try to set before the holiday approaches.
Making sure I set aside me time
I use this time for extra rest. So many of us know how badly fatigue can set in, especially when we are out being social. We want to keep up with everyone around us and ensure we are included and present in everything.
But that might not always be realistic for us. It's important that you set those boundaries when you need rest. If that means stepping away from a conversation or missing out on dancing around the Christmas tree, then so be it.
Taking care of yourself is much more important and will help you enjoy your holiday more.
Talk to your family, friends, and loved ones before the holidays
We all know those who aren't dealing with endometriosis find it hard to understand what we are going through. However, I have found that having conversations way before the holidays with my loved ones does help.
This is where I usually share my diet needs and remind everyone what I can and can't have. This helps to ensure there will be food available for me to eat.
It also allows me to understand better if I need to bring something of my own or stop at the store while there. Knowing this way ahead of time and having my meal ideas planned out saves a boatload of stress come the day of.
You can also have a conversation with your family ahead of time, reminding them of the activities you may not want to participate in or any other accommodations you will need.
Most importantly, talking with your family ahead of time lets you know the questions you don't mind them asking and the questions you wish they would keep to themselves (like, "so when are you giving us a grandchild?").
Knowing it is okay if you have that holiday treat
Listen, I am not perfect. I certainly don't always follow the "endo diet." I have cookies and cheese, and I don't usually feel well after it.
But I have learned I can't beat myself up over having these moments where I splurge. Especially on the holidays.
If you reach for that holiday cookie and eat it, it's okay. Be gentle with yourself. Give yourself a pep talk beforehand that eating something out of the ordinary is okay.
You don't need to punish yourself. Head into the holidays knowing that a little splurge is bound to happen.
Don't overdo it or feel like you have to say yes
This goes for everything that comes with the holidays. Sometimes we feel we are expected to do all the shopping, bring all the gifts, cook all the food, and bring treats.
I am here to tell you, do what you can. If that means bringing nothing, so be it. If that means cooking one batch of cookies, so be it.
Set the boundaries of what you can handle when it comes to what you are required to bring to the holiday get-together. It's okay to say no.
If someone wants you to make three different casseroles and you don't have the energy, you can say no. You can say no if someone wants your help in the kitchen and you are not feeling well.
Do the things you feel comfortable and capable of doing. Pushing yourself is not going to make you enjoy the holiday season.
A lot of guilt can come from having a chronic illness, especially during holidays. That's why it is so important to set these boundaries and have a plan for how you want to handle the holiday season.
Don't ever feel bad about needing to do this. Showing yourself kindness and grace is important. You deserve to enjoy your holiday, whatever that may mean for you.
What boundaries do you struggle to set for the holidays or have already set for the holiday season?
Which symptoms are you experiencing the most this week? (Check all that apply):