November 13, 2019

A Holiday Wish from

With the holidays upon us, many Americans will feel tired and achy at the end of a long day. But those of us with fibromyalgia are at risk to experience something even worse – post-exertional flare-ups.

Triggered by greater-than-average activity, post-exertional flare-ups may arise more frequently during the hectic lead-up to the holidays. Shopping, family meal preparations, home decoration projects, and a more active social schedule can all take a toll.

It’s a good idea to spend some time thinking about ways you can prepare for the eventuality of a flare-up and to minimize the chances you’ll have one ahead of time.

Some suggestions:

  • Delegate whatever you can. Spouses and children can share the burden of décor and cleaning chores; children especially will enjoy putting up the decorations and this will help you avoid painful reaching and stretching.
  • Consider outsourcing and simplifying meals wherever possible. One-pot recipes, casseroles, and the occasional delivered pizza can reduce the physical stress that comes with cooking.
  • Make family meal gatherings a “pot-luck.” Everyone brings a dish, and that means you only provide the space and the necessary accessories (plates, flatware, glasses, drinks, ice, etc.). Cooking complicated menus can wreak havoc on painful muscles.
  • Lower your expectations. The house doesn’t have to be spotless all over; the meal doesn’t have to be perfect; your neighbors will appreciate store-bought goodies just as much as the ones you slaved for hours to bake yourself.
  • Seek out an active fibromyalgia support community, either online or in your hometown. Just knowing that others are having similar experiences can reduce emotional stress greatly, which can thus increase your ability to cope with the symptoms.

Finally, remember the real meaning of the holidays and consider cutting back on the whole endeavor this year. Celebrating the holidays doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go “all out.” Maybe this is a good year to take a breather and just enjoy your family and loved ones.

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