Have you been asking yourself lately “How am I going to make it thru these holidays?” I love to host parties especially holiday parties, but I also know it takes a lot out of me. Over the years, it has become easier as I’ve learned what works and doesn’t work for me. Here are my tips for making the holidays easier are:
1.) Planning is key. Plan what activities you will be attending. Pleasantly decline the ones you won’t be. If you are making food, plan your menu well in advance. Determine when you are doing your Christmas shopping. And make lists! It will help you remember what to do and what you have done. But most of all, plan when you are going to rest.
2.) Shopping can be challenging but it doesn’t have to be. Review your Christmas lists. Make a list of what you are purchasing at each store and determine if you can consolidate any purchases to the same store. Spread your shopping days out so you don’t get over tired. For easy shopping that doesn’t take a lot of energy, purchase gifts online. Many companies offer free shipping during the holidays. If you are traveling somewhere for the holidays, have the gifts shipped there so you don’t have to worry about packing them.
3.) Buying groceries can be overwhelming. Make your grocery list and check it twice so you only go to the store once. If you are short on energy the day you go to the store, make sure you use the motorized cart. Many grocery stores now allow you to place your order online. They do the shopping, bag it and have it ready for when you arrive at the store. All you have do is pick it up. How awesome is that? There are also stores online that will deliver to your door. They may cost a little bit more, but it is worth it this time of year.
4.) Preparing food for the holiday can be easier than you think. Look over your menu and decide what you can prepare ahead of time. Are there appetizers, desserts and casseroles that you can make a day or two ahead of time and store in the refrigerator? Then all that’s left to do is bake it the day of the festivities. Spreading out the preparation of food over several days will help conserve your energy. When preparing a dish, gather all your ingredients and set them on your table. You can prepare your dish while sitting down. If you can do this with a lot of your dishes, it will help you conserve your energy. Also, ask others to bring certain dishes or maybe they have a specialty dish they are known for. Bake Christmas cookies with friends and have a Christmas cookie exchange at the end of the baking. Then you have a variety of cookies to serve your guests.
5.) Enjoy the day of the festivities with your family and friends. By planning and doing a lot of the food preparation ahead of time, you will have more energy to enjoy the day. If you are running low on energy during the celebration, lay down for 15-30 minutes. It’s okay if you this a couple times. Plan time during the holidays for a little self-pampering. Things that make you feel relaxed life a massage, manicure or float therapy.
6.) If you are traveling for the holidays, make sure to take all your medications, lotions/potions, heating pad, cold pack, anything that you would have in your Fibro kit as you never know when you might need it. I even pack my pillow! I use a memory foam pillow so I’m able to get down small enough to get it into my suitcase.
7.) Do not feel guilty about the things you cannot do! You cannot control what others think or feel about you but you can control how YOU feel and think. You know your limitations better than anyone else. As my husband is always telling me, it’s so important for you to listen to your body and no one else can do that for you.
With some planning and keeping these tips in mind, you will enjoy your holiday season!
by Delanie Vitosh
Delanie is a senior at University of Nebraska at Kearney and is my daughter. She is majoring in Health Sciences with a minor in psychology. For one of her classes, her assignment was to create a health blog for anything she wanted. She chose benefits of exercise for people living with fibromyalgia. She knows all to well what Fibro Warriors live with every day and the struggles we have. Individuals with fibromyalgia feel a lot better mentally and physically after exercising. Here are some of the unexpected benefits of exercise for individuals with fibromyalgia and how they can help you.
You know exercise is good for you, but do you know how good it is? There are many ways that exercise benefits the health of an individual whether it is a walk through your neighborhood or a vigorous workout. Exercise especially improves the health of individuals that have fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is musculoskeletal pain throughout the body. Some symptoms include widespread pain, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties. It affects more than 5 million Americans, with the majority being women. Not only will it benefit you physically, but also mentally. Exercise can also improve the relationships you have with your family, friends, and peers.
Ten ways exercise can improve your life when having fibromyalgia:
1.Improves the quality of sleep
If you do not exercise, your body does not get tired and the muscles do not need to restore. Sleeping allows your brain to restore and recharge to be able to focus and be motivated. Getting the right amount of sleep at night can improve the function of your immune system. Fibromyalgia warriors already experience an autoimmune system disease so exercise helps to build the function of the immune system even more.
When you are stressed out, your body tenses up. For individuals with fibromyalgia, the more your body tenses up from stress the more pain the person experiences. Stress affects your body physically, mentally, and emotionally. Exercise will give you an outlet to let go of some stress. You can let go of your frustration or just forget about the stress for the short amount of time you are exercising. By focusing on exercise, it helps to forget about the pain you are experiencing from fibromyalgia.
Exercise will help you build confidence in yourself as you see the changes. Maybe it is lifting more, running farther, or setting personal goals to achieve. The body releases “feel good” hormones when partaking in exercise. Fibromyalgia warriors lose functioning of everyday activities and exercising helps to regain participation in these activities.
Exercising will allow you to have a greater oxygen intake to better fuel your body’s cells. Exercise makes you feel better so you have more energy and allows you to accomplish more. As you incorporate exercise into your daily routines, you will be more physically and mentally prepared to carry out the act of it everyday.
Exercise helps to improve breathing because it allows you to take deeper breaths taking more air from the lower part of your lungs. When you do not exercise as person who has fibromyalgia, your breaths are shallower and can result in other cardiovascular issues. Exercising strengthens the muscles of your lungs and increases your breathing capacity making the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide more efficient.
6.Reduces body fat
When exercising consistently, your body becomes more fit. When exercising, you burn more body fat. Although you may not be losing weight, exercising will help to decrease body fat while building muscle. It helps to burn the calories you are putting into your body throughout each day. By exercising and reducing fat, you are increasing the speed of your metabolism. A side effect of fibromyalgia is weight gain. By exercising, people of fibromyalgia can reduce their body fat.
Exercise keeps you limber which results in an increase of flexibility. When you start exercising maybe you cannot touch your toes. After a few weeks of exercising, you may be able to put your palms on the floor while standing. Yoga is one of the most beneficial types of exercise to increase flexibility for individuals with fibromyalgia. It helps to make you leaner by strengthening your muscles.
8.Reduces joint pain
If you are not active and do not move a lot, your joints are not moving. If you are not exercising, you gain weight putting more weight and pressure on your joints. When moving and exercising, you lose weight putting less weight and pressure on your joints. Your joints will become less stiff and become more flexible. By exercising, you can improve the range of motion of your joints decreasing joint pain.
Memory is improved with overall health through cognitive functioning. Individuals with fibromyalgia have brain fog and cognitive thinking difficulties. When you are active, your brain is more active. As you experience regular workouts, it is shown to have improved mood and anxiety levels because of decreased levels of stress hormone.
10.Improves immune system function
When you have an autoimmune disease, the immune system plays a big role in keeping your body healthy. If you are exercising, you are healthier. If you are healthy, your immune system is healthy and you get sick less because you can fight off the infections and viruses you are prone to get. The immune system also helps maintain a healthy response to stress.
Overall, as an individual with fibromyalgia, exercise will make you live a happier and healthier life. To achieve maximal benefits, you should perform moderate to vigorous exercise about 150 minutes per week. In these 150 minutes, you should integrate, both, aerobic exercise and strength training. Although it may be hard to find motivation at times, exercise will collectively make you feel better. It will give you more energy and even add years to your life.
Lately I’ve been so caught up in things going on and worrying about stuff that I’ve forgotten to see the positive and humorous side of life.
Yesterday I discovered something that really upset me so instantly I texted my sister that I was pissed off (excuse my language). Well what she received was that I was kissed off. This morning I was texting my husband telling him something was ok as we will be together for 4 days. What he received was we will be together for 4 doors. Don’t you just love the autocorrect feature?
When heading out to the gym, I fill a water bottle with ice and water. Every time I do this, water winds up all over the bottle, the fridge, the floor and me. This happens 3-4 times per week. You would think at some point I’d learn!
I’ve been so worried and focused on my health concerns I’ve forgotten to look at the positives and laugh at myself. Yes, laugh at myself even though I have fibromyalgia. I mean how can you not laugh at “I’m so kissed off!” (You smiled, didn’t you?) Or going to fill a water bottle and laugh at myself because water goes everywhere. You would think I’d learn to pour it in the bottle instead of using the dispenser but I’m too stubborn – yep, that’s the German in me coming out. Then I ask myself when did I quit laughing?
I think it’s been God’s way of telling me he’s got this and I need to not be so serious. I need to enjoy life and the little everyday things that bring a smile to my face. And learn to laugh at myself again cause with fibro I can do some pretty funny things like get a tattoo. (That’s a story for another day.) Every day I get to choose what kind of day I’m going to have. Yes, I have fibro with all the pain and lovely side effects. But I’m going to choose to have a good day every day. It might not be pain free but it’s going to be a good day full of positivity, laughter and love. What about you? What kind of day are you going to choose?
Please share some of your funny fibro stories by commenting below or by sending me a private message. I'd love to hear them!