Managing Endometriosis at Christmas
Christmas Activities to do with an EndoFlare
Though lots of us are looking forward to Christmas, I can almost feel some endosisters' panic radiating through Instagram. And I understand it. In fact, to a degree, I feel it. I'm lucky this year because my period won't be with me until January, so I won't have to be managing endometriosis at Christmas as well as generally surviving it with a massive family. I'm hoping because of this I'll bes free from any major pain, though the likeliness is I'll get some from the sugar I'll eat over the festive holiday (I can't be good aaaall the time).
For those who celebrate Christmas, or generally celebrate the season and end of another year, most of us want to spend this time relaxing, enjoying time with friends and family and having fun. But if you have a chronic illness, it can bring up some anxiety triggers - if you have friends or family who don't believe you or think you're exaggerating, then this can make you nervous about being around them over the winter break; the food and alcohol you want to consume or are pressurised into consuming can cause flare ups, the endless social activities can heighten chronic fatigue.
So, to help lessen your nerves around managing endometriosis at Christmas and also make it easier to enjoy, whether you're in pain, exhausted or trying to take it easy, I've pulled together a list of lovely Christmas activities you can do alone or with company when you're feeling under the weather.
Make Your Own Decorations
Most of us have our Christmas decs up already now, but in the lead up to Christmas it can be really lovely to make a few extra special decorations for the big day. Apples and oranges smell awesome and the process to making them is slow and straight forward. My boyfriend and I put a chopping board down on the coffee table, sat on the sofa and sliced the fruit whilst watching Christmas films. Find out how to make your own fruit decorations here.
You can also make stars out of cinnamon sticks - all you need is some rustic looking string and cinnamon sticks, and just tie together five little 'v's. The act is quite a mindful and distracting activity, which will hopefully draw some of your attention away from the pain.
Forage for Your House Decorations
If you've been stuck indoors for a few hours or a few days and need some fresh air, try heading to your local green space with a pair of tough scissors and/or shears for some light foraging. You can take it at your own pace and as you'll only be collecting a little, the load won't be heavy.
The exercise will give your body a boost, and being outdoors and around greenery has been shown to increase feelings of wellbeing, which will help you with managing endometriosis. You can make your experience mindful, especially if you're alone, by taking notes of all the sounds, the feeling of leaves under your shoes and the smell of the trees you're picking from. Not only does mindfulness calm you down, but focusing on things outside of you will help distract you from your discomfort and allow you to appreciate the beauty of the season.
Have a Christmas Movie Night with Friends
When I'm feeling low, I have a tendency to lock myself away and cancel my plans. Yet having a community around is essential to our wellbeing and being with loved ones is the spirit of Christmas. If you and your friends had plans but you can no longer make them due to exhaustion or pain, invite them round for a night of Christmas movies on the sofa or even on your bed! Tell them to bring PJs (so you don't have to get dressed!), and whatever snacks or drinks they want. If you can, get yourself some endo friendly snacks in this week so you have them ready for nights like this or ask your friends to bring a few bits around that won't make you worse (have a look at my Recipes and About pages for more diet info).
Play Games with the Fam
I'm surprised how much I don't do this these days - I was a freaking champion at Connect Four. My family like to mainly watch TV and films at Christmas now we're older, but playing a fun game can help lift your spirits and encourages interaction between you and your family. If you're family don't have any games, order some online for next day delivery or head to your local charity shop when you need some air and see what they have. Connect Four, Guess Who, Jenga and Kerplunk are all family friendly games that don't require too much mental power if you have endo brain fog! If you want to take it up a notch and you're playing with the 'grown ups' or your friends, I love Cards Against Humanity, messed up yes, but awesome.
Make an Evening of Wrapping Presents and Writing Cards
Last year I sat in the lounge and wrapped a heap load of presents. I'd already pushed myself too much at work and was feeling exhausted. Wrapping felt like a soul destroying chore and I sat awkwardly and painfully on the floor to do it. I've learnt that the trick with endo is making yourself feel good about taking it easy and making things you have to do feel enjoyable. This year I wrote cards with Frank Sinatra's Christmas album playing in the background, sipping on one of my endo friendly hot chocolates and with candles scattered across the room. Tomorrow I'll gather my presents up and spend some time in bed wrapping them to more cheesy festive music - I even got some Noel essential oil to really get me in the Christmassy mood! This is something you can invite friends or family round to help you with or do together, just make sure you hide theirs!
Get Lost in Magic and Fantasy
This is only really applicable if you're a huge fantasy fiction geek like me. I love to disappear into a world of magic and mystery, it takes me away from my everyday stresses and problems and allows me to really switch off. Christmas is a great time for indulging in the idea of magic and make believe and bringing out your inner child. Buy a collection of books or re-read your favs - you can be reading them cuddled up on the sofa in the same room as your family, enjoying their company but having some down time from the Christmas chaos. Or you could encourage them to watch some feel good films in the genre, like Harry Potter or Into the Woods. Everyone likes a bit of make believe at Christmas and you don't even have to tell them you're suggesting it because you're having a flare (if you don't want to), just as a fun thing to watch together.
So above are just a few things you can do alone or with loved ones when you're feeling a bit run down. I know they're very simple and straight forward, but that's the beauty of them, they're supposed to be normal Christmas activities that you don't have to try too hard at. There's no forcing yourself to stand at a bar all night or needing to pretend you're full of energy - these are lovely chilled things to do that evoke a sense of wellbeing. I hope you can enjoy some of these or they at least get you thinking about other ways you can enjoy Christmas with endometriosis this year.
Lots of love x