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Top Ten Tips for Navigating the Holidays with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

By Jody Smith HERWriter

The holidays are treacherous waters for those of us with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. We navigate carefully throughout the year, doing our best to avoid the CFS crash that can level us for months. This time of year, we're even more careful.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Rest. Rest. Rest some more.
This can be in the form of afternoon naps. Of short lay-downs for 10 minutes, every few hours. Take the phone off the hook, turn off the computer. Listen to music with eyes closed. Listen to silence with eyes closed.

2. Delegate and say no.
We hate turning down requests we've always accepted in the past. But ... we must say "No". Often. Maybe you always did the holiday decorating or baking. This year, entrust your spouse or your kids with those jobs.

3. Prioritize.
You'd like to do it all. You know darned well you can't, but you're tempted to try anyway. This is bad reasoning. A CFS brain gone kooky. Look at your wish list and choose what's most important,and let the rest go. Think of it as an investment in your future.

4. Watch the food.
Many holiday foods are unhealthy for the average person. More so for us. Many with CFS have allergies and sensitivities that cause serious symptoms when indulged. If you're planning the menu, include foods you can eat. If someone else is planning it, speak up.

5. Respect the tiny budget.
Many with CFS live on very little. Because of reduced incomes. Because of expensive treatments or supplements, or needing to buy high-end due to chemical sensitivities.

We want to maintain all our holiday traditions, but this can lead to spending we can't afford, and guilt. Best to be realistic about what's actually in the coffers.

6. Be honest with yourself.
It's hard not to embrace the things you love, the things that, maybe, others still expect of you. No sense kidding ourselves. We're not capable of what we were in the past.

Let go of the guilt. You're not lazy. You're ill. You have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

7. Be honest with others.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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