6 Things That May Trigger a Flare at Christmas
Christmas is a magical time of year. Twinkling lights, upbeat jingles across the radio, and people who are just a tiny bit more kind than usual. There’s something magical about this time of year.
The holiday’s can be a time for flares if you suffer from any chronic illness. Brain fog starts to set in, and let’s not forget about the chronic pain you’re feeling. Let’s go over 6 things that may trigger a flare at Christmas.
I have a cousin (okay, a SUPER distant and older cousin) that invites everyone she can think to invite for the holidays. She lives on a ranch, and when I arrive it feels like I’ve stepped into a Hallmark movie at Christmas. But it’s an hour away. I’m cramped in the car, unable to stretch out. It may be winter, but I’m sweating. Traveling by car can cause dehydration, and some studies have shown that driving while dehydrated can actually be just as dangerous as driving impaired.
Prevent flares from traveling by dressing in layers and ensuring you are well hydrated. Using a medical grade electrolyte like NormaLyte before you hit the road (or air) can help prevent dehydration. Using the World Health Organization's perfect new formula for oral rehydration, you will notice a difference in your symptoms almost immediately.
Even the most outgoing of social butterflies can find it exhausting. Ever heard of the “introvert hangover”? When you’re surrounded by a group of people, your brain is at full attention and you can easily become overstimulated. There’s a certain amount of emotional fatigue that can loom over you even in the most healthy family dynamic. Dubbed “family jet lag” the higher levels of stress and anxiety caused by time constraints and socializing can be just as detrimental on your body as physical stressors. The fatigue you experience after leaving a social event is real.
Keep flares at bay by excusing yourself from time to time to find a quiet place alone even if that means stepping outside into the cold. Set expectations for how long you plan to stay at an event and stick to your plan allowing yourself to leave early, if needed.
3. LACK OF SLEEP
The holiday means there are a lot of activities planned. Outings with family, shopping, late night dinners. There are a lot of reasons why you may be getting a lack of sleep during the holiday seasons. If you’re someone who suffers from chronic illnesses such as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, you are well acquainted with exhaustion from lack of sleep.
This can be a tricky one to manage. Oftentimes, through no fault of your own, your quality of sleep is terrible because of your chronic illness. To prevent a flare from lack of sleep, it’s best to try to keep your routine as consistent as possible so your body will know what to expect. Set a bedtime for yourself and stick to it. Experts also say to set our devices down at least an hour before bed (yeah, I don’t know how to do that either!). Learn to take a power nap. Have a half hour before you need to leave for the family event? Power nap. If all else fails, melatonin can be a useful aid when used in moderation.
Someone has to make the Christmas magic. Gifts are often a part of Christmas and that means shopping. Shopping usually means walking down aisles until you find the perfect gift. Or, maybe it’s just heading out to the grocery store to pick up something easy for the family pitch in. No matter why you’re out in the stores during this time of year, shopping can lead to a flare.
Luckily shopping doesn’t have to be a marathon event where you’re walking til your feet are hurting. Online shopping is just as easy, and if you’re an Amazon prime member then shipping is usually free. Many grocery stores have adopted the “pick up” option making it so you don’t even have to get out of your car. But, if you do find yourself walking the aisles, compression socks or compression tights can be a lifesaver for preventing a flare.
5. FOOD AND ALCOHOL
If there’s one thing that is certain, its weight gain during the holidays. I have my fat pants ready. There is just so much good food and amazing desserts you don’t get the rest of the year. Aunt Edna’s coconut cream pie is to die for, and I can’t help myself but it always puts me in a slight flare. Then there’s the wine and spirits that are often enjoyed with family. All things ready to send you into a spiral if you’re not careful.
Say no to known triggers. No one will care if you pass on the alcohol that is being passed around (more for them anyway!). If you’re heading to a pitch in then bring something you know is a safe food. Always be sure you’re hydrating well if you do decide to have a glass of wine to celebrate. Medical grade electrolytes like Normalyte can help to not only prevent symptoms of chronic illness, but the effects of hangovers too.
6. DOING TOO MUCH
This may be a no brainer, but if you’re over exerting yourself during the holiday you will surely find yourself in a flare. There are a lot of activities during the holiday, a lot of shuffling to different people’s homes, gifts to be bought and wrapped, desserts to be cooked, decorations to be hung. It’s a lot.
Prevent a chronic illness flare from this by simply saying no. Know your limitations and choose the things you are okay with doing while knowing you’ll need a day of recovery. It’s okay if you don’t attend everything you’re invited to or if all the decorations don’t get hung. You have to take care of yourself.
How do I prevent flares at Christmas?
You may still find yourself in a flare at Christmas time even if you’ve done everything “right”. There are ways to manage those flares once they’ve hit.
- Wear compression garments.
- Have someone else do the work for you.
- Disposable plates.
- Stay hydrated with a medical grade electrolyte.
- Plan recovery days between activities.
- Keep medication close by and stocked.
- Keep your sodium intake levels high.
Remember, just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should do it. Set healthy boundaries at Christmastime and keep your health in mind in all the decisions you make.
Happy Holidays from us here at NormaLyte! Wishing you all a healthy and flare free holiday season.