There are many, many posts out there about how to have the best Thanksgiving ever. There are guides on what wines to serve with your turkey. There are guides on how to perfectly roast your turkey. There are guides about which Thanksgiving guide to follow.
If you’re chronically ill, it’s hard to find a guide that fits your life. How can you best prepare a gluten free, dairy free meal…without passing out when you stand up? How can you politely duck out of activities once you’ve reached your limit?
Over the years, I’ve come up with my own “Thanksgiving Tips.” Here are my best holiday coping skills:
- Wear comfy clothes. It may be tempting to overdress and impress your relatives, but spending the day in those killer heels may be, well, killer. Wearing leggings may be an option, as they don’t compress your stomach if you try a bite of something you didn’t know you were intolerant to, and you start to bloat. Loose-fitting shirts or flowy dresses also work well to hide bloating, and are more comfortable than something constricting.
- Bring food you can eat, or eat ahead of time! Too many holidays, I’ve been stuck at a well-meaning relative’s house with nothing I can eat. Over the years, I’ve learned to eat ahead of time, and bring a small snack to eat while I’m at the holiday event.
- Schedule rest. If you wait until you’re about to fall over to rest, you’re probably going to ruin your holiday. Make time to rest during the busy holiday schedule.
- Have conversation topics ready. If you get asked prying questions about your health that you’re not comfortable answering, feel free to switch to a safer topic
like politics.It helps me if I come up with safe topics ahead of time, so I’m prepared if a conversation I don’t want to be part of pops up. This is a good tip even if you don’t have chronic illnesses- nothing ruins a holiday like a huge family argument.
- BE PREPARED. Every year, before Christmas and Thanksgiving, I stock up on anti-nausea medications, first aid kits, Sprite, ginger ale, and anything else I think I might need. It’s truly better to be safe than sorry, and fighting Black Friday crowds for a two-liter of Sprite and a bottle of pediasure is something you won’t do more than once.
- Enjoy yourself! It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of the holidays, and push yourself into a flare. The holidays are all about spending time with the people who mean the most to you, and you should have fun!
Do you have any tips for dealing with the holidays while chronically ill?