Despite the fact that I have improved my energy levels over the years, one thing I have noticed time and time again is that some time around Christmas I’m usually going to have a moderate or major CFS crash. Very often, it will be on the day itself, or just before, so I’m still in recovery on Christmas Day, not able to enjoy the day as fully as I would like.
This year, it was particularly noticeable because I happened to have spent around four months with more or less normal energy levels. This made the sudden energy crash two days before Christmas Day extremely frustrating. It’s now the second week of January, and my energy levels are still very much up and down, in contrast to the very balanced levels I had had since August. Aaargh!
I am sure I am not the only one who tends to experience more crashes around various festive events, and I think Christmas is probably one of the worst, as emotions are heightened, and there is often a certain amount of stress in the run-up to the big day. And even if we are off work in the week between Christmas and New Year, we are often spending time traveling and visiting.
And I am speaking as one who is lucky enough to have extremely understanding friends and family, and I spend Christmas Day with people I love and respect. So, it must be ten times worse for those of you who have stressful relationships with the people you spend Christmas with.
So, what can we do about this?
First of all, if we know that we usually crash just before Christmas, or any other big day, we can start to plan how best to look after ourselves in the previous weeks.
If you have lots of preparation to do beforehand, then make sure you pace it out. Start your preparations early in the month, so you have some free days before Christmas to rest as much as possible.
Do as much shopping as you can online. This way you can shop from your bed or couch. Do it early, though, as some online outlets’ delivery services can slow down at this time of the year.
Try to make sure that the day before Christmas – or any other big event – is free from any appointments or physical activity. Get as much rest as you can on this day. Practice meditation and yoga nidra deep relaxations.
Similarly, make sure Boxing Day – or the day after the event – is also free so you can give yourself some time to recover. Make it a duvet day, and see just how many Christmas films you can get through! This is the one day of the year when you have every excuse to do as little as possible!
If you live with someone, delegate as much as possible.
If you are lucky enough to have an understanding family, like me, then make sure they know if you’re not feeling your best, so you don’t feel pressurised to be the life and soul of the party.
Even with all this planning, it may still be difficult to completely avoid a CFS crash. Whether you love Christmas or hate it, this and other events have an extra emotional charge which can have a powerful effect on our energy levels, as well as all the stress of preparation. So don’t blame yourself if you crash at Christmas and other big events. Sometimes all you can do is go with it. Look after yourself as much as you can, and know that it will pass, and you will soon be able to rest and recover.