An Endo Friendly Christmas
By Team QENDO
The QENDO guide to surviving the silly season when you have endometriosis.
You've got invites to Christmas parties piling up, a growing list of gifts to acquire as you realize just how many people you know, and your relatives are throwing a big Christmas day bash where you have to explain to half a dozen family members why you're not drinking, or eating gluten. Christmas is a joy-filled time of year, but it can also be a stressful time of year - especially if you've got endometriosis. Don't worry, the QENDO team have got you! Below your fellow endo sisters share their top tips for surviving the holiday season. Gynaecologist Dr Peta Wright from Eve Health also shares her doctor approved tips for having a happy and symptom managed holiday. Merry Christmas from the QENDO team!
The Endo Sisters
Buy online where you can. Saves the stress of the shopping centres.
If you’re holding a gathering, invite people to bring along their own signature dish. This will help share the load without feeling guilty about asking for help
Ensure you have at least one endo friendly food option for each meal. Flares are common this time of year. With all that Xmas food! You don’t want to me spending the festive season in a ball because of something you ate.
Be sure to keep hydrated. This is the silly season. We get so busy. I use a water bottle with times marked throughout the day. I ensure I meet each target of water consumption by the time due. This helps overall. It is so easy to forget to keep hydrated when you’re busy.
Schedule your month - pace yourself and prepare to decline events.
Focus on some “you” time. A 5 minute meditation or an increase in any meditation you’re already doing is super important at busy and stressful times. You could spend this time preparing how you’ll decline Events to ensure your fatigue levels are kept maintainable. Have some plans in place as to how you will deal with this emotionally and psychologically
If you’re drinking this Christmas, follow up with a glass of water. We know fizzy, citrus, alcoholic drinks can aggregate our symptoms. Diluting with water can help ease any impact. Better still, switch the drink to a mint, watermelon water instead
Give back this Christmas. Donate to orgs like Qendo who can make a difference in other EndoSister’s lives
Caitlyn, EndoMeet Facilitator
Take time to reflect on the positives and things you have overcome in the year. Mindset is so important but it is so important to reflect on, and be appreciative for, the lessons we learn, things we overcome and progress we make. Endo is one part of our lives but not the sum of all we are. I think it is important to reflect on that- it has been a game changer for me.
Be mindful of food and drink triggers, particularly when it comes to alcohol. Make sure you know what works and doesn't work for you when it comes to enjoying holiday fare.
Kristen, Fundraising Coordinator
Understand that it is okay to say no if you don't feel physically up to something. No holiday guilt!
Do your grocery shopping online and have it delivered to avoid the stress and insanity that can be shopping centres.
Use disposable platters /plates / cups etc. for all those events. Easier clean up, less stress and mess, especially if you're serving a lot of people
drink mint tea after big meals. Helps digestion and avoiding the dreaded endo belly
Steph M, EndoMeet Facilitator Sunshine Coast
Prioritise. Rating tasks from "important" to "doesn't need to be done but would like to if able" can help you focus on what really needs to be done and what can wait until things calm down
Dannielle, Support Coordinator/Blog Coordinator
Attend the events that make you feel good and surround you with supportive people, it's okay to decline an event if you're unwell or flaring, or just can't face another cousin's sister's daughter asking you when you're going to find a man and have kids (rude...)
Don't try to please everyone. The phrase 'it's the thought that counts' exists for a reason. Overspending or over scheduling yourself to please others will only stress you and contribute to flares.
Plan and prepare! If you're going away make sure you see your doctor for scripts or letters you may need. Pack your endo survival kit, including heat packs, medications, TENs machine, or anything else you use to manage your endo. Remember that long haul travel can mean flares catch you by surprise - be an endo girl scout, ready for anything
Talk to your endo sisters. If you're struggling this holiday season, talk to someone who understands, another endo sister! The QENDO Support Line has an on call support worker every day of the year, including Christmas and New Year, (07) 3321 4408.
The Endo Specialist
Dr Peta Wright is an obstetrician/gynaecologist with Eve Health, she has a particular interest in paediatric and adolescent gynaecology. Peta has kindly shared some of her tips for endo sisters this holiday season.
When you have endometriosis it is important to be extra vigilant with self-care, especially during busy times such as the holidays when the usual routines that may help to keep you well can go out the window. Some tips to prevent pain from flaring up and ruining this special time of year are:
Keep moving – gentle stretches as well as 20-30 minutes of exercise most days helps to ease pain and prevent muscle spasm.
Sleep – 7-8 hours of sleep each night helps your immune system to function at its best. You can do this by keeping to a regular bedtime and wake up time and avoiding too much caffeine or alcohol late at night.
Stress management – Christmas can be highly stressful with sometimes difficult relationships to navigate and never ending to do lists but keeping stress at bay is important to minimize the fight or flight response that can be a trigger for pain and make pain worse. You can do this by taking time for deep breathing, maintaining a meditation or mindfulness practice, trying a yoga app you can do easily at home and maintaining good boundaries and space for yourself.
A healthy diet –Christmas treats are inevitable, but being mindful to minimize inflammatory foods which can be high fat, gluten or dairy for some women and to ensure you are eating an abundance of healthy fats, vegetables and fruits will help to support a healthy gut and immune system and reduce inflammation and IBS symptoms which can increase pain.
Most importantly take time to enjoy the connections you have with loved ones, have fun and hopefully rest and recharge. Remember self-care is not selfish especially for women with endometriosis who need a bit more TLC. It helps to minimize symptoms, and stay healthy so you can be the best you for 2019.
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