Surviving the Holidays: Resources for You

ThanksgivingAre you anticipating the upcoming holidays with a mixture of excitement and dread?  Want to do it all but know that doing it all or maybe even a fraction of what you want to do will result in a relapse?  Take a moment to refresh your mind with these strategies for surviving the holidays with the intention to come through them as physically and emotionally well as possible.


With the help of some amazing volunteers, we’ve pulled together this list of resources to help.  You may have seen some of these before, but perhaps you’ll pick up a new idea or two that could make the difference between crashing and enjoying your holidays.


Bruce Campbell of Stanford Medical Center developed self-help courses as his profession until he fell ill with ME/CFS. Bruce and Dane Cook, one of the Association’s current researchers (using biomarkers to document why we get worse when we overdo) discussed this topic with past President, Kim McCleary in this webinar:


Give a gift to yourself during the holidays by putting yourself at the top of the holiday list:

Handling the Holidays:  A Gift to Yourself

More tips on surviving the holidays from some great resources:

Surviving the Holidays with CFS AND FM. How Do You Do It? | Health Rising

Surviving the Holidays | CFIDS & Fibromyalgia Self-Help

Vacations, Holidays & Other Special Events | CFIDS & Fibromyalgia Self-Help

Surviving the Holidays With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Surviving the Holidays With Fibromyalgia

FM/CFS/ME RESOURCES – The Ultimate Guide for Surviving the Holidays with Fibromyalgia and CFS/ME and Chronic Health Issues

With the best of intentions, many will likely overdo and may end up disappointed.  Remember the wise words of Toni Bernhardt from her blog on Psychology Today.  She offers great perspective on how what brings the most joy (prolonged socializing) can also create suffering (isolation in bed).  She includes some techniques that have helped her cope with her sadness and disappointment:

When Poor Health and the Holidays Collide | Psychology Today

 Educating Loved Ones about Your Health During the Holidays | Psychology Today

And lastly from Johannes Starke at the CFS Recovery Project:

Surviving Christmas Craziness When You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia

 Cathy, a person with ME/CFS,  shared her story with us:

“Last year instead of playing the holidays totally “by ear”, I decided to plan what I would do as much as possible.  I eliminated some dearly loved holiday rituals of baking springerle, a family recipe of hard German dipping cookies, and sending out holiday cards, photos and an annual letter, using the time instead to rest.  Since last December coincided with a relatively “up” month for me, I was able to socialize more attending several events I had missed in previous years.  I didn’t make it to every event, but attended more than usual and, as a consequence, felt fulfilled because I was able to socialize more with family and friends.”

What have you done to survive the holidays?  Any favorite tips or strategies?   Please share your story or favored tips and strategies in the comments.