First things first, here are my weekly Fitbit stats.
Total steps week = 88,338
Average daily steps = 12,620
Miles walked = 33.78
Average number of floors climbed = 130
On with the stress. Everyone looks forward to spending the holidays with loved ones, sharing food, laughing over drinks, spreading the cheer and engaging in the stories but when we are out and about it seems as though everyone is stressed. More than just stressed they also seem incredibly tired and completely worn thin. This is the season when we do way too much and somehow completely forget how to say no. I bring this up because for the readers with MCTD you only have so much energy to give on any particular day so finding extra energy can be really difficult. I know from experience that it is very hard to say no to one more get together, one more fire side chat, one more “this is really important” dinner with either friends or family and one more “I could really use your help shopping” so give yourself permission to say no.
No one wants to disappoint people on any given day but certainly no one wants to disappoint our loved ones during this season. They have been there for you and helped you through some really challenging, scary, tough times so you feel as though you want to thank them and by doing so you end up doing too much. Remember these very people that were there during your challenging times also realize that your bodies run out of energy very quickly and not putting yourself first could end you up very tired or even in bed with a flare.
I’m not saying use your MCTD as an excuse, but I do think that putting yourself above all others for a few moments each day to assess how are you feeling on this day, what kind of energy do you have, how much do you really have to do and how much can you actually do are very important questions to ask.
I have been living with and managing MCTD for 11 years and still after all this time I have to pick and choose the important times and yes there are times when I run myself into the ground but getting back up takes me a little bit longer so there are consequences for those actions. My family is the last group of people who want to see me stressed, over tired and just making it through the day so they are also the first ones to give me the break of not participating and staying home to rest. The rest of the world doesn’t even see me with an illness most of the time so when I tell them no I see the perplexed looked on their faces but I have nothing to explain or defend.
Getting to a place in your life when you can truly own your decisions and feel good about the decisions you make is unbelievable and it didn’t come to me over night. It came to with each flare and each recovery. Although my base line is different and my endurance is better I still feel fatigue and when I do I have no one to blame but myself for not reading the signs and listening to my body the way I should. I am going to get through this season, all the crazy hours, eating, drinking, song singing flare-up free but only because I have found my active listening skills and really worked to listen to my body and know when it is time to say No. We believe we may miss something, but if you are in bed with a flare you are 100% certain to miss something. Keep yourself well, forgive yourself if you over-do it and send yourself compassion if you do flare. With each flare and recovery you will find the skills needed to read the signs and react in a way that helps your body.
The season is supposed to be fun so try to keep the stress of it down to a low roar. Happy Holidays.