Welcome back lovely readers!
I have somewhat neglected you all over the last two weeks, but not without good reason.
As explained in my last post, I had a bit of a fibromyalgia flare, a nasty cold, and a busy week at work just two weeks ago, and my main aim in life at that time was to simply just get through it. Then, last week, I was on holiday with my beautiful family and we needed time to be together and I realised that despite the plans to blog while I was away, I really just needed the time to recuperate following my flare and illness.
The week away was just what I needed. I wouldn’t say it was restful, at least not in the physical sense, but it was restful for the mind. I felt like I had some much needed time to do the things I love, be active and just to focus on our little family unit.
By the end of the week, I’ll be honest, I hurt from head to toe, and felt more tired in a physical sense than I have in a long time, but that what happens when you throw yourself down one too many waterslides! However, the pain and fatigue was worth the pleasure of having the fun, and after a very restful weekend at my parents (god bless them) I now feel recovered from my holiday antics.
The thing with holidays and other fun times with fibromyalgia, is that the fibromyalgia can often leave you feeling scared to have fun, scared to let go, and scared to delve into the unknown. You worry that your actions will bite you in the ass the next day, and that fun for one day will make you pay for a week or more. You worry that by being ambitious with your actions too soon into the holiday will ruin the rest of the holiday, not only for yourself but also for your family.
Half the battle for me is not worrying about what may or may not happen if I decide to just let go and have fun. I find it hard not to wake up the next day and automatically scan my body for aches and pains. I worked really hard on this holiday to pretty much push the pain and other symptoms aside for the short time we were away, and to say ‘sod it’, but I did this within reason and dropped in some things that were good for the fibromyalgia here and there.
The holiday had a welcome spa session mid way through and this most certainly helped. 3 hours of relaxing and using all of the things that I know help my pain like aromatherapy, heat and mindfulness, most definitely undone some of the damage of a little too much fun. As a family we also made good use of the pool every day, and hot whirlpool too, and this helped my symptoms enormously.
By taking the time to think about your holiday, recognising the upper limit of your abilities and looking at what you have on offer to help with your symptoms, you can make so much more of your holiday. Also being honest with your fellow holiday goers helps to control their expectations of what you can achieve. And yes, it may hurt like a bitch when you get home, but by taking a little time after to reset (remember if you are employed to factor this into when you return home and then to work) you can recover. For me this meant enlisting the help of my parents, and actually not being at home where I would be tempted to unpack, do the laundry and the housework.
While it is important to mentally ‘let go’, it is equally important not to let go of all the things that you know help and you are able to easily continue. I maintained my sleep hygiene, my step count, my physiotherapy and my anti inflammatory diet (with the exception of one dairy ice cream) throughout my holiday which enabled me to do far more than I ever anticipated. I returned from holiday feeling tired, but accomplished, and that I had achieved something amazing for my first holiday away since being diagnosed. I now can’t wait for the next one in 7 weeks.
I’d like to know from fellow chronic illness readers what you have learnt about making the most of your holiday? What works for you and how do you feel about letting go? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, or over on my social media channels.