Anyone with a chronic condition can tell you that going to celebrations or large events can be quite challenging and exhausting. I often end up exhausted before I even get to the event, or feel less than great before taking my scheduled dinnertime medication before a dinner event. Sometimes it doesn’t get off to a good start but once I’m settled in, it can turn into a good time!
With some careful planning and sensible self care, we can make the event much more enjoyable and last longer than Cinderella before the carriage turns into a pumpkin!
- Don’t wing it, have a plan! Not only make a plan for the event itself, but also the days leading up to and the days following the event.
- Get as much rest in the days before the event as possible.
- You don’t have to stay the whole time, sometimes making an appearance is enough. It’s ok to say no and to catch up at a better time.
- Make multiple options or arrangements if you need to leave early or have a break.
- Manage your expectations – For our birthdays, as much as we would like to have a huge party and spend the whole day filled with exciting activities, we know it is not realistic. The heart knows what it wants, but we also have to take care of the body’s needs just like any other day. Try spreading the activities over a few days!
- If it is your own party, try to delegate and outsource as many tasks as possible to other people or professionals. If you are going out, get someone else to drive you so you save some energy.
- Wear something comfortable, or have a change of clothes and shoes with you just in case you need it later on.
- Take it at your own pace.
- Get a friend or a family member that knows you and your symptoms well to keep an eye on you. Sometimes we need someone else to check in with us to see how we are going or to watch out if we look a little too worn out.
- Smaller crowds can sometimes be less draining on your energy. Seek out one or two people at a time.
- Too much noise, lights and action? Find a quiet space to escape to for short breaks.
- Drink lots of water! Balance out your drinks and food with lots of water to stay hydrated and help the sugar high and lows and recover the energy you are exercising at the party.
- Can’t drink alcohol? Ask the bar staff if they can make you a mocktail, put it in a glass that is a little fancy, or find a non-alcoholic drink that still makes you feel included.
- Put your drink down! I can’t tell you how many times I have gone home and ended up with a really sore shoulder and arm from holding on to a cold drink for too long!
- Take good care of yourself and allow lots of rest time in the days following the event. More symptoms can arise, including something called the ‘stress let down’, when the excitement of the event has disappeared, our bodies have less adrenaline coursing through our bodies and it makes us feel very depleted and low on energy.
- You have permission to enjoy yourself. Just because you are in pain or fatigued or have any other symptoms, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself or be seen enjoying yourself. Having a chronic condition doesn’t mean we are constantly in bed or ‘look sick’ or ‘can’t do anything’. You alone get to choose what you do with your body. No one else gets a say in how you should behave with your condition. Have a dance if the music is playing and you feel like it! Sometimes enjoying yourself (especially with dancing) is worth doing even if it means dealing with the pain later.
I hope you will be able to implement some of these tips and be able to forget the pain and conditions for a little while, and focus on the celebration and have a good time!
Take heart Readers, I’ll keep the light on.