Multiple Sclerosis

How to Avoid Holiday Burnout with MS Fatigue

November 27, 2023

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How to Manage Holiday Burnout MS Fatigue Alene Brennan

For all the moms out striving to make the holidays special for your kids but feeling held back by MS fatigue, this post is your holiday lifeline. 

Juggling the magic of the holiday season with the reality of MS fatigue is not easy. 

You never want to feel like you’re choosing between your children and your health, but some days that’s exactly what it feels like.

Let’s talk about how to create meaningful and memorable holidays without it coming at the expense of your health. 

This post is your guide to balancing holiday cheer with self-care.

Kicking off the Holidays… with MS Fatigue

We decorated our Christmas tree this weekend – the same weekend of Thanksgiving – and the same weekend that we celebrated my daughter’s birthday.

There was so much fun tucked into every day, but it was also exhausting. 

Yet, now that my daughter is becoming more aware of what’s going on, I want to make everything special and memorable for her. 

To all of you moms who have been doing this for decades, I give you serious props. 

I remember when I was working at a health club years ago, managing their nutrition department, I was meeting with a client and she was talking about the stress of “producing christmas” for her kids. 

“Producing” the Holidays

She looked at me and said, “Alene Christmas is a production. Every year. When you have kids, it doesn’t matter how old they are, Christmas is a production, and it’s exhausting.”

Would you agree?

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or another holiday, the holiday season is inescapable and exhausting… and that can be said for the most energetic person – let alone those of us living with MS fatigue. 

We can feel really torn when we feel like we have to choose between our family responsibilities and our personal health. 

Why does it have to be one or the other? 

And if you’re like me you’re trying to push that line so far for you to get one just one more thing done before you rest. 

You’ll rest later… and later never comes!

So, let’s talk about it. 

How can we produce the holidays without wrecking our health?

I have 7 tips that I want to share with you today. 

Embrace ‘Good Enough’ Decorating

Instead of striving for the perfect holiday decor, opt for a ‘good enough’ approach. 

Choose a few key areas in your home to decorate, and involve your family in the process. 

This can be as simple as setting up a Christmas tree with favorite ornaments or hanging lights in the living room. 

It’s more about the act of decorating together than achieving a magazine-worthy look.

Simplify Gift-Giving

Shift the focus from quantity to quality in gift-giving. 

Consider implementing a family gift exchange where each person buys for only one other family member. 

This reduces the number of gifts you have to worry about and allows you to put more thought into each one. 

You could also suggest a family experience, like a day out or a special meal, instead of traditional presents.

Plan for Rest and Downtime

Schedule rest periods into your holiday plans. 

This might mean having a quiet afternoon after a morning of activities or ensuring you have a day off between busy days. 

Make these rest periods non-negotiable to maintain your energy levels.

Delegate Holiday Tasks

Get the whole family involved in holiday preparations. 

Assign tasks to family members according to their abilities – let the kids help with baking or wrapping gifts, and divide the cooking responsibilities among adults. 

Remember, it’s okay to ask for help and to accept it when offered.

Create New, Low-Energy Traditions

Think of new traditions that are less energy-intensive but equally enjoyable. 

This could be watching a favorite holiday movie together, having a hot chocolate night, or doing a holiday puzzle. 

I share lots of ideas and examples of low-energy traditions on My MS Podcast.

Plan Simple, Nutritious Holiday Meals

Instead of elaborate holiday meals, go for simple, nutritious dishes that are easy to prepare. 

One-pot meals, slow cooker recipes, or healthy pre-made options can be just as festive and far less tiring to prepare. 

Focus on foods that nourish and provide energy, which is crucial when managing MS fatigue.

Mindful Shopping

Plan your holiday shopping to minimize stress and fatigue. 

Use online shopping to avoid crowded malls and standing in long lines. I’m ALL about the online shopping these days.

If you prefer in-store shopping, try to go during off-peak hours. 

Also, consider supporting local small businesses where shopping can be a more relaxed and personal experience.

As a small business owner myself, it means the world to me when someone buys from me. It’s what enables me to be able to provide free content here on this blog and My MS Podcast.

So if you’re planning on buying natural skin care, essential oils, supplements, or nutrition services, I would love your support. I only recommend brands that I have personally use and love.

Now It’s Your Turn!

Share in the comments below how you best manage your health during the holiday season.

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I'm Alene, your MS Sister.

When I was diagnosed with MS in 2016, I was scared and felt alone. But as a Nutrition Coach, I knew there was more to healing than what I was being told. I took action and within six months the lesions I had on my brain shrunk and went inactive. Now, seven years later there has been no new lesions and no new activity. As a nutritionist specializing in multiple sclerosis, I help women take back control of their future.

That’s my story, but I’m not alone. It's your turn to start Thriving with MS. I’m here to show you the way. 

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