I love the holiday season. Time spent with family, brisk winter air, time off from work (a bonus to working for a school), and giving gifts that make people smile — it’s hard to top that! I also try my best to make sure that my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) affects my holiday season as little as possible. As I wrote in a previous column, sometimes we need to put less focus on the day-to-day management and remember who we are without a genetic disorder.
That means finding ways to do what I enjoy during the holidays despite my EDS. Like many people with EDS, I often have digestive issues. One way I combat that is to be as healthy as possible leading up to a party or get-together where I might eat foods that are richer than my usual diet. Before our staff Christmas party last month, I had a salad and fruit for lunch to make up for the less healthy fare I would be having for dinner. I also made sure I didn’t arrive at the party hungry, which is a recipe for eating things that I shouldn’t!
Another winter activity I enjoy is sledding and being out in the snow. Living in the southern Mid-Atlantic, however, means that snow isn’t common. But I always visit my grandparents and extended family in New England, so there’s a chance I’ll get to enjoy a winter wonderland while I’m there. I’ll definitely go sledding if I get the opportunity, but I will avoid steep hills. I will also opt out if my family goes skiing and snowboarding — the risks of such potentially high-impact activities are too great. But I can have fun sledding, building snowmen, and enjoying the beautiful scenery.
The main thing is to enjoy time with family and friends, and to remember that it’s a season of joy and giving. I find that by focusing on the positives, I don’t let EDS control my life — even if sometimes I feel like it controls my body. Having EDS doesn’t keep me from decorating the Christmas tree, finding thoughtful gifts for people I care about, or visiting with those I don’t see very often.
And the times with friends and family are the pieces of the holiday season that are most important.
Note: Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.