Vacations and the occasional big family event can be exciting and a lot of fun but for ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia patients, it can also mean a lot of symptoms flaring and confinement to our beds. I always look forward to having time away but I dread it also because I know how much work goes into preparing for trips and how hard the traveling process is on my body. I think for me just trying to remember everything and the constant mental work of preparing is worse than the physical aspects.
I am a list maker but that doesn’t even stop my brain from constantly thinking, “Did I forget something?” “Did I get everything done at home I needed to before we leave?” “Are all of the bills paid that are due before we get back?” To me this is a lot of stress. As my husband says, it is a lot of unnecessary stress but I’m sure you Type A’s know where I’m coming from! Holidays have the same effect on me and I usually have the yearly post-holiday flare.
So what can we do to help us physically get through vacations and big events? I try to do as much as possible as early as possible before I know I have to go. I will sit down with the calendar a few weeks before the trip or event and start making a list of what can be done now and what has to wait until the last minute. Things like paying bills is something that doesn’t have to wait (unless there’s not enough money in checking to cover them all!), getting traveler’s checks, money, etc. from the bank are things that don’t have to wait.
I also will start packing what I can pack early also. I have found the most convenient way to travel is to have duplicates of all toiletry items and cosmetics: deodorant, fragrance, shower gels, lotions, skin care, makeup, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, hairspray, razors, Q-tips, tweezers, mirror, hair dryer, tissues, feminine products, vitamins, etc. I will also have empty pill bottles that I go ahead and fill with all of the medications I take. If I’m going to be gone for more than a few days, I just take my bottles that I use daily.
Because my husband has a bad heart and I have a bad back, we try to pack light and then we take along laundry detergent and dryer sheets and will wash clothes while we’re gone. This helps tremendously with not having such heavy luggage. I will also sit down and make a list of everything we need to take from clothes, to snacks, to entertainment items for our son. This is another reason we try to pack light because we usually have to take extra things along for him to do.
I try to make sure I have everything done that needs to be done as far as getting ready for our trip and around the house at least two days before. The only thing I want to have to do on that last day is to pack clothes. This way I have a couple of days to rest up and get my body prepared for the trip. I do the same thing for holidays and big events. I always make sure I have a couple of days before that are set aside to just relax.
What do you do to prepare for trips, holidays and big events? Leave your comments! You know I love to hear from you all!