A nonbinary person is flopped on the floor, leaning up against a comically large cardboard boxes full of holiday decorations. Hovering above their head is a small fire or flare icon.

Holiday Recovery Tips for People With Lupus

Last updated: January 2023

Getting back into a routine after the holidays can be challenging, especially for people in the chronic illness community. Increased fatigue and flares can happen, whether you took things slow or went above and beyond. We asked our Lupus.net patient leader team how they recover from the holidays. Here is what was shared:

Rest is essential for lupus flare recovery

An illustrated portrait of advocate Ava.It's one of the worst feelings in the world when you know you've overdone it and the flare just keeps getting worse by the minute. My go-to recovery method is to lie flat on my back in bed, stretch out my arms, and go to sleep. Sometimes I do this with a heating pad under my neck and an ice pack on top of my head.

Other times I'll take a bath or maybe take pain meds and watch TV or read. But I prefer sleeping as my best personal remedy.

Unfortunately, any recovery method usually requires me to take a step back from almost all responsibilities so that I can be alone to recover. – Ava

An illustrated portrait of advocate Racquel.There have been many times when I have overdone it. The holidays make it so hard to stop and just be. I remember when I was in a lupus fog for Thanksgiving one year, and I was up for 24 hours cooking and getting the house ready for guests. I couldn’t even enjoy it. On Thanksgiving Day I was riddled in pain, fatigued, overworked, and overwhelmed. I had to stay in bed the entire day and missed out on enjoying all the hard work I put into the day. All I could do was lay in bed and rest my body, mind, and soul as I disconnected from the world to refresh. – Racquel

Hydrate and soak in a bath

An illustrated portrait of advocate Jokiva.They were plenty of times I outdid myself. I have to take high steroids and really rest. While resting, I make sure I have fluids within my system. I will not do any heavy movement after because the osteoporosis will kick in and it will become more painful. I will also do natural teas and Epsom salt baths with oatmeal. Relax in a bubble bath with some hot water. I am pregnant now, so I have no wine. But usually, I will drink a glass of merlot and it keeps me relaxed as well. I always have family support, so my husband would watch the kids. – Jokiva

Set boundaries for additional to-do lists

An illustrated portrait of advocate Gabrielle.The ways I recover from overdoing it is that I cancel everything for that day, any event or place I'm supposed to be, cooking, etc. if I can help it. Being a mother, that's hard to do, but I do my best. Then I step up my self-care, which looks like taking a bath or shower to relax, taking a nap, getting out the massage gun, whatever it takes that I can do, I do. Finally, after I'm out of the flare, I try to remember how I got to the place of overdoing it. In the past, after recovering from a flare, I'd have a "resentment hangover," meaning I'd be mad at myself and the other person for "making me feel" like I had to do x,y,z. Now, I know I have a choice in what I do, and I've learned to set better boundaries. A lot of times, we know what we engage in can take us over the edge into a flare – it's up to us to decide if it is worth the risk or do we need to pass. When I take a risk, I take ownership because I made a decision to go through with whatever the activity was. If I don't, I deal with some of the guilt that comes up in saying No, but overall I feel better driving the way I show up. – Gabrielle

Binge-watch a TV show and unwind

An illustrated portrait of advocate Amber.I think it would be easier to tell you about times I have not overdone it and caused a flare. It seems the days after a major holiday, I always fight a flare. What I do to recover varies based on the symptoms I am dealing with. But the biggest thing I do to recover is to rest. That may not mean sleeping; it could be binge-watching a show or reading a book. If I am hurting, spending time in the hot bath with Epsom salt or a bath bomb is my go-to. – Amber

An illustrated portrait of advocate Geri.Netflix and sleep are usually my go-to when I'm super tired. I just wanna lay down and binge-watch something. This takes minimum energy. I usually also wrap myself in a thick blanket, making me feel super cozy. But usually, my eyes get too heavy, and I get knocked out. I remember one time taking a nap after lunch. By the time I woke up it was dark out, hours had passed, but I was still tired. I would then eat dinner and go right back to sleep.

If my joints are hurting, I would have my husband give me a massage with either his hands or with those massage guns on the lowest setting. – Geri

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