Last week we went on vacation. To be honest, every year, I dread vacation. I don’t obsessively worry about it, but the thoughts are always there. How will my body handle the traveling? sleeping in a different bed? keeping up with the schedule? eating different foods? stress of the kids out of their routine? UGH. I try really hard to keep a positive attitude and think, “Yay, my parents want to take all of us on a wonderful vacation, how can I refuse! Woo-hoo!” But fibromyalgia and cfs always throw a damper on it and I always wonder ahead of time if it is even worth it. But after it is all over, I am always glad I made the effort and we have wonderful pictures and memories of family time.
So, because of my recent vacation, I started thinking about the things that I do to prepare my body for the trip. I’ve been doing this for so long that I don’t actually THINK about doing these things, they are just essentials for my survival. So, here are my fibromyalgia vacation tips.
On any kind of trip, vacation or otherwise, we are in a different bed. If you don’t remember, I wrote a post about how much I love my bed at home. Hotel beds, family member’s spare beds, air mattresses, wherever we sleep, we have got to make sleeping a priority. It is no secret that bad sleep will put you in a flare. In my situation, I believe the poor sleep is what got me into this mess in the first place. To the best of my ability, I do whatever I can to ensure a good night’s sleep.
~I bring my own pillow from home.
~I wear earplugs to block out any unfamiliar noises.
~I take my sleeping herbs like I usually do.
~I bring a fan to help regulate temperature. I sleep better when I am cool/cold.
~Fans are also great for “white noise”.
~I do what I can to make the room dark. I love to sleep in.
I do well with eating six times a day. I always eat protein at every snack and meal and try to keep my blood sugars balanced. Vacation always brings eating at odd time and different foods. One of my key fibro symptoms centers around my digestive system and vacation can throw things way out of whack. So, I plan and eat smart. These little plans are things that keep me in a routine and hopefully will prevent a flare.
~I always have a snack in my purse.
~I try to stick with eating foods at restaurants that are not too different than what I would eat at home.
~I always carry a bottle of water with me to ensure I stay hydrated.
Riding in a car.
I was always embarrassed when my mom was standing on the side of the road stretching her muscles after sitting in the car for several hours. Now, I totally get it. 🙂 I think it is a combo of getting older and the fibro. Sitting in a car for hours leaves me stiff and hurting.
~I take a pillow in the car to support my neck, back, glutes or whatever is hurting from being still for so long.
~I take a blanket because I love air conditioning, but I always get too cold.
~I will often take preventative pain relievers.
~If I am the driver (which is rare), I’ll stop often to move and stretch.
Vacation can bring on some crazy schedules. Early mornings, late nights, constant activity during the day. It is exhausting even for the healthy!
~I schedule breaks for just being still and having down time. Quiet time. (Fortunately I still have one child who naps in the afternoon, so my break comes with her nap.)
~I take a nap when I can. (Isn’t that kind of what vacation is about?)
~ I pick an activity that the others are doing, that maybe I can skip, so I can rest.
~If I know I’m going to be walking a lot, I wear comfortable shoes. My feet always hurt at the end of the day. Even just from walking around my house.
~I pace myself. Overdoing it today, means I may be doing nothing tomorrow!
A good, high pressured hot shower is hard to come by, but when it happens it is like heaven to me! This past vacation, we stayed in a hotel that had an awesome shower! It justs melts all the pain and stiffness away if I can stand in a hot shower that massages my neck and shoulders.
Read my blog posts about deep breathing to learn more about this. But I instinctively put this into practice while traveling. It helps me let go of travel stress.
Let’s just admit, vacations are almost always stressful in one way or another. But the memories made and times spent with family and friends make it all worth it! But if you are in a season of fibro or cfs where the effort may just send you over the edge, then stay home!!! I have done this before and looking back I am glad I did. Times are pretty good for me right now and this particular vacation did not send me crashing when I got home. I was pleasantly surprised!
I hope some of these tips help you to have a fabulous summer vacation! If you have a great tip or vacation experience, please share! I love reading your comments!