holidays and cmt

The holiday season is upon us!

The season brings family, friends, and community together to celebrate and share the many holiday traditions across cultures and religions. While the holidays should be a time of joy and celebration, it can also be a time of increased physical and emotional stress. Traveling, dietary challenges, family issues, and financial stress can make the season difficult for even the most holiday hearty among us.

Being mindful of managing these additional stresses during the holidays is especially important for those living with Charcot-Marie-Tooth. CMT patients face those holiday challenges with the additional daily stress of living with a progressive neuropathy.

With proper planning and preparation, CMT patients can give themselves the best opportunity to stay healthy and happy this holiday season.

Here are a few helpful holiday tips ->

Physical Activity & Exercise Tips:

If you are currently in an exercise program, don’t stop! Keeping physical activity as a part of your daily routine will keep your mind and body strong.

You may also want to consider introducing yoga as part of your exercise program. A consistent yoga practice can help reduce stress and bringing harmony and balance to the body, mind, and spirit. Something we all need during the holidays!

** Be sure to discuss physical activity with your healthcare provider to develop an exercise plan that meets your particular needs.

Diet Tips:

You can have your pumpkin pie and eat it too.

Staying on a consistent, healthy, balanced diet IS possible during the holiday season. The key to maintaining a healthy weight and enjoying yourself during the season is planning and preparation.

  • Always have healthy snacks available to grab and go.
  • Cook once, eat three times. Cook larger batches of food so you have at least 3 days of healthy meals ready to eat.
  • Be mindful of caffeine, alcohol, and sugar intake.
  • Eat before you head out to a party. “Saving” your calories for an event usually results in overeating.
  • Stay hydrated. Hunger is often mistaken for thirst.
  • Honor your food allergies/intolerances. This can be challenging. However, more people are becoming aware of food allergies and intolerances. If you are comfortable, tell the host about your concerns and offer to bring something. If a discussion isn’t in the cards, be sure to eat something before you go.
  • Relax! Anxiety about food often results in making poor choices.
  • Remember the holidays aren’t just about food. Make connecting with family and friends the top priority.

And if you are still struggling, you can try this helpful mantra:

There will always be pie.

The world is not going to run out of pie. You don’t have to eat every last bite. There will always be pie:)

Travel Tips:

If you are traveling this holiday, whether by car, train, or plane, set aside plenty of time to plan and prepare for your trip.

  • Call ahead to make arrangements to accommodate any mobility issues.
  • Mind your hand hygiene. Travel can increase your exposure to germs.
  • If you are traveling by car, schedule in plenty of break times to get out and stretch.
  • Bring along healthy snacks.
  • If you are on prescription medications, make sure you have enough to cover the time you are away.

Emotional Health Tips:

The season can challenge the emotional well-being of even the happiest of holiday spirits. It’s important to have access to support if you are feeling the holiday blues.

  • Establish a holiday support group in your community.
  • Connect with other CMT patients on HNF’s online CMT Support Community.
  • Engage in activities for the mind, like classes, artwork, or community work.
  • Reduce emotional stress by getting plenty of rest and practicing relaxation techniques.
  • Stay physically active.

I hope these tips will help you enjoy and celebrate the holiday season in good health and spirits! 

Do you have any helpful holiday tips you would like to share?

We’d love to hear from you!

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