It sucks. Trying to deal with multiple sclerosis in summer heat is bad enough. And lately for Australian summers those have been pretty darn hot. Trying to deal with multiple sclerosis at Australian Christmas when relatives are reveling in the heat is awful. It never turns out to the lovely holiday celebration that you hope for.
If you go outside in the heat your day doesn’t go well. Brain function slows right down, so you can’t keep track of conversations properly. I find that if I’m in any situation since diagnosis with a lot of people talking, that I have to focus so hard on listening to the conversation. Movement slows down and you worry about accidentally knocking things over…like your Christmas drink. Your body starts to ache and you know it’s likely to have you seeking out pain killers to be able to sleep the night.
If you stay inside you choose to be socially isolated, as you miss out on interacting with relatives you rarely see all year. Christmas is the time to catch up with all those relatives. I really look forward to catching up with my aunts and cousins that I barely see through the year. But not many people want to stay inside unless it’s extremely hot. (Just a regular hot day with multiple sclerosis at Australian Christmas can make life tough). Missing out on those social interactions can bring on depressed feelings. Why me? Why do I have this stupid disease that stops me enjoying Australian summer like the rest of my family? Why should I go out to an event, if I can’t be around where all the people are?
To help combat these feelings and symptoms from having multiple sclerosis at Australian Christmas here are a few suggestions I have to make your day better.
- Arrange for Christmas to be at your (hopefully air-conditioned) house. It’s easier to arrange where tables and chairs will be for visitors and you can situate them in the coolest part of the house.
- If you have to go elsewhere, keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan your day to conserve energy/spoons for social interactions. Rest when you can. Ask to lie down in a quiet room for a few minutes to recharge through the day.
- Invest in quality cooling garments such as cooling vests, scarves and headbands. Wear for any outdoor activity.
- Be kind to your self. Realise that you have to look after yourself and if you can’t deal with some Christmas activities, then so be it. Your well-being comes first!
So although having multiple sclerosis at Australian Christmas can be difficult, it’s not all bad! Learn the best way for you to look after yourself and still enjoy the Christmas season.