“Fibro” is a real jive turkey, I’ve got to say. But it’s one jive turkey that’s not going to get off your back just because you get the day off work and there’s certainly no slaying it for your Thanksgiving dinner table. No, “Fibro” is going to be riding sidecar through the whole holiday: when you’re at the grocery store, when your relatives take the house by storm, and when you’re facing two days worth of gravy caked dirty dishes. The trick for you will be to stop “Fibro” from reaching over and grabbing the wheel. Fact: Jive turkeys are known to be terrible drivers.
The challenge during the holidays is all about managing yourself effectively so you can have buckets of fun and avoid a holiday meltdown. So what follows is an informal little action plan to help you have a happy Thanksgiving even when “Fibro” gets its feathers ruffled and starts gobbledy-gobbling up all your energy. We go big on the T-givin’ puns in this one, so prepare yourself for some “groaners”.
Thanksgiving Dinner Without the Stress
Assuming you want to prepare a special meal, or even if you’ve been asked to cook (the nerve!), make sure your family and guests understand that the menu will be kept simple (keep it simple, stupid?) because an all-day cooking fest is not your idea of a good time during a fibro flare. Even if you’re not in the middle of a fibro flare, the stress of making dish after dish can certainly spark one. You want things to run smoothly, so plan a simple menu and set out what you need well before you start cooking. Don’t risk feeling disorganized and rushed on the day.
Phone a Friend… Order In
Given that you’re providing the venue, the main dishes, and the entertainment (your hilarious original knock-knock jokes and biting sarcastic wit), why not ask your guests to bring dessert, salad, and a side dish or two? If you have specific food requirements, don’t hesitate to say exactly what you need, and let them choose which dishes they prefer to bring. Relieving yourself of hours of work almost seems like a no-brainer. Fact: Turkeys are not particularly gifted upstairs, while you, with your infinitely more powerful human brain, can easily see the benefit of the “pot luck” approach. Anyway, it’s more fun when everyone has some skin in the game (turkey skin in the game? Nah, one too many).
Enlist a Helper… Scratch that, Helpers!
Thanksgiving means family and friends, and among those in attendance will be your unwitting but reluctantly eager little helper monkeys. Helper monkeys overpower jive turkeys, didn’t you know? Ask for assistance with reaching the top shelf, lifting heavy items, and pantry raiding missions (or rather, trips to the pantry). Serving food, clearing the table, removing red wine stains, and washing dishes are all tasks that no longer concern you; you are the brains of the operation and your helper monkeys do all the joe jobs that would otherwise exhaust your brilliant but fragile mind.
Put that Jive Turkey to Bed
Exhaustion. It’s a big part of fibromyalgia, holiday celebration or not. If exhaustion hits while you are entertaining, take a nap, plain and simple, no ifs ands or buts. Even if Uncle Herbert is about to get the punch line of his best raccoon trapping story (that you’ve heard 20 times before), you need to take a nap. If your sister’s adorable twin daughters, Amber and Bailey, can’t figure out how to order the new Justin Bieber movie with the the remote control, you need to take a nap. And God forbid if Grandpa George starts asking you why you ain’t been to goin’ church lately, leave it alone ‘cuz you gotta take a nap!
Pushing your limits isn’t going to make yours or anyone else’s Thanksgiving better. Don’t feel guilty if you need to hit the sack. Family and friends will take care of themselves, and the party will go on without you. Believe it or not, they can even let themselves out if you’re down for the count.
You may be feeling a lot of pressure, perhaps just from within, but the worst mistake you can make is to attempt superfibromyalgistic feats of strength and endurance because you think that’s how you’ll make everyone else happy. Keep the day and the menu simple. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Rest when you need to. And if you catch that jive turkey “Fibro” talking smack, now you know what to do (see above).
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