8 Powerful Tips for Surviving The Holidays With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Surviving the holidays can be trying for everyone, including totally healthy people. But for those struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS, celebrating the holidays can take an even greater toll on their health. 

While the holidays are a time of joy, they can also mean a lot of stress. Shopping for gifts, planning meals, and spending time with family can all become very overwhelming. And you may not have control over these situations, which makes everything worse for those of us with a chronic illness! 

For those battling CFS, stress can impact their safety more significantly. Holiday parties and events are draining for someone with CFS. With a greater susceptibility to fatigue, they are more likely to become tired faster. 

8 Powerful Tips for Surviving The Holidays With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome | Quit Chronic Fatigue

8 Tips For Surviving The Holidays With Chronic Fatigue

Just because you have CFS doesn’t mean that you can’t find a way to be comfortable and enjoy your holidays. Having the right strategies in your toolbox will help you feel merry and bright without triggering symptom flare-ups. 

These eight tips will help you navigate the holiday season with happiness and relief!

Planning Is Key To Surviving The Holidays With CFS

With multiple holidays falling close together on the calendar, there is a lot to do in a short amount of time. The list of tasks we have to complete is often overwhelming. 

Planning out your priorities in advance will save you time and stress. 

Knowing what is most important will help you negate oncoming stress. If you don’t have the energy to do something extra (that wasn’t on your must-do list), it doesn’t become a problem, and you don’t have to feel bad for skipping it. 

Having your holiday priorities in the front of your mind also allows you to be prepared. With a set action plan, you have more focus and management of your own abilities. 

Pace Yourself and Learn To Say No

With so much going on, you can get caught in the holiday storm. People are constantly running around and living on the stress of the holidays. You don’t have to join in. 

Go at the pace your body is capable of. Surviving the holidays with chronic fatigue syndrome means you need to pace yourself. And saving your energy can help you feel more energetic during the times you truly need it!

Whether it’s spending time with friends or shopping for gifts, you should spend your energy on what you really want to do. Don’t waste your valuable energy by going too fast. If you do, you’ll find yourself even more burnt out. 

Don’t be afraid to say no to things. Listen to what your body is telling you—if you think saying yes to a favor could cause you to overexert yourself, you should say no. 

Set your body and your health as your number one priority. By learning how to say no, you can save yourself from triggering many of your CFS symptoms. 

Stop Before You Feel Exhausted

Don’t push your body farther than it can go. 

Crashing is not a good thing. Remember to listen to your body if it is telling you it’s tired—this is always true, but especially when it comes to surviving the holidays with CFS!

Try doing activities in moderation. If you start to think that you can finish one more activity, or visit one more shop, stop what you’re doing! This is your warning sign that you’re at your capacity. 

Pushing your limit can be detrimental to your health, and can also cause a miserable holiday experience. 

Shop Strategically

Shopping during the holidays is a chaotic experience. From Thanksgiving to Black Friday, stores are flooded with people. If you experience CFS, you need to be strategic about shopping for a number of reasons. 

Shopping can cause serious exhaustion. Whether it’s waking up early to go to the store or spending long periods of time shopping, you can start to feel tired at any point. 

With large crowds, you could experience overstimulation. This can cause an increase in your anxiety, and can even cause panic attacks and flares in your CFS symptoms. 

Some people who experience CFS have a sensitivity to temperature. Standing in the cold waiting to shop can also negatively affect your body. 

Shopping online is a great alternative for in-person shopping. Surviving the holidays with CFS means taking advantage of the accommodations that are available, and online shopping is one of the best. Plus, you can often find better deals online, so it’s a win-win! 

When you shop online, you have the ability to shop from the comforts of your home. At home, you don’t have to worry about overexertion or running low. You can simply shut your computer down and go rest. 

Carefully Plan Your Travels

Travelling can wear out even a healthy person. For those struggling with CFS, travel can really tire you out. 

Set a travel plan for yourself. With more preparation, you can be more aware of your limits and take the time to pace yourself. 

Plan To Rest After Each Holiday Event

You want to be able to celebrate the holidays on the actual date. And you should! But that also means planning on taking off the day after each holiday. By understanding your own exhaustion, you can give yourself the time you need to recover. 

Plan to stay at home and focus on resting between holiday events. If you can take more time to rest, you’re giving your body more of an opportunity to bounce back. 

If you aren’t able to take more time, just make sure to focus on what you need in the moment. What will make it easy for you to avoid triggering your symptoms during a busy season? This is where reflection comes in really handy. 

Manage Your Expectations for Surviving The Holidays

Reminder: your emotional health is just as important as your physical health. 

That being said, we all set emotional expectations for how we want the holidays to go. And if our expectations aren’t met, our emotions can be disrupted. When you are feeling sad or stressed, your body is more susceptible to flare-ups. 

It’s important to identify when you’re setting unrealistic expectations. Your holiday celebration might not look like the scene in your head. But that doesn’t mean that your reality is any less joyful!

Learning how to just be in the moment with family and friends will help you find unexpected happiness. 

Simplify Wherever Possible

Keeping things simple is super helpful in surviving the holidays with CFS! It might sound tedious, but ask yourself if there is an easier and less stressful way for you to complete the items on your to-do list. 

Working out your schedule and activities to fit your needs will ultimately help your health in the long run. You can take the time you need to pace yourself and rest. 


Stop worrying about the upcoming holiday season. Surviving the holidays with CFS can be a lot easier if you plan accordingly. 

By following these eight tips, you’ll be taking the time to listen to your body while enjoying time with family and friends.

8 Powerful Tips for Surviving The Holidays With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome | Quit Chronic Fatigue

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