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4 Ways to Survive the Holidays With Narcolepsy

Living with narcolepsy means that we have to live life around our condition. Unfortunately, we don’t get the holidays off from our symptoms!

Here are some ways that I make my holidays as narcolepsy-friendly as possible.

1. Have a care plan ready ahead of time

Living with narcolepsy means that I have to live my life in a way that accommodates my symptoms. This means taking scheduled naps and being ready for any sleep attacks that might occur.

When it comes to making holiday plans, I like to make sure that my needs will be met ahead of time. In most cases, this includes having a conversation with the host about available nap spaces during the event.

Loved ones should be willing to accommodate medical needs, but this isn’t always the case. If my needs are not able to be met, I may just need to choose a different holiday function to participate in, or bring a portable nap station with me to the event if I really want to participate.

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2. Rest up

The holidays can be taxing on my body. It’s important for me to make time to rest during these periods. Doing so ensures that I have the health and vitality needed to participate in holiday events that I really care about.

It can feel isolating, needing to rest so much. I try to stay connected with people online when I am in periods of rest. It helps me feel better about staying alone too much.

3. Pick and choose

As a disabled person, I am not able to do as much as the average able-bodied person. I have limitations that affect my ability to participate in life. This means that during the holiday season, there are often events that I feel inclined to attend, but have to decide against it for my own sake.

There is only so much energy that I have to use on even essential life functions. I am constantly doing math in my head to figure out if I’ll have energy for one thing or another. Some ways that I make my holiday season easier is by reminding myself that it is okay to say "No" to things. In fact, this is unavoidable when I am taking proper care of myself.

When I do have an event that I really want to attend, and I know I’m going to need extra energy for it, I plan rest days before and after the event so that I am able to participate how I can and then recover fully afterwards.

4. 'Mini' traditions for a more accessible holiday season

The holiday season can feel isolating for those of us who suffer from chronic illness. I try to make an effort to celebrate in small ways so this special time of year doesn’t just pass me by.

Some low-effort traditions that I like to participate in include making holiday-themed foods and drinks, watching holiday movies, listening to holiday music, crafting holiday gifts and cards, and painting holiday-themed art.

What are some of your favorite ways of celebrating the holidays as a person with narcolepsy?

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