Other people see a holiday weekend coming up and think “Yay! No work for (insert) days!” Chronic illness sufferers, though, often look less forward to them. Why? Because lots of special things happen during holiday weekends. And lots of special things take lots of energy, which many of us don’t have.

How can you make things easier?

Planning and the willingness to say no.

Let’s tackle these one at a time. Planning: Try to find out what these special events are, when they will happen, and if there are any expectations for your participation. Then you will have the information you need to make a battle plan. Yes, that sounds rather extreme. When you suffer from chronic illness, though, you know it’s not.

What the special events are makes a huge difference. Are they inside? Outside? Lots of other people? Physicality required? Seating available? All of these things need to be taken under consideration.

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That brings us to the second part. Saying no: You may have to do this more often than you’d like or even feel comfortable with. Unfortunately, that’s part of life with chronic illness. I will admit there are times the ability to say no is nice, for those events people invite you to or that you are expected to go to, but don’t want to attend.

Then there are the times you have to say no. You feel like crap, you’re exhausted – you know the drill. If you attend one or more of these aforementioned events, you will get worse. You know that. And yet the guilt. The guilt. Coming from family, friends, and even strangers. But resist. You need to. You really, really need to.

Your health is more important than almost anything else. Remember that.

What are your strategies for coping with holiday weekends or other special events?

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