From the Archives: Fall 2005 Issue of Lupus Now Magazine
See You at 6?!
By Mary Medland
After a long day on the job, the holiday office party that evening is often the last thing someone coping with the fatigue of lupus wants to endure. But, although it may take a bit of planning, you can survive the festivities and have a good time doing so.
The key, says Virginia Ladd, president of the American Autoimmune Related Disease Association, is to pace yourself.
"Ask your supervisor if you can shorten your workday so that you can have some time to rest up before the evening party," Ladd says.
Similarly, says Deborah Ribis, R.N., a self-employed Certified Nurse Life Care Planner, "Pace yourself, be honest about the situation, and accept your limitations. Trying to do more than that can backfire."
Mary Shomon, a patient advocate and author of Living Well With Autoimmune Disease, advises taking advantage of stress-relieving techniques to get through the season's social events without having a flare-up. "Those who practice stress reduction should be sure not to let this go by the wayside at the holidays," she says. "It may be prayer, yoga, tai chi, or something else. In any case, this will really help you cope with the stress and avoid relapses."
For those dealing with the memory loss that frequently occurs with lupus, remembering co-workers' names when it's time for introductions may also cause a bit of stress. Ribis recommends writing notes in a small notebook or PDA to help you recall names that may escape you. But if you just can't come up with a name, there's no need to feel embarrassed.
"Even without lupus, some people have a terrible time remembering names and faces," Ribis says, adding that having a trusted co-worker who can help fill in the blanks is another way to cope.
And, if you happen to be the person who has some, or all, of the responsibility for coordinating the office party, keep the preparations simple. "Conserve your energy by enlisting the help of co-workers and caterers so you won't be physically drained," says Ribis.
Most important, don't forget the spirit of this season. "Be kind to yourself during the holidays," says Shomon. "This is a time of good will and cheer, so be sure to keep some of that cheer for yourself."