Conquering Holiday Parties with MS

The holiday season is a busy time of year for most, however when you are living with a chronic condition, this time of year may be a bit more stressful. In a recent survey, 134 of our community members shared their thoughts on facing the holiday season with MS.

Among those surveyed, an average of 4 holidays were typically celebrated this time of year, making it a time for numerous occasions to see friends and family. Nearly all of those who responded (94%) indicated they enjoy spending more time with their friends and family during the holiday season.

Despite so many people enjoying the extra time with family and friends, many people find it challenging to attend events or parties (57%), with most (92%) reporting that they will skip attending a party or event this holiday season. Unfortunately, more than 3/4 indicated that friends and family don’t understand why they miss out on events and parties, which compacts the guilt individuals feel about missing out on these occasions.

Fortunately, not only do most people spend more time with friends and family over the holidays, the majority also said that they are able to make that time extra special. Of course, hosting an event or holiday party can be challenging for those with MS. Many people recommend planning parties well in advance to help mitigate stress, and some suggest making lists and keeping things simple. While depression is common for many people during the holiday season, many people are able to rely on family and friends for additional support.

Remember, it’s so important to take time to decompress regularly throughout such a busy and emotional time – especially when dealing with the additional challenges that MS can bring. This survey is a good reminder to give yourself that extra bit of space to relax, or to make things a bit easier in any way you can – for example, shopping for gifts at stores that wrap gifts for free, or buying pre-made or pre-cut ingredients for cooking and baking! Keeping these kinds of ideas in mind, we hope you can be gentle towards yourself, in addition to all the care you show to others this holiday season!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the "Handling the Holidays" survey! The 134 MS patients surveyed were followers of; 89% were female, ranging in age from 26 to 69. 57% were diagnosed more than 5 years ago and 12% within the past year. Among those surveyed, 64% were married or in a committed relationship and 69% had children. Of those with children, 6 out 10 individuals’ children were all over the age of 18.

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